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How to Build Abandoned Cart Emails


What is an Abandoned Cart Email?

Abandoned cart emails are follow-up emails sent to someone who has added items to their cart and gotten through a portion of the checkout and then left the site without purchasing.

Data reveals that up to 75% of e-commerce shopping carts are abandoned each year. However, over 60% of shoppers returned to make a purchase within 24 hours of receiving personalized emails after abandoning their shopping carts.

And that high conversion is exactly why mastering abandoned cart emails is integral to nailing your email marketing and should be part of your marketing strategy if you are in the e-commerce space. This post shares some emailing tips and strategies that have worked exceptionally well for the Shopify businesses I was consulting for.


The timing of your abandoned cart email is key. Make sure to send your first email after an hour of abandonment. If you wait too long, you will lose that shopping urge that caused the shopper to add the item to their cart in the first place.

Subject Line

Your subject line needs to grab the shopper’s attention and generate sufficient interest for them to open the email. Feel free to get creative. Here are a couple creative examples, for say, a watch called “Pulse”:

  • We’re still holding the Pulse watch for you. Get one before they’re gone.
  • What is time without the Pulse watch? Let’s teleport you back to your cart.
  • Oops, looks like you forgot something. Don’t worry, we got you covered.

Or, you can keep it traditional and simple. Really depends on your target demographic. You can also A/B test if you’re unsure which subject line to use.

Call-to-Action Button

A bold and attractive Call-to-Action (CTA) can make your shopper’s experience seamless. You want to limit the amount of text and showcase the important things. Of these, the most important is a bold, easy-to-see, contrasting, and attractive CTA adjacent to or below the product image.

The CTA should be something like “Continue shopping”, “Buy it now”, “Snatch it”, “Resume”, or something along those lines. As with the Subject Line, you can also A/B test this if you’re unsure which CTA to use.

Showcase a Single Product

When a shopper adds 5 very similar products to their cart, they generally don’t have equal purchasing intent for all those 5 products. You want to focus the email on a single product they are most likely to purchase. The easiest way to determine this is to showcase your best-selling/highest-rated product in the cart, because it has converted for many of your customers in the past.

Once they are redirected to their cart (which includes the other products too), they can then make the decision on whether or not to buy the other products. You effectively win yourself a second chance.

Be Convincing

You need to convince your shopper that this is a product they should buy after deciding to not buy despite being very close to doing so. You need to have convincing and customer-centric copy. “Short and sweet” is the mantra, little BS.

Another way to be convincing is buy showcasing some reviews and ratings. But you want to be careful, this part is easy to overkill.

Offer Additional Incentive

This one depends on your focus. If your focus is to maximize profits, maybe this is not the first abandoned cart email you send out. Regardless, incentives can be the deal-closer for a lot of shoppers.

These could include discount coupons, rewards/loyalty programs, complementary related item, and many others.

Customer Support

Customer Support at the bottom of the email can be all the shopper wants. Because it is possible that the shopper couldn’t checkout because of technical issues, or because they had a question on the product (shipping times, refunds, etc.) that are not always obvious on e-commerce sites.

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