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Abandoned Cart Email Strategy: 5 Ideas to Convert

February 07, 2019
3 Min Read
Abandoned Cart Email Strategy: 5 Ideas to Convert

What Is An Abandoned Cart?

Abandoned carts occur when potential buyers add products to their shopping carts but do not complete their transactions. HubSpot reports that an average of 73.9% of carts contain items that remain unpurchased.

Many factors contribute to shopping cart abandonment, such as competitive pricing, uncertainty about store credibility and general forgetfulness. However, abandoned shopping carts do not automatically translate lost sales.

Rather, an optimized abandoned cart email strategy provides the perfect opportunity for brands to recover revenue. In this post, we outline clear strategies to help nurture potential buyers and encourage them to convert.

Choosing An Email Marketing Platform

Although there are many abandoned cart email marketing platforms, we've seen particular success with both HubSpot and Klaviyo. Each solution addresses different business challenges. As a result, we recommend carefully evaluating the functionality your brand needs to reach its goals. 

Abandoned Cart Email Strategies

The best way to regain a buyer’s interest is to set up an abandoned cart workflow. This strategy uses automated emails to direct consumers back to their carts.

During this process, email and brand messaging encourages prospects to complete their purchases. Although each business is unique, we typically recommend including four emails in your abandoned cart workflow.

Abandoned cart strategies will also vary by industry. Depending on the scale and annual revenue of your business, your store may need to adjust its abandoned cart workflow to best accommodate your customers.

Strong Subject Lines

How many times have you deleted an email based solely on its subject line?

Abandoned cart email success often begins with a compelling hook to draw in potential customers. Specifically, email open-rates depend heavily on intriguing users to read your full message.

Successful email subject lines explain the context around why you're reaching out. In many cases, referencing forgetting something can help buyers remember their previous shopping session more clearly.

Shoppers frequently express intent to buy but forget to purchase or need an extra boost to complete their transactions. Whatever the reasons, it’s not too late to bring them back with a captivating subject line.

Email Layout

Treat your email like your landing page. Specially, businesses should capture attention, add context and provide a clear path to purchase with minimal distractions.

To start, place your CTA above the email fold and make it stand out. Providing a clear call to action adds context and ensures customers understand your reason for reaching out.

Additionally, we recommend including product images of the abandoned items to remind people visually of what they’ve left behind. You can also include related information such as customer reviews to add third-party credibility to their purchase decision.

Finally, we recommend placing a hyperlink to the shopping cart along with the image for easier cart access. Remember that not all images will render correctly in all email clients, so it's important to include ALT text.

A/B Testing

A/B testing helps brands evaluate successful workflow strategies.

Sending two different versions (A and B) of your email compares the two to see what performs better. Tracking will help answer questions such as:

  • Are certain keywords in my subject line contributing to higher open rates?
  • Are questions in my subject lines motivating my contacts to act?

As a result, your emails will become smarter and your open rates will improve. We also recommend A/B testing entire workflows in additional to individual emails to evaluate approaches that provide the most value for your business.

Free Shipping

Lack of free shipping is a common reason for abandoned carts. If you have the profit margins to offer free shipping, we strongly encourage you to do so. Specifically, mentioning this offer within abandoned cart workflows can help re-engage prospects and encourage them to purchase. 

If you're on the fence about offering free shipping with your orders, you first need to understand how shipping costs affect your business. Include these costs in your financial models so you can factor shipping into operation and pricing.

If free shipping is not financially possible, we recommend exploring value-based shipping prices to increase average order value. In this situation, buyers will receive free shipping with orders over a specific dollar amount.

Savvy shoppers will be more likely to add additional items to their carts when they receive free incentives.

Offer Discounts and Promotions

Offering discounts will often capture a potential lost buyer’s attention. Promotions help drive customer loyalty and increase customer acquisition, However, we caution businesses to consider these tactics strategically.

Misusing discount offers can be harmful to your store’s revenue if not implemented correctly. As a result, brands should avoid overusing discounts and promotions.

In many ways, if your products are always on sale, they are never on sale. If you begin to offer too many discounts, you begin to attract only price-driven shoppers. 

Also, you should avoid putting discounts in the first few emails of your abandoned cart workflows. This practice can condition consumers to expect offers, which reduces the likelihood of them buying full price.

If you decide to include discounts as a part of your workflow, we recommend including promotions in the third or fourth emails as a final incentive.


Although every business has unique needs, implementing abandoned cart workflows is proven to increase cart conversions. If you're looking for more information about how to setup a process for your business, we recommend exploring our related blog about creating the perfect abandoned cart workflow.

And of course, feel free to reach out through the form below if you have any questions or need assistance. We're happy to chat and learn more about ways we can help.

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About the author
Director of Operations

With a passion for eCommerce marketing, Jaime Sunday writes about how to create a successful digital advertising campaign. They cover topics like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and more.

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