June 30, 2020

Abandoned Cart Email Examples & Best Practices To Recover Lost Sales

Reading time about 18 min

Get inspired by these awesome abandoned cart email examples and best practices, curated by Andrian Valeanu from Designmodo.

Your prospects might show strong purchase intent: they add items to the cart, reach the checkout process, and even start to fill out the form. Still, there’s a high chance they’ll leave and never come back. According to statistics, more than 70% of shoppers will abandon his or her cart. 

Whether you’re running a small e-store targeting a local or a large international ecommerce, abandoned carts are inevitable.

However, the lost revenue is not irrecoverable. You can still rescue it with an abandoned cart email – one of the most effective strategies in ecommerce email marketing. After all, it is a valid sales opportunity that should be played right. 

The Essentials of an Abandoned Cart Email 

The abandoned cart email is a form of automated email. It’s sent to customers who add items to the cart, start the checkout process, but don’t finalize the purchase.

These are customers who have already opted in to your email list and are recognized when they visit the site thanks to tracking software like the Brevo Tracker.

Related: Focus on Shopify abandoned cart emails

Before crafting your abandoned cart email template, think about why the customer left without buying. It often comes down to one of these reasons:

  • He/she was comparing items from different stores,
  • Shipping was too expensive or the options didn’t suit
  • Unforseen additional charges/taxes
  • Concerns about the returns process,
  • The checkout process was too complicated
  • No quick checkout option and the person didn’t want to create an account
  • The website crashed, the site timed out or some other technical issue

Lots of things can cause a person to leave. But here’s the thing: the abandoned items are fresh in the person’s mind. An abandoned cart reminder with a special discount or free shipping, could be all that person needs to make a buying decision.

So, what should you include in the email and what tactics can you use? Let’s take a look.


If you want to add more automation, take a look at other triggered email campaigns you can send.

Abandoned Cart Email: What to Include

As with any marketing email, abandoned cart reminders need to respect laws and best practices. It should include a header with the company name and logo, footer with the physical address of the company, contact information, copyright information, link to your privacy policy, and most importantly – an unsubscribe option.

As for the rest, you’re free to experiment. However, as best practices show, it’s recommended to include:

  • Introduction text. This can just be a brief opening appealing to the target audience. Use language that fits your brand.
  • A list of the products. Here you need to add the product name, price, link to the product on your website, and of course, an image. Without the latter, the effect will be minimal. Visual support helps to drum up interest and make the item desirable again.
  • Customer-centric copy. It should be snappy, concise, and compelling.
  • Reviews/ratings. Customer testimonials are powerful tools.
  • Similar or related products. If your prospect has lost interest in the previously selected products, there’s still a chance you can win them back with other products.
  • Frequently asked questions.
  • The benefits of the product. How is this product going to fulfill the person’s needs?
  • Incentives to purchase. Discounts or free shipping can have a significant impact on the decision-making process.
  • A checkout button. Provide a direct link to get back to the cart, skipping the registration page.
  • Contact details including email, chat, phone number, links to social media profiles, etc.

These are the main ingredients for an abandoned cart email. 


Tips for Successful Abandoned Cart Emails

For abandoned cart emails to convert to sales, they need to be engaging and add value. Here are some tips on how to achieve this.

Use Compelling Copy

Build trust and credibility in your emails by:

  • Personalizing the email subject line and content. This helps establish a one-on-one conversation.
  • Including social proof like comments, statistics, reviews, and ratings
  • Communicating the benefits of the product
  • Building trust and credibility in your emails

Create a Custom Design

Don’t underestimate the power of a unique email design. All the top brands use handcrafted emails in their marketing campaigns. 

There are many reasons why a rich HTML newsletter is better than just regular plain text. It lets you convey the message in style and generate engagement with visuals.

Don’t have design or technical skills? Not to worry. You can use free HTML email template builders with drag-and-drop editors – like Postcards. There you’ll be able to create an email from scratch within minutes by mixing and matching more than one hundred field-tested components with polished design and modern traits. 


Apply Sales Principles

Basic sales principles used to increase conversion rates in other types of emails work here as well. 

  • Use words such as “popular,” “handmade,” and “limited,” since they increase the product’s exclusivity
  • Highlight one product as a best seller
  • Establish a sense of urgency since the fear of missing out efficiently nudges customers to make a purchase
  • Rephrase your CTA. Stay away from “buy,” “pay,” or “checkout.” Go for “See Your Favorites Again,” “Take Another Look.”, or “Treat Yourself.”
  • Add shopping incentives, such as discounts and free shipping

Finally, leverage your loyalty program. If you can’t afford a discount or free shipping, you can always regain the interest of prospects with your rewards program. Tell them how many points they need to reach the next rewards tier and the exclusive offers that lie ahead.

Consider a Drip Campaign 

Sometimes one email isn’t enough to bring prospects around. To maximize effect, you should run the entire drip campaign. As a rule, it includes three emails:

  • Cart reminder sent within one hour after cart abandonment
  • Follow up email sent 12-24 hours later
  • Promotional discount. Still no sale? Send a last-chance promotional discount a couple of days later

Choose the Best Time

The best time to send the first abandonment email is within the first hour. But don’t rush it either. Give it 30-60 minutes and then remind clients about the products left in the cart. 

If you implement a drip campaign, then you should define the best time of the day and best day of the week to send other emails. According to statistics, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are three days for high opens and click-through rates.

As for the best time of day, believe it or not, early in the morning right before breakfast can be the best time to send your second abandoned cart email. Also 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. are periods that work pretty well.

Prioritize Long-term Relationships

Whatever email newsletter you send out, maintaining healthy relationships is crucial. After all, even if you lose this battle, you can still win the war by keeping a long-term connection with the customers. Therefore,

  • Don’t be pushy
  • Don’t overdo it by bombarding users with too many emails
  • Only send emails to those who have given explicit consent to receive them. Always ask for the user’s agreement to receive automated marketing emails

It’s always better to lose the battle but leave a good impression and save your long-term relationships rather than come across pushy and spammy. 

Alternative Ways to Help Abandoned Cart Email to Convert

To support abandoned cart emails, you can benefit from alternative ways. For example, you can

  • Create automated retargeting Facebook ads
  • Send SMS reminders
  • Use push notifications


Subject Lines for Abandoned Cart Emails

Whatever killer design you have, however polished your strategy is, if a user doesn’t open the email, your efforts will be in vain— end of story. Even the most awaited emails for Black Friday and Christmas can be easily overlooked in a crowded inbox.

The success of your abandoned cart email depends on the subject line. Come up with a subject line that stands out from the crowd and generates curiosity. It’s here where you need to be a little bit creative. 

If you want to acknowledge the fact that customers left their cart, you can go for classic “You left something behind.” Lots of companies go for this. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. 

Here are some other examples:

  • There are ★★★★★ products in your cart!
  • Don’t let your items run away!
  • Fetch your items now.
  • That item in your cart is lonely.
  • Hey, you forgot something.
  • Looks like you forgot something.
  • Psst… your shopping cart is full.
  • Are you still thinking it over?
  • Complete your order now and get 15% off. 
  • Hey you, still interested in the [Product Name]?
  • Free shipping on completing your order.

If the subject line isn’t enough to convey your message, you can always use preview text to finish it off or maybe add some extra points.

Also, don’t forget to check the look of the subject line and preview text on mobile devices to ensure that the entire phrase is displayed. Carry out A/B tests to see which subject lines get the best reaction.

A Collection of the Best Abandoned Cart Email Examples

1. Abandoned Cart Email from J.Crew

This abandoned cart example quells any doubts and entices customers back to their cart to make the purchase. 

The design is pretty minimal in terms of decoration and graphics. A clean background and generous amount of white space helps to focus users’ attention on the product, naturally throwing a spotlight on it. 

The copy is brief yet compelling. There is a friendly announcement that something is waiting in the shopping bag, a short product description, and a dose of approval. At the end of the page, you’ll see a catchy link to the “surprise sale”.

The newsletter is compact, straight to the point, and alluring.  


2. Abandoned Cart Email from NARS Cosmetics

NARS Cosmetics provides us with an abandoned cart email example that separates itself from the crowd with its modern dynamic approach. Unlike the majority out there, this one makes the most out of gifs in email. Although it’s not typical for automated emails, this strategy works as it instantly catches the reader’s attention.

Note the bright coloring used to bring positive energy and how the large-sized email font makes the message stand out. Finally, the box layout brings all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Incorporating the product image into the layout makes an impactful statement. The shopping incentive – free shipping – brings extra value.

This abandoned cart example has excelled in various aspects of a great email: eye-catching visuals, compelling copy, marketing strategy, and a wow effect.


3. Abandoned Cart Email from Letter Box Hamper

Letter Box Hamper perfectly uses the opportunity of an abandoned cart email. In theirs, the company does a lot more than just say they’ve saved the customer’s cart.

First, they invite you back “when you’re ready”, a wonderful no-rush attitude many people would appreciate. Then, they tell you you can actually order now for an occasion 12 months in the future. That’s great if you like planning ahead and being prepared.

On top of that, the email repeats the selling proposition of the company about the size and compatibility of the delivery with mail boxes. They also give you the option to order by phone, probably something their core audience prefers. And lastly, there are product suggestions to rekindle interest. All in all, a great combination of tactics to get people to checkout.

Cart abandonment email example

Cart abandonment email created with Brevo

4. Abandoned Cart Email from Postcards

This abandoned cart email design created in Postcards is a simple yet effective way to recover the abandoned cart. It has everything you need to remind the customer of what he or she is missing out on. 

The dialogue begins with a call-to-action block where compelling copy along with the eye-catching button gets down to business. After that, products occupy the heart of the design and the footer has all the critical information to create a comfortable user experience.

The email newsletter has just one goal: bring attention to the abandoned items. This reinforces the driving factor of getting back and finalizing the purchase.


5.  Abandoned Cart Email from Casper

Much like an abandoned cart email example from J.Crew, this one also embraces minimalism. Less is more and emails are no exception. 

The marketing team at Casper has included only the essential elements: a catchy title, a short introduction, compact product section, call-to-action, social proof, and contact information.

Although the email design is a bit on the plain side, it goes perfectly well with the overall brand identity. This is one of those cases where simplicity does wonders.


6. Abandoned Cart Email from Society 6

Unlike the previous abandoned cart email example, this one tries to balance lots of information. 

The brand tries to win the user over with the massive 30% OFF discount. To support this generous offer, they’ve also established a sense of urgency by announcing a 48-hour time limit on the offer.

There are also beautiful images of popular categories to further kindle interest, links to the return policy and other helpful information.


7. Abandoned Cart Email from Huckberry

Huckberry is one of those companies that prefer modest, minimal, and traditional approaches.

Their abandoned cart email is compact and straightforward. 


8. Levi’s Abandoned Cart Email

Levi’s marketing team has taken one step further. Much like Huckberry, they have opted in favor of compact structure and minimal content. But they have spiced it up a bit. 

Note the structure is straightforward: there is a header with navigation and the company’s logo, a footer with additional links, social media icons, and contact information. However, the central part allocated to the main copy is quite creative.

Playing with typography, the team has set focal points on four crucial things “It is in the bag,” “25% off your purchase”, “shop now,” and “Hurry this offer expires in 48 hours”. You’ll notice a visual path the eye naturally follows.


9. Abandoned Cart Email from Saatchi Art

Saatchi Art gets straight to business. They don’t beat around the bush: they hit the user with a 10% off right out of the gate. The user is reminded that the product is at high sell-out risk, instilling a sense of urgency.

They also include a whole collection of popular products. But be careful not to overdo it as this can make it seem overcrowded.


10. Abandoned Cart Email from Sephora

Sephora made content the top priority in this abandoned cart example.

A few things to note: Products occupy the central part. A sense of urgency is established from the get-go. The call-to-action button is on top. They’ve added some encouraging information like “Free and easy returns” and “Fast 2-day delivery”. And last but not least, the reward program is highlighted.


11.  Email from RedRokk 

A slight dose of humor never hurts anybody, especially when it comes to winning over the clients in the cold, humanless digital environment. Humor is a powerful tool, and this abandoned cart email example from RedRokk is a proof of that. They try to win the customer over with charisma and positive vibes. 


Experiment with your own abandoned cart emails

In the world of digital commerce, you always have a chance to turn the situation in your direction, seize the almost lost sales opportunity and make the most out of it. 

Abandoned cart emails are one of those tools that allow you to play out this scenario and turn the tables around. 

However, to achieve success, they should not be taken lightly. Although the user is a warm lead, the email still requires a well thought out strategy. 

Use this guide as a base to build on, apply the tips and run A/B to see what works best on your email subscribers. This way, you’ll have the best chance to recover the lost revenue and build stronger relationships with your clients.

Looking for an affordable email service to send abandoned cart reminders? Try Brevo. The free plan lets you send 300 emails/day.

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