July 23, 2021

How to Send a Shopify Abandoned Cart Email That Actually Works

Reading time about 11 min

If you sell on Shopify, abandoned cart email is probably the first thing you have to set up. The average cart abandonment rate online is 71%. In other words, only about one-third of all people who add a product to cart, complete their purchase. That’s a serious money leak for every ecommerce store.

There’s little use doing any other ecommerce marketing before you fix it. So let’s look at how to nail your cart recovery strategy and not lose sales anymore.

Why send Shopify abandoned cart emails?

Abandoned cart emails are a proven way to recoup some of these sales before they’re lost forever. Simply reaching out to the customer with a gentle reminder can get them back in store.

The most common reasons for abandoned shopping carts are unexpected costs (shipping, handling, etc.), too many fields to fill in at checkout, and security concerns.

However, people often just hesitate to buy or not to buy. They might leave to think it over a bit more or go check another site and compare prices. 

In all cases, you can do something about it and fight cart abandonment with timely emails. A friendly nudge will make the customer think about your product again and hopefully decide they want it after all.

What’s in an abandoned cart email?

Since the goal is abandoned checkout recovery, the email should make the potential customer go back and complete the order. So here are the must-haves as per abandoned cart email best practices:

  • The abandoned product should be the highlight so it’s immediately clear what the email’s about.
  • A call-to-action (CTA) inviting the customer back to your Shopify store.
  • Some personalization because it’s an individual email campaign and banks on the relationship with the customer for conversion. 
  • Your online store’s logo and branding so it looks professional and secure.

Other optional elements that’ll help your abandoned checkout email convert are creative copy and recommended products.

The email copy should reignite the recipient’s interest. It can be funny or create a sense of urgency. But keep it short and sweet — people get the idea, no need to drag it out.

As for recommendations, it doesn’t hurt to add one or two related products. While the customer can’t make up their mind about the initial product, they may be drawn more easily to the others. Thus, an abandoned cart email might turn into a cross-selling one. All is well when it ends with a cha-ching from the Shopify app, right?

How to start sending abandoned cart emails

Not surprisingly, you need people’s emails first to be able to contact them about abandoned checkout recovery. Under GDPR, they have to explicitly agree to marketing messages when ordering for the first time or signing up for your Shopify newsletter.

From there, Shopify has a native cart recovery feature because it monitors shopping carts anyway. However, it doesn’t offer many customization options so your emails will lack design and branding. How to customize your Shopify abandoned cart email then?

All of the best email marketing apps for Shopify let you send much better designed cart abandonment emails. The plugins sync your subscribers and cart statuses, making even complex multi-touch cart recovery series possible. 

Alternatively, discover the top Shopify newsletter plugins.

How to set up Shopify abandoned cart automations

The most effective way to fight cart abandonment is to send an automatic email whenever it happens. This way, the automation would be recovering sales on autopilot. 

A third-party email marketing app for Shopify can help you a lot with that because it’ll streamline your cart recovery process with customizable and branded emails.

So let’s see how to send Shopify abandoned cart emails with Brevo.

1. Install the Brevo Shopify plugin

The Brevo plugin for Shopify automatically starts tracking your website events and identifying abandoned carts. You can start Shopify cart recovery as soon as you’ve integrated the two. It works with a free Brevo account, too, so open yours today.

2. Create your abandoned cart email template

Open Campaigns -> Templates in Brevo. Start designing a new template – you can use one of the ready-made templates available or start from scratch. 

3. Insert the abandoned product

This is done with dynamic content. Dynamic content means you input placeholder data in the email and set it up so it pulls the correct abandoned cart data for each individual customer as the email gets sent. 

The plugin automatically feeds this data to Brevo so all you need to do is tell it what to pull. Usually, it’s the product name, size and color along with the product image. Every cart abandoner would see the products they were interested in again. This might move them to buy.

4. Link back to the abandoned checkout

Inserting a dynamic link directly back to the customer’s own checkout page saves them time and friction. The easier it’s to checkout, the higher the conversion rate. 

5. Personalize further

You can add more dynamic personalization – the person’s name in the email copy and subject line, for example. Or you can create if this/ then that conditions to display relevant recommended products based on the person’s order history. 

Brevo’s CRM lets you use any piece of customer information for personalization.


6. Setting up your automation flow

Once you have your abandoned cart email template ready, go to Automation -> Create a workflow in Brevo. There’s a default cart recovery email automation you can customize and use. Learn more here.

  • Choose how long after the cart was abandoned the cart reminder should trigger.
  • Add as many emails or SMS in this series as you see fit. 
  • Make sure the flow ends when the order is complete or the cart is emptied. 
  • Put in the condition to restart the flow when the cart is updated and abandoned again.
  • Save and activate

Tips for Shopify abandoned cart emails that convert

Abandoned checkout recovery, just like any other part of your email marketing strategy, should be well thought out to work well. Otherwise, it’s just noise your subscribers will ignore. 

So here’s how to make your cart abandonment emails successful.


First, when should your checkout recovery emails hit the inbox? We recommend around 2 hours later. That’s not too soon to creep out the customer and not too late to lose them to the competition. 

But you don’t have to let go after that and lose the sale. Are you wondering how many abandoned cart emails it’s ok to send?

A typical shopping cart abandonment sequence would have about 3 touch points:

  1. Cart reminder 2 hours after it happens;
  2. SMS or follow-up email 24 hours later;
  3. A last email with a hard-to-resist offer.

Play with subject lines

The subject line is the first thing the recipient sees. The decision whether to open the email or not depends on it. That’s why the best email subject lines are funny, exciting, or even provocative to stand out in a full inbox.

Look at the example below. All brands took a different approach to their reminder email subject lines. Some tried to create urgency (ASOS), others played it cool (Tipsy Elves), and some pushed with financing options (ice.com).

“May we help you complete your order?” and “Was there a problem checking out?” are creative ways to ask why someone didn’t check out — but a bit overused. 

Consider your own brand voice and tone to choose the best approach. Is your brand playful and funny, or rather serious and professional? 

Create pretty branded emails

Once the cart abandoner opens the email, the email content and design should look clean, professional and inviting.Otherwise, people might think it’s a scam and not click on your links.

So by all means add your logo, branding, colors and legal information. This will put people’s mind at ease that you’re who you say you are and legitimately know what’s in their cart.

Then, highlight the abandoned product to immediately get them thinking about it again. The CTA should be something along the lines of “Complete order” or “Go back to cart” to make it clear where the button leads.


If you decide to give a discount code to increase your cart recovery emails’ conversion rate, we recommend waiting till the second or third touch. That way, your customers won’t get in the habit of abandoning carts just for the sake of getting a discount.

You can also give tiered discounts based on the customers’ number of orders or lifetime value. A simple if/else rule in your email template will do.


A/B testing

A/B testing is an email marketing’s best practice that should be applied for fighting cart abandonment as well. A/B test how different subject lines, incentives and copy work for your recovery rate. You can also test variations on the layout and whether or not to add related products.

And why not even test if an email or a SMS works better in the automated flow?


Optimize checkout process

And finally, to reduce your abandoned cart rate in the first place, improve your checkout page. List all fees and taxes so people are not unpleasantly surprised at the end. State delivery options and times. Don’t hide return and exchange policies. 

A live chat widget on the page can help, too. If someone is unsure about their choice, they can just ask a customer service representative just like they would in a physical store.

Also, in the checkout process, try to capture the email and phone number of the customer for potential abandoned cart recovery. 

Shopify abandoned cart email examples

Here are some great examples of cart recovery emails from brands on Shopify.

#1 Brand colors, focus on product, offer to make people complete the order

abandoned cart email by Omie

A simple but powerful abandoned cart email by Omie, created with Brevo

#2 Good branding, luxurious feel, recommended products

#3 Cheeky copy, simple design, straight to the point

#4 Answering customer’s considerations in a funny way, clean design

For more, check out the best abandoned cart email examples

Grow with Shopify abandoned cart emails from Brevo

Recover lost sales with personalized, automated emails and SMS. Beautiful templates available. Shopify plugin for fast and easy integration.

Open my free Brevo account now >>

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