Rescue Your Sales With Cart Abandonment Emails


by Yuyu Chen

Almost seven out of 10 shopping carts get abandoned by consumers. Using cart abandonment emails effectively can help drive lost shoppers back to the checkout.

Cart abandonment emails are one of the most effective methods to rescue lost sales, but they’re not always as simple as they seem. How can marketers make this “retargeting” technique work?

For a lot of e-commerce retailers, shopping cart abandonment is a sore point. According to¬†Forrester research, 88 percent of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts before they have completed their purchase. Sending a friendly reminder email and retargeting them can help keep your brand and products fall back to the top of the consumers’ mind, and eventually drive them back to your site to complete their purchase.

“Cart abandonment emails are an effective way to improve e-commerce performance. By using this technique, our clients have seen a boost of 10 to 15 percent in their click-through rates, and up to 15 times more revenue delivered, over a standard promotional email,” says Kiera Joujoute, senior specialist for the CRM Channel Strategy team at eBay Enterprise.

Using an abandon cart email technique can also recover about 20 percent of lost sales, according to Dela Quist, chief executive (CEO) of email marketing agency Alchemy Worx, adding that his company sees open rates of 50 to 70 percent by applying this method.

So we’ve established that they’re important, but how can marketers tailor their abandon cart emails to make sure that they work to the best of their abilities? The first step, according to industry participants, is to understand why shopping carts get abandoned.

“The secret is determining why people leave in the first place,” says Christopher Penn, vice president of marketing technology for Shift Communications. “There may be technical reasons, such as a broken conversion process. Or buyer remorse reasons like sticker shock, if price isn’t disclosed in total until the end. There may be competitive forces; after all, Amazon is just a click away.”

“In order to establish why, set up email capture early in the shopping cart process and personally follow up to ask people why they left. Good e-commerce software should explain where customers departed in the process,” explains Penn.

Embedding a link that directs consumers to their abandoned cart is also key, says eBay Enterprise’s Joujoute, adding that it’s very important to ensure functionality.

“When you send your consumers a message that they abandoned their cart and they take action and click to go back, you’ve missed the boat if they end up in an empty cart, or on the homepage of your site rather than the actual cart they abandoned,” notes Joujoute.


Marketers should also integrate product images when possible in cart abandonment emails to show consumers what they have left behind, as well as take advantage of the “fear of missing out.”

“Brands can include reminders like ‘we will hold this cart for you for X amount of time’ or ‘you have X hours left to go back and buy the item.’ That can be successful,” Joujoute explains.

“[And] we frequently recommend that our clients conduct two or three messages as a sequence, rather than just one email,” she concludes.