Don’t Neglect Your Abandoned Cart Emails

Abandoned Cart Emails

I talk to a lot of eCommerce stores that are looking for ways to grow 10% or so within a month. Most of the time, I would say that they are crazy and likely will run into issues – but sometimes there are things you can do that actually do increase growth that much, or more.

Abandoned cart emails are one of them. If you aren’t using this crucial piece of the eCommerce conversion goodness – then you need to start.

“Using abandoned cart emails can recover 29% of lost sales or more!”

Let’s put this into really easy to understand terms. Pretend that you make $10,000/month on your website.

If you could gain another 29% by simply flipping a switch on your abandoned cart emails – you could bring home an extra $2,900/month. That could pay for another employee, more inventory, or whatever else you need to grow – maybe even some Facebook ads 😉

But maybe you make a lot more than that. I know of one eCommerce store that was bringing in about $200,000/month on their website – without using an abandoned cart email.

Just so we are clear – turning this on in a best case scenario would mean an extra $58,000/month.

That is literally a game changer!

Important elements of great abandoned cart emails

Element 1: Timing

Depending on your platform and who you use for emails – you should be able to set up more than one time to send out abandoned cart emails. Do some A/B testing here. A few good timeframes to test out are 1 hour after cart is abandoned, 24 hours after cart is abandoned, and 7 days after cart is abandoned. In fact, I would recommend using all three of those – unless that ends up creating an issue with your particular audience. Regardless – some combination of times similar to that should get you to the sweet spot of recovering the most abandoned carts as possible.

If you are worried about people unsubscribing – stop. Read what Peak found out in regards to unsubscribes from abandoned cart emails.

Element 2: Subject Line

Subject lines can get tricky. You need to find something that excites people enough to take action and actually open the email, but you need to also keep it from sounding spammy and causing people to distrust your headlines (and worse – mark you as spam).

Again – some A/B testing will go a long way here. Most email programs will let you send a split test with two different headlines so you can see stats like open rate and click-thru rate for both of them.

Try some super descriptive headlines like, “One Day Only: 50% off” against some really creative headlines, “95% of our customers have asked for this!!”. You can also test using Camel Case (capitalizing every word) vs. all lower case. I have even A/B tested intentionally using a typo, the gender of the person sending the email (from Brittany vs. From Matt), and anything else that makes sense for your particular industry.

We’ve found that a really good, descriptive subject line might get us a slightly lower open rate – but an exponentially higher click-through-rate on the emails we send out for We’ve concluded that this is because people know exactly what they are opening, so they’re opening it with intent.

Element 3: Content

Boring content is boring. Have you ever received an email that used perfect grammar? Did it excite you (unless you are a grammar nerd) – chances are you felt like it was written by a robot.

Instead, write the email like you’re writing it to a buddy of yours. The human element is crucial in getting people to feel connected to you and your email – and ultimately, wanting to click and buy. Subscribe to the Chubbies email – you will get some awesome inspiration (and maybe a few nice shorts while you’re at it).

Again – I can’t reiterate this enough – A/B test this. Every audience is different – so figure your own audience out. Most email programs will allow you to send different email bodies to different groups and see the results for click through rate. This can be important for you to learn what makes your audience click – literally.

Element 4: CTA

If your Call-to-action (CTA) is “Buy” – you probably are leaving a lot of sales on the table. Find something that is more descriptive, less intimidating, and more exciting. If you sell health insurance, use a CTA like, “Save My Life Now”.

You’d be surprised at how effective a better CTA is. Make the CTA relevant to your product offering – make it something that people get excited to click on. We all like to buy – but none of us like to be sold. Encourage them to feel like they are making a great decision – not that you are twisting their arm.


If you aren’t using abandoned cart emails yet – hopefully this is the push you need to start doing them. If not, I plan on starting a competing business with you and adding them just so I can beat you and show you how effective they are (ok, maybe not – I’m too busy for that – but seriously, it’s time to set up those abandoned cart emails).

Do you have any great success stories with using abandoned cart emails? Tell me about them in the comments below!

William Harris William Harris is leading content at Sellbrite and is also the Founder & Growth Marketer of Elumynt, LLC., VP of Marketing and Growth for a top 700 online retailer and former head of Marketing for When I Work, a VC backed SaaS company. William is also a contributor to leading publications like The Next Web, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, and Sellbrite and a speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, search engine optimization, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding. Follow William on Twitter (@WmHarris101), LinkedIn, and Google+.