Your marketing strategy is probably driving visitors to your website through Facebook Ads or Google Ads and most leave without purchasing anything.

It can be disheartening to have a low conversion rate - or none at all.

Look, here's the deal, more than 70% of your shoppers will abandon carts at checkout and, unfortunately, this is a number that has slowly been increasing in recent years.

The best way to solve this is through an abandoned cart email strategy. Doing this will help you recover your lost revenue and continue improving your return on investment (ROI).

You might be wondering what an abandoned cart email is, so let’s first take a look at that:

What is an abandoned cart email?

An abandoned shopping cart email is an essential part of the ecommerce checkout process.

It is the follow-up email sent to someone who has added items to their cart and gotten through a portion of the checkout and then left the site without purchasing.

Jack wills cart abandonment email
Jack Wills

It’s an effective reminder to your visitors that they left something in the cart. It also allows a way to entice them to complete the purchase if they had no intention of doing so otherwise.

The example shown by Jack Wills is a classic showcase of a cart abandonment email. Further down this guide, we’ll look at all the elements that make this a fantastic example.

It’s important to implement because even doing just the basics can give you a noticeable result. Abandoned cart emails could be part of your email marketing strategy.

If you’re new to email marketing, then don’t forget to read our complete email marketing for dropshipping beginner’s guide.

Here’s what the cart abandonment system looks like:

How does the cart abandoned email system work?

When someone leaves a product in the cart and enters their email in the checkout process, they’ll be sent an email from that company.

This email contains the product information that was left in the cart, followed by a call to action to return back to finish the checkout process.

Shopify email address for checkout

Plus, you can include other information that can be used to entice a customer to come back.

The time between leaving a cart and the email received can be set in your email marketing service. It's commonly used for 1 hour, but others have used anywhere between 4 hours to 1 full day.

The best way to maximize effectiveness is to understand why they abandoned the cart.

Why do people leave their carts without checking out?

It’s impossible to achieve a 100% conversion rate for every person that visits your website. Even 6% is an impressive accomplishment.

There will always be a cart abandoned, so you can never prevent it entirely. We can try to understand its root cause, though.

The study from Statista says 19,000 consumers were asked why they leave ecommerce sites without paying. Here are the top 5 reasons:

  • Presented with unexpected costs
  • Just Browsing
  • Found a better price elsewhere
  • Overall price is too expensive
  • Decided against buying
Cart flipped over

While this information can be true or not for your business, you can effectively strategize your abandonment cart emails to give reasons to change their mind.

For example, coupons help with the unexpected costs to make it not so jarring. Reasons why your product is worth the cost with its features to help and inform the potential customer that while the product can be costly, it's worth it.

It’s also a helpful reminder for them to return later. There's a lot of reasons why they had to leave like they were at work and want to finish the process. Some remember while others forget. It's all about being as convenient as possible.

Now that we know why people abandon their carts let's look at examples of companies creating their cart abandonment emails.

Examples of cart abandoned emails that successfully recover lost sales

Moment cart abandonment email

Moment provides accessories for gadgets, and they also provide a fantastic example of an email a potential customer would receive if they left a product in their cart.

In this example, they clearly give a simple question to make sure everything is good on their end. 

This is powerful because this lets Moment know if there’s a problem with their checkout system. It also allows direct contact with the customer to know their concerns to further improve their products or shopping experience.

A clear product image and call to action button to return to the cart make it easy to get right back into completing the checkout.

Moment made sure to let everyone know about their 12-month warranty and hassle-free return benefits to remove any doubt about purchasing from them.

Casper come back to bed email

Casper, the friendly mattress store, is known to have higher than the average cart abandoned due to the investment costs of their industry.

This means they ensure the absolute best to demonstrate why someone should return to their cart and take their sleep to the next level.

The on-brand message of ‘Come back to bed’ is a fun and clear action for the reader to complete their purchase. Just in case there were doubts, they included social proof of their previous happy customer to know the investment was worth it. 

Rudys cart abdandonment email

Rudy’s, a barbershop that also sells personal care products, is known for having a sense of humor in its branding.

“Don’t put this off like a software update" is a cheeky way of showing guilt without the negative emotion. The rest follows with a clear message to remember the products in the cart with a promo code for free shipping.

The product images are huge. This is to see all the details in the minimal packaging with product titles to help remember what it is.

Since there is no filler information, it makes the process of checking out as easy as possible. Also, note the brand colors are used to keep everything cohesive in the company. 

If you wish to see more examples from successful brands, head over to Really Good Emails. They source from great examples such as these that were provided, and they have emails for every situation.

Or check out these 21 abandoned cart email templates.

Now let’s look at the data of a successful cart abandonment email strategy.

SmileyCookie’s abandoned cart email case study

Smiley Cookies homepage

SmileyCookie sells house-made cookies and showcased their data in their three-stage process for retargeting customers who had abandoned a shopping cart.

The first email is sent almost immediately to ask if there is a problem with the checkout process. A second email is sent with a 10% discount and a third with a 20% discount.

The average abandoned email recaptured 29% of the products that were left in the cart, which resulted in more sales than if they wouldn't have the abandoned cart emails.

  • The first email had an open rate at 54%, a Click Through Rate (CTR) of 28%
  • The second had a 50% open rate with 16% CTR
  • The third achieved a 23% open rate and 6% CTR

SmileyCookie showed the CTR is declining per email but still showed the amount of return on investment for the email. This is a major net positive because the setup process is free.

Do you know why it's free? Because most email marketing services have a free tier for you to use until you reach a certain amount of subscribers.

How to set up an abandoned cart email on Shopify?

Shopify abandoned checkout email setting
Shopify Settings

Shopify has an easy process that every store can implement and will automatically email a customer a link to their abandoned checkout.

It’s important to note that an abandoned email cart email will not be sent if:

  • If a potential customer creates more than one abandoned checkout in a row, then only one email will be sent to that potential customer.
  • If a potential customer creates one or more abandoned checkouts and then completes a sale before the recovery email gets sent, then the email won't be sent.
  • If a payment processing error occurred when the customer tried to complete their checkout, then the email won't be sent.
  • If your shop does not support shipping to the customer's address, then the email won't be sent.

Here are the steps to set up your abandoned email checkout process via Shopify:

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Settings > Checkout.
  2. In the Abandoned checkouts section, check Automatically send abandoned checkout emails.
  3. Under Send to, choose who you want to send a checkout recovery email to:
    • Anyone who abandons a checkout
    • Email subscribers who abandon a checkout
  4. Under Send after, select the number of hours that Shopify should wait before sending the abandoned checkout email. (More about that below)
    • Never. You can still manually send an email to customers.
    • 1 hour later
    • 6 hours later
    • 10 hours later (default)
    • 24 hours later
  5. Click Save.

Your chosen email marketing service also has its options to set this up with them. (If you didn't pick one yet, then check out this article here)

They may have a more robust system like sending multiple emails over the course of days, for example. It's definitely worth looking into seeing if it's a better option for your case.

Now that we set your abandoned email system, let’s look at some strategies you can start using right now:

What strategies can you use to recover abandoned carts?

As you may have noticed from the example abandoned cart emails, they hold a lot of common elements that have been proven to be successful.

Here’s a quick rundown you can start immediately.

Disclaimer: You may have to do your own testing to know for sure if these are the best options for your dropshipping store. This is a brief guide just to get you started:

  1. 3 email series
    • First email one hour after abandonment.
    • Second email one day after abandonment.
    • Third email three days after abandonment.
  2. Customer-centric approach
    • Offer to help the customer before driving the sale.
    • Always send from an email address you actively use. For example, don’t send it from a email address. (You can learn here how to create a free business email address)
    • Include a customer service number (If you have one).
  3. Personalized emails
    • Include dynamically inserted images of products that were in the customer’s cart.
    • Use session regeneration to provide a link to a populated cart to minimize buying friction.
  4. Optimize emails for multiple devices
    • Make sure the user experience is readable across all devices.

For more information on this, check out this great resource.

9 abandoned cart email subject line examples to try out

Forever 21 cart abandonment email subject line
Forever 21

Just like a regular email, abandoned cart emails have subject lines included, and they can decide whether an email is worth opening or not.

The best way to increase the open rate is to make your customer believe the product in their cart is already theirs. As shown in the examples, these successful companies use words like ‘yours’ to provide that ownership.

There’s also a time and energy investment the customer has made to place the product in their cart too. This is more than enough to make them believe it is theirs.

Here are a few example subject lines to get you started:

Example #1: John, you forgot your toaster here! 

Here you have the personalization and something specific (the product), and we are also playing with urgency including the word ‘forgot’.

Example #2: Hey, you have forgotten something in your cart…

Example #3: Did you forget something here…?

Example #4: You left a discounted product in your cart!

Example #5: Don’t worry! We still have the cart you assembled.

It might be effective if you try to be a little provocative (depending of course on your audience). Simply by asking questions, you can imply urgency:

Example #5: Do you still want the [product name]?

Example #6: Should we hold the [product name] in your cart for you?

You can also tell them what they shouldn’t do…

Example #7: Don’t let your cart get lost!

Example #8: Don’t let your discount slip away!

Example #9: Please, don’t go! We miss you…

If you're looking for more awesome subject line examples, take a look at this great article.

The subject line, like all emails, is just as great as the content because a bad subject line will never get the email opened. Successful emails that convert need to start strong to end strong.

Also, if you're wondering now if you should include emojis in your subject lines, then check out this study from SEJ.


Abandoned cart emails are simple, yet one of the most effective forms of increasing sales. The secret to creating the best emails all use these tips:

  • Timing – send your first email soon, but not too soon
  • Frequency – use a maximum of three abandoned cart emails
  • Great imagery – include the images of the products
  • On-Brand Copy – make sure you’re not sending a boring message
  • Incentives – give people a reason to come back
  • Mobile – make sure your emails look good on mobile devices
Dote leaving cart issues

The cart abandonment rates are massive at an average of 67.4%, but this doesn’t mean those sales are lost forever. It’s common to think there is something you’re doing wrong when someone leaves a cart, but rest assured there is a chance they need more time to think about it.

This is an opportunity to use your cart abandoned emails to get your customer back. It will give you more chances for them to know everything you have to offer as well as how helpful your customer service is. It’s time to set up your emails today. Your future self will thank you for it!

If you want to recover even more abandoned carts, then don't forget to take a look at this article here as well. That article covers a few more great tips on how to reduce cart abandonment!

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