What Is a Cart Abandonment Email?

UpSellitcart abandonment emailLeave a Comment

Cart abandonment emails convert shoppers who abandon with a series of targeted remarketing emails. If you asked yourself, ‘What is remarketing?’ then check out our previous article. Once you’ve spent some time in the business of conversion optimization and reducing site abandonment, it’s easy to forget how foreign all of the industry particulars seem from the outside. Today, we’re going to help those looking for a little clarity by defining a ‘cart abandonment email,’ looking closely at structure and strategy.

In brief…
A cart abandonment email is an email sent from a merchant directly to a consumer who left their website before converting after adding items to their shopping cart.


While it might seem like just another remarketing email, there’s actually a lot of consideration going on beneath the surface of cart abandonment emails. Let’s talk about the particulars of these remarketing tools and what goes into recovering conversions.


Conversational Cart Abandonment Emails

With your typical marketing email, readers are addressed all at once. Newsletters give a broad audience recent company updates and highlight products and features. While these emails most certainly have their uses, cart abandonment emails have a distinct advantage: personalization.

Cart abandonment emails are sent to shoppers as they abandon, initiating a one-on-one dialogue in which the sender can dispatch personalized content. This positions cart abandonment emails as more of a ‘conversation’ than a general update. Instead of writing about your products as a whole, you can tailor the discussion to the consumer’s interests. This ability to direct and focus the conversation cuts the risk of sending irrelevant, ignored emails.


The Contents of Cart Abandonment Emails


Cart abandonment emails are typically sent with a single objective: recover a lost conversion. As a result, the contents are all going to be catered towards getting the shopper to take another look at their abandoned cart. To do this, good emails include:

  1. Product photography – Dynamically inserting photos of the products left behind in the cart is one of the most popular and effective methods of establishing relevance and recovering conversions. Using product images gives you the ability to instantly resonate with the consumer and remind them why they visited your site.
  2. Purchasing incentives – Some shoppers need a small incentive to complete their purchase, some just need a reminder. If the timing is right and the shopper hasn’t shown any intent to purchase since abandoning, offering a small discount to customers is a great way to convince those still on the fence.
  3. Vibrant calls-to-action – While incentives and imagery help capture the interest of readers, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for the shopper to complete their purchase. Make sure that the links back to their cart are attention-grabbing and easy to understand.
  4. Reiterated CTAs – Our research has shown that emails with repeated calls-to-action have higher clickthrough rates. It’s always wise to include some text-anchored hyperlinks to ensure that consumers have direction in the event that images don’t load.

Cart Abandonment Email Delivery

Now that we’ve discussed the contents of a cart abandonment email, let’s talk about the timing of the email series. UpSellit’s cart abandonment email campaigns typically include three messages. Our research has shown that the shoppers who will come back on their own to complete a purchase do so within the hour following abandonment. Accordingly, the first email is sent just a couple hours after abandonment. It’s our best practice for the first email to just remind the shopper of their abandoned cart.

If the initial reminder email doesn’t result in a conversion, then a second cart abandonment email is typically sent between 24 and 48 hours later. Oftentimes the second remarketing email will include a small incentive or create urgency around the purchase.

If the second email fails to generate a purchase, then a third email is sent between three and seven days after the cart was abandoned. The third email often contains a purchase incentive to recover the otherwise lost conversion.

As with all things e-commerce, the timing, quantity of messages, and types of incentive are all dependent on the advertiser and the customer journey.


Abandonment Email Performance

We could spend hours discussing cart abandonment email strategy and theory–it’s what we do at UpSellit–but instead, let’s take a look into the efficacy of emails like this.

Over a 6 month period, we monitored a select grouping of campaigns in the same industry with similar launch patterns and incentive strategies. Using over 40,000 emails as a sample, we observed the following:

Open Rate: 41.38%
Clickthrough Rate: 37.09%
Campaign Conversion Rate: 19.67%


Through the use of cart abandonment emails, 41.38% of the 40,000+ customers open the emails, interfacing with the brand at least once more. This expanded reach gave merchants one more shot at convincing a prospective customer. Of those that clicked the link included in the email, nearly 20% went on to make a purchase.

While the rate of success does vary between industry and client, the overall efficacy of cart abandonment emails is hard to overstate. With the right strategy and a careful attention to detail, these emails can be an impressively powerful tool for expanding your reach, enhancing the customer experience, and turning abandons into conversions.

Cart abandonment emails are an effective, low-cost method of recovering conversions and expanding brand reach, but they’re not always as simple as they may seem. For more on these clever remarketing tools and for advanced campaign strategies, contact UpSellit.

Written by Joe Rosenthal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *