Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices

Why Carts Are Abandoned

One of the most common problems in ecommerce is an abandoned shopping cart. Studies have shown an average of 75 percent of all internet shoppers have left an abandoned cart in their wakes.

Sending a message to remind shoppers they have done so helps sometimes, but you have to be careful to do it the right way.

To that end, let’s take a look at some abandoned cart email best practices.

Why Carts Are Abandoned

Before we can discuss what to do, learning why carts get abandoned in the first place is a good idea. According to the ecommerce platform provider Shopify, the main issues surrounding this phenomenon are:

  • Being forced to create an account.
  • Struggling with complicated checkout processes.
  • Unexpected delivery costs.
  • Concerns over security.

Theoretically, eliminating these factors would reduce cart abandonment considerably. However, the other thing that happens is people simply get distracted. This is where sending abandoned cart emails with the following factors in mind can make a difference.


Most experts suggest sending within 24 hours of the abandonment. Any longer and you give the shopper time to move on to something else—or purchase the item form another vendor. You want to get back in front of them while the desire is fresh in their minds.


Given you don’t know exactly why they left without making the purchase, you can only guess what you can do to get them to reconsider. However, one universal influence is a lower price. You can do this by either offering them a discount on the item itself, or providing shipping at no cost. Be careful with this one though. You don’t want to train shoppers to abandon their carts and wait for you to come chasing after them with a better price.



Include photos of the items in the email to help jog their memories. Make sure the link in the email takes them directly to the cart—populated exactly as it was when they departed. This saves them trouble of gathering the items again. It also makes it easy for them to complete the transaction with minimal clicks.


You want the message to come across as if you have the customer’s best interests in mind, rather than clamoring to save your deal. If you’re selling ebooks online for example, try something along the lines of, “Stephen King is trying to help you…”

Multiple Reminders

Most sellers using abandoned cart emails stop trying after posting the first one. You can usually remind them three times without crossing the line into being a pain in the posterior about it. Given the volume of messages flowing into the average email queue, relying upon one note is folly. A series of three messages over a three-day period will have a better shot at capturing their attention and inciting them to take action.

Just make sure the messages stop after they make the purchase.

With all of that said, if we’re going to keep it 100, you can adhere to all of the best abandoned cart email best practices in the world and still miss out on conversions. The reasons for people moving on without buying are as many and varied as there are people and circumstances.

However, nobody will ever say yes to a question that wasn’t asked. If you don’t at least try to get that customer to come back for another look, you usually won’t get any response from them at all. It’s better to have tried and been turned down, then to not try and be forgotten altogether.


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