How to Maximize Sales with a Successful Abandoned Cart Email Strategy

Did you know that 69 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned? A Baymard Institute study found that every 3 customers that complete their transaction, it’s likely that you missed seven more that almost converted.

Imagine having someone make their way to your online store, took the time to peruse your offerings and carefully placed items in the cart. So why didn’t they make it all the way through checkout? They’re riiiiiight there!  

I don’t want you to leave money on the table. So how do you take an abandoned cart and transform it into a sale?

You need an effective email strategy!

There are a ton of apps on hosted solutions like Shopify that helps you deliver messages to your almost-buyers. But what do you actually say? What can you share that will actually woo them back? You have to think strategically.

To resurrect a lost sale, you have to take into account shopper behaviors, products, and cart value. You also have to build trust, provide value, and incentivize that shopper to choose you (for real this time). That’s a lot, but that’s the power of the abandoned cart email sequence.

According to a Business Insider Intelligence study, re-engagement emails after transactions were interrupted or abandoned averaged a 40 percent open rate and 20 percent click-through rate, with 33 percent of those clicked emails resulting in a sale.

Those are great stats and an even greater opportunity to recoup those lost sales.

But writing effective abandoned cart email content, and knowing when to send it, can be tricky. Your messaging must be as timely as it is persuasive, without feeling like a hard sell.


So I recommend a 3-step campaign to go from  conversation to conversion, which has been shown to increase revenue by 56% according to findings by ReturnPath.

So let’s get started!

Step 1: REMIND

“Hey life happens, we understand” is the tone you’re trying to convey. Maybe they got away from the computer or had to put their phone down. Or maybe there was some confusion at the checkout page.

Try to account for what might’ve gone wrong and let them know that they’re order is ready and waiting…when they’re ready.

You’re goal is to draw them back to your site. Maybe they’ll close the sale immediately. Or maybe they’re still comparison shopping. Whatever the case, anything is better than radio silence from a retailer.

Let that potential customer know that you care and that you want to provide the best shopping experience possible. 

Key Elements: You should include a brief message, list the products in their cart, the cart value (with any additional charges like taxes or shipping earmarked) and have multiple links to get them back to the shopping experience.

You should also have options for support or additional customer service (via phone or email) and a guarantee of response time.

Timing: This email should be sent one hour after cart abandonment.


This is where you look for a point of emphasis.  What will make purchasing at that point most attractive? And what will make that potential customer shop NOW and not later? This is the subtle nudge. And all subtle nudges must be time-based.

This will set up the final email in the sequence (if they don’t act on it at this stage).

Key elements: This email must have a key selling point, something that creates urgency and desire. Without that, this is just another email that can simply be deleted. Maybe an item in their cart is a best-seller and will be out of stock soon? Be sure to include a deadline to act so it’s harder to ignore.

Again it’s not the place for a hard sell, just something that spikes awareness and interest.

Timing: This email should be sent 24 hours after cart abandonment.

Step 3: RALLY

This is it, the last chance, now or never. That’s the sentiment you want to convey as a retailer. You’ve expressed value and/or established urgency in the previous email. Maybe their cart will be automatically cleared in just a few hours and they’d have to start over.

At this point, you should be ready to pull out all the stops. This is an ideal time to offer a special discount or other incentive. Perhaps you’re offering free shipping and/or free returns for a limited time?

Whatever it is, make them aware and make it compelling. 

Key Elements: This email should contain a special offer, not available anywhere else on your site. Your goal is to try to convert that lead into a customer, one that after this first experience is more and more likely to shop again (up to 54% more likely after their third purchase according to SumAll).

They basically pay for themselves so a discount at this stage of legitimate interest is an investment in a long-term customer.

Timing: This should be sent 72 hours after cart abandonment.

If you want to reduce your abandoned carts and convert more non-buyers into customers, then implement this easy game-changing sequence.


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Thierry Augustin is a Business Strategist and the Founder of Augustin Strategies, LLC. Through private consulting, online courses and in-person workshops, Thierry helps e-commerce entrepreneurs attract, engage and retain customers to grow profitable businesses online!
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