12 Creative Abandoned Cart Recovery Email Strategies To Net More Sales

November 1, 2021

The Bolt Team

Online shopping has exploded over the last decade, with more people buying items from ecommerce stores.

Today, 2.05 billion people around the globe buy goods and services online. And by 2021, the number will have grown to 2.14 billion.

However, not everyone who puts items into their digital shopping cart completes their purchases. Abandoned carts cost ecommerce stores billions of dollars every year.

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In this guide, we will give you 12 creative abandoned cart recovery email strategies to help you win back potential sales and earn 25% more profit.

Before we get into these strategies, let’s first answer an important question;

Why are abandoned cart recovery emails important?

Why bother with abandoned carts in the first place?

Two reasons.

The number of people who leave after loading shopping carts is too high to ignore. The average cart abandonment rate in 2019 was 77.13% — that’s almost 4 out of 5 customers! So it makes economic sense to follow them up and recoup the potential lost sales.

Secondly, research shows 75% of customers abandon their carts because something occurred while they were shopping. Maybe they had something to do or needed to answer an important call and forgot to complete the transaction.

Giving them a chance to complete the purchase is the right thing to do.

Abandoned cart recovery email statistics

These numbers from Truelist show how lucrative cart abandonment email campaigns can be:

  • 48% of cart abandonment emails are opened.
  • 21% of people click on received cart abandonment emails.
  • 10.7% of clicked cart abandonment emails lead to shopping cart recovery.

With such promising figures, you have a great chance implementing an abandoned cart email campaign to recover the sales you might have lost. Besides, these numbers present an opportunity for small ecommerce businesses to grow and survive the turbulent 2-5 years since their inception because really, 90% of them don’t live to see their fifth birthday.

Abandoned cart recovery emails: Timing is everything

Remember, most people who have abandoned their shopping carts wanted to complete the purchase, but life got in the way or they were discouraged during the purchasing process. Reach out to those customers before their interest wanes.

First email – 30 minutes after the cart was abandoned.

It’s important to strike while the shopping experience is still fresh in the minds of your shoppers. Send them a gentle reminder 30 minutes after they bolted and tell them they left something in their cart. These can be automatically set up via marketing automation software.

Second email – 24 hours.

If the shopper doesn’t return after the first email, send them a second email, a day after they left your store. The wording of the second email should show urgency but without coming on too strong. (look at strategy #6).

Third email – 3 to 4 days after cart abandonment.

Send a third email to tell the shopper their item is still awaiting collection. Include instructions on how they can restore their shopping cart.

Fourth email (optional) – 2 weeks after the third email is sent.

Most stores do a three email series, but you can make one last-ditch effort to win back the sale. Let shoppers know you are still thinking of them. Here is where you should consider offering a bigger discount or repricing your product based on market rates to close the deal and turn them into a loyal customer.

You can even provide those potential customers with coupons, discounts, and more.

Timing is a crucial ingredient to the success of your cart abandonment campaign. Test the number and timing of emails and see what works best for your store.

12 abandoned cart recovery email strategies

Now that you’ve established the timing of your campaign, it’s time to dig deeper. To help you recover abandoned carts, let’s look at 12 ways of crafting compelling emails that earn back the sale.

1. Build a well-crafted subject line.

Your battle to entice a shopper back to your store begins with your email’s subject line. Without a compelling subject line, your email won’t get opened and your campaign won’t take off.

Typically, the success of your abandoned cart recovery email strategy and campaigns rest on four key headline elements:

  • Length- Be brief and get straight to the point. 7 words or less is the optimal length.
  • Clarity- use simple, clear, and straightforward language, so that subscribers understand your message.
  • Urgency- use techniques like product scarcity and FOMO to urge readers to act faster.
  • Personalization- include the customer’s name, product name, and the name of your company, so they know who is contacting them.

By working in these elements into your subject line, you increase the chances of getting your email opened. Use a tool like Reply to optimize your subject line:

example subject line generated by reply

The Mountain crafted an excellent cart abandonment email subject line.

the mountain email subject line

Here’s why it works:

  1. It mentions cart abandonment in the subject line.
  2. It uses curiosity to pique the customer’s interest.
  3. It uses humor to pull readers in.

But, the secondary social media CTA below the main call-to-action may distract readers from the main goal- returning them to their carts.

2. Make your copy shine.

People will connect better with your message if you sound like a caring friend, not a distant, faceless corporate brand.

To do that, stay clear of a dry corporate tone. Instead, use a relaxed, friendly tone to tell your customer that they:

  1. Left an item in their shopping basket.
  2. Must come back and buy the item.

Inject personality into your copy from the subject line, body, and CTA, so that you stand out in crowded inboxes. The more casual your copy, the more you connect with potential customers, so they respond to your email.

See this example from Away.

away email subject line

Why it works:

  1. The language is casual and straightforward.
  2. The CTA urges the shopper to continue shopping.
  3. It displays the left item’s color and size.

What needs work:
The picture of the left item could have been bigger.

3. Optimize for mobile.

Up to 79% of smartphone users have used their devices to buy goods online in the last six months.

These days, people are so attached to their phones; they check them countless times per day to see if they have received mail. In 2019, 51.5% of all global traffic came from mobile devices. If you want your subscribers to open and read your emails, optimize them for mobile devices.

To give readers the best mobile experience use:

  • Brief copy- short headlines, sentences and bullets make mobile content bite-sized and enjoyable to read.
  • Small images- big images slow download times and take up too much space.
  • Button CTA- avoid link CTAs because they are hard to click. Use floating buttons that follow users when they scroll.

Lush provides shoppers with a smooth, mobile experience.

lush mobile experience interface

Why it works:

  1. It has a short headline ideal for mobile users.
  2. It leads with a picture of the left item.
  3. It’s easy to navigate.

A primary CTA under the left item inviting the customer back to the store would have made the email even better.

4. Create catchy graphics.

Companies flood inboxes with emails. The average person receives 121 emails a day.

Apart from your copy, good design can also distinguish your email from the tons of emails your potential customers receive.

In what ways can you design a standout email?

  • Dynamic design- liven things up and generate more interest from users with an animated GIF or slideshow.
  • Consistency- use a menu that’s similar to your website’s menus to give users a familiar and consistent experience.
  • Colors- maintain your brand colors and spark positive responses from customers by using colors that blend in together.
  • Custom images- avoid stock images because people don’t notice them anymore. Use custom images instead.

An excellent illustration of good email design is Each Night.

good email design from each night

Why it works:

  1. Rather than focusing on a direct sale, they promote valuable and interesting content
  2. Content is relevant and formulated for buyer intent
  3. They use clean and relevant graphics

5. Create a sense of urgency.

We are wired to avoid loss at all costs.

Since people don’t like to miss out, you can use “urgency” in your email strategy to boost cart recoveries. Telling shoppers that they might lose the items they placed into their shopping carts, makes them want to quickly make a purchase.

Here’s how to leverage the fear of missing out in your emails:

  • Put a countdown timer, so customers know they are running out of time.
  • Use the low stock notice to show customers that stock is getting low.
  • Show customers how many other shoppers also have the same products in their carts.

A good example of an email that shows urgency is from Doggyloot.

doggyloot injecting urgency in abandoned cart email

Why it works:

  • Tells customers items are almost sold out.
  • Urges customers to hurry before it’s too late.
  • Challenges customers not to disappoint their dogs

This email could have been stronger if they added scarcity into the mix by telling customers the deal is only available for 48 hours.

6. Show your product.

Remember, the goal of an abandoned cart recovery email is to shine the spotlight on the product left by the customer, so they come back for it.

There’s no better way to showcase the product than brilliant images. Yes, details like product size, color, or make, are important to include, but nothing beats a stunning image of the product.

Put the product front and center of your email so your shopper remembers it. Once they see it in all its glory, they’ll be tempted to go back for it.

Here is a great example of a brand focusing on a product in an email:

dot&bo displaying their product in their email

Why it works:

  1. They use a large product image to grab the shopper’s attention.
  2. They offer a discount to encourage the customer to buy now.
  3. The CTA is clear and direct.

The email could be improved by adding a limited stock notice to push customers to act at once.

7. Keep things simple with a single call to action.

If you want your customers to stay focused and come back to your store, keep things simple.

With a wide range of great email marketing platforms to choose from and tons of cart recovery strategies out there, brands are tempted to combine several tactics in a single email.

Too many tactics in one email will make your campaign ineffective. Test one tactic, one CTA per email, and measure your progress before moving on to the next.
Use simple design and clear CTA as furniture store Joybird does.

joybird using a simple CTA in their abandoned cart email

Why it works:

  1. It includes free shipping and a lifetime warranty to motivate buyers.
  2. It has a simple design similar to the website.
  3. It has a simple, straightforward call to action.

While the subject line is clever, it would have been better to tell the customer they had been looking at sofas, so they quickly recall the shopping experience.

8. Offer a coupon, but get the timing right.

Offering coupon discounts is a well-known trick for getting shoppers to drop whatever they are doing and complete their purchase.

But, be careful how you use them.

Offer them too fast and shoppers will think your original price wasn’t worth it. Plus, you cut your profit margins because some people would have paid the full price.

Here’s how to use coupons wisely to maximize revenue:

  • Stick to original price first- charge the initial price, but add value for the customer in other ways by offering free shipping or loyalty program incentives.
  • Offer coupons to your best customers- reserve coupons for loyal customers who buy from you repeatedly.
  • Offer coupons at the end- offer coupons on the last email of your abandonment sequence as a last-gasp effort to win the customer over.

Anese knows how to offer coupons perfectly.

anese offering coupons in their emails

Why it works:

  1. It evokes a sense of urgency by declaring that the discount coupon is valid for only 24 hours.
  2. It uses a laid back tone like “beauty genius, no pressure” to connect with customers.
  3. It displays the product that was left in the cart to jog the customer’s memory.

But, the CTA “shop” is too bland and could have been improved with more energetic verbs.

9. Address potential objections.

Your abandoned cart recovery emails must address customer objections to going back to your store.

People have many reasons not to follow through with their purchase. Customers might think:

  • The checkout process is long and complex.
  • They must open an account to buy.
  • There are additional shipping costs.
  • Their preferred payment method isn’t there.

Expect these reasons and address them in your email like Cotopaxi.

cotopaxi email

Why it works:

  1. It addresses objections “pay over time” and “no extra fees.”
  2. It includes an image of the left item.
  3. The call to action is simple and plain.

How do you uncover these customer concerns? In-depth customer research and website usability testing are your best bet.

10. Include social proof to increase conversions.

Incorporate social proof in your emails as people have a natural tendency to do what they see others do.

88% of shoppers are swayed by reviews in their buying decision.

There are three ways to leverage social proof in your campaign:

  1. Product reviews show how other people view the product.
  2. Product ratings gauge the popularity of the product.
  3. Testimonials are word of mouth statements from past product users.

Displaying product reviews and ratings in your abandoned cart emails gives your potential customers confidence in your product.

Wanderer Bracelets includes social proof in their email campaign.

wanderer bracelet with social proof in their email

Why it works:

  1. It courts the customer back into the shop through a testimonial.
  2. It encourages swift action through expressions like “not for long, get it now!”
  3. It calls out the shopper by name.

11. Be personal.

Personalization is a biggie in getting customers to convert.
Personalization makes customers believe your message has been specially crafted for them.

80% of shoppers prefer to buy from brands that offer individualized experiences.

Tailor your email to your customers’ needs by:

  • Using the recipient’s name in the greeting or subject line.
  • Email as a person, not using an impersonal “no-reply” address.
  • Using a casual conversational style throughout your email.
  • Showing the personal value of the left items to the customer.

Here’s a personalization example from Harper Wilder.

harper wilder personalized email

Why it works:

  1. It uses the customer’s name in the subject line and greeting.
  2. It uses a witty style to connect with customers.
  3. It uses plain language.

12. Donate to charity.

People love to support brands that are not in business just for profits, but for the greater good of the community.

73% of consumers feel companies must aim to increase profits and improve conditions in communities where they operate.

If your emails show customers you are a purpose-driven brand that supports good causes in the community, you can influence many of them to finish their orders. Remind cart abandoners that completing their order means touching a life through the proceeds of the sale as Bombas does.

bombas email

Why it works:

  1. Uses donating as an incentive to finish the purchase.
  2. A straight forward call to action.
  3. An image of the abandoned item.

Boost profits with abandoned cart recovery email strategies

Abandoned carts are not lost forever. Rather, they present a good opportunity for smart ecommerce brands to boost their revenue by going after them. Make abandoned carts emails a part of your automated email workflow.

With a compelling and automated abandoned cart recovery email strategy, you can win back a significant number of lost carts and sales. Follow the guidelines above, and your store’s profits will increase on autopilot.

ThinkShop by Bolt does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. Contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.