How to Perfect Abandoned Cart Email Timing and Recover Lost Sales

November 1, 2021

The Bolt Team


Getting customers to add items to a shopping cart requires a lot of effort. Once you’ve got customers interested in items on your store, you want to capitalize and drive conversions. Unfortunately, on average, nearly 70% of customers abandon their shopping cart when shopping online.

This has a big impact on your bottom line, reducing conversions and revenue. To combat this, you’ll need to address abandonment and attempt to recover lost sales through email recovery efforts.

Capture customer emails: enable future follow up

The most important thing to do is to capture customer emails. Many ecommerce stores focus on capturing too much information from clients, but all you need is a customer email to follow up with a potential customer.

With this vital piece of information, you can engage in abandoned cart recovery efforts, retargeting, and remarketing efforts. The more information you have the better, but all it takes to connect is an email. You can then take advantage of all the strategies below.

Establish exit intent: get customer feedback

To make the most of your abandoned cart email efforts, you’ll need to determine why customers leave their shopping cart and when in the process the drop-off occurs. While the reasons may not be as clear, it is possible to identify exactly where the drop-off occurs. You can achieve this by analyzing the sales funnel in Google Analytics.

If possible, integrate surveys and other methods to get feedback from customers on why they are leaving their shopping cart. It is important to keep these surveys short so as not to lose the customer’s interest again. The more you know about why customers leave, the better you can tailor recovery emails to recapture sales.

The best time to send abandoned cart emails

Despite optimizing abandoned cart emails to recapture sales, a lot of their success comes down to timing. Perfect subject lines, improve the design of the emails, and create inspirational, creative methods of getting customers back will help, but without the right timing, they won’t have the same impact. The graphic below shows the success rate of recovery emails based on the time since abandonment.

Bar graph of the success of emails sent at different timing

Use these best practices to form your abandoned cart email strategy. At all times, test the impact they have and adjust accordingly to perfect timing. For example, a customer may look at their personal emails later in the day, after work, or on lunch. Your email should try to be close to the top of their list of unread emails to draw their attention.

There are cart abandonment email templates available that can easily be downloaded or used to design your own. As a base starting point, here are the three essential abandoned cart emails to send as part of your recovery efforts.

PRO TIP: Make sure future abandoned cart recovery emails are not sent if a customer has returned to complete the purchase on a previous recovery email. Continuing to send emails after already recovering the sale will just annoy the customer. Track returning customers, and ensure that customers that have returned to complete a sale are not spammed with further emails.

Abandoned cart email 1: Friendly reminder

Example of first abandoned cart email

Best time to send: Within 1-3 hours

The first email should be a polite, friendly reminder that the customer has items in their shopping cart available to buy. It’s designed to get customers back to their shopping cart, and being playful and creative can be a great way of capturing the customers’ attention at this phase.

These emails shouldn’t be pushy, but simply a direct, polite reminder that their items are available to be purchased. Approach this email with the assumption that they didn’t mean to leave and they may have forgotten about the purchase.

Abandoned cart email 2: Create urgency

Example of second abandoned cart email

Best time to send: Within 24 hours

Your second recovery email needs to be a little bit more demanding. Ensure customers remember that they left their items unpurchased. After a day, it is likely to slip their mind. The goal is to get customers to remember their forgotten items, and easily connect them to their shopping cart in a single click.

Unlike the first email, this email should create a sense of urgency, motivating the customer to buy. Alert customers that their items are still available, but that they will soon expire. Indicate that at that time, any discounts and product availability will no longer be guaranteed. It is also a good practice to show the items abandoned in this email.

Abandoned cart email 3: Close sale

Example of third and final abandoned cart email

Best time to send: Within 1 week

In general, recovery emails beyond the first 24 hours have a low success rate. Depending on your industry, product, and more, a third email may not even be worth the time and effort. Too many emails can annoy customers or lead them to consider you spam. Because of this, you want to leave some time between the 24 hour email and this third follow-up. Based on average statistics, any email after one week is highly unlikely to see successful results.

As this is your last chance to recapture the customer, it should incentivize the user to return and make the payment. In some cases, offering the customer a discount or free shipping can help finalize the sale. However, you need to be careful with these efforts, as customers may catch on, intentionally using this to get a discount or free shipping for their products.

PRO TIP: Anything over 3 emails is likely overkill; at that point, you are probably causing more harm than good. Customers will begin to think you are spamming them, and it can affect your brand’s reputation. Sending too many emails can flag you as spam or cause emails to end up somewhere other than the customer’s primary inbox, rendering your efforts a waste.

Measure the success of your cart abandonment email efforts

Now that you’ve set up your cart abandonment recovery process, you need to track how effective and impactful it is. Track the average email open rate, the average click-through rate, and conversion rate to measure how successful you are. Compare these to the average metrics to identify where to improve.

[image: “measure-success-of-cart-abandonment-email” alt= “Graphic with average abandoned cart email open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate”]

Consistently monitor these metrics for your own email campaigns and develop strategies to improve each step in the process. Know where you recapture the success of the recovery emails you sent based on how close they get back to purchasing.

Do your best to capture sales the first time with a seamless, convenient checkout experience that is twice as fast as leading competitors with Bolt. Their tool is optimized for checkout page best practices and helps reduce checkout abandonment on your platform. This helps you focus on designing great products and services.

Bolt has a fraud management system that identifies multiple variables to accurately detect, prevent, and protect against chargebacks. Back this up with an email recovery strategy to capture what gets through the cracks, and you’ll increase conversions and bring in more revenue.

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