The Anatomy of a Perfect Abandoned Cart Email

67 out of a hundred potential customers will abandon an online shopping cart without purchasing, according to Baymard Institute.

In simpler words:

You’re losing tons of money due to cart abandonment, every day.

The good news is you can change that, today.


By designing a shopping cart recovery campaign, which consists on sending one or several emails to the person who abandoned the cart as a reminder (or incentive) to continue their purchase.

As a matter of fact, VEDA reported thousands of dollars in additional sales after implementing recovery emails to their strategy.

That’s exactly why I decided to create this guide; to show you how to design a cart recovery email that works.

But first things first …

Why do people abandon a cart?

According to a study made by Statista, there are over 10 main reason why people abandon a cart. I highly recommend that you get through each of them, but in the meantime I’ll show you the four more relevant:

  • 5 out of 10 people said they abandoned a cart due to unexpected costs.
  • 3 out of 10 people said they had no intention to buy, they were just browsing.
  • 2 out of 10 people said they were unable to complete the purchase due to technical problems (website crashed, slow loading speed, etc.).
  • 3 out of 10 people say they abandoned a cart because they found a lower price somewhere else.

Interesting, right?

Well, the good news is you can use that information to design a more converting cart recovery email.

Here’s how:

1. Converting Subject Line

Did you know that 64% of people will open an email just because of the subject line?

That means if you spend enough time on your email subject line, you can recover a huge amount of lost carts.

But how can I do that? You ask.

Well, although  there’s no exact science to creating converting subject lines, I’ve collected some data and examples that can give you a clue of what direction to follow:

First, I’ve found that if you keep your subject lines under 10 characters, 58% of people will open your email.

In addition, if you take the time to personalize that subject line, your email is 22.2% more likely to be opened.

The bottom line is if you combine both tactics you can increase your open-rate up to 80.2%  (which is a lot).

Of course, that number can variate depending on other factors like the delivery ratio of your email provider, your industry and your audience, but as long as you constantly test and experiment with each of the different words that convert you’ll be ok.

Second, I found that if you add at least two of the five C.U.R.V.E to your subject line, your open rates can improve considerably.

C.U.R.V.E stands for:

  • C = curiosity
  • U = urgency
  • R = relevancy
  • V = value
  • E = emotion

Remember, you only need to add two of the five, but make sure to almost always include either Relevancy or Value combined with one of the others.

Let’s see some examples:

Lonely Planet

As you can see, Lonely Planet used Emotion and Value to design their subject line.


They started with “We miss you”, which evokes the sentiment of nostalgia and helps us see the human side of the brand. On the other side, they offered a 50% discount on their products, which added a lot of value.


In the example above, we can see that Bigstock used Relevancy and Emotion.

They were very specific about what you can find inside the email and added some emotion by using the word “special”.

Simple, but effective.

2. Compelling Visual Content

According to some studies, the brain processes visual content 60,000X faster than text.

Awesome, right?

It gets better:

Recent surveys demonstrated that 4 out of 10 people will respond better to visual information than plain text, which means if you add visual content to your email, more people will respond better to it.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” image for recovery emails, though. So the best way to give you ideas is seeing some real-world examples.

Let’s take Lonely Planet’s email again:

LonelyPlanet's Image

That image says more than what a 1000 words could and it really lays it on thick with the text below: “Good to see you again!” and the promo code “WELCOMEBACK”.

On the other hand, Starbucks uses humor to remind you that you’ve forgotten something:


Who else relates to that image?

I know I do.

Whether it’s humor, nostalgia or love, try to use images that evoke positive emotions and communicate a clear message. This way, your audience will better understand what you’re trying to say.

3. Concise and Relevant Copy

Here’s where you’ll “explain” why you’re sending the email. And although this is the easiest part of the process, if you don’t do it properly you can spoil the whole thing.

But don’t worry, as long as you keep the two elements that I’m going to cover you’ll be ok:

First, you need to be brief. Just tell them the reason why you’re emailing them and nothing more.

Let’s see an example from Dick’s (a sporting goods store):

Dick's email

Pay attention to how simple that email is. They didn’t use fancy words or expensive design.

It’s just a friendly reminder that you’ve forgotten something and –if you want– you can continue the purchase.

Second, you need to be relevant.


By speaking your audience’s language.

Remember, the most important factor of copywriting is how well your message matches up with your audience’s worldview.

That’s why it’s so important that you know your audience.

Just take a look at how Adidas used that principle:


Adidas know their audience mainly consists on athletes and sport enthusiasts, which generally are competitive and don’t like to lose.

That’s why they used the phrase: “We know you hate to lose. anything”

That simple statement makes the email much more compelling for the user because now they feel related to the brand.

4. A reminder of the item/s they selected

Remember, 24% of people say they abandoned a cart due to a technical problem, which means they may have never wanted to leave the site in the first place.

So the easiest (and quickest) way to get those customers back is by saving their carts and sending them a friendly reminder of what they left behind.

Just take a look at this email from

Best Buy

As you can see, it’s a simple email that shows you that you left a Nikon Camera in your cart. In addition, they added a link so you can easily continue your purchase.

Here’s another example from FatFace:


Again, that’s a very simple email but pay attention to what they did. This time, they added a button that clearly stands out from the rest of the page plus three links that also take you back to your cart.

5. Reviews or testimonials from other shoppers

Before buying something, people generally want to look at what other people are saying about that product.

As a matter of fact, recent studies discovered that 70 out of a hundred people look at product reviews or testimonials before making a purchase.

The bottom line?

Unless you’re a leader in the market and people already trust you, you’ll struggle with credibility. By adding reviews and/or testimonials of other shoppers you’ll reduce the anxiety, concerns, doubts or negative emotions people may have.

6. Special Deal

Earlier in this guide I said that 5 out of 10 people abandon a cart due to unexpected costs, remember?

It makes sense:

When people visit an online store and start adding products to their carts, they usually don’t take into account taxes or shipping costs, so when they see the final price, it’s higher than what they would expected.

So they abandon the cart.


What better way to incentive shoppers to continue their purchases than reducing the actual price?

That’s exactly what ProFlower is doing:


They offer 10% discount plus a free glass if you decide to purchase the flowers you left on the cart. And although 10% might not be a huge discount, it’s probably enough to cover either shipping costs or taxes.

But ProFlowers isn’t alone.

Levi’s also offers 25% discount to cart abandoners:


As you can see, this is a great tactic to entice more shoppers to continue their purchases, and although you won’t make as much money as you normally do with each sale, you’ll definitely make more money in the long run.

Whether it’s a coupon code, a discount, free shipping or even an extra product, make sure to include a special incentive. This way, you’ll alleviate any concerns your shoppers can have.

7. Benefit-Driven Call to Action

Last but not least, you need to add a call to action; something that clearly shows shoppers what’s the next step.

Don’t worry, it’s really straightforward. If you incorporate the following principles to your CTAs, your conversions will go through the roof.

First, I’ve found that calls-to-action that offer value increase conversions by almost 15%.

But, what do I mean by “value”? You ask.

Well, I’ve seen many CTAs that tell you what to do, but don’t tell you what you’ll receive if you decide to take action. By stating clear benefits in your CTA’s copy you’ll increase conversions.

Let’s see an example:


They could have created a CTA that says only: “Buy Now”, but instead they added more value by stating exactly what you’ll get after clicking the button.

Second, you need to make your CTA more relevant.

For example, Michael Aagaard (from Content Verve) made an experiment. He wanted to increase conversions of a major chain of gyms’ landing page, so he decided to start by changing their CTA’s copy.

The original CTA said “Get your membership”, which was concise and the word “Get” transmitted enough value. However, it was too generic  —  it needed more relevance. So Michael added “Find your gym” to the original version, which resulted in a 213.16% increase in conversions:


There are infinite ways to improve your CTAs, and I can’t mention all of them in this post, but the most important thing to remember is you need to constantly test, find what works for you, and then do more of what works.

That’s how you can grow.

The Cart Rescuer’s Toolkit

Seven years ago, launching a successful cart recovery campaign was really complicated — there wasn’t much information, and people had to create their own software in order to do it.

Fortunately, now is much different. There are plenty of tools you can use to automate almost all the process (at least the hardest and more tedious parts).

Today I’m going to guide you through four of the best tools out there:

a) Klaviyo


Klaviyo is an email marketing solution that mainly focuses on providing in-depth customer data to their users, so they can create more personalized and effective emails.

The software processes huge amounts of data in real-time and uses that information to create more accurate campaigns.

This software can definitely change the way you approach email marketing.

b) AbandonAid


If you’re looking for a software that exclusively specializes in recovering lost carts, then AbandonAid may be the best choice for you.

The software will help you understand why your prospective customers are leaving your site without completing the purchase, and then it will help you use that information to engage with them and turn them into actual customers.

AbandonAid is a simple tool that can drive massive results and you can integrate it with the world’s leading cart platforms.

c) CartRescuer


CartRescuer is a three-in-one email marketing solution specialized in eCommerce sites. When you join CartRescuer you get:

  1. Shopping cart abandonment solution
  2. Smart surveys
  3. Intelligent Pop-up offers

That’s really helpful because instead of spending hundreds of dollars in different plugins and/or apps, you can get all you need in one single place.

d) ReJoiner


What differentiates ReJoiner from other tools in the market is its capacity to intercept users at the right time in the email lifecycle, so you can retain your existing customers but also turn abandoned carts into loyal buyers.

In addition, a dedicated team of eCommerce veterans will help you with any concern you may have.

I need to say it:

ReJoiner isn’t the cheapest option, but it definitely has one of the fanciest and advanced lifecycle email software out there.

Your Turn!

As you can see, creating abandon cart emails is very straightforward, and literally can double your revenue. Hopefully, this guide has given you all the information needed in order to launch your first campaign.

All you need to do is take action.

What other elements do you consider important to create a great abandon cart email?