Abandoned cart emails are an essential part of an email marketing strategy — especially if you’re serious about boosting sales.
Whether you sell to other companies or consumers, you can benefit from sending cart abandonment emails to buyers who haven’t completed their purchase.
Here, you'll find abandoned cart email templates to get you started, plus effective abandoned cart email examples to inspire your own.
Abandoned Cart Email
An abandoned cart email is an email sent to customers who almost made a purchase to encourage them to complete their transaction. Abandoned cart emails can be triggered by buyers leaving the final checkout page, placing an item on their cart, or abandoning the purchasing process at any point.
Abandoned cart emails are one way to convert lost business and turn a hesitant prospect into a customer.
If you feel like you’ve lost your customer’s business once they fail to click "Check out now," don’t fear. Customers navigate away from the checkout page for many reasons, and if one of those is merely timing, abandoned checkout emails can help you finally win their business.
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But what kind of tools can you use for sending abandoned cart emails? For non-email marketers, this may feel like a difficult question to answer. You’ll need several tools:
Ecommerce Point-of-Sale Software: First, you need a point-of-sale software that can detect when users abandon their carts. Most tools offer this feature, and a few come with a built-in emailing tool to send abandoned cart emails.
Ecommerce Website Builder: If you’re a new retailer, you can benefit from switching to a dedicated ecommerce website builder. These types of site builders come bundled with point-of-sale software and attribution reporting, helping you send abandoned checkout emails to customers.
Email Marketing Service: Of course, you need an email marketing tool to send the emails to your contact database. Most point-of-sale software and website builders can integrate with email marketing tools, and vice versa.
Once you have your tools, you can then begin using cart abandonment email templates.
Abandoned Cart Email Templates
To build your abandoned cart emails, you can find templates in any email marketing tool. Tools like Squarespace, Wix, or HubSpot will have templates to help you get started. For instance, you can use a pre-made template for the layout, but customize the message, images, and design. Here's an example template from our marketing kit:
The messaging in abandoned cart emails is fairly simple. Below is an outline of the basic structure:
- Snappy subject line
- Introduction text
- Items left in the cart
- Offer or discount
- Checkout button or call-to-action (CTA)
- Reviews or social proof
- Closing text
While this outline is helpful if you're sending one abandoned cart email, you might consider a drip campaign for your cart recovery emails. A drip campaign is a series of automated emails.
Abandoned Cart Email Sequence
For an abandoned cart workflow, the emails could be structured like this:
Email 1: Cart reminder (sent a few hours after cart abandonment)
Email 2: Follow up (sent a few days later)
Email 3: Promotional discount (sent a few days after email two)
A series of emails will work much better than a single email for abandoned cart emails.
Jordan Pritikin, a team manager for HubSpot's email and growth marketing team, says, "When you're writing an abandoned cart email, personalization is key. What was the actual product or service that was abandoned? What are the value propositions that most resonate with the individual you're sending to? Why did they object to the purchase initially and how can you, as the business, help assuage those objections? The more personal your abandoned cart email, the more likely it is to succeed!"
Now, let’s take a look at the best examples that hit the mark.
Best Abandoned Cart Email Examples
Subject Line: Your formulas are up-to-date
The email above was sent to me by hair care company Prose after I left the site before completing my transaction. This email checks several boxes: It uses a catchy tagline ("Great(er) hair ahead") as a friendly reminder to revisit the site, it has an enticing CTA encouraging folks to "Build Your Routine," and it uses a discount to add urgency. Combined with a friendly tone and clean graphics, this email is pretty persuasive.
What We Like
The "Build Your Routine" CTA is unique and true to the brand, extending the personalized customer experience that began when I first visited the website. When crafting your abandoned cart emails, try to build upon your established branding to create a seamless CX.
2. Whiskey Loot
Subject Line: Your cart is sobering up
Whiskey Loot's abandoned cart email uses unique and engaging copywriting to entice customers to complete their purchase. They include a list of reasons to purchase their whiskey, offer answers to frequently asked questions, and use clean design to draw your eye to the CTA. With this abandoned cart email, the customer has all the information they might need to complete a purchase.
What We Like
We like that this abandoned cart email focuses on informing the recipient, not just generating a purchase. This tactic works well to increase trust while cementing Whiskey Loot’s clever brand voice. Depending on the type of product you sell, your abandoned cart emails should both entice and inform the recipient.
Subject Line: Still Thinking it Over?
The best element of Peel's abandoned cart email is the free shipping offer. Not only do they encourage customers to purchase what's in their cart, but they also include an incentive for buyers to add more items to their cart and complete checkout. This is a classic and effective layout for an abandoned cart email: intro text, items in cart, CTA, questions, and footer.
What We Like
Peel includes text that creates urgency for buyers, such as "Don’t wait too long!" and "Order today!" But they don’t include it as the heading, striking the right balance between casual ("Still thinking it over?") and urgent.
We also like that it includes the founders’ signatures at the bottom, making the company feel personable and small. This is a good move for smaller businesses whose CEOs are involved heavily in the everyday tasks of the business.
Subject Line: Back in stock: The Bigger Carry-On
Short, sweet, and to the point, luggage brand Away has an abandoned cart email that lets customers know they can still complete their purchase. It features introduction text ("Back in stock"), CTA ("Shop Now"), purchase benefits ("Free Shipping Over $100," "Free Returns"), and closing text offering more navigational paths ("New arrivals", "Suitcases," and so forth).
With this email, customers won't get distracted by extraneous information and will focus on the action Away wants — purchase completion.
What We Like
Away not only prompts recipients to buy an abandoned item, but also offers more avenues for purchase, such as exploring new products and other categories. No matter which link users click on, they’re bound to end up at a checkout page again. When including links in your emails, make sure they lead to a purchase.
Subject Line: Items in your basket at dyson.com
In this example, Dyson does several things well:
They use clear text that is helpful and fun to read. For example, "All is not lost" and "We saved the contents" let the customer know that Dyson wants to be helpful.
They include an image of the product and list the item still in the customer's cart.
They add a sense of urgency. The text, "Your basket for this promotion was saved, but the offer is only for a limited time" creates a sense of importance about this purchase.
They include two CTA buttons. This allows customers on mobile to see a CTA button even as they scroll down. These buttons make it easy to complete their purchase at every touchpoint.
Overall, this email includes the right elements, while also showcasing a sleek, clean design that makes it easy to read.
What We Like
Dyson plays to one common fear of online shoppers: Losing the contents of their carts and forgetting what they meant to purchase. That alone might make the recipient feel like they should check out before all is lost. Avoiding pain is sometimes a more powerful motivator than gaining a benefit. When creating your checkout abandonment emails, you might use a similar psychological trick.
Subject Line: You’re nearly there
In this example, Virgin Atlantic uses engaging text and three CTA buttons to encourage customers to complete their purchase. The personalized intro text, "Smiles Davis, you're so close…" makes customers feel like they're being spoken to directly, while also reminding them how close they are to travel.
This email also includes flight information, so they have everything they need to make a purchase. When writing your own abandoned cart emails, this is a good example to follow because it takes away any roadblocks for the customer.
What We Like
We love how personalized this email is — down to the outbound and inbound locations of the flight. It also includes an image of the destination, indirectly increasing the recipient’s desire to fly. When sending abandoned cart emails, you might include an image of the customer’s "destination" — a happier self, a new product on their shelves, or any other positive result.
Subject Line: Offering you my personal email
Ugmonk uses a different approach to their abandoned cart email. They focus entirely on personalization, making it seem like the owner and designer is reaching out directly to answer any questions. Plus, this includes two in-line CTAs so the customer can finish checking out instantly if they want. This is a simple approach that your target audience may prefer.
What We Like
This email feels more like a message from a friend than from a company, making it feel less like a "sales" play and more of a "get to know you" play. We especially love how it’s signed by the company’s CEO, and how he mentions his passion for design. If your company is small or sells a niche product, consider taking a friendly, frills-free approach like this one.
Subject Line: Smiles Davis, still interested in the Massdrop x MiTo SA Pulse Custom Keycap Set?
Drop's abandoned cart email is a good example because of its use of images and copywriting. Drop creates urgency in the bolded text "ends in 19 days." After they create urgency and include their CTA, they also add other items that the customer might be interested in based on what's in their cart. This is a good strategy to get the customer back on their site browsing other items they might want, hopefully turning into a completed purchase.
What We Like
Drop creates a sense of urgency, but isn’t pushy, and it includes various product images to entice potential buyers. We especially love the extended catalog below the fold, providing additional items the recipient might want to consider.
Subject Line: The Google Wifi in your cart is going fast
This is a perfect example of an abandoned cart email because it includes every element: Great copywriting, clear CTA, personalization by showing the customer's cart, and urgency. With text like "Going, going, (almost) gone" and "Our popular items sell out fast", customers are engaged. They also feel compelled to complete their purchase so they don't miss out.
What We Like
This email closes with a CTA to answer questions and subscribe to their product updates. Again, Google focuses on ensuring the customer feels like they don't want to miss out on anything.
Subject Line: The price dropped for something in your cart
Target takes a different approach in their abandoned cart email by offering a discount on the items in the customer's cart. The text "New price alert" and "Time to check out" make it hard to walk away. But if that approach doesn't work on their customer, Target also includes similar items to get their customer browsing and shopping again.
What We Like
Target designed this cart abandonment email just like its website, building upon the experience customers get when they visit target.com. You can take a similar approach if your catalog is especially large. For instance, you can add a navigation menu right at the top of the email.
Subject Line: Did you forget something?
What I love about this example is that Casper uses social proof. Word of mouth and reviews are becoming increasingly important in the world of marketing. When people don't complete a purchase, it might be because they haven't finished searching. Casper's abandoned cart email makes it easy for the customer to pick up where they left off in their research. Plus, it includes snappy text and clear CTA buttons that entice the customer to continue shopping.
What We Like
Casper’s email is short, simple, and effective — and it includes a clear call-to-action that’s impossible to miss. But we especially love the second call-to-action to "Read more reviews." Someone who hesitated to finish their purchase may have done so because they’re not sure Casper is "worth it." Reading more reviews is key to convincing this type of buyer.
Subject Line: Your shopping bag misses you!
Funny, interesting text is the way to your customer's heart. Dote excels at it with humorous copywriting. In their email, they say "Your shopping bag has abandonment issues" and "Save these items hours of therapy and give them a loving home." This text is entertaining, which makes the brand compelling to its customers. This example showcases how to use abandoned cart emails to illustrate your brand's personality and create brand enthusiasts.
What We Like
This email is short, sweet, and to the point, making it easy to continue shopping. The "View my order" CTA is both unique and effective, cementing the fact that you risk leaving behind your order, not just any items in the store. It feels pleasantly personal, humorous, and targeted.
Subject Line: You left something behind
The bottom of Moschino's email is unique because it includes information on secure payments and easy returns. For clothing ecommerce businesses, these are some of the top reasons that customers don't want to make a purchase online. With their abandoned cart email, Moschino is trying to quell any doubts and take away any reason for hesitation. Plus, they list the items in the cart and use clear CTAs.
What We Like
Moschino’s email is highly on-brand, down to the imagery, font, and colors. Plus, as mentioned, it includes notes on their payments being secure and their returns being simple and easy — a concern a potential buyer might have, since Moschino’s offerings are on the more expensive side. If you sell luxury goods, you might consider a similar approach.
Subject Line: Any questions?
Haoma is a luxury skincare brand that knows its customer might hesitate to splurge — so instead of sending an abandoned cart email that prompts users to complete their order, it prompts them to ask for help if needed. The button at the bottom seals the deal by inviting users to add the item back to their cart. This technique is helpful if the visitor only browsed your website or removed the item from their cart before checking out.
What We Like
If you run a luxury brand, you can take several steps to reassure buyers that they’re making the right choice. You can offer assurances about returns and safe transactions, as Moschino does above, and give them a second chance at learning more about their potential purchase. These steps can sometimes be more effective at driving purchases than including a CTA to "Buy Now."
Subject Line: Your Luno Air Mattress Order
Luno’s cart abandonment email takes several steps to reel in hesitant buyers. It reminds them of an enjoyable activity they could partake in ("Going camping soon?"), tells them how they’ll benefit ("You’re one step away from camping in comfort"), and includes a gentle nudge with a time constraint ("We’ll save the gear you left behind for 24 hours"). The unmissable CTA seals the deal.
What We Like
Luno’s careful and targeted copywriting makes this one of the most effective abandoned cart email examples we’ve ever seen. When creating your own email, pay attention to the copy — it can sometimes play a bigger role than imagery or other elements.
16. Le Puzz
Subject Line: Missing a puzzle?
This cart abandonment email from Le Puzz hits all the right notes: It’s peppy, inviting, and probing, but not pushy. Its call-to-action, "Shop Puzzles," gives the recipient a chance to browse through more options in case they no longer want their previous choice.
This is an excellent technique for brands where users might quickly change their minds about their choice, which might lead to an abandoned cart. Prompting them to browse the catalog again is an excellent way to recapture this type of lead.
What We Like
Le Puzz’s playful brand voice and bright brand colors play a huge role in its abandoned cart email. From its cheery "Hello again!" to its whimsical "We found a lost puzzle. Could it be yours?", the company encapsulates the fun experience of completing one of its puzzles. If you sell one specific product, you might want to take a similar approach — bringing the product experience to life with your copy and colors.
Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices
Whether you send one email or implement a full drip campaign, there are a few best practices to keep in mind when planning an abandoned cart email. For example:
1. Choose the correct timing.
Send your abandoned cart emails within a few hours after a customer abandons their cart. This is because your customer may still want to buy shortly after leaving the site. A timely reminder can recapture their attention and help them complete their purchase.
For example, if you work at a company like Zappos, and someone doesn't complete their purchase, you might send an abandoned cart email anywhere from three to five hours after they leave your site without completing a purchase.
At minimum, you want to make sure you are sending the first abandoned cart email within 24 hours. That said, it's important to test when your customers are most likely to react to that email. To make sure you're choosing the right timing for your customers:
Analyze Customer Behavior
- How much time they're spending on your website
- Common cart abandonment times
- Peak engagement hours
This data can help you choose the best time to send your email. Read here to learn how to create and analyze abandoned cart data with HubSpot.
Test Different Send Times
According to SalesCycle, sending emails 1 hour, 24 hours, and 72 hours after a cart abandonment can increase the effectiveness of your email by up to 30%. This is because it gives you three chances to connect with that customer.
You may also want to test specific times of day or days of the week. If you wait too long your customer may lose interest or look to a competitor for the same product. But if you hit "Send" at the wrong time your customer may feel overwhelmed or ignore your email. Both will make it tough for you to recover that sale.
Use Behavioral Triggers for Timing
Use marketing automation tools like HubSpot to add workflows and set up triggers for specific customer behaviors. Useful triggers might include returning to your website, adding items to the cart again, or spending a certain amount of time on the site. Then, use these triggers to send automated follow-up emails.
For example, this Discogs email doesn’t have a fancy design, but it lets the owner of this abandoned cart know that they missed out on the item in their cart. At the same time, it offers a quick link to find that product again and complete the purchase.
2. Personalize, personalize, personalize.
Personalize your abandoned cart emails to the customer you're sending them to with real-time information, such as:
- Customer name
- Items they left in their cart
- Product images
This personalization may persuade them to go ahead and complete the purchase since they’ve already expressed interest by adding them to their cart. It's also a reminder of the specific items they may still want to buy.
As you personalize your abandoned cart email sequences, there are a few tools and tips to keep in mind:
Use Customer Segments to Target Customers
While you may not be able to send unique emails to each customer, useful customer segments can help you create personal emails.
Use a CRM to segment customers by demographics, purchase history, browsing behavior, and more.
Use Dynamic Content and Other Tools
You can update pages across your website or display unique content for your customer segments. These tools make it easier to add unique images, prices, and product suggestions to your emails.
Create Personalized Offers
Once you have the segments and tools you need to customize your emails, think carefully about your abandoned cart email content.
Develop specific offers for customers. Discounts, free shipping, and limited-time promotions might appeal to anyone. But these tactics will be more effective if they align with specific customer interests and needs.
Ideally, your offers should refer to their past purchases, abandoned items, or segment pain points, like this example from ThredUp:
3. Include a CTA to resume shopping.
Your abandoned cart email should encourage customers to complete their purchase. For example, the CTA might be something like "Buy Now" or "Resume Your Order."
Creating a CTA that takes them directly to checkout will save your customers time. It will also make it easy to review their items and further encourage them to complete the purchase.
To create an effective CTA for your abandoned cart email:
Add a Clear Value Proposition
Your email should highlight any extra value your customer would get by completing the purchase. Put this value at the start of your email to motivate them to complete their order, like the offer below from Full Leaf Co.
Check out these CTA examples for more inspiration.
Create Urgency or Scarcity
Mention limited stock or add a time-sensitive offer to create a sense of urgency in your CTA. This will give your customer a compelling reason to take action.
Make Your CTA Mobile-Friendly
Per 2021 HubSpot research, 41% of email views come from mobile devices.
So, it's a good idea to optimize your cart abandonment emails for mobile. For easy mobile interaction, make sure CTA buttons are easy to see and to click. To improve the mobile experience, limit the number of clicks from CTA to checkout completion.
HubSpot customers: Deliver personalized CTAs with HubSpot's CTA Builder.
4. Pay attention to your copywriting.
The copy should be snappy, concise, and compelling. Great copywriting is interesting enough to entice someone to complete their purchase. It should be friendly and mirror your brand voice.
Copywriting can make a big impact on cart abandonment if you:
Make It Easy to Scan
Your copy should get to the point and be easy to read. Break up the text into short paragraphs or bullet points to make it more scannable.
It's also a good idea to use great email design to create scannable cart abandonment emails. Images should be attractive and exciting but also support or enhance the message of your specific email. Product images directly from abandoned carts can be especially effective, like this abandoned cart email example from Columbia:
HubSpot customers: Check out the knowledge base to learn how to add a product or abandoned cart module to your email here.
Focus On Customer Pain Points
It's important to keep the copy succinct, but it must feature relevant solutions to specific customer pain points. As you highlight value and benefits, be sure to show how that purchase solves a problem or fulfills a need.
5. Include an enticing subject line.
Your subject line should be interesting enough to get people to open the email.
For example, using something like discounts, humor, or questions could intrigue the customer enough to click. If you wanted to include a promotional offer, your subject line could be something like "20% off all purchases."
If your business operates in specific regions, think about tailoring the subject line with local references. Localization can build an immediate connection.
Try adding limited offers like "Limited time offer" or "Only 2 left in stock" directly to your subject lines. This can motivate your customers to open the email and take quick action.
Subject Line: Last day for 15% off your order 🌤
Try abandoned cart subject lines that arouse curiosity with questions, teasing language, or surprising statements. For example, "Can't decide? We've saved your cart for you."
Test for Catchy Subject Lines
It's tough to write engaging subject lines, but you can get help from tools like CoSchedule's Email Subject Line Tester or SendCheckIt. These free tools can help you create powerful subject lines for more email opens and conversions.
6. Consider adding social proof.
You can use reviews, UGC, and testimonials to strengthen your email branding. This tactic can also increase longing for abandoned products customers abandoned in their carts.
Offer Social Proof from Customers
Add customer feedback, images, reviews, or testimonials in your copy. This can help you build interest, trust, and credibility. It can also address any concerns your customer may have about completing their purchase. Tools like HubSpot, Yotpo, or Trustpilot can help you collect and manage customer reviews.
Add Social Proof From Industry Experts or Influencers
Quotes or endorsements from reputable sources are attractive additions to abandoned cart emails. These opinions of authority can sway a customer's decision to complete their purchase. Check out this influencer marketing guide to get started.
User-generated content might include customer photos, videos, or social media posts. If your customers are showcasing their experience with your products, find a way to include it in your email to add urgency and authenticity. Tools like TINT or Social Native can help you collect and curate UGC.
Take a look at this UGC example for inspiration:
Add product ratings or rankings from recognized brands to your abandoned cart emails. Star ratings, satisfaction scores, or product rankings quickly show customers the quality and popularity of your brand. This validates their initial emotional impulse to buy and can lead them to complete the sale.
7. A/B test your email to learn what’s most effective.
Undoubtedly, there are many different approaches to the abandoned cart email. We suggest A/B testing different variations to see what works for your audience.
Do they prefer personalized emails? Discounts? Humorous text? It's important to find out.
Test Different Email Elements
Try different placements and types of social proof in your abandoned cart emails. Or, try email variations with shorter or longer copy, bullet points or paragraphs, or multimedia like videos or GIFs.
You can also A/B test different placements and messaging of your CTAs in your abandoned cart emails. Experiment with button colors, sizes, and text to optimize CTAs for click-through rates.
Make the Most of Email Testing Tools
Analyze Your Testing Results
Don't just run A/B tests and run with your first impressions. Instead, analyze test variations and results. Then, measure the impact on your email KPIs such as:
- Open rates
- Click-through rates
- Conversion rates
- Impact on different audience segments or buyer personas
Then, use your analysis to refine your abandoned cart email strategy.
Important note: For useful A/B testing results, test only one part of your abandoned cart email template at a time. For example, if you test your subject line, CTA, and email image at the same time, you won't know which part of your email was the key to its success.
This free A/B testing kit includes a guide, significance calculator, and tracking template for targeted A/B testing.
Create Abandoned Cart Emails That Convert
Abandoned cart emails can create brand enthusiasts and delights customers at every touchpoint. With stellar copywriting and branding, you can earn your customer's trust and loyalty.
Editor's note: This article was published in September 2019 and has been updated for comprehensive.