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How To Build A High-Converting Abandoned Cart Email

Nov 1, 2022   |   5 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

Cart abandonment is a natural stage of the eCommerce buying cycle. You know the reasons and you know the stats. A large % of abandoned carts are recoverable – and the same goes for recovering people who abandon after browsing products or doing searches. This is possible through the use of your email marketing or email retargeting tools.

Your abandoned cart email series has the highest potential return of any of your campaigns. On average, abandoned cart emails get a 44.1% open rate, and 30% of clicks lead to a purchase. That makes abandoned cart campaigns your fastest way to revenue.

The key word in the title of this post is “series”. A three-part series has a 69% higher conversion rate than a single email, and you’ll want to maximize every chance to convert these folks into customers. Our customers most often use 2-4 emails.

These are the questions that we hear the most:

We’ll answer these questions and more.

This post is for experienced ecommerce email marketers who are looking to improve upon their abandoned cart campaign. You’ll get step-by-step tips, examples of campaigns you can use, and a testing methodology to help get your metrics above the industry benchmarks.

Email Campaign Methodology

We use four focal points to create a successful email campaign. We call it the OLA! method.

Each stage in this methodology is tied to one or two appropriate metrics. See below for details.

If you’re looking for help with increasing your open rates, check out how to get >40% open rates.

This post focuses on creating content people like and on driving action.

Create content people like

Effective abandon cart campaigns start with a customer service or branding approach in email 1, then follow up with discount offers for emails 2 and 3, and finally, a “redirect” to bring them back to the site in email 4.

For the unidentified audience, you’ll likely want to start with an incentive in email 1, then increase the incentive by email 3. You might only get this one shot at that audience – make it count.

Tip #1: Keep wording short and sweet

The sweet spot for abandoned cart campaigns is short copy, around 2-4 sentences.

Example 4-email series

Email 1

That <product name> would look great on you.


Thanks for the visit. Did you experience any problems while checking out?

If not…. Imagine yourself wearing this. Nice right?


Items sometimes sell out quick … Just sayin!

Email 2

X% off your cart, from <Company Name>


It looks like you left some great items in your cart. Really Beautiful. Order now to get X% off your purchase + free shipping.

Hurry! This offer will expire in 48 hours.


Email 3

Your discount on <product name> is disappearing!


Your offer for X% off is about to expire. Move soldier!


Email 4

Check out these <product category> on sale

Note: ideally, the Product Category is related to the items they were looking at previously


Since we’re both a fan of <product category>, take a look at these sale items!


Remember, the basic 4-email campaign is:

By starting with this campaign, you’ll be able to create a strong baseline for performance. You can then A/B test or insert more personality into your messaging.

Use the tips below to add/edit the above emails.

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to be creative

Test using different images of shocked expressions, cute sadness, or something absurd mixed in with relevant copy.

A shocked image with the heading “Wait! Where did you go!?”

A cute/sad image of big eyed puppy with copy saying “Cute Puppies Want to Know Why You Left…”

Or something absurd… Like those Old Spice Ads. You know the one

Tip #3: Use Social Proof

Don’t be afraid to throw in testimonials or reviews of your product into the abandoned cart email. Social proof has been proven to help increase conversion rates, but again every situation is different.

Tip #4: Play With Images

Don’t be afraid to test different images of your product. Images are one of the most important factors in driving conversions.

Email Cadence for Average AOVs

For a three-part email series, with an Average Order Value (AOV) of $80 or less, the timing is most commonly:

Email Cadence for High AOVs

For higher AOVs, you may want to space this out a bit. Larger purchases often require more thought.

Other tips to drive action:

Tip #5: Urgency and Scarcity

Using urgency and scarcity can be valuable tools for you as you play with different messaging.

Use language such as:

Tip #6: Discounts, Offers, and Incentives

Don’t underestimate the power of discounts. Play with different models such as % off their purchase, buy one get one free, free shipping, and more.

Tip #7: Call To Action Placement, Design, and Size

Don’t underestimate the power of discounts. Play with different models such as % off their purchase, buy one get one free, free shipping, and more.

A testing methodology for abandoned cart campaigns

After you’ve let your first abandoned cart campaign collect enough data, then it’s time to start testing with different messaging. We recommend at least 10,000 completions.

Use the tips above to create a new iteration of one of the three emails. You only want to test one email at a time because you want to be able to measure not just how the single email performs, but how it impacts the rest of the series.

Use these metrics to measure your campaign success. They’re directly tied to the OLA! Methodology.

Email Metrics and Targets

Once your test has run its course then you should have a clear winner based on these metrics.

Talk with an Email Expert