Email Marketing

20 abandoned cart email examples that actually win back lost customers

Brilliant (and compelling) cart abandonment emails that leading brands send, and an analysis of why they drive conversions.

20 abandoned cart email examples that actually win back lost customers

Shopping cart abandonment is a hard reality for all eCommerce stores—even the ones with high traffic and huge customer volume. 

In fact, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.80%—as per Baymard Institute’s study.

Email is one of the most effective ways to recover lost customers. This is because it helps you to engage with your audience and customers on a one-to-one basis.

In this post, we’re largely talking about some of the best cart abandonment emails to win your customers back.

But before we delve in any further, it’s important to understand what cart abandonment actually is.

What Is Cart Abandonment?

Cart abandonment refers to a visitor adding products to a virtual cart and then leaving the site without completing a purchase. It’s one of the biggest challenges that most eCommerce businesses tend to face even today.

As of today, the worldwide average cart abandonment rate stands at 84.24% in some industries. That only shows the extent to which cart abandonment can cause business damage when the shoppers choose to make purchases online more than at brick and mortar stores.

Now the reasons can be plenty: high shipping costs, unclear returns policy, not getting a discount on the cart total—you name it!

But it's not impossible to re-capture this lost sale. It's all about making a timely conversation and sending in a little reminder or offering that discount to give a little nudge.

The best way to do it is a 1-on-1 channel: Email.

What is an Abandoned Cart Email?

An abandoned cart email is a follow-up message sent to someone who leaves your online store without completing the purchase of the items in their shopping cart.

Abandoned cart emails work to remind customers of items they left in the cart – enticing them to come back to purchase what they are already so close to buying.

The challenge with abandoned cart recovery recently is that all eCommerce businesses are using the same tried-and-tested methods and best practices that we have learned about years ago. In many cases, you are likely using similar, if not the exact same, tactics and tools as your competitors. It has become much harder to stand out in your customers’ inbox.

Gaining that attention is a crucial component to get your customer to take action and complete that purchase. To help you with the same, we’ve collated 20 brilliant cart abandonment emails that you can use to inspire yours.

20 Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails (And Why They Work)

1. J. Crew (Pays to be classy)

abandoned cart email from j crew

J. Crew likes to be classy with their brand image and that shines through clearly in their approach to their cart abandonment email. In addition to letting the customer know that there are items in his or her shopping cart, there are also call to action buttons for other pages on the site in case the buyer might want to look at new arrivals, fall finds, or looks J.Crew loves.

Notice how their email replicates the user interface of their online store? That’s done deliberately for the user to be able to recall from their memory the actions that they took prior to this email.

What works: 

  • On-brand email design that maintains its classiness
  • Multiple buying options for other categories too such as new arrivals and fall sale
  • An interface similar to their online store that helps in maintaining familiarity

2. Pacsun (Cheekiness works)

abandoned cart email from pacsun

Many abandoned cart recovery email examples assume the idea that the customer just forgot to check out, instead of assuming that they did not want the item. It helps, because it does, otherwise what’s there to even leverage?

By assuming the position that the shopper did want to purchase the item, Pacsun does a great job with copy and imagery to create urgency and entice the customer to come back and complete the purchase. If there’s one thing we can be sure about when it comes to cart recovery emails, is that there ought to be an undertone of urgency in all of your messaging.

What works: 

  • Create urgency with the copy and entices the customer to reconsider their decision
  • The image of the product helps reinforce the customer’s decision
  • Offers a platform for feedback and builds trust by sharing phone and email contact options

3. Thrive Market (A little nudge doesn't hurt)

cart abandonment email from thrive

Here’s an interesting take from a large pool of abandoned cart email examples. Thrive Market tells you how much you’ll save by purchasing your items from them versus other retailers. Also, we have the green call to action button with otherwise neutral colors. With an email as straightforward and to the point as this, Thrive Market is ensuring they don’t overwhelm their cart abandoner with too much information.

In this second part of their email, they also list out the products and how much the customer can save in each. Finally in the end they offer a coupon code—an incentive to finally seal the deal. The copy below the coupon also helps convince the customer why it’s worth it.

What works: 

  • A comparison to show how much the customer can be benefit than other retailers
  • Simple and minimalist design with use of contrasting colors
  • A coupon code along with compelling copy to encourage customers to take the next step

4. Bloomingdale’s (Synonymous with the brand)

cart abandonment email from bloomingdale

Everyone knows what big brown bags signify. It’s what every Bloomingdale’s shopper is aware of, and how the rest of the world knows the brand as well. In this email, they’re making sure they create a strong brand recall for the customer, by reinforcing the brand in the most apt way possible. The phrase “My Brown Bag” speaks to their customers on a personal level, hence this is a wonderful example of how to do cart recovery emails right.

What works: 

  • Creates a visual impact with the term Big Brown Bag  that’s both specific—leaves no confusion about the purpose of the email—as well as on-brand
  • The sense of urgency and the free shipping option is a crowd puller 
  • Creates visual recall by allowing the customers to see what products were added to the cart

5. 23 And Me (Getting straight to the point)

23 and me cart abandonment email

Short, sweet, and to the point, 23 And Me has an abandoned cart email with only a few elements: introduction text “Don't forget to order your kit”, call to action button text "Order today", and closing text offering answers to questions “Have additional questions?”. With this email, customers won't get distracted by extraneous information and will focus on the action 23 And Me wants: purchase completion.

This subtle and clear email makes sure the shopper doesn’t get bombarded with unwanted information, and neither makes it strikingly loud in their email inbox. This can easily be attributed to the light color palette 23 And I have used it in this email.

What works: 

  • Keeps the copy focused and to the point without any excess information
  • Uses urgency in the copy with words such as Don't forget to order your kit and Order today
  • Offers space for additional questions by sharing email id

6. Madewell (The pick up line approach)

cart abandonment email from madewell

If you’re like us and love a good play on words, this email would delight you to no bounds. This abandoned cart recovery email from Madewell, the fashion eCommerce brand, kills it with their headline “These Look Good In Your Bag”, but takes it a step further by giving the subheading kicker as “but they would look even better on you.” Boom! Below the crop, Madewell shows you the items you left in your cart to help remind you of what you wanted to buy. It’s a clean, sleek email that works on multiple levels, and how.

What works: 

  • Nails aspirational copy with the words but they would look even better on you
  • Keeps the CTA creative: Go for it
  • Keeps the email distraction-free along with a large-sized product

7. Ugmonk (Proactive & helpful)

cart abandonment email from u g monk

Text only cart recovery email? Now, that’s a first. And that’s what makes Ugmonk’s approach to their abandoned cart email so different and fresh. By putting their focus entirely on personalization, making it seem like the owner and designer are reaching out directly to answer any questions, they hit a home run in terms of engagement.

Moreover, the email copy includes two in-line call to action buttons so the customer can finish checking out instantly if they want. This is a simple approach that your target audience may prefer, so be sure to try it out?

What works: 

  • A personalized message that sounds helpful and heartfelt
  • Offering the option to reply to the mail helps build conversation and trust
  • Addresses the issue where customers forget what was in their cart by sharing a link to review it

8. Puma (Design draws the eye)

Email example from puma

Puma turns up the urgency button pretty heavily here, and it works. The contrasting call to action button stands out, and the geometric design draws the eye to it almost instantly. We really like the thought that went into the design of this email, and ups the ante of cart abandonment emails we’ve come across while curating this list. Notice how one call to action takes the buyer to find a nearby store, as Puma is primarily a retail shopping brand. This cart abandonment email really takes the cake in terms of creativity and uniqueness of thought.

What works: 

  • Creates a design that’s very on-brand with the logo and brand colors
  • Plays on the scarcity effect by mentioning that products will be out of stock
  • The option to find a store on top adds another layer to the conversion funnel

9. Google Store (Hitting it out of the park)

google store cart abandonment email

Ah, talk of great emails and Google wouldn’t make the cut? Not possible. This is a perfect example of an abandoned cart email because it includes every element: Great copywriting, clear call to action button, personalization by showing the customer's cart details, and urgency through creative copywriting. With text like "Going, going, (almost) gone" and "Our popular items sell out fast" customers are engaged with the email. They also feel compelled to complete their purchase so they don't miss out.

This email closes with a call to action 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. And do it well.

What works: 

  • Nails good copy in the catchy title: Going, going (almost) gone
  • The minimalist design helps customers stay distraction-free
  • Highlights benefits for the customer such as Free shipping

10. Doggyloot (When missing out is their Pet Peeve)

doggyloot cart abandonment email

Now, who doesn’t love a picture of a cute dog, right? And when your brand is one associated with dogs, that’s just icing on the cake for you to have. This email by Doggyloot, the pet-related online store, is precious, but not overdone.

The line, “Hurry, don’t let these deals run away.” is reflective of the brand and its audience. Then, when we take a closer look at the same: Lots of licks,” and the call to action button text: “Fetch your items now.” In terms of copy, relevance, and the ability to relate with its target audience, this email has a bunch of stuff going for it.

What works: 

  • The picture of the dog adds to the personalization
  • The copy is in line with the brand: lots of licks and fetch your items
  • Focuses on customer retention with Deals  and Subscriptions section on top

11. Jessops (When it just clicks)

Email example from jessops

This Jessop's email also includes a list of product images and descriptions below the cut, but we wanted to emphasize the email copywriting here. The store is dedicated to photography and videography, so the call to action button pops off the screen in yellow with unusual wording: “Snap up your basket.” This reflects the definition of the word “snap” in the world of a photographer. Pretty cool, right?

What works: 

  • An eye-catching photograph attracts the attention of the customer
  • Reinforces the customer’s decision to buy with a benefit: free next day delivery
  • Keeps communication channels open on top with phone numbers and email

12. Mango (One CTA isn't enough)

mango cart abandonment email

This is one of several abandoned cart email examples that we have come across that lead with urgency. The message is crystal clear here: “Complete your order before they’re gone!”

This is a good example of a subtle cart recovery email done well. In the email, Mango includes not only the product image, but also the size the shopper chose, the color, the quantity, and the price in Pounds. Their high-contrast, repeating call to action buttons work in Mango’s favor, despite looking pretty light on the eye!

What works: 

  • Keeps the design simple and minimalistic
  • Highlights the product details in the email itself so that the customer can easily make up their mind
  • Nudges them to add other items to the cart with the Continue shopping CTA

13. Bonobos (Don't forget the incentive)

bonobos cart abandonment email example

People love minimalism these days, don’t they? Which is why we had to include one minimalistic abandoned cart email example in our curated list. In their email, Bonobos shows a bag with the number of items the user left in their cart before abandoning their session, accompanied by a copy that is pretty crisp and clear. Even though Bonobos does not add an image of the product(s) the customer has left behind, they make up for it by offering a special coupon code for customers who are about to make their first purchase in the store.

What works: 

  • Keeps the copy and visuals relevant with a bag icon with the number of products waiting in the cart and words such as fit happens
  • The design is minimal and on-brand with just two colors
  • Increases the chances of a sale by adding an incentive with a coupon code

14. Nordstrom (Thinking it through)

nordstrom cart abandonment email

By including a question in their abandoned cart recovery email headline, Nordstrom, the fashion eCommerce store is making the shopper think about their decision of having abandoned the cart. Also, the line “... our looks go fast.” gives them a hint that they better hurry checking out or risk leaving their beloved items, and not be able to purchase them.

What works: 

  • Adds a distinct style by experimenting with the fonts and compartmentalizing various parts of the email
  • Keeps the benefits highlighted: free shipping and free returns
  • Answers all possible customer questions with a FAQ section

15. ThredUp (A proposal that gets a "yes")

Email example from thredup

This one is really, really funny! Notice the headline: “Your cart is expiring”, and the body copy “I’m having abandonment issues” is quite playful, to say the least. The image of the abandoned product along with its details is right in front and center, so there is no doubt what was left behind. This email gets a bunch of things on point!

What works: 

  • Keeps the copy and CTA fresh and humorous: abandonment issues and it’s meant to be
  • Offer multiple incentives with slash pricing, a coupon code, and a referral discount
  • Displays the product clearly to create strong product recall

16. Sugar Bear Hair (Tapping into the inner child)

sugar bear hair cart abandonment email

American people spend more than $30 billion a year on dietary supplements. Sugar Bear Hair stands out from the crowd with playful graphics like this illustrated gif, which get people to keep looking at their emails. The blue hue they chose unites the graphic design with the color of the gummies, and the contrasting pink makes the call to action buttons pop up. Customer support is offered upfront, a really smart choice when your product is about health benefits.

What works: 

  • Creates an email that pops with its vibrant colors and visuals
  • Creates a personalized copy with Hello Beautiful and mentioning the product name that was saved to the cart
  • Keeps the communication channels open by sharing an email id

17. Asos (Jog the memory with a visual)

Email example from asos

ASOS has nailed brand recognition with this email. It looks very similar to the store’s homepage, and for a reason (we mentioned above). The messaging is also on-brand, with some playful humor in the headline and copy. The ASOS marketers clearly know their buyer personas.

The email includes a picture of the item in the cart to jog the recipient’s memory with a visual. The email reminds recipients that there’s free delivery and it’s easy to return items. This removes the risk of completing the sale, which will help with conversions.

What works: 

  • Creates a clutter-free interface by dividing the mail into multiple sections
  • Keeps the focus on the product by dedicating almost the entire email to it
  • Highlights benefits such as free shipping and easy returns at the bottom

18. Dollar Shave Club (Making them chuck dollar bills at you)

cart abandonment email dollar shave club

Dollar Shave Club is known for excellent marketing, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most appealing of our abandoned cart email examples. The bear covering its eyes is intriguing and will encourage recipients to read the email.

The copy is written in every day, laid-back language, which is perfect for the company’s audience. This carries through to the customer testimonials, introduced with a “Don’t Just Trust Chuck” subhead. Overall, there’s a sense of fun and personality which really appeals.

What works: 

  • Keeps the design and copy in brand with the mascot and words such as Chuck is bummin’ pretty hard and Shave time shave money
  • Builds social proof by adding customer testimonials in the email
  • Focuses on customer retention and exclusivity with the CTA Join the Club

19. Hayneedle (When a good deal is all you need)

Email example from hayneedle

Home furnishings retailer Hayneedle knows how to sweeten the deal for shopping cart abandoners. The email highlights an incentive discount in the subject line and first image. There’s a reminder of what’s in the cart. The call to action button highlights the benefit of completing the order. Their images of related products are on point – exactly what someone considering purchasing this item might want to look at.

What works: 

  • Makes the incentive in the form of discount unmissable
  • Also shares the additional benefit of free shipping on top
  • Shows the product in use by customers with an image

20. Away (An email you'll surely attend to)

abandonment email away

People can sometimes forget about their abandoned cart items. That’s why some of the best cart recovery emails are those that remind the receiver when they left in their cart. A perfect illustration of specificity is Away, the one in the email shared above. Showing people the forgotten item personalizes the email and reminds them of what they’re potentially missing out on if they don’t take action. You can mention the abandoned items in your body copy, illustrate them with images and even include it in your subject line (if you’re feeling creative).

What works: 

  • Keeps the copy playful and friendly: your shopping cart is like your luggage—it should never be left unattended
  • Keeps the design minimal and on-brand by using brand colors
  • Mentions all product details right within the email

How Many Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails Should You Be Sending?

Now that we’re armed with solid examples of how successful online brands have been building their cart abandonment emails, we can get down to talking strategy, because in the end, that is what will actually define the success of your cart abandonment email campaign efforts.

The pertinent question eCommerce marketers and brand managers are faced with is this: “How many cart recovery emails should we be sending?” And while there is no right or wrong answer to the question, there are still best practices to follow.

Send too many of these and you’ll end up getting marked as spam by your recipients, send too little and you won’t get the desired results.

More important than the number, is the frequency of when you send these emails.

As a rule of thumb, you should send about 3 cart abandonment emails, somewhere between 10 minutes to 1 hour from the trigger event (trigger event here being them abandoning your cart), 24 hours, and 3 days respectively.

However, we would strongly advise you to experiment with your strategy and see what works best for your brand. As they say, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to business.

Are Cart Recovery Emails GDPR Compliant?

Yes. Abandoned cart emails are allowed under new GDPR regulations.

According to the European Union's definition of legal grounds for processing data, you are compliant as long as you have consent from the user to send those emails. However, make sure you’re not overdoing them as your customers would not shy away from marking your emails as spam. So do it only to the point it is actually necessary.

Conclusion

It’s safe to say now, that creating abandoned cart emails isn’t all that tough. Just by getting a few basic elements right, you can reap the rewards and improve the sales for your eCommerce store. Now the onus is on you as to how well you execute the same.

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