Email Marketing

Why your Browse Abandonment emails Don't Work (& Winning Examples)

Bring back lost customers with these 8 killer browse abandonment emails — that actually drive conversions.

Why your Browse Abandonment emails Don't Work (& Winning Examples)

As eCommerce store owners, you might have seen visitors leave without buying anything. And some don’t even add anything to the cart.

Most online stores try to win them back with a browse abandonment email campaign.

But it doesn’t hit the mark. 

Why? Let’s find out.

8 reasons why your browse abandonment emails don’t work (and how to fix them)

1. You could be using the same old template as everyone

Templates aren’t bad — but using the same template for everyone and for every situation isn’t going to drive you high conversions. However, that is something a lot of marketers are guilty of. 

This often does more harm than good, because it fails to deliver in several regards. Apart from low conversion rates, your potential customers often also identify the mismatch in your messaging. 

What can you do differently?

When it comes to email strategy, A/B tests come in handy to know what’s working and what’s not. 

Here are some areas you should focus upon:

1. Subject Lines

This is one of the most crucial aspects of a message as it determines the open rate for your emails.

What you think can work — might not work in reality — so it’s important to A/B test your subject lines. 

If you can, run several subject lines at the same time to see what is working and what is not.

Here are some subject lines you can use, to begin with:

Is this your next pair?

See anything you liked?

Did we catch your attention?

2. Tone & Phrasing Matters

If you have been sending browse abandonment emails with generic open statements such as, “Don’t forget about your recent visit”, and not seeing any results, then you should change the tone and phrasing of the sentence.

Saying something like:

Was it something we did?

You’ve got great taste.

We saw you checking us out.

Don’t break up with us already!

….may catch people’s attention and lead them to click on the email.

A cool opening line is smart, subtle, and effortless. Something like “We’ve saved your shopping bag” from Tommy Hilfiger.

Catchy email subject line
3. Embrace Emojis

A recent study from Litmus showed the subject lines with emoji can increase the open rate to 10-15%.

Even something as simple as — We saw you checking us out 👀 — can often create an edge with readers.

But you also need to make sure they work for the brand.

So, in case you decide to use the emojis in your subject line, we suggest doing an A/B test with a subject line with emojis vs a subject line without emojis.

This will help you understand if your audience is liking the emoji play and whether you should use them further in your subject lines.

4. Master the art of personalization

Personalization is great — it builds a great bond with your audience, but too much and it often does more harm than good.

So, you may want to tread the waters carefully here. Too much personalization can often come across as overwhelming.

As the best practice, make sure the browse abandonment emails only have the first name of the user. This will make the message personalized without being intruding — like I Love Ugly does here.

Using personalization in emails
And if you need more eCommerce personalization tips, check out these 20 amazing personalization examples.
5. Mix up your product recommendations

While you’re sending browse abandonment emails to users for the products they browsed, you should also include more recommendations that match their browsing patterns.

In some cases, you can also mix it up and show them some of your bestsellers, products that are trending at your store, or any other personalized items that you would like to promote.  

You never know what a customer might like from the recommendations you show them and hop back on the site.

Here’s a cool example from Zee & Co:

Product recommendations on email
6. Keep your content scannable

People read from their minds — not eyes. Your content needs to be scannable, conversational and packed in an easy-to-digest format, so a customer quickly knows what you’re trying to say.

Run an A/B test between a short and sweet email and one that is packed with text, images, and product recommendations. This will help you to understand what works best with your audience.

Here’s a quick template for you to borrow from:

Hey [name], we caught you snooping 👀

And we are SO GLAD we did!

Our customers are the backbone of our company, and nothing makes us happier than seeing them enjoy our products!

We know you liked our [product name] and we’re sure you’d want to see these too

<Product display>

Catch your fancy? Shop now

So, pop on over, tell us what you loved!

<Contact details & social media credentials>

8. Experiment with CTAs

A good CTA is essentially what converts a user. CTA is not only limited to text, but also the placement in the email, size, button style, color, etc.— to ultimately decide if there will be a conversion.

A beautiful example is from Karen Millen.

Good CTAs on emails

When you’re running an A/B test, focus on one or two variables instead of all of them together. This will give you a clear picture of what is working and what you should tweak or eliminate.

2. You might not be digging into the data (don’t worry, common mistake)

While tracking open rates and click-through rates are good — to begin with — many marketers and founders make the mistake of just trusting these basic metrics. 

The result: they fail to understand where they’re going wrong and lose out on potential improvements. 

What can you do differently?

Here is a list of other metrics to look at:  

  • Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of users who have unsubscribed to your emails.  How to calculate: Total number of unsubscribers/ Number of emails delivered 
  • Compliant rate: This is the number of users who have marked your email as spam. How to calculate: Total number of complaints/Total number of emails delivered
  • Conversion rate: This is the ideal stage you want to reach with your visitors. Conversion rate is the percentage of users who finally bought your product. How to calculate: Total number of conversions/ Number of emails delivered 
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of emails sent which weren’t delivered to your recipient’s inbox. How to calculate: Total number of bounces/ Number of emails sent
  • Forward rate: The percentage of users who forwarded your email to friends or shared the email by clicking the link inside the email. How to calculate: Total number of forwards/ Number of emails delivered
  • Campaign ROI: The return on the investment for your email campaigns. How to calculate: ($ Sales - $ Invested) / $ Invested
  • List growth rate: The percentage at which your email list has grown over time. How to calculate: New Subscribers - New Unsubscribers + Email/Spam Complaints / Number of Subscribers x 100

3. Your content might be over-personalized

Yes, there is such a thing. Too much personalization may be overwhelming for your potential audience.

Many eCommerce stores send such emails, trying too hard to make it personalized, including way more than their name. 

By trying to find out too much, you also make an error that can turn away your customers. A popular example was an email sent by Pinterest.

email sent by pinterest that was incorrect

What can you do differently?

Keep your messaging simple and subtle. The real personalization should be in the form of segmentation with different target audiences as mentioned above.

Taking a note from this browse abandonment email from Loeffler Randall, you can use eCommerce personalization to even show your customers more varieties in the same category. If they’re looking for shoes, show them shoes. If they’re looking for watches, show them that. That’ll build into their need + give you a chance to put forth your entire collection.

Using personalization on emails
You can also check out this quick template:

Better yet, get inspired & make it your own!

[name]! Did we catch your attention?

Like what you see? We’ve got more where that came from.

<Product display>

PS - Did you know that we offer [benefit 1] & [benefit 2] too? 

<Contact details & social media credentials>

4. You could be sending way tooo many emails

There could be different kinds of email strategies where your customers could be looped in. Whether it’s for cart abandonment, newsletter, post-purchase, etc., you may be targeting the same visitors simultaneously in these brackets too. 

But there are many eCommerce stores that take this information and send out way more emails than they should. For instance, If a customer has visited twenty products, many send them multiple browse abandonment emails, which can annoy customers and they might unsubscribe from your email.

Case in point: Myprotein and their promotional emails.

Sending too many emails

Sometimes, customers don’t need constant updates — and that’s okay. You have to respect their privacy. Chances are — if you don’t — you may end up losing them.

What can you do differently?

You can set triggers and precedents depending on the number of times a customer has seen your product. 

For example: if they have browsed a product five times, you can trigger one browse abandonment email campaign right after that offering them discounts on the viewed product. This will compel them to check out the product again and purchase it this time around.

Even something like what Debenhams does by highlighting their free delivery goes a long way in bringing back lost customers.

Debenhams browse abandonment email

5. You might be missing out on the upselling nudge

While a customer has expressed an interest in a few products, you shouldn’t limit your email strategy to just those few.

Unfortunately, most store owners do - limiting their potential sale value.

For example — Michael Stars. They’re only showcasing the only product that that user was looking for. They’re not fully utilizing the email space they've got. 

Michael Stars browse abandonment email

What can you do differently?

Browse abandonment emails are among the 17 top strategies to upsell and increase AOV.

Want the others? Check out 17 Surefire ways to upsell in eCommerce & increase average order value

Browse abandonment emails offer GREAT real estate. So, use them well.

Offer your customers matching or related products based on their shopping behavior and preferences, especially in the case of visitors who have viewed many products but never made it to the cart to reroute them back to the website.

Check out this example from French Connection. Works better, doesn’t it?

French Connection browse abandonment email

6. Your opening line could be missing the mark

There are multiple reasons why a customer leaves your site after browsing — but they always remember what they came for. 

You need to use this bait and put it in front of their eyes again so they get reminded of the product.

A common mistake is when these emails talk about how customers left something behind and pitch their brand but don't remind them about the product itself. 

See this example from J.Crew. It does feel like something is missing, doesn’t it?

JCrew browse abandonment email

What can you do differently?

Use an image that the customer viewed so they know what exactly you’re talking about. Make it your centerpiece in your email strategy so it triggers a buying impulse immediately — something like what Timberland does here.

example of an browse abandonment email that reminds users of where they left off

7. You might not be closing the sale

A primal mistake made when sending such emails is that you jump straight to the message, pitch your idea, add a CTA and that's it. 

What’s missing is the sense of trust that needs to be built with the customer. There are many ways to do this but eCommerce stores forget the most important thing - customer support. 

You know what makes a GREAT email even better? Contact details.

See this browse abandonment email from Ashley Homestore? Wouldn’t it be better with contact details?

A good email should have contact details

What can you do differently?

In your marketing emails, make sure to include the contact of your support team. This allows customers to get an answer to their query in case there’s anything that’s holding them back from making the purchase. 

At the bottom, make sure to highlight your email address and contact number, so the customers can reach you whenever they want to. You can also add in your social media credentials so your customers can stay in touch with you through the platforms they prefer.

This email from Zaful is GREAT because they not only include all their contact information and social media credentials, they also use the space for their policies.

Example of a browse abandonment email with contact information
Hey, check this out: 21 ways to create call-to-action buttons that convert
CC Ebook Banner

8. Your social proof might not be accessible (too many clicks spoil the email)

Sometimes, proof from other customers about your products can give the final nudge to the first-time buyers to purchase.

That’s where reviews and photos come in. They’re a great way to build trust and authority.

However, many emails don’t use them properly. They tend to contain blank statements like “customers love it” or just add in a rating without highlighting more compelling details. 

When you use social proof, you should do it properly

While it is great that these publications have featured Casper, having a quote or two elevates the entire pitch.

What can you do differently?

Including individual reviews and testimonials in your emails can build a sense of trust among new visitors and can compel them to purchase from you.

You can also include reviews of the products they visited so the users feel more secure about buying a specific product from you.

And finally, user-generated content never fails to convert. Tap into your customer’s social media posts about your product and highlight them in your emails.

This example from Adidas builds into all the crucial social proof & user connection touchpoints. Pretty cool, eh?

Example of Adidas using social proof in email
Plus, here’s a cool template that’ll help you showcase your testimonials

Sorry to have missed you, [name]!

We’re so glad to see you browsing through our collection, and I know you’ll find something you LOVE.

So, I’m just dropping in for a quick hello!

<Product details>

The [product name] is one of our biggest bestsellers and is something customers instinctively take to!

But don’t take our word for it, see it for yourself.

<Customer testimonials>

Let me know if you have any questions and I’d be happy to chat anytime!

<Contact details & social media credentials>

Want to know what the best browse abandonment emails have in common? A personalized subject line, killer opening, compelling pitches, and powerful CTA’s. 

Browse abandonment campaigns can make your sales fly once you learn how to master and create the best campaigns that can make your customers take action and purchase from your store. So, use them to their full potential and bring back lost customers.