How to Create an Abandoned Cart Email Strategy That Skyrockets Sales

There are few things more frustrating to an eCommerce business owner than an abandoned cart. The customer browsed, read reviews, looked at several pictures, and put something in their cart, only to leave? What gives?

Unfortunately, this happens a lot.

Accordinging to Baymard Institute an average of 69% of shoppers abandon their carts, leading to an estimated $260 billion in lost revenue for online retailers.

This doesn’t have to mean that the sale is gone for good. An abandoned cart email strategy can help you win back some of those shoppers.

Salesforce data show that 60% of shoppers returned to complete their purchase after receiving a personalized abandoned cart email, and around 75% of shoppers planned to come back later.

If you’re not using abandoned cart emails to stay in the minds of these customers, you’re losing money. Period.

First Things First – Get Those Emails

You can create the best abandoned cart email strategy around, but it’s worth nothing if you don’t gather email addresses from your site’s visitors.

So how do you get visitors to part with their email address, if they’re not even completing the checkout?

Exit-Intent popups are one of the easiest and most effective ways to optimize your eCommerce site for gathering emails. This works amazingly well not just for abandoned carts, but across your whole eCommerce site.

This simple strategy is proven to work. WholeWhale was able to 2x their email list using this simple but effective popup design:

The headline in this split-test won.

Here’s another example. This exit intent popup helped Scott Wyden Imagery to recover 21% of abandoned carts, AND 2x his email list:

using exit intent as part of your abandoned cart email strategy

Let’s take a look at how you can get the same results…

How to Set Up Your Exit Intent Campaign

You can capture the email addresses of abandoning shoppers who aren’t ready to buy yet with a simple lightbox campaign with exit-intent. Here’s how you can create one, step by step.

First, you’ll need to click here to get started with OptinMonster.

1. Create or Modify a Campaign
Login to your OptinMonster dashboard and click the green button to create a new campaign.

Click Create Campaign

Then, use the drag and drop builder to add elements and customize your design.

See our complete guide to creating your first campaign for more details.

2. Activate Exit-Intent
Next, you’ll need to decide when and where your campaign should appear.

For your cart abandonment popup, you’ll need to activate the Exit-Intent display rule.

activate exit intent in optinmonster

3. Target Your Checkout Page
Set the campaign to only show on the cart or checkout page by targeting that page’s URL.

exit popup targeting cart abandonment

Be sure to take a look at your display rules summary to make sure your targeting and triggers look right.

isplay rules for exit popup to reduce cart abandonment

4. Integrate With Your Email Service Provider
Next, you’ll need to make sure the email addresses you’re collecting are sent to your email list.

In the Integrations tab, select your email service provider and the list you want to add your new subscribers to.

Check out our OptinMonster integration guides for complete instructions.

5. Embed the Cart Abandonment Campaign
Now you can get your campaign live on your website! OptinMonster is easy to use on Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and any other platform.

Follow our platform guides to embed your shopping cart abandonment campaign on your site.

Collecting email addresses is only the first step in your abandoned cart email strategy.

Next, you’ll need to create your abandoned cart emails to convince those shoppers to return and complete their purchase. Let’s take a look at some best practices and examples.

How to Create Your Abandoned Cart Email Strategy

It’s smart to map out your entire abandoned cart email sequence before trying to build it.

You’ll need to consider questions like…

  • What abandoned cart email frequency will you use?
  • What is the best timing for abandoned cart email sequences?
  • What about the best time of day to send abandoned cart emails?

Let’s take a look at some examples and research to point you in the right direction.

abandoned cart email frequency

How Many Abandoned Cart Emails Should You Send?

Your email sequence length will vary based on its purpose and your subscriber’s preferences.

While every store is different, most eCommerce sites tend towards 2-4 emails for abandoned cart recovery.

What’s the Best Timing for Abandoned Cart Emails?

The best timing for abandoned cart emails depends on your specific shoppers, and you’ll want to test to see what works best for them.

But to get started with your first campaign, it helps to find your Average Order Value (AOV).

Is your average order value less than $80? Smaller purchases don’t require a lot of thought and you don’t need to give much time between reminders.

Here’s how your series might look:

  1. 10-30 minutes after the cart is abandoned.
  2. 24 hours after the cart is abandoned.
  3. 3 or 4 days after the cart is abandoned.
  4. (optional): 1-2 weeks after Email 3. This email can be less “Come get your stuff.” and more “Hey, we have other cool things you’ll like.”

Larger purchases are going to require more thought and you’ll want to space them out a bit more, like this:

  1. 10-30 minutes after the cart is abandoned.
  2. 3 or 4 days after the cart is abandoned.
  3. 10 days to 2 weeks after the cart is abandoned.
  4. (optional): 1-2 weeks after Email 3. Same as above, this email can be geared towards re-engagement than abandoned cart recovery.

What Should You Say in Abandoned Cart Emails?

The goal of abandoned cart emails is to entice the shopper to come back and complete their purchase. It’s a very clear call-to-action that every abandoned cart email will have.

Over the course of the email sequence, however, you can create a sense of urgency, offer deals and discounts, recommend other products the shopper may like better – the sky’s the limit.

Here are a few very effective abandoned cart emails based on their position in the sequence:

Email 1: 10-30 Minutes After Abandonment
This is the “Hey, you forgot something.” email. It’s sent very soon after the cart has been abandoned as a reminder to the shopper. Kate Spade offers a 15% discount right off the bat. Not required, but a nice touch.

kate spade abandoned cart email strategy

Email 2: 24 Hours After Abandonment
It’s been a full day and one reminder later and the shopper still hasn’t come back. The second email should build some urgency, but doesn’t need to be alarm bells at this point.

abandoned cart email strategy example

Email 3: 3 or 4 Days After Abandonment
THIS IS NOT A DRILL. The items in your cart are almost sold out.

abandoned cart email strategy after 3-4 days

Email 4 (optional): 1-2 weeks after Email 3
At this point you’re interested in getting the shopper back to your site for a look. You can think of this as the “lovesick” email. You can’t stop thinking about the shopper and hope they feel the same. Do they “like” you, or “like-like you?”

abandoned cart email strategy after a couple of weeks

What’s the Best Time of Day to Send Abandoned Cart Emails?

Did you know that your emails have a better chance of being opened on Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m.?

CoSchedule compiled results from 10 studies from email service providers like MailChimp, HubSpot, GetResponse, and found that the top three days for high opens and clickthrough rates are:

  1. Tuesday
  2. Thursday
  3. Wednesday

As for time of day, results from those studies show that the top two times are 10 a.m., and between 8 p.m. and midnight. While 6 a.m. came in at 4th place, that’s where my money is. How many of us check our email first thing in the morning, before even having coffee? According to these studies, about 50% of us.

What’s Next?

Shoppers are probably never going to stop abandoning carts, but with a smart abandoned cart email strategy you can win back some of those shoppers and increase your bottom line.

Get started with OptinMonster today and start reclaiming that lost revenue!

Jacinda Santora
Jacinda Santora is a writer specializing in ecommerce and growth marketing. She prides herself on her ability to make complicated things easier. When she isn't writing you can find her daydreaming about campervans, drinking coffee, and listening to podcasts.