2020 A Step-By-Step Guide On Writing Abandoned Cart Emails


Table of Contents

You probably googled this up because you heard that abandoned cart emails can increase your sales.

And they can… if you write it properly.

So I decided to create this chunky guide for people who really want to learn the underlying fundamentals of what makes an abandoned cart email GREAT (and have more moolah in your pockets.)

But first…

What Exactly Is An Abandoned Cart Email?

Basically, it is an email that you send to your customers who left in the middle of checkout for some reason.

And you don’t know the exact reason.

But what you DO KNOW is that they were interested enough in your product to leave their email and checkout.

So that’s where an abandoned cart email comes in play. You give them a quick and painless way to resume their shopping experience to buy their product

And if done right, you can usually capture around 10–15% more orders. Pretty cool huh?

And the best part is even if they don’t finish their checkout, with a proper abandoned cart email strategy it can leave you better off.

Why It Benefits You Even When If You Don’t Reach The Sale

  • You gain some information on why the customer didn’t buy (to use for future customers)
  • You write a helluva good email which makes the customers day (and maybe turn him into a future customer later.)
  • You create an awesome impression that you know how to treat a customer right (aka good customer service.)

Now before I bombard you with tons of awesome content, I created a table of contents for those people who want to skip right to the good stuff.

Table of Contents: What will this blog post cover?

Why Customers Leave And What To Do About It

So when a customer pops by your website, there is too many reasons why customers would leave. So I decided to name the major reasons and seperate it into 3 different categories.

Easy To Fix Reasons On Why Customers Leave

  • Website Navigation is too hard
  • Website Takes Forever
  • Complicated Checkout Process (Requires too much information)
  • Payment Security
  • Lack of payment options
  • Foreign Currency
  • Other technical problems on the site
  • No guest checkout option

Basically, if you have a clean, fast, and easy to use website you can solve most of these issues here.

And also be smart when setting up your store. If you are selling in an American market, don’t forget to change the price so that it matches the currency (ie. don’t sell in pesos.)

Things You Can’t Really Control Why Customers Leave

  • Just browsing Around
  • The Website timed out
  • Their Payment Option declined
  • Lack of money at time of checkout
  • The Internet connection was cut off
  • Hassle of return

You have incredibly limited control when it comes to the above reasons why customers leave.

You can make it easier for them like free returns and having monthly installments but you can’t really fix their wifi.

So my tip here is don’t focus your efforts here.

Things You Should Focus On When Customers Leave

  • Pricing
  • High shipping costs
  • Lost the Desire To Buy
  • Lack of time

This is the primary focus of any good abandoned cart email strategy.

The first two comes down to experimentation for your target audience (ie. keep changing prices to see what works best for your product)

But the last two is where we are going to focus on for the rest of the article.

Now How Do I Optimize My Checkout Experience To Collect Their Email Addresses?

The key thing here is YOU NEED to collect their email address with their consent. A random email address won’t do you any good here since they have no buying intent.

Otherwise this email strategy (with no emails) simply won’t work.

You have to somehow incentivize them to go through your marketing funnel and enter their email address somewhere on your site.

That’s why people have

  • Popups
  • Newsletter Sign-Ups
  • Checkout Page To Enter Their Email
  • Membership Accounts


I know them. You know them. Everybody knows them. But there is a love and hate relationship with popups.

We hate it when WE are doing the shopping but love it when we use them because IT WORKS! We hate them so much that we probably have Adblock installed.

You have to be really careful and draw a fine line between popups and user experience.

You can’t keep spamming them until they put in their email because they are going to leave. So you gotta finesse your way.

And there are certain ways to do so while limiting the amount of hatred and increasing conversion rates. You can:

  • Modify the timing of the popup (The perfect time to capture their attention.)
  • Have a really damn good offer why you should interrupt them.
  • Make them scroll down a certain amount before announcing your popup.

Modify The Timing Of The Popup

You don’t want a visitor to click on your site and then all of a sudden see “GET 10% YOUR NEXT ORDER” immediately.


  1. They don’t even know if they like your product.
  2. They don’t know who you are.
  3. They probably don’t even know what they want.
  4. And Popups will make them hate your website.

And when people don’t like your website, they probably won’t buy your product.

And all of the above is not good when trying to sell your product. You want to time it perfectly so that they see it at the perfect time.

And when is that you ask?

When they finish reading about your product!

It’s simple. All you have to do is time yourself to read your description and then set the popup to come up around the time you finish reading it.

This shows:

  • Your reader was interested enough to read your product
  • Now you have something he might find valuable (additional goodies)

Or even better is to use the exit intent popup where you target people right before they leave your site.

This is when they try to leave your website and you show them something valuable just right when they are about to leave… and then you snatch their email address with some sort of lead magnet.

Have A Damn Good Offer Why You Should Interrupt Them.

If you don’t know what to offer, you would probably just copy your competitors and tell them to “Get 10% Off When You Sign Up Immediately!”

It works… but it doesn’t really COMPEL them to leave their email.

Be Different. Do something that no else can offer.

Hint: Offer them free shipping forever when they sign up to your newsletter and incorporate the price into the product (and watch your conversation rate shoot up.)

You have to give them something they think is incredibly valuable from their perspective.

Here is a small checklist of 21 Lead Magnets To Incentivize Your Customers:

  • Offer a Free eBook
  • Give them an Informative Infographic
  • Create a Cheatsheet
  • Make a Checklist
  • Show a Case Study
  • Have Discounts
  • Make Exclusive Offers
  • Have Exclusive Information
  • Have a Toolkit
  • Create a Resource List
  • Have some Template
  • Make some Calendars and Planners
  • Have a Spreadsheet
  • Have a Email Course
  • Create some Printables
  • Have some Original Research
  • Have Audio Content
  • Have a Live Webinar
  • Create a PDF Version of Blogpost
  • Have a Exclusive Community
  • Give a Free Quotes

Make them scroll down a certain amount before announcing your popup.

This is catered towards articles but the idea is to set it so that it pops up when your reader is already into the article.

You can then set it to popup in the middle or at the end of the article.

Have An Awesome Newsletter Strategy Sign up

I already wrote this in my Welcome Email Series Blog Post Here

The quick summary is to use one of the lead magnets I described above and put it into your newsletter. You can also:

  • Add A Way To Opt-In Email On The Side Or At The Bottom Of Your Article
  • Have A Call To Action On Your Email Newsletter (make sure it says click here for your free eBook)
  • Place Your Email Address Welcome Box On Every Page Of Your Site (ex. they might sign up if they check out your about page)

Optimize Your Checkout Right Before They Buy

You want to make sure that the email address box is visible and above the fold.

You would also want to enable autofill to make the transition of putting their email even easier.

Also make your payment processing as easy as possible. Put everything they need to fill out in one page and maybe even show social proof that you have processed orders before.

The tip here is make it as easy as possible for the buyer to actually buy stuff!

The Psychology Of Buyers When They See An Abandoned Cart Email

If you had to read ONE section of this blog I would point you to this one.

Understanding the psychology of buyers when they abandon their cart gives you a HUGE advantage in crafting your emails.

You want to know what goes on in the head of your customers to not only OPEN your email but to also TAKE ACTION.

We are only going to focus on the things we can control and they are:

  • Did Not Have Enough Time
  • Was Interested And Had To Do Something Else

These are the people you want to focus on when they abandon their carts because they were interested customers who might still be interested in your offer.

So you do that with:

  • A compelling subject line
  • The abandoned items
  • A strong call-to-action

Think of abandoned cart emails as a bonus marketing opportunity to market your goods.

You have all these interested customers who had to leave your site because they needed to do something else at that moment.

Maybe they might have had to pick up their kids from school or had to fold the laundry.

And poof.

They forget your product immediately. So your goal is to gently knock on their email box with a friendly reminder of what they were doing.

So let’s get started on what you should think about before crafting your email:

Psychology For The First Abandoned Cart Email

You should just assume in the first email that they had something else to do.

This means you just want to give them a gentle reminder of what products they were looking at.

You can be short and direct. You can be fun and creative. But it has to make sense.

Abandoned Cart Series Email 1 Example

Here is an example of a fictional eCommerce store selling dog food.

John was about to buy Yummy Dog Foods for his dog Sparkles but then had to do some errands for his family.

{Wait 1 Hour Before Sending}

Subject: John, Does Your Dog Crave Yummy Dog Food?
Hey John,

I noticed that you started to check out Yummy Dog Food but never completed your order!

Thankfully, we were able to save some Yummy Dog Food for you since we usually go out of stock with this popular item.

But you have to hurry since we don’t know how long we can hold it for you. Click Here To Checkout Yummy Dog Food

If you have any questions, shoot me a message below and I’ll be in touch.

Remember, we have a full ONE YEAR guarantee to make sure your dog is happy with his food!

Marketing Manager Who Likes Dogs

Analysis For Abandoned Cart Series Email 1 Example

1 Hour after they abandoned cart is generally a good time to send out the first email.

I use John’s name in the subject line and a clear message of what the email is about.

I then start with Hey John to create a personalized message (or Dear Friend if you didn’t capture his name) and goes on to show that he forgot to order his Yummy Dog Food.

You create some scarcity by saying I am not sure how long I can hold this email for.

And give him a way to contact you if there is any problems (and reduce the friction between buying) and then end it with a generous guarantee.

Bonus tip: Research shows that the longer the guarantee, the more likely your customer is going to forget about the guarantee!This is because it not only shows how confident you are in the product, but that they put the guarantee in the back burner of their head.

Psychology For The Second Abandoned Cart Email

When you craft this email, you still have to assume that the buyer is interested and just didn’t see your first email. So you send them ANOTHER reminder.

You don’t want to start giving discounts here because it will devalue your product in the customers eyes (you will also reduce your profits.)

So give them another push to see if they are interested. I’d wait around 6–8 hours before sending this one out.

Remember: The Goal is to make them click that link that goes back to your product.

Abandoned Cart Series Email 2 Example

{Wait 6 Hours}

Subject: John, do you need Yummy Dog Food?
Hey John,

We noticed that you were buying Yummy Dog Food for a very special friend of yours and weren’t able to finish checking out.

I’m sure your companion would appreciate having some delicious, nutritious, and energizing food to grow up into a proper big boy.

We didn’t want to let you miss out on this amazing opportunity so we are holding onto this cart for you here.

Marketing Manger Who Likes Dogs

P.S. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions by hitting the reply button below.

Analysis For Abandoned Cart Series Email 2 Example

I tried to make this into a friendly email. I had a clear subject line, a clear message and ONE CTA.

Psychology For The Third Abandoned Cart Email

This is the last stand where the buyer is probably not interested in your offer.

This is where you have the big guns. Throw out a bonus incentive to see if he buys your product. Start throwing incentives why he should buy that you didn’t explain in your first two emmails.

The mindset here is that the buyer is not interested so see if a discount would finally persuade him.

And what if customer does not buy?

That’s fine. Maybe it just wasn’t the right timing or product for him.

You still want to include this though to maximize your chances to close a sale.

Abandoned Cart Series Email 3 Example

Subject: John, We Are Giving An Exclusive 15% Off For Yummy Dog Foods
Hey John,

We just wanted to say that your cart is still waiting for you if you are still interested in Yummy Dog Foods.

I decided to talk to my boss and I was able to negotiate with him for 15% OFF for your next purchase but it is only available for 24 hours.

If you are still interested, this is the last chance to buy it at a DISCOUNTED PRICE by clicking the button below!

If you have any questions or need any help, don’t hesitate to contact me!

David Marketing Director Who Likes Dogs

Analysis For Abandoned Cart Series Email 3 Example

So here I decided to create a last ditch email giving him 15% off he purchases it now.

Other Strategies To Consider Using For Your Abandoned Cart Email Series

Many eCommerce stores are doing it now and we are currently being conditioned to expect discount codes in our shopping carts.

That is why you want to be able to provide some other way to provide values (like an amusing email for example.)
Here are other ways to show off your products:

  • Show your products with image and name (with testimonials)
  • If they had multiple products in cart, highlight a single product
  • Show The Primary Benefits * Take Advantage Of Loyalty Memberships
  • Create A Segment For Loyalty Member With Enough Points
  • Have your final email asking to sign up to your mailing list instead of pushing to buy your product
  • Combined different ways to contact them (Text, FB Messenger)

Think outside the box on how to craft an abandoned response email.

For example, have a satisfied customer write the email himself and then send it to future customers (and claiming a customer wrote the email himself.)

Frequently Asked Questions

What does CTA mean?

CTA stands for clickthrough action. It’s just a fancy term for a link or button that you want your customers to click on.

Why Can’t I Just use Retargeting Ads Instead of Email Addresses?

I’d say if you have the budget you should actually use both!

But if you had to choose one I would still recommend using email. This is because retargeting ads are pretty impersonal and are quite limited on the google interface.

This is compared to writing a direct message that you can customize however you see fit.

Who Should Setup An Abandoned Cart Email?

Anyone who has a product that they sell. Some People Would Include:

  • Dropshippers
  • Ecommerce Sites
  • Bloggers
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Local business owners
  • Digital Product Owners
  • Big Boy Companies (Walmart, Macy’s, etc.)

How Do I Set This Up?

You can set it up in your email software and you just copy and paste the text in there.

It’s all automatic nowadays.

Should I Use Fancy Graphics In My Emails?

It depends on the type f brand image you want to give. I am more old school with having just great copy but an awesome image can always enhance the copy.

Just be careful cause it seems that Gmail has been blocking HTML images making you only see the text until the user clicks on “See all images.”

What should I do now?

Use this guide as a reference to help start crafting your first abandoned email! Remember all you really need to focus on is:

The minds of your customers Having a clear subject line Showing the abandoned products Having a Clear Call To Action

And that’s it.

Let me know in the comments if you found this useful!