How To Write A Cart Recovery Email That Converts

Cart abandonment is a fact of life for online retailers. The most common reason is simple to understand. People are beginning the research process; they’re “window shopping” if you will, and comparing pricing, availability, shipping and return policies. They want the best deal, understandably.


While the most recent stats from Baymard show an abandonment rate of nearly 70% across all industries, it IS possible to recover some of those shoppers, reel them back in, and close the deal.


The most effective way? A cart recovery email strategy. Here’s how to write a cart recovery email that converts.


First, Target The Abandoners


A generic, “Hey we saw you left something in your cart!” email could work for some shoppers. But a better method is to segment your data and speak to the specific type of abandonment.


For example, a first time abandoner could be swayed by a simple reminder, but a repeat abandoner may need more to sweeten the deal. Likewise, you could be able to provide a heftier discount to a shopper with a high cart value (think travel, jewelry, and other high value items), versus someone that left a pair of $40 jeans in their cart.


Being able to segment your abandoners allows you to create more personalized, targeted emails – and offers! – to get them to return. Each segment will have its own drip campaign, ideally three email: a friendly reminder, a sense of urgency, and finally an incentive. Meaning, while you have the ability to offer free shipping or a discount the first time around to secure the sale, give it a couple subtle tries before resorting to giving away free stuff!


Next, Schedule Your Reminders


Email 1 –


Stay fresh in your shoppers’ minds by sending your first cart recovery email within the first hour or two of abandonment. This first email should be friendly, helpful and definitely NOT pushy. Maybe the shopper got distracted or had technical difficulties. Your first email is simply a reminder that you’re here and ready to help if and when they’re ready.


Email 2 –


Then, wait a solid 24 hours before sending your second email. This one should create a sense of urgency. Perhaps tell buyers that their carts are getting ready to expire, or that items cannot be held for longer than X time as other shoppers are waiting for inventory. Check out the tips at the bottom of this article for some specific examples of phrasing!


Email 3 –


Finally, send your Hail Mary after another 24 hours. This is where you offer up the goods. A discount, free shipping, or some other incentive to sweeten the deal. If the shopper doesn’t bite on this one, remove them from your cart recovery campaign.


Now let’s talk about the elements of a cart recovery email.


Compelling Subject Line


This is always going to be priority one in email marketing, and it really does determine whether someone will open your email – or not.


When we’re talking about cart recovery, the goal is to be helpful and friendly, create urgency or tempt the shopper with an offer they can’t refuse – depending on which email you’re writing in your drip campaign.


Here are some phrases that are effective in cart recovery email subject lines:


  • Still deciding?
  • Still interested?
  • Did you forget about me?
  • Can we help?
  • Do you need more info?
  • Almost gone
  • Limited time/availability
  • X remaining
  • Cart reserved
  • Don’t miss out
  • Cart is about to expire
  • Buy now, take X% off
  • Free shipping on your cart
  • Exclusive offer on your cart
  • Can we tempt you?


Inside The Email


As always, your email content should be consistent with your brand’s design specs. Copy should be minimal, images should be vibrant, and most importantly, it should be SUPER SIMPLE for buyers to click through and complete their transactions.


Yes, this requires a bit of programming on the backend before you send your emails, but ensuring a buyer can make ONE click and be back to their cart is vital if you want your cart recovery emails to succeed. No one, and we mean no one, is going to go through your website and add products back to their cart!


Not only should you send buyers directly back to their filled cart, but by the third email, if there is an incentive involved, any discount code or offer should already be loaded into their cart when they click.


Make it impossibly simple for buyers to come back and complete their purchase, and stay fresh in their minds while being friendly and helpful, and you will be rewarded by more completed transactions and return customers!


Psst – If you haven’t already read it, check out our blog about using Picreel popup offers to say, “bye-bye!” to shopping cart abandonment — before a shopper ever even leaves your site!


Your Turn!


Do you have a cart recovery email strategy? Do you do more or less emails? Is your timing different? We’d love to hear your tips – leave us a comment below!