Reduce cart abandonment and send effective abandoned cart recovery emails, messages and notifications

Let’s start with numbers. A study in 2021 covering United States customer sessions across more than 250 retailer brands of different industries shows that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 74%. On average, 7 out of 10 users will abandon the cart.

Online shopping cart abandonment is affecting every single online store and it is a huge topic with many details which we would like to cover and maintain in this guide.

1. What is an abandoned cart?

When a customer adds a product to the cart and does not follow through with the checkout – you end up with an abandoned cart.

2. Top 10 reasons for online shopping cart abandonment

An interesting survey in 2021 involving 4329 respondents shows us the top 10 reasons why customers in the United States report to abandon their carts.

Top 10 reasons for online shopping cart abandonment
Cart abandonment reasons. Source:, 2021

This information is very useful since it reveals which should be the main areas of focus to reduce shopping cart abandonment and how big is the potential of abandoned cart recovery. The good news is that many of the uncovered reasons are insignificant enough to allow business owners to convert their abandoned carts into purchases.

3. How to reduce shopping cart abandonment

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and online shopping cart abandonment. 😅 Here is a list of practical actions that will help reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase sales.

1. Be clear about all costs

Almost 50% of all online shopping carts are abandoned due to additional costs at the end of the checkout. Either these are import charges, taxes or expensive shipping costs – customers do not like bad surprises. By adding an item to the cart, customer agrees with the price. If the price increases after this, customer is forced into the evaluation process once again and in many cases this leads to shopping cart abandonment.

  • Be transparent and honest upfront about any additional costs.
  • Display product prices including taxes.
  • Try to determine customer’s location from the IP address and present shipping costs and import charges as soon as possible.

2. Enable guest checkout

Forcing a first time customer to sign up for an account is usually an unnecessary barrier that can increase cart abandonment ratio. Requirement to provide additional details at the checkout also complicates the whole process and makes it longer which does not help with sales.

  • Allow guest checkout. Do not force your customers into signing up if it is not essential for providing your services or products.
  • Propose to create an account after the purchase is done by illustrating the benefits of it (e.g., order tracking, product downloads, manuals or next order discount code).

3. Add more delivery options

Large companies like Amazon and Walmart have spoiled us with free same-day delivery and many now expect nothing less. That puts a lot of pressure on other businesses which have to keep up by offering fast delivery times and reasonable prices.

  • Give your customers a variety of shipping options so they can find the one that suits them.
  • Try to provide a free shipping option for orders exceeding a certain amount.

4. Test and optimize your checkout flow

It is no secret that customers today want to get results as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Anything that is standing in the way of that is creating an unnecessary friction.

  • Audit your checkout form fields and remove those which are not required. Minimize or remove any distractions (e.g. navigation to other pages, coupon code input, advertisements, related products etc.) until the checkout is complete.
  • Guide your users through the checkout process using visual accents and focus points.
  • Do not reinvent the wheel, instead, stick to the industry standards – it will make your customers feel familiar with the checkout process thus safer and more confident in trusting you with their money.
  • Secure your checkout (PCI compliance, SSL certificate, anti-fraud protection etc.) and tell your customers about it using relevant safety badges.
  • Use Google analytics or similar software for collecting data, analyze it and make improvements to increase conversions and reduce shopping cart abandonment.
  • Involve a user experience (UX) designer to review and validate your current checkout flow – it is where the money is. 
  • Use shopping cart reports to monitor your store’s cart abandonment rate, conversion rate, average cart value, top abandoned products etc. to learn how to improve and optimize your store.

5. Add alternative payment methods

Insufficient payment options can cause frustration and harm your business if the customer is unable to pay for the items. Highly motivated customers will try to get in touch, but many will leave your store with disappointment and an abandoned cart.

  • Try to provide a variety of different payment options so your customers are not excluded from the products or services that are for sale.
  • Make it easy for your visitors to reach your in case of any issues during checkout (email, phone, live chat etc.).

6. Use Exit Intent popup

As great and optimized your store and checkout flow is, part of your customers will always be abandoning their carts. You can use Exit Intent technology to prevent your customer from doing that.

Exit Intent technology is a clever mechanism for tracking user behavior like mouse movements, scroll speed and scroll direction to identify and help predict user’s intent to leave the site. Once the intent to abandon the store is detected, a popup is presented to engage the user. Here are some ideas you can do with the popup:

  • Offer to save customer’s cart for later by providing their email.
  • Provide an instant coupon code to motivate your customers and prevent them from abandoning the cart.
  • Collect feedback about the reasons of leaving to reduce future shopping cart abandonment.

7. Use push notifications

Web push notifications have gained popularity among businesses as they provide an easy and instant way to engage with customers and increase sales. Unlike email or phone notifications, web push notifications require no contact details and offer a low-friction, real-time, and personalized channel for sending abandoned cart reminders.

Begin by collecting push notification subscriptions through various methods to encourage visitors to sign up. This will enable you to reach them later through direct notifications to their browsers. One of the biggest advantages of push notifications is that they can be delivered even if the user has closed your store and left the website.

8. Get leads on customers to allow abandoned cart recovery

Abandoned cart recovery is a process of luring back your abandoned cart users with personalized reminders and retargeting ads. You need an email address or a phone number to be able to send personalized reminders.

According to a study of US customers in 2021, on average, 11.6% of users will add a product to their shopping cart. This creates a lot of potential for collecting leads at the start of the shopping journey using Early capture. Early capture is a mechanism for saving user’s contact information in the early stages of shopping – right after “Add to cart” button is clicked. Since it is seamlessly weaved into the customer’s flow and the customer is already engaged, chances that the user will provide email or phone are quite good.

9. Draw attention to your store’s tab

Another smart and effective way to remind your visitors about an abandoned cart is to utilize a flashing Tab notification. If a user wonders off to another website and leaves your store open in another tab – you can dynamically change the name of the abandoned tab to attract attention thus helping to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Flashing tab notification to draw attention and reduce cart abandonment.
Flashing tab notification to draw attention and reduce cart abandonment.

4. How to create abandoned cart recovery emails to convert lost sales into purchases

After doing everything that’s in your power to reduce shopping cart abandonment, you can start working on your abandoned cart recovery. First, you must develop a solution or setup a plugin like CartBounty which will save abandoned carts, customer contact details and help with abandoned cart recovery emails.

Once your abandoned cart recovery solution is ready, you can start working on your abandoned cart recovery email setup. Here are some of the most important points you should pay attention to when constructing your abandoned cart recovery automation.

1. Email open rate

The success of your abandoned cart recovery email campaign greatly relies on email open rate. If the recipient doesn’t open the email – you have lost an opportunity to recover this particular cart and all of the hard work you have put into its contents will go unseen.

How do you determine if you should open or ignore an email? Take a look at your email list, you see a sender name, subject line, maybe a tiny bit of the first paragraph and the time of arrival. The first three are the most important ingredients that determine fate of your campaign.

  • Try and test your sender name (company name vs. a specific person’s name).
  • Come up with an outstanding subject line that is relevant to your recipients and explains what this email is about.
  • Make sure your subject line is not too long so that the message isn’t cut off. Keep it short with no more than 9 words and 60 characters.
  • Try to personalize your subject line using recipient’s name or the name of the product abandoned in the cart to see if that helps to improve open rate.
  • Try spicing things up a bit using an emoji in the subject line. Just remember that less is more. 😎
  • Test multiple variations, lengths and tones of your subject line to get the best open rates.

According to Salescycle, the average abandoned cart reminder email open rate across all industries in 2020 was 38.5%.

2. Single email vs email series

When it comes to setting up your abandoned cart recovery strategy, one of the first decisions you have to make is whether to use a single reminder email or a series of multiple emails (also known as drip campaign).

According to data from 150 000 businesses collected by MailChimp, abandoned cart email series generate 75% more revenue than a single email.

And this study presented by Klaviyo shows that the optimal number of emails in a series should be between two and three as this is yields the highest recovery, email open and click-through rates. Sending more than three reminders may leave a negative effect on your future email deliverability since the open rates start to fall, recipients start getting annoyed and unsubscribe.

  • Use a series of emails – it is proven to get the best results.
  • Send between 2 and 3 reminders about the abandoned cart to each customer.

3. Perfect timing

We know that email series are the way to go. It is time to understand when to send them:

  • 1st email. SalesCycle results suggest to send your first abandoned cart recovery email 1 hour after the cart has been abandoned. This should be as a polite reminder about the forgotten shopping cart.
  • 2nd email. Send this email 24 hours after the first email. Follow up on the first reminder and maybe try to play the “urgency card” informing that the item is reserved but the supply is running low.
  • 3rd email. The last email should be sent 2 – 6 days after the 2nd email. Make sure the user knows that this is the final email. You might try including a coupon code for additional motivation.

Abandoned cart timing is a delicate matter and it may vary from business to business. What we have suggested above should serve as a good starting point. Make sure to test and track your results to find the perfect timing for your abandoned cart recovery emails.

4. Think mobile first

It is no secret that mobile traffic has long surpassed desktop traffic. Similar trend can also be seen in the way people consume email therefore it is very important that your reminder emails are responsive and beautifully translate across different devices and screens.

  • Test your emails on mobile devices to make sure they look great.
  • Keep your images optimized and lightweight to boost the download speed and save space.

5. Email contents

The main goal of an abandoned cart recovery email is to persuade the customer to finalize the purchase. Make sure that the contents of your email do everything to supplement this objective.

  • Keep the message brief, interesting and smart.
  • Remind about the abandoned items and showcase their images.
  • Use a prominent call to action button that offers an easy way to resume shopping.
  • Try to personalize the email using the name of the customer (in case you know it).
  • Test creating a sense of urgency in your 2nd email. The fear of missing out on a product you are interested in can be a good motivating factor for completing the order.
  • Try offering an incentive in your last reminder email – a free shipping coupon or a small discount code may be the final push your customer needs to complete the order.

6. Adapt to customer’s language

A compelling email in the language your customer understands can play a big role in a successful abandoned cart recovery campaign. CartBounty saves user language settings and allows to send abandoned cart recovery emails in the customer’s language.

7. Customer reviews and social proof

Humans have gone through a lengthy evolution process during which we have learned different instincts and behavioral patterns. Social proof is one such pattern we use to solve complicated problems. Choosing a popular or well rated product is an easy way many of us use to come to a quick decision. According to this data, 93% of consumers say online reviews have played a role in their decision making process prior purchasing an item.

  • Try including customer reviews or product ratings in one of your reminder emails to see if that helps to sway your customers and increases sales.

8. Test, track and optimize your emails

When you first set out to create your abandoned cart recovery automation, it is important to know how well your emails are doing. Pay close attention to the following data which can reveal essential information:

  • Email open rate shows the percentage of the total recipients who open a specific email.
  • Click-to-open rate reveals the percentage of total recipients who click on a link or image inside the email out of all the total emails that have been opened. This number helps to measure how well your email message is comprised.
  • Click-through rate shows the percentage of total recipients who click on a link or image inside the email out of all emails you have sent, regardless of whether or not the subscriber opened the email. This data represents how well your abandoned cart recovery email campaign is performing overall.
  • Unsubscribe rate. This number can help learn if the email is relevant or not and how happy or unhappy your recipients are with it.

Pay close attention an make sure to test, track and optimize your emails according to the information you uncover.

9. Abandoned cart SMS reminders and push notifications

Abandoned cart SMS reminders and push notifications are excellent tools to add to your toolbox as not only they provide a high reach as a marketing channels, but also get more engagement than email.

Although it might sound difficult, combining SMS text messages, push notifications and email reminders is quite easy and does not require a lot of work. Please take a look at this article on how to setup abandoned cart text messages and how to setup push notifications with CartBounty.

5. Abandoned cart recovery email examples

Here are a couple of practical examples of good abandoned cart recovery emails used by different companies across the globe.

1. Dollar Shave Club

This company is using abandoned cart recovery workflow with multiple steps. The goal of the first email is to remind about the cart and offer alternative products whereas the second email is concentrating on showcasing the features and benefits of each product in the set that was added to the cart.

First email

1st email in abandoned cart recovery series. Dollar Shave Club
1st abandoned cart email. Dollar Shave Club

From name: Dollar Shave Club
Email subject: We noticed you didn’t finish signing up
Sent after: 1 day

Email features a clear message, price, prominent call to action button and package contents laid out in a creative and visually effective manner. In addition, email also includes some product suggestions.

Second email

2nd email in abandoned cart recovery series. Dollar Shave Club
2nd abandoned cart email. Dollar Shave Club

From name: Dollar Shave Club
Email subject: What goes into your shave, John?
Sent after: 3 days

Email subject and title use personalization to attract additional attention to the message in case the first message was ignored by the recipient. The main difference from the 1st email is that this email focuses on product features and benefits.

2. Away

Another example of a company using multiple step abandoned cart recovery workflow. Main objective of the first email is to remind about the cart. The second email is doing the same except with different messaging and trying to raise urgency with the “Keep shopping while it’s still in stock” line. Both emails also feature additional selling points and links to other product categories.

First email

1st abandoned cart email. Away
1st abandoned cart email. Away

From name: Away
Email subject: Did you forget something?
Sent after: 3 hours

First email arrived 3 hours after the cart was abandoned and includes a general reminder with a profound title, abandoned product and call to action button “Keep shopping”.

Second email

2nd abandoned cart email. Away
2nd abandoned cart email. Away

From name: Away
Email subject: Don’t leave without this
Sent after: 24 hours

Second email was received 24 hours after cart abandonment. It is similar to the first, however is using different subject line, message and uses a sense of urgency.

Third email

3rd abandoned cart email. Away
3rd abandoned cart email. Away

From name: Away
Email subject: Your cart is lonely
Sent after: 6 days

This is the last and final email in this series which arrived 6 days after cart abandonment. It does not include any incentives, but it does have some clever word play in the contents of the reminder.

3. G-Star

G-star is also using multiple abandoned cart recovery emails, but the first and the second emails are both equal except the product thumbnail image is different.

First email

First abandoned cart recovery email. G-Star RAW
First abandoned cart recovery email. G-Star RAW

From name: G-Star RAW
Email subject: Psst… You’ve left something behind
Sent after: 4 hours

Email starts with a bold title clearly explaining the reason this email has reached the recipient. Email is personalized and includes the abandoned product along with the image. Abandoned cart recovery email ends with a call to reach out in case of technical issues and some additional selling points (returns and shipping).

4. Sugarbear

Abandoned cart reminder email series from SugarBear is the only one in this list using animated image in the first email and that makes it stand out.

First email

1st abandoned cart email. SugarBear
1st abandoned cart email. SugarBear

From name: SugarBearHair
Email subject: Hi Beautiful, You left something in your cart!?
Sent after: 2 hours

A very well used animated image for attracting recipients attention to the contents of this reminder.

Second email

2nd abandoned cart email. SugarBear
2nd abandoned cart email. SugarBear

From name: SugarBearHair
Email subject: Your cart is about to expire!
Sent after: 24 hours

Subject line of this email is trying to attract recipients attention and create a sense of urgency. The rest of the message is quite similar to the first one.

What’s next


Last updated 4 months ago


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