How To Build A High-Converting Abandoned Cart Email

November 19, 2020
By Lizzie Hoffman

abandon cart emails

Cart abandonment is a natural stage of the eCommerce buying cycle. You know the reasons and you know the stats. A large % of abandoned carts are recoverable — and the same goes for recovering people who abandon after browsing products or doing searches. This is possible through the use of your email marketing or email retargeting tools.

Your abandoned cart email series has the highest potential return of any of your campaigns. On average, abandoned cart emails get a 44.1% open rate, and 30% of clicks lead to a purchase. That makes abandoned cart campaigns your fastest way to revenue.

The key word in the title of this post is “series”. A three-part series has a 69% higher conversion rate than a single email, and you’ll want to maximize every chance to convert these folks into customers. Our customers most often use 2-4 emails.

These are the questions that we hear the most:

  • How many emails should I use?
  • How do I plan my abandoned cart strategy?
  • What tactics improve conversion?
  • What offers or incentives work best?

We’ll answer these questions and more.

This post is for experienced ecommerce email marketers who are looking to improve upon their abandoned cart campaign. You’ll get step-by-step tips, examples of campaigns you can use, and a testing methodology to help get your metrics above the industry benchmarks.

Email Campaign Methodology

We use four focal points to create a successful email campaign. We call it the OLA! method.
  • Open – recipient opens the email
  • Like – recipient likes the content
  • Action – recipient clicks on your Call To Action (CTA)
  • ! – recipient follows through with that action on your site.

Each stage in this methodology is tied to one or two appropriate metrics. See below for details.

If you’re looking for help with increasing your open rates, check out how to get >40% open rates.

This post focuses on creating content people like and on driving action.

 

Create content people like

Effective abandon cart campaigns start with a customer service or branding approach in email 1, then follow up with discount offers for emails 2 and 3, and finally, a “redirect” to bring them back to the site in email 4.

For the unidentified audience, you’ll likely want to start with an incentive in email 1, then increase the incentive by email 3. You might only get this one shot at that audience – make it count.

Tip #1: Keep wording short and sweet

The sweet spot for abandoned cart campaigns is short copy, around 2-4 sentences.

Example 4-email series

 
Email 1
 

That <product name> would look great on you.

Hi -FNAME-,

Thanks for the visit. Did you experience any problems while checking out?

If not…. Imagine yourself wearing this. Nice right?

Big-button-sample-abandoned-email-bouncepilot

Items sometimes sell out quick ... Just sayin!

Email 2
 

X% off your cart, from <Company Name>

Hi -FNAME-,

It looks like you left some great items in your cart. Really Beautiful. Order now to get X% off your purchase + free shipping.

Hurry! This offer will expire in 48 hours.

Lulus-discount-sample-email-remarketing
 
 
Email 3
 

Your discount on <product name> is disappearing!

Hi -FNAME-,

Your offer for X% off is about to expire. Move soldier!

steam-video-game-offer-abandoned-cart-sample
 
Email 4
 

Check out these <product category> on sale

Note: ideally, the Product Category is related to the items they were looking at previously

Hi -FNAME-,

Since we’re both a fan of <product category>, take a look at these sale items!

shoe-sale-sample-email-retargeting
 
 
 

Remember, the basic 4-email campaign is:

  • Customer Support / Branding
  • Incentive
  • Incentive + Urgency
  • Redirect

By starting with this campaign, you’ll be able to create a strong baseline for performance. You can then A/B test or insert more personality into your messaging.

Use the tips below to add/edit the above emails.

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to be creative

Test using different images of shocked expressions, cute sadness, or something absurd mixed in with relevant copy.

A shocked image with the heading “Wait! Where did you go!?”

A cute/sad image of big eyed puppy with copy saying “Cute Puppies Want to Know Why You Left…”

Or something absurd… Like those Old Spice Ads. You know the one

Tip #3: Use Social Proof

Don’t be afraid to throw in testimonials or reviews of your product into the abandoned cart email. Social proof has been proven to help increase conversion rates, but again every situation is different.

Tip #4: Play With Images

Don’t be afraid to test different images of your product. Images are one of the most important factors in driving conversions.

Email Cadence for Average AOVs

For a three-part email series, with an Average Order Value (AOV) of $80 or less, the timing is most commonly:
  • Email 1: Within 1 hour after cart abandonment. Catch them while they’re shopping.
  • Email 2: 48 hours after cart abandonment.
  • Email 3: 4 or 5 days after cart abandonment.
 

Email Cadence for High AOVs

For higher AOVs, you may want to space this out a bit. Larger purchases often require more thought.

  • Email 1: Same as above. 10-30 minutes after cart abandonment. Make a branded impression and give them something to come back to when it’s time to make a purchase.
  • Email 2: 3 or 4 days after cart abandon
  • Email 3: 10 days to 2 weeks after cart abandonment.
 

Other tips to drive action:

 

Tip #5: Urgency and Scarcity

Using urgency and scarcity can be valuable tools for you as you play with different messaging.

Use language such as:

  • Offer expires
  • Only a few left in stock
  • Hurry now.
  • Your items are selling out fast…
 

Tip #6: Discounts, Offers, and Incentives

Don’t underestimate the power of discounts. Play with different models such as % off their purchase, buy one get one free, free shipping, and more.

Tip #7: Call To Action Placement, Design, and Size

Don’t underestimate the power of discounts. Play with different models such as % off their purchase, buy one get one free, free shipping, and more.

A testing methodology for abandoned cart campaigns

After you’ve let your first abandoned cart campaign collect enough data, then it’s time to start testing with different messaging. We recommend at least 10,000 completions.

Use the tips above to create a new iteration of one of the three emails. You only want to test one email at a time because you want to be able to measure not just how the single email performs, but how it impacts the rest of the series.

Use these metrics to measure your campaign success. They’re directly tied to the OLA! Methodology.

Email Metrics and Targets

    • Open
      • Open Rate – you should aim for an Open Rate > 40%.
    • Like
      • Click To Open Rate (CTOR) – this is the # clicks divided by # of opens. It measures the effectiveness of your content body at driving action. You should be aiming for a CTOR > 20%.
    • Action
      • Clickthrough Rate (CTR) – This is the combination of your open rate and CTOR. It’s # clicks divided by # emails delivered. Most people confuse it with CTOR. If you have a 40% Open Rate and a 20% CTOR, then you’ll have an 8% CTR.
    • !
      • Purchase Conversion Rate
      • Revenue Generated

Once your test has run its course, then you should have a clear winner based on these metrics.

Ready to test out email retargeting on your site? Reach out to us for a test pixel!

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