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How To Write An Abandoned Cart Email That Wins A Customer Back

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

Abandoned cart emails and a winning abandon cart strategy are all anyone can talk about at the moment—and for good reason.

Not only are abandoned cart emails super easy to set up and completely automated, but they are a brilliant way to snatch back a few sales before they fall through the cracks.

Research conducted by Omnisend discovered that in the first half of 2021 around 40% of people who clicked on an abandoned cart email went on to complete their order.

That’s a pretty impressive number, especially when you consider that all it takes to win them back is an automated email.

Working with a number of brands, from small one-person startups to multilevel international companies, CVC has had the opportunity to battle test and refine a winning abandon cart strategy that gives you the best chance to win back a customer.

While we would love to say that we have the secret recipe for a fail-proof abandoned cart template, the truth is that there is no one way to do email marketing. The best strategy for abandoned carts is to set yourself up for success with the right abandoned cart email copy, a winning subject line, and a willingness to test, tweak and discover.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it all.

What is an abandoned cart email?

Before we get into it, let’s first go back to basics to understand exactly what an abandoned cart email is.

An abandoned cart email is an email that gets sent to a website visitpr who left a website without purchasing the items they had in their cart. These emails are kind of like a little nudge to a prospective customer.

Some important details to include in your abandoned cart email copy are:

  1. Your brand name: your customer needs to know who is contacting them

  2. The customer’s name: why not make it a little more personal?

  3. Friendly tone-of-voice: your email is a soft-sell, not an angry demand

  4. A sense of urgency: if there’s a time limit on their cart, let them know! A countdown timer or a time limit can help boost conversion through the roof

  5. The product or service in their cart: most people won’t remember what they put in their cart, so a quick summary will help remind them what they love

A Fail-Proof Abandoned Cart Email Series

Before we get into the copy, it’s important to establish your email strategy. According to Omnisend, a series of emails works 63% better than a single email for abandoned cart emails.

It’s a little more work than just one email, but the benefits outweigh the labour, and once you create your email chain, you’re set!

The best abandoned email strategy plan looks like this:

  • Email 1: Cart reminder: This is sent a few hours after cart abandonment.

  • Email 2: Follow-up: Sent a few days after the first email.

  • Email 3: Promotional discount: the final email in the chain, and a last-ditch effort to entice the customer back. Sent a few days after email two, some brands prefer to skip this email.

It really is that simple!

Whether you send one email or implement a full drip campaign, there are a few best practices to keep in mind when planning an abandoned cart email.

How To Write Abandoned Email Copy

1. Create an irresistible subject line

Did you know that research conducted by OptInMonster found that 64% of people decide if they will open an email based on the subject line?

Most people will have an overflowing inbox with hundreds of unread emails, so you need to make sure your email stands out without being annoying (a delicate balancing act).

You only have around 20-30 characters to play with before the subject line gets cut off in an email, so make it count.

Here are some good examples of simple abandon cart email subject lines:

  • [Name], you forgot something!

  • We’re ready if you’re ready

  • Our eco-friendly toothbrushes are selling fast—don’t miss out!

  • Don’t let free shipping go to waste

  • Did you know you have 10% off your first purchase?

  • Psst…did you forget something?

Don’t overthink it, and keep it simple. Added bonus: include an emoji or two to really stand out from the inbox crowd.

2. Give a single, clear call-to-action

A call-to-action (CTA) is a link that is designed to prompt a response of some kind from the person reading the email. It might be an invitation for them to go to your website, to review their cart or a discount code they can use on their first purchase.

You might be tempted to include every single CTA in your abandon cart email. Maybe your lost customer can be lured back with a cheeky discount, a suggestion of other products, or even an offer to join a mailing list, too?

It’s tempting, yes. But offering a prospective customer too many CTAs will have the opposite effect. You can’t effectively use every single strategy in your abandoned cart email.

Use one single CTA in your email, and stick with gentle phrasing:

  • Review your cart

  • Your 10% promo code is waiting for you

  • Get your summer glow!

  • Check out these other products you might love

3. Make it fun

Online shopping is a fun experience, so keep your abandoned email copy fun.

Many people fall into the trap of making their email copy super serious, relying on traditional direct-response copy phrases like “buy now” or “we are contacting you in regards to your abandoned cart”.

Neither of those will entice people to come back to your website, let alone make a purchase.

That’s why you should be afraid to make your abandoned cart email a little colourful. You don’t have to go over the top with gifs and cheeky language if it’s not your brand, but you should make an effort to add a little life to your email copy.

For example, a pet food company could send out:

  • Uh-oh! Your cart is rolling away from you!

  • Im-paws-sible, you forgot about your puppy treats!

  • Did you get distracted by a cute puppy? We do, too. Don’t worry, we’ve kept your cart safe!

  • Look what our beloved email pooch Baxter found!

Keep the copy fun, welcoming, and remember: you’re trying to engage with people, not robots, so don’t be afraid of a little humour sprinkled over the top.

4. Create a sense of urgency or FOMO

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a great way to entice customers back to your website. People usually dislike to miss out on things, and the thought that their chosen product may slip through their fingers may be enough to nudge them to make a purchase.

You can achieve this sense of urgency by informing them that:

  • The cart will reset soon: “your cart is about to expire, but there’s still time!”

  • Their chosen products are running out of stock: “something you loved is about to run out of stock!”

  • The current promotion or deal is about to expire: “final days of sale—don’t miss out!”

  • Offering them a limited-time-only discount code: “order before 15th to qualify for free express shipping!”

5. Remind them of what’s in their cart

Most people won’t remember what they added to their cart. Without a clear list of the items in their cart, most people will read the email and then delete it.

Most email automation platforms will allow you to organise for your customer to get a little list of what was in their cart along with product shots and price. Again, it doesn’t take much to set up, but it could be the difference between a sale and a lost customer.

6. Include other related items

Perhaps your customer has been eyeing off your beauty serums. They’re interested in getting a product made from al-natural ingredients, but they’re unsure if they’re ready to commit to a serum yet.

By showing them other related products, you’re giving them other options if they’re not ready for the full purchase. A moisturiser with similar ingredients to the serum might be a better entry point for newer customers.

Sometimes the algorithm gets confused as suggests products that aren’t related to what a customer has shown interest in. This isn’t a deal-breaker and won’t be the direct cause for someone to delete your email. As a silver lining, the customer might see a completely unrelated product and think “that looks interesting, I didn’t see it before!

7. Offer a discount code or promotion

There’s nothing sweeter than receiving an email letting you know that the product you were on the fence is now on discount. But for you and your business, an abandoned cart promotion can be a problem.

A discount can entice new customers who might not be familiar with who you are and what you are selling, but it can also give them the expectation that your product or service is not worth the original cost.

Rather than immediately blasting someone with an irresistible discount, a good strategy is to wait until the end of your email sequence (the third email in our email roadmap at the top of the article). In the last email (your last shot at converting a customer), you can add a coupon or discount.

Ready to win back your lost customers?

As we said before, you can’t win back every single customer! But, you can give them and your brand the best chance to connect again with this simple strategy.

Still unsure about how to tackle those pesky emails? We would love to help you out! Simply book in a call with us today here and let’s get your automated emails written and perfected.


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