Abandoned Cart Subject Lines That Get 40 – 70% Open Rates

July 1, 2019

There are plenty of blogs out there on the best abandoned cart subject lines for success, but how do you know which ones actually work the best? Well we’ve done the research and the proof is in the open rate!

Where a typical email marketing campaign can expect to achieve a 15% open rate, a CartStack cart abandonment email campaign can expect to achieve between 40-70%. And we’re here to share how with our top abandoned cart subject lines that get opened in 2019.

The importance of an abandoned cart email subject line

47% of people open an email based on the subject line alone. Not only is that nearly half of your potential customers not reading what you have to say, but that’s also half of your ROI already down the drain. So what makes subject lines so important?

  • It’s your first impression – setting the tone of how the recipient views your brand;
  • It’s an insight into the email – helping the reader decide whether to delete or read; and
  • It’s an indication of urgency – dictating whether the recipient reads now or saves for later.

Subject lines are crucial to the success of your abandonment email campaign – but before we jump into some really great subject line examples, let’s take a look at what goes into a successful email subject line.

The essence of a successful abandoned cart subject line

The difference between a subject line that gets opened and one that gets tossed into the garbage can is a mixture of:


We’ll concentrate on timing more below, but in short – the time you send your cart abandonment email directly influences the type (or tone) of subject line that is successful.

Word limit

Different devices, email clients, and customers like different subject line lengths. There’s been a lot of research into this and industry consensus is that around 41 characters (or seven words) is the sweet spot.


Your 41 character subject line needs to use trigger words and calls to action that grab attention in a way that compels the reader to open the email.

Tip: take a look at our 50 cart abandonment email examples to help with your campaign.

So, now you know what goes into a successful abandoned cart subject line, here are some winning examples.

Abandoned cart subject lines that get a 40 – 60% open rate

Rather than hammering you with hundreds of subject lines to take your pick from, we’ve dialed it down to the ones that actually work, tailored according to the cadence & timing of your recovery campaigns.

Email subject line #1 – the supportive email

Your first abandoned cart email should be sent at around 20-30 minutes after abandonment – not too soon to be ignored or too late to be irrelevant. The goal of this email should be support. Why? No one likes to be accused of something by someone they’ve only just met – and making assumptions as to the reasons they’ve abandoned can be a dangerous game (i.e. You forgot to check out!). Therefore it’s best to offer a friendly and helpful tone that helps the customer overcome any problems and pick up where they left off. Really, you’re just letting them know that you’re there.

  • Whoops – did something go wrong with your order?
  • Is there anything we can do to help?
  • Your basket looks so good – so we saved it.
  • Cart reserved – click back where you left off!
  • Where did you go? We’re holding your bag.

Email subject line #2 – the urgent email

Your next cart abandonment email should be sent the day after the abandonment happened. This gives bargain hunters the time to shop around, deliberators the time to mull it over and busy people the time to finish that episode of Friends (for the 20th time). Since you’ve already introduced yourself, this email can be a little more direct – using psychology, personalization, and urgency to create clicks. A little humor here can go a long way too. 

  • [First name] – don’t leave a good thing behind.
  • Your shopping cart is about to expire
  • Act fast if you still want your items.
  • Hey there – Nice cart 😉
  • Your cart is getting lonely!
  • Hurry back while your items are still in stock.

Email subject line #3 – the persuasive email

Your final cart abandonment email should be sent three to five days after abandonment. This leaves a big enough gap to not seem stalkerish but not too long a gap that they’ve forgotten about you, moved state or changed their last name. Since this is your final shot, you can afford to be a little more persuasive and, if it matches your brand, blunt. Let’s take a look:

  • Today only – empty your cart with free shipping.
  • 25% off your entire order for 24 hours.
  • [Name] – don’t leave a good thing behind.
  • Is it something we said?

Future email subject lines

Once you’ve exhausted your cart abandonment email campaign, you can then send your cart abandonment customer leads directly to your marketing platform using Zapier – incorporating them into your future mass-marketing email campaigns, using your chosen subject lines.

Subject lines – final thoughts

But, perhaps the most important consideration of all for a successful subject line, is sticking to your brand’s tone of voice. If your style is cheeky, to-the-point and tongue-in-cheek, the subject line “Oi – where did you go, we’re still holding your stuff” will go down better with your target audience than “Little reminder – we’re holding your cart.” Follow the above pointers, tailor it to your brand’s style, and see how it works with some A/B testing. You never know, you could be doubling your open rates, and tripling your customers in no time.