10 Simple Ways to Increase Your Abandoned Cart Conversion Rate

July 9, 2020

At CartStack, we offer customers what we like to call “CartStack Optimize” – an ecommerce conversion audit where we analyze an online seller’s abandoned cart & customer recovery campaigns and make smart recommendations for increasing abandoned cart conversions. 


Well, we know a thing or two about cart abandonment, a lot about customer recovery, and even more about how our customers can maximize their ROI from the CartStack suite of recovery tools. And, phenomenal customer success is what gets us up in the morning so we’re only too happy to help our customers succeed. 

With cart and browse abandonment skyrocketing, owing to the COVID effect on abandoned carts, we’re extending this help to all ecommerce sellers by sharing our most common findings and the tweaks we typically recommend and why. 

Note, this guide assumes a little knowledge of and experience with recovering abandoned carts. If you’re new to ecommerce or yet to implement a customer recovery strategy, head over to the first of our three-part customer recovery series to get started. Otherwise, let’s crack on. 

10 Simple Ways to Increase your Abandoned Cart Conversion Rate

We could write a novel on ways to increase your abandoned cart conversions, but in the interest of time and your to-do list, here are the top ten most common recommendations we make when auditing a store’s customer recovery campaigns: 

1. Subject line split testing

Nearly half of people open an email based on the subject line alone. And, with ecommerce email open rates at only 15.68%, your abandoned cart subject lines are ripe for improvement. 

The top three subject line mistakes we see are:

  • Spam triggers – such as ALL CAPS and excessive punctuation (!!!!);
  • Character limits – being exceeded or barely met; and
  • Content – wording that is ambiguous, generic, or plain boring. 

A/B split testing allows you to identify the abandoned cart subject lines that boost open rates or completely deplete them, by sending two different versions of a subject line. You can then compare results to build a subject line that maximizes inbox visibility and open rates. 

2. Email timing

The timing of your customer recovery emails directly affect whether they’re seen, open, or read. Yet, we regularly see online sellers use the same emailing timing, despite their emails being missed, ignored, and forgotten about. 

At CartStack, our extensive research shows that a three-email drip campaign works best, with the ideal times to send abandoned cart emails being 20-30 minutes after abandonment, and then 1-3 days and 4-6 days following. 

However, and it’s a big however, if you’re not seeing results from this pattern, experiment with your timing until you do. 

3. Email content split testing

abandoned cart split test

The content of your abandoned cart email is arguably the most exciting aspect of your recovery campaign; there are so many tips and tactics to try. This is where many sellers stumble. 

A common faux pas is using too many cart abandonment tactics in one email. This could be an overwhelming amount of personalization, too many images that detract from your CTA, or multiple persuasion tactics that ignite conflicting emotions. 

Instead of jumping in with multiple tactics, pick one or two tactics per email. Even better, use A/B split testing to pinpoint which tactic combinations work best for your customers and their stage in the purchase funnel and re-engagement journey. 

For example, your initial email might convert best using a supportive tone and risk aversion content. Whereas, your final cart abandonment email might generate the highest clicks using a more sales-based tone and persuasion tactics such as loss aversion and social proof. 

Bonus tip: three highly effective conversion tactics that we don’t see a lot of (and we should) are: 

  • Offering support by adding a telephone number, 
  • Offering a coupon or discount code,
  • Experimenting with different “tones” (i.e. relational vs. sales-based) and
  • Injecting scarcity into your copy.

4. A powerful call to action

Does your recovery email tell your audience exactly what they need to do next and make it both easy to and crucial that they do so?

Weak, missing, or multiple calls to action make it harder to re-engage your audience. This can be because there’s no easy way to recommence their shopping journey, there’s no compelling reason to click back to your website, or there’s no indication they can quickly pick up where they left off. 

The most effective recovery CTAs use powerful language that incites emotion or makes the next step feel easy. For example:

  • Checkout out now
  • Click here or miss out!
  • Pick up where you left off.
  • Your basket is waiting.

5. Sending emails from your own custom domains

We recently published an entire article on sending your abandoned cart emails through your own custom domains, and why this can affect your results for the better. Fortunately, CartStack’s domains are well-trusted as well, and do get inboxed more frequently than your typical marketing blasts, but matching your sending domain with the URLs inside of your email can only help your recovery efforts.

Learn more on the importance of custom domain sending here.

6. Offering customers choice

When we see sellers following abandoned cart best practices but still struggling to recover customers, we recommend one simple but effective solution: multiple recovery channels. 

Some customers don’t want to engage or recommence their shopping trip via email. This might be because their inbox is full of spam, their laptop is at work, or emails are so last year. Either way, there are effective multi-channel abandonment tools that don’t require email, including:

As long as you tailor your timing, messaging, and CTA to the channel, you can see phenomenal results by adding an additional channel of communication. 

7. Targeting colder leads

One of our favorite quick wins for increasing abandonment rates is increasing the number of leads pulled from your website. 

Many ecommerce stores only track and contact hot leads – those who added products to their basket and created an account before abandoning their cart. While these leads are certainly more likely to convert, that doesn’t mean you should ignore those who didn’t add to their cart or create a customer account. 

By using a real-time email capture tool to record contact information as it’s typed onto your website, and running a browse abandonment email campaign tailored to customers in the earlier stages of purchasing, you significantly increase your customer recovery rates, simply by increasing your lead generation pool. 

8. Nurturing leads

It’s easy to turn your customer recovery email into a marketing blast that’s full of store promotions and product recommendations. While there’s nothing wrong with using incentives and recommendations to persuade your customers back to your store, it’s important to do so gently.

Recovering customers is a journey, not a one-email trick. Don’t scare your customers away by blasting them with sales content; instead, help them over the checkout line with a three-part drip campaign:

  • Email #1 – offering help and support by including a link to their basket, alongside ways to get in touch via telephone, live chat and email. 
  • Email #2 – using persuasion tactics such as product recommendations, social proof, and risk reversal. 
  • Email #3 – using sales methods such as scarcity and loss aversion. 

9. Adding social proof

Something we definitely don’t see enough of in recovery campaigns is the use of social proof. 

Social proof is incredibly powerful. Eighty-three percent of consumers are more likely to purchase a product based on word-of-mouth recommendations – there’s no comparable marketing tool. Company testimonials, product reviews, and social media coverage are all perfect for increasing trust and eliciting a herd mentality that results in conversions. 

If you’re worried about sounding big-headed or blowing your own trumpet, don’t be. Customers don’t view genuine reviews in that way and you can always adopt a subtle approach by including a review section in your email footer. 

cartstack abandoned cart social proof

10. Utilizing risk reversal

A persuasion technique that’s particularly pertinent at the moment is risk reversal. 

Buying online is risky business, especially when buying directly. Orders might arrive late, products might be not as described, and it might be cheaper elsewhere – there’s a lot that can go wrong. Many sellers reverse this risk by offering free shipping, money-back guarantees, and price-matching promises. However,  not every customer is aware of these.

Include links to and information on your risk reversal policies in your recovery emails. This brings them to the attention of your audience and gives your leads an excellent reason to come back to your store. 

abandoned cart risk reversal

And One Final Tip…

Well, we couldn’t end on an odd number, could we!

The biggest tip of them all for increasing your abandoned cart conversion rate is: versatility. Ecommerce is a continually changing industry so you need to continually change with it. 

Keep your customer recovery strategy effective by keeping up-to-date with the latest customer recovery tactics, regularly auditing your abandoned cart campaigns, and following our blog for the best practices of today and tomorrow.