[Vol. 2] Recovery Campaigns: How to Recapture Abandoned Sales

August 29, 2019

Losing a potential customer is painful, especially when you’ve dedicated time, budget, and effort into getting them to your website. Yet, it’s happening to your eCommerce store all of the time. Seven out of ten customers are abandoning your website before paying, and nine out of ten customers are leaving before they’ve even picked up a basket. 

Browse and cart abandonment both are serious threats to your online success. Is a basic cart abandonment plugin the solution? Not any more. Customers now crave tailored shopping experiences, meaning that a generic cart abandonment email won’t cut the mustard – targeting and converting only a small fraction of your lost customers. Instead, you need to implement a customer recovery strategy that uses the right tools and tactics to send the right message, to the right customers, at the right time. 

In the second part of our Customer Recovery Series, we’re looking at the importance of customer recovery campaigns, and how you can use the information gleaned from your on-site campaigns to reengage and convert the shoppers you thought you’d lost. What do we mean by on-site and recovery campaigns? Let’s take a quick look. 

On-site retargeting campaigns

On-site retargeting campaigns are a series of techniques used to target online shoppers while they’re on your website. They have two main aims:

  1. Getting customers to convert before abandonment happens using tools like exit intent offers, delayed popups, and live chat. 
  2. Gathering detailed contact information about your customers to use should they later abandon, by using tools such as real-time lead capture, exit intent tools, “Send My Cart” and push notification opt-ins. 

You can learn more about on-site retargeting campaigns in part one of our Customer Recovery Series: On-Site Retargeting Campaigns: How to Optimize the Traffic You Already Have.

Recovery campaigns

A recovery campaign is a series of messages sent to customers who have left your website either before adding products to their shopping cart (browse abandonment) or after (cart abandonment). They aim to:

  1. Remind the shopper about their visit to your website;
  2. Reengage the shopper’s interest in the products they were viewing;
  3. Return the shopper back to your website and those products; and
  4. Recover lost revenue by getting the shopper to convert. 

A basic cart abandonment strategy achieves the four ‘R’s by sending cart abandonment emails to customers who have logged into your website and added items to their basket only. A customer recovery campaign achieves the four ‘R’s for customers at any stage of the buying journey – using targeted emails, reminders and push notifications to send the right message at the right time and drive conversion. Let us explain more. 

Customer Recovery Campaigns to Increase Conversions

Customer recovery campaigns (also known as website abandonment campaigns) recover sales by sending a series of messages tailored to when a customer left your website and, accordingly, how engaged they were before they left. Someone who looked at one product before abandoning will require a different message than someone who abandoned on the checkout page with several items in their cart. 

Tailoring the message in this way enables you to employ certain tactics that increase your chances of converting. But, before we get to that, let’s take a look at the four main recovery campaigns:

Browse abandonment emails

Browse abandonment (also known as discovery failure) emails are sent to shoppers who have left your website without adding an item to their cart. These shoppers are the least engaged, meaning that they require more care and attention to get them to convert. Browse abandonment emails, therefore, need a gentle approach that familiarizes the shopper with your brand and offers a helping hand rather than pushing them to buy. 

browse abandonment email example cartstack recovery campaign

Cart abandonment emails

Cart abandonment emails are sent to shoppers who have left your website after adding items to their shopping cart. These shoppers are highly engaged with your brand and products, allowing you to use this engagement to target their emotions and encourage them to complete their purchase. 

cart abandonment email example cartstack recovery campaign

“Send My Cart” emails

Send My Cart emails are a sequence of reminder emails sent to a customer who has sent themselves an email with their cart items, using an on-site Send My Cart tool. These shoppers are the most engaged of them all – intending to come back and complete their purchase at a later time. When for some reason (life) they haven’t returned, you can use these emails to remind customers about their pending purchase while using other tactics to convert. 

Push notifications

Push notifications are a series of timed, clickable notifications that appear directly in a customer’s web browser, regardless of what website they are on. To receive push notifications, customers must opt-in when they are on your website (as covered in Customer Recovery Series Pt.1). Accordingly, these customers are more engaged and interested in hearing from you. Push notifications are useful for targeting these customers when they are primed to continue their journey (at their computer) and, accordingly, can achieve up to a 5% recovered revenue boost. 

cart abandonment push notifications cartstack recovery campaign

Each of these drip recovery campaigns has the potential to recover a significant amount of customers – So how do you realize this potential?

Customer Recovery Campaign tips and best practice

To maximize the click-through rates, conversion numbers, and sales figures of these customer recovery campaigns, you need to optimize the messages you’re sending. Specifically, you need to think about:

Customer segmentation

To target the right customer with the right campaign, you need to ensure that your leads are queued into a campaign relevant to their stage in the customer journey. Sending a cart abandonment email to a lost “window shopper” is rarely going to do the trick. Using a customer recovery tool that employs real-time segmentation will do this for you – automatically, segmenting your lost shoppers based on behavioral data captured while they were shopping


The volume and timing of your recovery emails are fundamental to your open rates. An email sent too soon could scare a browse abandoner off, while an email sent too late could be no longer relevant to a customer who abandoned their cart. What’s the best timing for cart abandonment emails and discovery failure messages? We recommend:

  • First cart abandonment email to be sent 20-30 minutes after abandonment; and
  • First browse abandonment email to be sent 20 minutes after abandonment;
  • Send My Cart emails to be sent immediately after signing up;
  • Push notifications to be sent in 24-hour intervals, starting from when the customer abandoned. 

Following the initial email, we recommend sending a second email 1-3 days after abandonment and a third email 4-7 days after abandonment. After this, you should transfer the lead into your standard marketing software using Zapier, in order to continue future outreach & indoctrinate buyers who just weren’t ready yet. 


Segmented personalized emails generate 46% higher open rates and 112% higher click-through rates – but require much more than inserting a first name and some top-selling products. Personalization that converts requires relevance to the customer journey. 

Browse abandonment

These customers have yet to put an item into their shopping cart, so inject personalization by inserting the images, descriptions, and pricing of the products they viewed into their email. 

Cart abandonment

These customers have given you a little more information to work with, so personalize your cart abandonment emails with the product information (images, description, and price) of the items they viewed, along with dynamic product recommendations based on what they were browsing. 

Subject line

The subject line is what gets your email opened. Start with a supportive tone, follow up with urgency, and finish off with persuasion.

Oops…did something go wrong?

Gerhard – your shopping cart is about to expire. 

25% off your entire order for 24 hours. 

Bonus tip – achieve 40-70% open rates with our top abandoned cart subject lines.


What you say in your customer recovery emails influences the likelihood of a customer opening, reading, and clicking through your email. Specifically, you need to concentrate on:


Get your email off to the right start by opening with the customer’s name. Using someone’s first name is attention-grabbing, friendly, and easy to obtain using an on-site contact information capture tool. 


The body of your email should adopt the right tone, psychology, and information according to the recovery campaign being sent out. 

  • Browse abandonment emails necessitate a gentle tone that introduces your brand, reminds customers what they were looking at, and offers help. 
  • Cart abandonment emails require a more persuasive tone that uses psychological tactics such as framing and social proof to remind the customer about their cart and cross-sell products.
  • Send My Cart reminders warrant a more urgent tone that uses loss aversion psychological tactics to urge the customer to complete their purchase. 
  • Push notifications are of limited characters, so a direct and to-the-point tone is essential. 


More than two-thirds of customers say that eye-catching images influence them to click “buy” – in other words, images increase conversions. Adopt a simple, image-driven layout that entices with high-quality product photographs and leads to that all-important call to action button. 

Tip: Check out our top eCommerce product photography tips in this handy guide. 

Call to action

Always include a call to action – telling your customer what to do next – and always ensure that it is relevant to that customer’s journey. Telling a browse abandoner to “pick their basket back up” is neither relevant or compelling. 


And last, but by no means least, incentives. Costs are the biggest reason for cart abandonment. Remove this conversion obstacle by offering relevant discount coupons, free delivery, or free gifts in your recovery emails to incentivize shoppers back. For even better results, couple incentives with some scarcity tactics to really encourage your lost leads back. 

cart abandonment high converting email example cartstack recovery campaign


The second stage in any customer recovery strategy should aim to recover all of the shoppers lost on your website – not just the ones who logged in and added something to their shopping cart. Customer recovery campaigns achieve exactly this – sending tailored browse abandonment emails, cart abandonment emails, Send My Cart reminders, and push notifications to target customers and drive conversions.

Get started with  Recovery Campaign today, and recover your first $1,000 in lost sales free using CartStack!