What Are Abandoned Cart Emails? The Ultimate Guide For 2022

December 10, 2021

As an entrepreneur, you’ve worked incredibly hard to attract customers to your site. You’ve invested in countless marketing techniques that include search engine optimization, advertising, social media campaigns, you name it. But what if there’s one method that is often overlooked that’s guaranteed to boost your sales by up to 20%. The answer? Abandoned cart emails.

You’ve probably noticed these vanishing shoppers and thought they were lost causes. Well, you’re not alone. According to a 12-month study, more than 81% of abandoned carts were completely ignored by business owners. This resulted in over $2 billion of lost revenue.

Pair this with the 39% increase in sales for eCommerce stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no better time and opportunity to amp up your recovery email game than today.

But, it is not as simple as it sounds. Gone are the days when saying “Buy now!” was considered effective. Throw an aggressive marketing email to your leads and they’ll quickly ignore, delete, or opt-out of your messages. If you want to dominate the recovery email game, subtlety is the way to go.

In this blog post, we will teach you exactly how you can implement this in your campaigns. Moreover, not only will we provide an abandoned cart email’s definition, but you’ll also learn the anatomy of what its truly ‘effective’ counterpart looks like.

At CartStack we’ve sent over 50 million recovery emails. And so if you’re searching for the best 2022 guide in this subject, you’ve come to the right place.

Abandoned Carts vs. Abandoned Checkouts: Why The Difference Matters

abandoned cart vs abandoned checkout

Simply put, abandoned cart emails are follow-up messages sent to consumers who placed items in their carts without completing the purchase.

There’s a strong probability that the platform you’re currently using already has a version of this set up for you.

An example would be BigCommerce. The image above shows how they have customizable and automatic recovery emails readily available for their customers. At first glance, you’d think that this is such an awesome feature to have. In some way, it is, considering the fact that it’s built-in and therefore its navigation is completely hassle-free.

But, here’s the catch.

A vast majority of these services are only triggered with abandoned checkouts, not abandoned carts.

The difference between these two may be small but it’s highly critical.

Abandoned checkouts occur when a lead has entered all the necessary information but bails out in the last step of the purchasing process.

Think about it.

Based on your personal experience, you’ve probably added items to your cart so you can refer to them later when you’re ready to make the purchase. You didn’t necessarily fill in your details just yet.

Imagine the number of leads you’re missing out on because the tool you’re using only recovers abandoned checkouts. It’s massive!

At CartStack, email addresses are captured and tracked no matter where your potential buyers are on your website. They don’t need to click on the Submit button to receive follow-up emails.

Not only that but we now have the long-anticipated exit intent pop-ups. This feature allows you to do the following:

  • Get 20% more email signups
  • Capture up to 80% more abandoned cart emails
  • Increase overall sales and conversion by up to 10%

Indispensable Elements of a Successful Abandoned Cart Email

Indispensable Elements of a Successful Abandoned Cart Email

Because the majority of cart recovery tools only cover abandoned checkouts, it’s easy to see why they only have a success rate of 10% or less.

But, that’s not the only reason why their emails aren’t effective. Chances are they are using outdated techniques that have a negative impact on their conversion.

At CartStack, we have a 50% open rate with our abandoned carts emails. We’ve analyzed the important aspects that make recovery emails clickable and highly converting.

#1 Personalization


Did you know that eCommerce emails have the highest click-to-open rate in the industry? According to a 2020 study, it even bested sports and finance emails.

This can be surprising considering that most of us don’t even like to open marketing emails. But, entrepreneurs are getting better at crafting interesting and attention-grabbing messages.

One of the top tricks up their sleeves is email personalization. Recent data shows 78% of marketers utilize this technique.

And, for good reason. Analysis of more than 7 billion emails showed that if you personalize your subject line alone, you’ll skyrocket your clickthrough rate by 58% and open rate by 50%. There are other areas that optimize recovery emails should you customize them. They are the following:

  • Include the name of your subscribers: This one may seem too simple to work. But according to the same study, emails that contain the recipient’s name in the subject line have an increased open rate of 21.2%.
  • Show them the items left in the cart: Jog your customers’ memories by showing them the products that they’ve left in their shopping carts. After all, they chose your items for a special reason, and seeing it again can reignite their interest.
  • Customize the message based on their interests: Not only should you mention your subscribers’ names and display abandoned items, but you must also personalize the message according to their unique interests. A good way to implement this is by changing the banner images and the texts to suit the specific products or services that the recipient has left in their cart.

#2 ‘Support’ tone

‘Support’ tone

Earlier in this post, we stated that emails that are too salesy should be avoided at all costs. In this section, here’s what we recommend that you utilize in its place: the support tone.

In a previous article, we stressed that this tactic is one of our most favorite because of its effectiveness. The reason behind its efficacy is how this type of messaging presents your emails as a form of service or customer assistance.

You can ask your shoppers if they need help or have questions about your products. You should also display your contact details such as telephone number, email address, or live chat link so they can easily get in touch with you.

This is a great approach to abandoned cart emails because it doesn’t assume the negative and even provides a bridge to communicate with buyers.

#3 Correct Timing

Correct abandoned cart email timing

Sending recovery emails isn’t a one-time thing, nor is it something that you should wait too long to accomplish.

As a matter of fact, those who fall behind by 24 hours miss 50% of conversion. It is absolutely crucial that you follow up on your customers straight away before they eventually buy from the competition.

Some platforms recommend waiting at least an hour before dispatching the first batch. But, we at CartStack, strongly suggest that you do so in 20-30 minutes since urgency is key in this type of email.

The second one should typically be sent after a day and the last should be at least 2-3 days after.

#4 Catchy Subject Lines

catchy abandoned cart subject line

Subject lines are the most important part of your email because this is the first thing that your subscribers see. In fact, statistics show that 47% of recipients decide to open emails depending on the subject line alone.

The same source also points out that adding the word “free” boosts its open rate by 10% while creating a sense of exclusivity and urgency increases clicks by 22%.

That’s why you should never put a bland subject line to your abandoned cart emails. By doing so, you’ll waste your precious time and hard work spent on making your email’s content and design.

When it comes to the best subject lines, we’ve come up with 17+ of the finest ones you can use for your campaign.

To give you a preview, here are some examples from the article above.

‘Did Something Go Wrong’ Subject Line

  • Oops, did something go wrong with your order?
  • Internet problems? Don’t miss out on your cart! 
  • Technical issue? Don’t worry, your cart is waiting for you! 

Personalized Subject Line

  • Haven’t decided yet, {Name}?
  • {Name} Seems like you left your {Product} behind!
  • This is just for you, {Name}.

Customer Review Subject Line

  • These reviews might help you decide what to do with your cart.
  • If you’re undecided on your cart, have a look at what others say about us….
  • Still deciding? Check out some reviews and checkout!

‘Try Not To Laugh’ Subject Line

  • {Name}, your shopping cart has abandonment issues
  • Baby, come back
  • Did you forget about me?

Special Offer Subject Line

  • Still thinking it over? Maybe this will help… 
  • 10% discounts for orders over $50. Hurry back now! 
  • It’s the holidays! Enjoy our free shipping discounts

#5 Visual Elements

Visual Elements

Now that we’ve tackled subject lines, let’s proceed with the must-have content of your recovery abandoned carts emails. Although this part should be attention-grabbing, keep in mind that it’s best to have a minimalistic design.

  • Logo: This should be placed on the top portion of the body of your email. This way, your brand will be immediately recognized by the shopper.
  • Contact Details: As we noted in the prior Support Tone section, placing your company’s contact information is vital. These should be easy to spot to help reduce frustration should your customers need assistance or have further questions regarding their cart items. In addition to the usual contact information, you can also place links to your social media accounts.
  • CTA Buttons: As a general rule, it’s important that you don’t overwhelm your recipients with way too many CTAs. One that says something along the lines of, “Go to your cart now” is enough.
  • Images: In addition to the banner image – which should be altered depending on your subscribers’ interests, you can also include the pictures of the items left in the cart.
  • Unsubscribe Link: In accordance with the CCPA (we’ll discuss this in more detail in the last section), you must always have a recognizable unsubscribe button in your emails.

#Bonus: Irresistible Deals

Irresistible Deals

As we promised at the beginning of this article, this is the complete guide to successful abandoned cart emails.

And so, in this section, we’ll uncover the roots of cart abandonment and mention long-term strategies. This is just a preview though. If you want to learn more about this subject, check out our comprehensive blog post about it.

More importantly, we’ll also give you irresistible deals that are the best short-term solutions for your abandoned cart emails.

‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Abandoned Carts

Before we discuss the different offers you can give to your potential customers, let’s first understand “good” and “bad” abandoned carts. These are the ones that will convert with less effort.

Waiting For The Right Time
  • Changed Their Minds: There are many reasons that people change their minds when they abandon their carts. They may have decided to not go through with the purchase because they aren’t sure yet. This is still considered good because there’s a chance that they can be persuaded to buy again.
  • Waiting For The Right Time: One of the best cart abandoners are those that add items to their carts because they will complete the purchase when the timing is right. They could be waiting for their paychecks, an occasion, or deals to come up.

These two are the low-hanging fruits of abandoned cart emails. In fact, even if you don’t contact these types of shoppers, there’s a high probability that they’ll return to their carts on their own. But, it wouldn’t hurt on your part to give them gentle reminders of their items.

So now, let’s move forward to “bad” abandonment. To spice things up a bit, here’s one reason that is beyond any short-term strategy for your recovery emails.

Too Many ‘Barriers of Entry’
  • Too Many ‘Barriers of Entry’: Take a look at your website’s design. Is it too complicated? Do you require too many forms to get filled out? The rule is that the more steps are required for a customer to buy a product, the less likely they’ll finish it.

For this one, you’ll need to get in touch with your developer or improve this yourself if you have the know-how.

As for the last three, they’re the ones that we can still salvage.

  • Expensive Upfront Costs: Some of the most common fees that scare buyers away are pricey shipping fees and high sales tax. You might have to switch to a more affordable service in terms of fulfillment provider but this can have its downsides like lower quality and inconvenience on your part. After all, price isn’t everything.
  • Found Lower Price in Another Store: This one may seem like a goner but has the capacity to improve your store in the long run. Conduct market research and see if your prices are still reasonable compared to the competition. You can also highlight the value of your items.
  • Slow Shipping Time: This is especially applicable for international buyers or those that are situated far from your store. There are also companies that use a “pre-order” method in order to instill excitement, lower financial risk, and see the demand for their items.

Remember that for the “bad” kind of abandonment, it will greatly benefit you to come up with long-term solutions. As for the more immediate ones, here are 5 irresistible deals that you can offer your shoppers:

Discounted Shipping
  • Discounted Shipping: This one is perfect for reasons number 1 and 3. You can offer a flat rate even free shipping to your customers. Moreover, you can give them the option to upgrade to faster delivery services.
  • Coupon – Dollar Amount: This form of a coupon shows how much money a customer can save should they use it. No one says no to free money and reciprocity can just be the nudge they needed. 
  • Coupon – Percent Off: Similar to the former, this one actually lets the customer save more and therefore, can motivate them to purchase more products.
  • Free Gift: This may appear to be an unwise proposition. But here’s how you can leverage it to your advantage. You can include your branding in your gift, which leads to free advertising. Another thing you can do is give them a small accessory that compliments a bigger one.
  • Access to Exclusive Content: Offer cart abandoners a consultation, exclusive eBooks,  limited edition products, to gauge their attention.

How to Make Your Abandoned Cart Emails CCPA-Compliant

How to Make Your Abandoned Cart Emails CCPA-Compliant

The last topic we would like to cover is for the safety of your company should you have any client situated in California, USA.

Last January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA legislation was implemented. This new data protection Act ensured that the residents of California had the following rights:

  • Access to stored personal information
  • Ability to obtain sold or bought individual data
  • Right to opt-out of the collection or sales of this info
  • Request for the permanent omission of their confidential details

Additionally, should a consumer ask for the record you have on them, you are required to comply with his or her request within 45 days.

If you don’t follow through with this, you can pay up to $7,500 per intentional violation, $2,500 per unintentional violation, or $570 per consumer per incident for illegally accessed data. Let’s say your company has 100 buyers from California, you could pay fines up to $750,000.

So, how can you ensure that your abandoned cart emails are following this Act? Any recorded data for your companies must strictly be:

  • Securely-held
  • Accurate collected
  • Readily available for deletion or access
  • Contains the unsubscribe link for your campaigns

The good news is that if you’re using CartStack, there’s no need to worry about CCPA. You can simply send us an email if your buyers need to delete or access their information. Our templates also include the unsubscribe link located at the bottom.

If you want more info on how this Act affects your business, we’ve crafted a comprehensive guide. Learn more about this through our CCPA and Cart Abandonment Emails: What You Need to Know article.

Here’s the Bottom Line

It’s time to stop ignoring abandoned carts and start converting them.

This complete guide can lead the way.

At CartStack, you can use our easy-to-navigate drag-and-drop abandoned cart email builder. It’s perfect if you’re the non-techie type. We also have the HTML option in case you already have a developer.

You can try it out yourself by signing for our 14-day trial that’s absolutely free of charge. We guarantee that with this alone, you can recover up to $1k!

Got any questions? Give us a call at 888-363-3647 or send us a quick email: support@cartstack.com.