Email Marketing Tactics to Get Customers Back to Abandoned Shopping Carts

August 19, 2014 Rieva Lesonsky

abandoned shopping cart

Shopping cart abandonment is a fact of life for ecommerce retailers, but there are ways to get customers back to their carts to check out. New data about shopping cart abandonment reported by MediaPost analyzed how 100 ecommerce brands responded to abandoned shopping carts. Here’s what they found, and what it suggests for best practices.

Send a followup email. Amazingly, just 13% of brands sent a post-abandonment email. Clearly, there’s a lot of missed opportunity here. On average, reminder emails were sent 30 hours after cart abandonment. The fastest time was 45 minutes and the slowest was three days.

Be direct. Most followup emails directly referenced the “cart” in the subject lines. Other popular tactics were subject lines reminding shoppers to “complete your order” or acting as “a friendly reminder.”

Don’t be too swift to offer an incentive. Keep in mind that shopping cart abandoners are a long way down the sales funnel, so a reminder rather than an incentive may be all they need. More than three-fourths of brands did not offer an incentive or promotion for purchasing the abandoned cart items. For those that did, free shipping was the most common incentive.

Create a sense of urgency. Create a call to action by telling the customer when the cart expires. Fewer than one-fourth of brands did this, but it can be quite effective.

Tempt them with visuals. More than half (54%) of brands used photos of the shopping cart items in the reminder email.

Offer buying options. Maybe the customer abandoned the cart because they couldn’t figure out how to complete the sale or needed more help. Make it easy by including an option to buy the cart by phone (62% of brands did this).

If at first you don’t succeed.... Among the brands that sent an initial reminder email, 38% sent a second reminder. But keep in mind that there’s a fine line between reminding customers and pestering them, which is probably why only one brand sent a third reminder email. Focus on cart expiration in your second email to create a sense of urgency. If the customer is still contemplating the purchase, this can spur a “last chance” buy.

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

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