How to boost ROI with cart abandonment emails

Although HubSpot estimate average cart abandonment rates at a massive 67.4%, it doesn’t mean those sales are lost forever. Cart abandonment emails not only help to entice customers back to your page, but also help boost your ROI. According to Hybris, shopping-cart recovery emails see an average of 20.8% of potential customers returning to rescue their abandoned carts.

Who will receive your email?

Cart abandonment emails are intended to go out to customers who have put an item in their basket but did not complete the checkout process. In order for you to be able to email them, they would need to have supplied their email address – the most important bit of data required for contacting cart abandoners.

Strategically, the stage at which you ask for an email address will make a big difference. In this example, Cloggs Footwear launch a popup immediately after an item is added to the basket, prompting shoppers to enter their email address in case they want to save their basket for later.


The sooner you capture this information, the more abandoned carts you can recover.

Think about the email content

Making sure that you include relevant information in your email is key. Make it short, sweet and straight to the point, for example, simply saying ‘There’s something in your shopping cart’. Including an image of the item is a good way of reminding customers what they are missing out on, and gives them that extra push to go back to your site.

Adding a ‘take me there’ or ‘continue my order’ button will direct customers back to their shopping carts, where they may even be tempted to make further purchases, and providing extra information as to what makes your product/brand so special gives shoppers that extra boost. You can even offer to help them with any questions they might have regarding their order by providing a Q&A section within the email.


This example from M and M Direct has a clear call to action for recipients to complete their order, they also motivate shoppers by giving a sense of urgency, ‘once it’s gone, it’s gone!’

Another tactic is to send out two emails; the first, soon after cart abandonment occurs, a second if the customer still hasn’t made the purchase, offering them a discount on the item in their basket. It’s worth testing whether a discount makes any impact on your conversion rates though, some retailers have found it only delays the conversion  – there’s no point sacrificing your profit margins if it doesn’t make a positive difference to revenue.

How soon is too soon?

According to GetElastic, retailers who sent their cart abandonment emails out within 20 minutes saw an increase in conversions of 5.2%. Those who waited 24 hours or more saw an increase of just half that rate (2.6%), which goes to show that it’s better not to let the grass grow under your feet when it comes to emailing customers. Reminding potential buyers just how great that product was while it’s still relatively fresh in their minds will have more of an impact and push the customer to think twice about whether or not they really want to give it up.

Make it easy!

So, don’t waste time; give customers a good reason to come back to their baskets, while making it as easy as possible for them to do so. This should boost ROI, while keeping your brand in potential customers’ minds.


  • Thank you for sharing Vicky,
    There’s another important aspect to giving out discounts through these emails. I’ve seen clients game the system in order to get that discount and so some of them just add the item and wait for their discount. Some stores send out abandonment emails with every basket that’s not fulfilled, so people just come back…add an item and wait for the email to come.

    Eventually some people are only willing to purchase with that discount. That’s why sometimes it’s nice to incentivize action from the users that want to get a discount. I’ve even seen this somewhere as a tip for savvy shoppers, but don’t remember exactly where.

    For example, asking them to ‘like’ your Facebook page or do something else. This also limits the number of attempts a client can use this system to their advantage and get a discount.

    Thank you for the post!