How To Use Abandoned Cart Emails To Increase Conversions

By James Johnson
7 Min Read
Abandoned Cart Email Campaigns

Have you ever been in this situation before?

You’ve visited a website to look at a product. You’ve added it to your basket with the intention of buying it. But, after a couple of minutes, you end up leaving the site without spending a penny.

If you’re like me, you’ve done this numerous times without thinking about it. It’s just something we do as online shoppers.

But here’s a startling fact…

Seven out of ten customers on your video-on-demand website are abandoning their online shopping carts before completing check-out.

They add your content access package to their basket, only to abandon cart and leave without ever going through with the purchase.

When you flip the telescope, it goes from a normal part of online shopping to a major amount of lost income, doesn’t it?

Thankfully, there is a simple way to reduce that number and increase your earnings. Read on to find out more…

What Is An Abandoned Cart (And Why Should You Attempt To Fix It)?

An abandoned cart is when a customer has visited your website and begun the process of buying your product or service but has stopped short of completing the transaction.

In other words:

You’ve done the hard work of convincing a person your content package or subscription is worth buying, but something changed their mind or took them away from the checkout page before they completed the transaction.

Research from the Baymard Institute, a UK-based web research company, has found this to be an increasingly common phenomenon.

They found on average 69.89% of customers will abandon their carts before purchase, with some companies reaching as high as 81.40%.

This means an average of seven out of ten customers will enter your sales process without ever finalizing their purchase.

Nautical jokes aside, this can feel like a real punch in the gut when you realize how much of your hard work is going to waste. There’s a lot of money being left on the table!

But don’t let this information dishearten you. Why?


  • Abandoned carts are normal: it’s natural for some customers to change their mind along the way (you should see the state of my Amazon basket)
  • Abandoned carts aren’t a lost cause: you can take some simple steps to recoup a good chunk of that lost income

Basically, abandoned carts are going to happen, but you have the power to turn a percentage of them into paying customers.

In the next section of this article, we’ll look at why customers abandon their carts in the first place and then give you an actionable guide to help you bring them back to your site.

Quick Glance: 4 Reasons Your Customers Abandon Their Carts

We don’t want to spend too long dwelling on why customers are leaving your site. Instead, we want to focus on how you can get them back.

But it’s worth understanding some of the motivations behind cart abandonment, so you can implement systems to help prevent it.

It usually boils down to one of five reasons:

  • Browsing: Baymard Institute’s research found that 56% of US customers in 2017 abandoned their carts because they were “just browsing” or weren’t ready to buy.
  • Comparison: your customer left the site to compare reviews and prices of your product elsewhere.
  • Payment options: your customer left because they were unable to use their preferred payment method.
  • Unexpected costs: the price in the checkout didn’t reflect the price on the sales page (thanks to taxes, shipping costs, etc.)
  • Distractions: an external factor took them away from the process, and they either forgot or ran out of time

The good news is that each of these problems is easily addressed to help you recoup a large number of sales. How?

By using an abandoned cart email…

Abandoned Cart Email Campaigns: Helping You Turn “Maybes” Into Customers

An abandoned cart email is a simple reminder (or series of them) which is sent to a customer with an outstanding purchase.

A customer is eligible for this update once they’ve registered for your website, but it’s only triggered if they leave your website with an item in their cart.

As a content creator, this “item” will often be in the form of a digital product like:

  • Content subscriptions
  • Video courses
  • eBooks or PDF downloads
  • Mastermind access

But the same abandoned cart email campaigns apply to both digital and physical products.

You’ve probably received this type of email yourself, and they often look like this:

abandoned cart email example

Their goal is to keep the sales conversation alive by:

  • Reminding your customer of their products
  • Giving them an easy way to resume the sales process
  • Addressing sales objections (where applicable)

At first glance, this can feel a little aggressive, like a sales advisor chasing you down the street shouting, “WHY DIDN’T YOU BUY!?”. But these emails can be a great piece of customer service.

I once left some shorts in my basket on the Chubbies website and the email they sent me strengthened my affiliation to their brand:

chubbies abandoned basket email pitch

Although I didn’t end up buying the shorts, I did follow them across all of social media, and I’m highly likely to invest in a pair in the future. ($25 shipping fees be damned!)

Turns out I’m not the only one who enjoys these emails, either.

OptinMonster found that emails sent within the first hour of cart abandonment have a conversion rate of 20.3%, and Barilliance found that can still be as much as 18.2% three days later.

There are a few different kinds of abandoned cart emails at your disposal:

  • Simple: where you remind them of the product in their cart
  • Branded: where you continue your brand story (like Chubbies’ email above)
  • Incentivised: where you offer a small discount or bonus if they purchase
  • Time-sensitive: where you “reserve” their product for a specific period

Depending on your branding, or the product you sell, each of this can work well to recoup sales. There’s no rule of thumb which says you need to use one or the other!

That being said, let’s take a look at how you can create your own abandoned cart email.

How To Write An Abandoned Cart Email In 4 Easy Steps

Step #1: Get Their Attention

The first step is to create an enticing subject line which will get your customer to open the email.

The most effective abandoned cart emails are direct and address the fact your customer has left your website; this is a firm reminder of what they were doing.

You can keep this simple and use a headline like:

  • “Complete your subscription to [product name]”
  • “Oops, did you get distracted?”
  • “Your premium content is waiting for you!”

Or you can get creative with your brand tone of voice to create something unique, like:

All of these remind the customer they were recently on their site, but they do it in an eye-catching and distinctive way.

Step #2: Highlight The Product

The second part of your email should clearly show the products or service which have been left behind.

You will want to display:

  • An itemized list of the products they wanted to buy
  • Their prices
  • An image of the product (where applicable)

This will usually be taken care of by the email marketing software you’re using, or a plugin on your website which is attached. (Uscreen customers have this marketing feature built into their business back-end now.)

Don’t be afraid to use the text around these items to make the email fun and interesting, either!

Step #3: Make Your Offer

The third step is to make a clear and concise offer to your customer.

Now, when you read that sentence, your mind probably jumped straight to a discount or promotional code. But an offer can be anything you want it to be.

You can offer to transport them back to your site, or reserve their product, or extend their free-trail, or link to a product FAQ.

abandoned cart email body link

If you want to offer a discount, however, this is the place to do it.

What’s key at this stage is giving your customer some kind of perceived benefit of clicking your email and going back to your website.

Step #4: Call To Action

The final stage of this email is to provide a clear call-to-action to return to your website.

This will be at the bottom of your email, either in the build-up to a link back to your website, or on a clickable button like this one:

return to checkout call to action

Your call to action should be short, sweet and direct, like the rest of this email. Here are some examples of copy you could use here:

  • Return to checkout
  • Sign up now
  • Finish your subscription

Again, there’s no need to be fancy here (unless you want to be) and shouldn’t skirt around the point. This is your chance to ask for the sale!

Wrapping This Up…

I hope by now you’ve got a much clearer idea of abandoned cart emails, what they are and how they could benefit your business.

Abandoned carts may be inevitable, but you don’t have to sit idly by and let them happen! Even just a simple three-sentence email can go a long way to increase your sales and recoup that lost income.