Behavioural triggered emails allow savvy eCommerce brands to pump up profits, automatically. Cart abandonment emails are one such smart automation.

Used well, cart abandonment emails can enhance customer journeys and help brands to make more money. But how do successful brands do this? Read on to find out.

In this guide, we give you the low-down on cart abandonment emails and show you how to use them to boost your bottom line.

Why does cart abandonment matter?

Cart abandonment is a sizeable problem for eCommerce brands. According to Barclaycard, £18 billion worth of products get abandoned in online baskets in the UK every year. Just over 69 percent of online carts are abandoned.

Brands that fail to put strategies in place to recover revenue they may otherwise have lost through cart abandonment are losing out. Big time.

How do cart abandonment emails work?

Cart abandonment emails are a type of behavioural triggered email. They are automated messages that get sent if a customer leaves your website with items in their cart that they’re yet to pay for.

A typical cart abandonment email contains an image and product description of each item that was left in their basket. Alongside this will be calls to action that drive the customer back to the website to check out.

Cart abandonment emails are an effective way to entice a customer back to complete their purchase. Nearly half of cart abandonment emails are opened and a third of those who open them go on to make a purchase.

If you want to see real business growth, it’s time to consider how to combat cart abandonment.

When should you send cart abandonment emails?

According to research by Forrester, a whopping 90 percent of cart abandonment leads go cold within just one hour. So, when it comes to cart abandonment send times, speed is of the essence!

Most cart abandonment software works using real-time behavioural data. This means emails can be triggered in real-time and land in your customer’s inbox seconds or minutes after they abandon their basket.

That said, the optimum to send cart abandonment emails may vary between brands or product lines. Every brand has a slightly different target audience and set of products. These differences lead customers to respond to cart abandonment send times in slightly different ways.

The best way to ensure you’re sending cart abandonment emails at the time they’ll be most effective is through A/B testing.

Best practice for cart abandonment emails

So, what elements make up a successful cart abandonment email? Here are some key things to include:

Identifiable sender, subject, and pre-header

Make sure your email is instantly recognisable as being from your brand. The subject line and pre-header should make it clear what the email is about.

You could try adding products into the subject line too.

Here are some examples of the types of subject lines that work well:

  • Did you forget something?
  • Your [product name] is waiting for you!
  • Cart reserved! Open to continue shopping…
  • Don’t miss out! Your cart is expiring soon.


Clear and simple on-brand content

Make sure your cart abandonment email content is super clear. It should be easy to digest at a glance.

Reading your cart abandonment email should give customers the same experience they would get on your website. Make sure your tone of voice and use of colours are completely on brand.

Show exactly what items were abandoned

To entice customers back to buy you need to show them exactly what they left behind. Include product images and descriptions.

Cart abandonment technology will pull this directly into the email from real-time behavioural data.

Remove conversion blockers

Think about what might stop a customer from going through to complete their purchase.

If a customer has left multiple items in their cart, they might not want to buy everything they left behind. Offering a link that allows customers to edit their cart will give them a sense of control.

Offer incentives

Offering a timed discount code or free shipping is a great way to encourage a hesitant customer to take action.


Include related product recommendations

Including related product recommendations is a good way to cross-sell and upsell.

It also helps entice people back to buy if the reason they abandoned was that they went elsewhere to browse a related product. Show them they can buy everything they need from you!

Again, this is something your cart abandonment technology will do for you using the wisdom of the crowd.

Have a clear call to action

Your call to action is your tool to drive customers back to your site to buy. Make sure it’s compelling.

Design your button to stand out. Use clear language that sets the right expectations and lets customers know what you want them to do. Using language that creates a sense of urgency is a simple way to improve conversion rates.

Call to action examples:

  • Resume your order
  • Return to cart
  • Finish checking out
  • Complete your purchase
  • Proceed to checkout
  • Buy now
  • Grab it now

Give customer service details

Sometimes customers abandon their carts because they have a burning question that is not answered on your website. They may have decided to go in-store instead to talk to someone.

To get over this hurdle, include your customer service details in your cart abandonment emails.

Create a series

Don’t just send one cart abandonment email and hope for the best. Sending two or three cart abandonment emails at carefully timed intervals is a good way to increase conversions.

Each email could use a different tactic to drive a conversion. For example, you might want to hold off on giving a discount until the second or third email.

Taking cart abandonment to the next level

There are lots of cart abandonment solutions available, with many eCommerce platforms offering features out of the box. While these features can generate good results, they don’t really offer the level of flexibility that specialist solutions can offer.

Our own technology, PureTargeting, is an industry-leading cart abandonment solution that helps our customers deliver incredible results.

Here are three ways that our technology takes cart abandonment recovery to the next level:

1. Behavioural segmentation

If you want to take your cart abandonment emails to the next level, then you might want to consider tailoring your email content based on different types of customers.

For example, someone who has yet to make a purchase from you might need content to help them overcome their hesitancy. This might include social proof in the form of ratings and reviews for the products left in their cart. Or you might want to offer them a discount to secure that important first purchase.

However, you might not want to offer frequent buyers a discount when they abandon as you’ll be cannibalising potential revenue. Instead you might want to highlight low stock levels, or even try to cross-sell different products.


Our technology offers ready-to-use behavioural segments that reflect different buyer personas. We can also work with you to create custom segments based specifically on your customer base.

2. Targeting users who aren’t logged in

Most solutions require customers to be logged in to be able to send a cart abandonment email. Our technology identifies abandoners even when customers aren’t logged in.

This is game-changing as it’s much more reflective of how people browse and shop online. When you go to a website, you rarely hit the homepage and log in straight away. It’s very common for customers to add a few items to their cart and then leave before logging in.

Being able to target users who aren’t logged in might seem like a small feature, but it will massively increase the reach of your cart abandonment emails. Our customers find that they’re able to target 400% more people who abandon their carts thanks to this feature.

3. Browse abandonment

We also offer the ability to retarget customers who abandon your site before adding items to their cart.

Browse abandonment emails are a great way to drive sales from a large audience who are still in the research phase of the buyer journey.


If your eCommerce business is focused on growth, cart abandonment emails should be a key part of your strategy. They are a smart way to recover revenue you may otherwise have lost, automatically.

Our customers have seen sales revenue increase by 12 percent on average using our technology.

To see our cart abandonment technology for yourself, book a demo via the button below.

Recover lost revenue