Best Practices for Abandoned Cart Emails

abandoned cart email-ecommerce-marketing

Abandoned carts are a reality every e-commerce store faces. However, understanding the best practices around deploying abandoned cart emails makes this reality far less daunting.

If you’re well informed, there’s no reason to waste time fretting over the potentially lost revenue that comes with an abandoned cart. Focusing instead on what abandoned cart emails can do as a recovery tool is a great stress reliever from any e-commerce store.

Now, let’s get to the abandoned cart emails best practices:

Consumers will return after an abandoned cart

While there’s no denying a majority of carts are eventually abandoned, it’s essential to understand that doesn’t mean all is lost. Three-fourths of shoppers reportedly intend on returning to an abandoned cart.

This is why adding abandoned cart automation emails can have an immediate and significant impact on your business. Clearly, consumers aren’t at all opposed to closing that sale, so a little reminder can go a long way.

Abandoned cart email series

Similar to welcome emails, abandoned cart emails should be sent in a series over the course of a few days. The idea is to steadily incentivize action until the sale is made. The primary focus for content within abandoned cart emails should be placed on the product image and the price while increasing incentives as necessary.

Here’s the suggested series pattern to follow:

  • Email 1: Send the first abandoned cart reminder email three hours after the event. This should be a reminder phrased in a way that simply asks, “Did you leave something behind?”
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  • Email 2: A second reminder should be sent 24 hours after the initial email. Some consideration to providing a discount or other incentive to buying should at least be considered at this stage.
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  • Email 3: This final email, 24 hours after Email 2, should definitely be sent with a discount included. It’s at this time anything you deem acceptable to incentivize completing the purchase (e.g. free shipping) is worth considering.
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What to avoid with abandoned cart emails

One of the most common mistakes with abandoned cart emails is providing a link that does not lead to the product itself. It’s common to send an email that leads to the “/cart” of the customer. This makes sense in theory, but this can potentially be a costly mistake.

Why? Because it’s increasingly common to use multiple devices to complete e-commerce purchases.

For example, let’s say a customer used a laptop to initiate adding an item to their cart. But they don’t typically use that laptop to check their email. Instead, they use their smartphone to not only check their inbox but also complete any actions that are prompted via those emails. The link for the “/cart” is likely to show an empty cart on a different device than the one in which the add-to-cart was initiated.

Instead, sending a customer to the product page leaves no confusion as what item they added to their cart. This creates less likelihood for friction in the path to recovering an abandoned cart sale. 


Abandoned cart emails produce results. They have a high open rate while also proving effective at closing sales that would otherwise be a missed opportunity. On the low end, abandoned cart emails recover 10% of lost sales. 

It’s essential to remember the series aspect of abandoned cart emails. Don’t think of it as being annoying. It’s about the persistence of being a friendly reminder while providing incentives to buy something you already know the consumer wants. It works exceptionally well with a series of three abandoned cart emails having shown to generate 63% more orders than a single email.

How Engine Mail can help

Engine Mail was created with the best practices for abandoned cart emails — and every other aspect of email automation — as the top priority. This product was built by e-commerce veterans based on past experiences and the desire to build an easy-to-use email automation system.

Engine understands it’s competing in a world full of complexity and confusion where a large number of email products are overdone. That’s not Engine Mail. We’ve taken what we’ve learned during our years of navigating the e-commerce landscape and created a product that is easy to understand and deploy.

We understand time is your most precious asset. Set up a call with us by clicking here or reaching out via email. In just 15 minutes we will create amazing email flows for you, including an optimal strategy for abandoned cart emails. Your business will never be the same.

Written by
Trent Shadid is a senior copywriter and editor at Engine.