Anatomy of a Cart Abandonment Email

More than 60% of website visitors abandon their shopping carts and a large percentage of them do not come back to complete their purchase which means lost sales. One of the most important parts of converting a “visitor” to a “buyer” is finding a way to bring shoppers back after they have abandoned and help them to complete their order. With Cart Abandonment emails, you can do just that, but you have to have the right pieces.

Cart Abandonment Anatomy (Click to enlarge)
Cart Abandonment Anatomy (Click to enlarge)

Typically, three Cart Abandonment emails are sent (usually 30 minutes, 1-3 days 5-7 days after abandonment).

The main elements that should be include in a Cart Abandonment email are:

  • A Reminder that the shopper left something behind. (For example: “You left some items in your cart”)
  • Show images & details of the item you’ve saved for them to remind them of their value.
  • At least two buttons or call to actions that lead back to their cart where they left off. Ideally at the top and middle or bottom of the email.
  • Reiterate any special offer you offer such as free shipping.
  • Help – a phone number or email support where they can contact someone in case they had a problem with ordering.
  • On the last email, provide an exclusive offer just for Cart Abandoners that have not recovered on the 1st or 2nd
  • Suggest similar products – Optional but nice to have and helps with selling shoppers on other items.

Here’s a broad view of what the entire email should include:



  • Recognizable Sender Address – Make sure readers know who the email is coming from. If they don’t recognize the sender, they will most likely trash it or mark as spam before even reading the subject line.
  • Reminder subject line – Remind them that they left some items in their cart. You only have a few words to get the shopper to open the email so make it catchy!


  • Pre-header text – This first line of text serves as a preview for your email. Some browsers take the first line of text and place it under the subject line so you get an extra line of preview text to get the reader’s attention. The reader must “get it” in two seconds.
  • View in Browser – If for any reason, the email browser that the reader is using (i.e. Outlook, Gmail, etc.) isn’t showing the email or images properly, a View in Browser link allows readers to open the email in a browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer.
  • Logo/Branding/Similar look and feel as website – Having consistent branding and a recognizable logo makes the shopper feel more comfortable knowing this email wasn’t spam and that it pertains to a company that they were considering to buy from.
  • Link back to shopping cart – It is important to have an easy way for shoppers to go back to where they left off.



  • Simple & clean layout – Having too much in your email, like links to other pages, are not important in a Cart Abandonment emails. This may distract the shopper so it is recommended to keep the layout as simple as possible.
  • Personalization – Recognizing the shopper makes the email feel more important and personal.
  • Call to action – Bring the shopper back to your site and to their cart by providing a call to action Ask them to “View cart and check out”.
  • Special offer – A small offer like Free Shipping to entice the shopper back.
  • Contact us for problems – Giving the shopper a way to speak to someone about their items or a problem they may have when trying to purchase helps to keep shoppers engaged.
  • Details of the items left in cart – Remind them what they put in their cart and what’s waiting for them.


  • Physical Mailing Address (CAN-SPAM REQ.) – Make sure your physical business/customer service address is included somewhere in the email (this can be a street address or a PO Box). This enables people to unsubscribe by post if they wish to.
  • Unsubscribe (CAN-SPAM REQ.) – This is required for marketing emails but it’s also polite and avoids people using the “mark as spam” button to unsubscribe.


  • Discount Offer (Exclusive: usual on the last Cart Abandonment email) – An exclusive offer is a good way to save the sale but is usually recommended to be used on the third email to avoid abuse (i.e. customer may realize that after they leave their cart for 30 minutes, they will get an email with an offer so they wait for that offer code to buy.)
  • Recommend similar products – You know what they put in their cart, why not offer recommendations or cross-sell?
  • Social Media – This is optional, as you may overcrowd the email but if the links are non-intrusive, get customers to “like” your page and follow you to keep them engaged with your brand via social media.

One last tip… Don’t forget to make your email mobile friendly. Some people abandon the cart because they have other things to do away from the computer. Making the email (as well as the website) mobile friendly allows them to complete their purchase on the go!

Of course, if you’re not an E-Commerce company, you can also set up form abandonments for those who start to fill out a form and don’t complete it.  If you are a non-profit you can view our recent blog on how Autism Speaks increased donations with this technology. We will cover that in a future blog but in the meantime, click here to learn about our LassoBack Cart/Form Abandonment software and how it can help you with your e-Marketing. Also, don’t forget to sign up for a free demo!

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