9 Steps To Make Your Abandoned Cart Emails Great Again


by KC Chow Agency

A lot of new email marketers and business owners like you struggle to find the right timing to send their abandoned cart emails, so here is how it works.

Step 1: Getting The Delivery Timing Just Right 

To establish an effective abandoned cart email flow, you must have anywhere from 4-7 emails within its sequence before scheduling them.

The first email is the most important email to send while it’s still fresh in the shopper’s mind of what they just left behind.

It should be sent out within the first 20-30 minutes of leaving a product in their cart.

If that first email didn’t do the trick, no worries…

That is what the second and third emails are for… sent sequentially 4 Hours later and 12 hours later.

Remember that your visitors are still engaged with your product and are still halfway through the buying process within the first 24 hours since abandoning their cart.

Chances are they just need that extra nudge to get them over the edge to the buying side of things.

After a day has gone by, your chances of winning back your window shoppers are minimal, but not gone!

After the first 24 hours period, you will need to send 3 recovery emails with 24 hours interval in between

Here is the timeline:

Email One: 20 Mins 

Email Two: 4 Hours  

Email Three: 12 Hours  

Email Four: 1 Day

Email Five: 1 Day

Email Six: 1 Day

If the last email(s) that you send doesn’t win them back, then perhaps it’s time to let go and optimize your abandoned cart emails.

At this point, they are out of their buying mode and you will just have to win them back another time.

Have a look at this template below as a general guideline to scheduling your abandoned cart email sequences.

As always, test to see what timeframes are optimal for your very own email list!

abandoned cart emails sending time

(Image Source: Get Response)

Step 2: Keep it Clean, Catchy, and Concise 

Just like the title says.

As you are creating your abandoned cart flows you may be tempted to slap on some extra add-on features or elements when building your email template within your autoresponder.

These features or elements can be fancy images, buttons, social media links and more.

These things clutter your abandoned cart email with flashy and messy distractions in front of your reader that are not related to the specific product that they put into their cart in the first place.

Remember that abandoned cart emails serve a singular and specific purpose of completing the sale that was already being made by the shopper,

but still, many people still get this wrong.

Here is how you do it right.

Simply use a large-sized image of the same specific product (and size/colour if applicable) that was chosen by the shopper.

This same image will be recognized by the reader of the email to draw their attention as a visual reminder to grab their attention.

The next thing you must do is hook them in with a piece of creative and concise copy (around 60 to 100 words) while leading them towards a clear CTA to complete their purchase.

Short email copy is ideal because we want to focus on generating more clicks

Again…Only one CTA, one image, with one goal in mind – recover the sale

Catchy, clean, and concise…

Side tip: There are some exceptions to the rules. Having TWO CTAs can be effective as well under certain circumstances.

Having one CTA in an abandoned cart email is always a must,

but it can be wise to have another CTA to engage the reader with reviews, video testimonials or customer support.

The more they see and learn about your product with each email, the more likely they are to buy sooner or later.

But ideally, not more than TWO CTA (destination URLs)  have a look at the illustration below.

abandoned cart email template example

Step 3: Innovative Incentives 

There comes a time when you as a business owner or email marketer feel like you always have only one trick up your sleeve – and that is playing the Discount card

Just like all tricks, they only work when they aren’t being overused.

The same idea applies when offering discounts.

The more frequent the discounts are that you offer, the less valued they become to your customers.

And no, they do NOT require you to offer another dreadful discount to complete a sale.

Besides, discounts aren’t everything when it comes to easing a shopper’s worries of making a purchase.

A shopper may have many doubts and objections about making a purchase, but most of the time it is the issue of value rather than the issue of price.

Furthermore, they must KLT (know, like, and trust) your brand so let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what that really means.

If it is a “know” issue, use an abandoned cart email sequence to offer the shopper content information about the features and benefits of their specific product of concern.

This helps them visualize how their lives may change through learning about what the product can do for them before making a purchase.

If it is a “like” issue and your shopper doesn’t like your product because of its quality or build, offer them a money-back guarantee within X days of purchase to ease their worries of feeling scammed by a product that won’t last long term.

You may even advertise different variations of colours or sizes that better suit your shopper’s wants and needs.

If it is a “trust” issue, offer testimonials of other buyers through other social media platforms with a link that directs them towards your brand’s social proof.

but if they don’t make a purchase right away there’s still a chance to warm up with testimonials and reviews of your product before finally making that purchase somewhere down the road.

So if you include testimonials, reviews and overcome their objections with your email copy, it will boost your recovery rates

At this point, if you still want that extra “oomph” to push the sale with abandoned car emails, you can still use discount codes and free shipping to further entice your visitors to buy.

Now I want you to start winning back your window shoppers by implementing these abandoned cart emails into your flow sequences, and recover more sales in your own eCommerce store today.

Step 4: Catchy Subject Lines 

You don’t need to dig through thousands of subject lines to find ONE that works for your abandoned cart emails…

The big idea is that your subject line must stand out amongst hundreds of other senders if you want your email found inside your subscriber’s inbox.

But if your email subject line does not stand out, your visitors will not even click on your email to trigger the conversion process.

Not to worry, subject lines aren’t entirely complicated

and I’ve even listed my Top 5 Converting Email Subject Lines that you can use for your own abandoned cart emails below:

  1. “15% Off purchase” (48% open rate)

  2. “Cart left” (45% open rate)
  3. “$20 Off cart” (44.5% open rate)
  4. “Items left” (40% open rate)
  5. “Still shopping?” (39% open rate) 

Take these and modify them to your liking but don’t forget the big idea – it must STAND OUT

Just a quick side tip here: Shipping concerns of your customer is a possibility of delaying the buying process of your shopper. Maybe a “Free Shipping” offer in the subject line gives your subscribers a better reason to click on your email.

Step 5: An Effective CTA 

No offence. Your email subscribers are not that smart…

But before you make the assumption that they will click a button if it was put in front of them and however catchy it may be, coloured, bolded, with arrows pointed to it…

…they won’t click if you overlook this one thing.


You will be surprised at how many business owners and email marketers overlook this key phrase just right before your CTA button.

People are used to being told what to do next.

They NEED to be told what to do and it is the copywriter’s job to direct your readers with full details step-by-step through the course of action towards clicking that CTA button.

Tell them:

“Get your today by clicking the button below to receive 20% OFF.”


“If you want to experience your energetic self again, grab your with FREE shipping when you click the button below.”

“Thirsty? Stock up on today by simply clicking the button below to buy-1-get-1-FREE.”

You can still place another hyperlink or buttons, one at the second line of your copy and another as a button towards the end, but both CTAs should lead to that one specific product or action and never towards multiple products or actions.

One more thing.

Generally, the CTA links should be bolded and coloured blue by default when hyperlinked, and CTA buttons should be enlarged to lock in your reader’s eyes and enticing them to click.

Use this simple method to increase your click rates within your emails to generate more conversions with your sales!

Step 6: A Little Bit Of Spice For The Email Copy 

Just a quick tip here today for you email marketers and business owners out there.

Unlike most emails that you normally would be sending in eCommerce businesses, abandoned cart email copy doesn’t necessarily have to be lengthy.

But it is easy to overlook the necessity of having a well-crafted email copy to go with it.

As a matter of fact, it should be very concise and to the point with enough of your brand’s personality while adding a little bit of spice to keep it from sounding too bland.

There’s no need to overthink this. Take a look at the images below.

Remember to be unique, catchy, and to the point with the occasional benefit as to why your reader should buy the particular product that they left in the cart.

Step 7: Leave Out Other Destination URLs

The first few tips were about what to do to make your abandoned cart emails effective,

But not Step 7!

This post is about what NOT to do.

Contrary to what people think of purpose-driven emails like the abandoned cart emails, it isn’t always about adding more information into emails to increase your conversion rates.

It can help to just leave things out and do less work in the process by NOT doing the following below.

Such as those blocks that are placed side by side at the end of your emails like, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter… leave them out!

They’re just too colourful, too flashy, and too much of a distraction to your reader and it’s best that they just are left out.

Avoid those “Other Destination URLs” such as but not limited to social media icons.

Everything clickable but doesn’t lead to the sale in an abandoned cart email just serves as distractions that lead to everywhere and nowhere.

Eliminate Other Destination URLs inside of your abandoned cart emails to see an increase in conversion rates by locking down on one singular and powerful CTA.

But remember to have the mindset that there are always exceptions to the rule.

If you really need to include more than one CTA (destination URL), I recommend DO NOT include more than TWO

Abandoned Cart Email Template Example

Step 8: Have No Fear, Customer Support is Here

At this point, we have come up with virtually almost all of the information you need to make your emails as effective as possible so now we’re down to the few tips and tricks to really top it off so let’s get started with Step 8.

Many people overlook this one.

Up to this point you’ve probably done almost everything with your emails to entice your reader to complete their purchase, but they still don’t bite.

Now the last thing to consider is the possibility that this can be due to technical issues or questions left unaddressed thus far.

This could be from your FAQ and reviews that you offered in your abandoned cart emails prior as mentioned in Step 3.

That shouldn’t ever stop a shopper from completing a purchase!

Send an abandoned cart email out within the hour of abandoning the cart to offer them solutions to their problems that they might be having.

Maybe it has to do with shipping, questions left unanswered, or faulty discount code?

A simple strategy is to provide ways for your readers to contact you for customer support to resolve their issues so they can finalize their purchase.

Give them your email address, phone number, or even a Chatbot service offering live human support 24/7 or a place to leave a message for assistance.

They might not make a purchase right away from your email but they would likely make a purchase over the phone if they’re old fashioned, or later down the road knowing that you are there for them and that you care.

Side tip: You can also give your reader a friendly reminder within the copy and not just the footer to make a purchase, and mention that you are available to answer any questions they may have by replying directly to your email, calling your phone during business hours or visiting the store website to access Chatbot customer support.

Step 9: Making it Personal 

Hey {{ first_name }}

Personalization tags like the one above are simply mentioning the first name of your reader to better grab their attention, which is an important thing to do and here’s why.

Getting the attention of your reader will get them to read the next line.

It will entice them to see what’s in it for them.

It psychologically makes them feel that someone is speaking to them instead of speaking at them.

And all it takes is calling out to them in the first line in your email copy and/or in your subject line.

An example would be “Hey Phil,” as opposed to “Hiya Mary”.

or location tags such as recipient’s Location or City

Don’t forget to keep it creative and on-brand to spice up the experience of your readers when they read your email to get a feeling of something more personable.

This will in turn increase engagement, with this simple and powerful technique to get readers to click on emails that they know will pertain to them.

Also, something to note.

Email inbox server providers such as Gmail aren’t very kind to duplicated emails, which is why custom tags that you use to personalize your email can help increase the chances of placing your email into the inbox of your readers, rather than their spam or promotions tabs.

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