Demand Generation
How to Increase Conversions With a Cart Recovery Email Strategy

How to Increase Conversions With a Cart Recovery Email Strategy

April 29, 2016
4 min read

If you have an e-commerce website, you inevitably deal with the issue of shopping cart abandonment. In fact, it is quite possible that only around 30 percent of the customers who visit your website that add items to their grocery cart actually complete the checkout process.

If you aren’t doing anything to deal with shopping cart abandonment at all or are simply using retargeting to reach these customers, you aren’t doing enough. It is crucial that you put together a workable strategy to get customers to complete their purchases.

Think Email

 The best strategy is to pair a cart recovery email strategy with your retargeting efforts. While retargeting can help you to get back some of the profits you lose through abandonment, there is no personal touch. However, if you add email to the mix, you can reach out to customers and get them back to your website by communicating with them in a personal way. Of course, this requires writing with personalization in mind instead of promotion. The more humanness in your emails the more likely they will be opened. Getting personal with the subject line results in a higher open rate, and personalizing the email will bring a better chance of following your CTA with a click-through.

Another thing to keep in mind is ROI. You will likely get a better return on your investment in email marketing than you will use other methods to reach customers. That’s why email marketing should be part of your overall strategy along with your shopping cart abandonment strategy.

There are several apps that will integrate with your store easily like Jilt or CartRescuer. They’ll help you to manage, schedule, test your campaign and many other.

Jilt email strategy test

Here are a few strategies that you can implement to create a great cart recovery email strategy.

Use Segmentation as a Way to Determine How to Target Customers Who Drop Out

According to Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics – 68.63% is an average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate. Thus, there is no one size fits all email that you can send out to people who have abandoned their shopping carts. People abandon their carts for a variety of reasons. They also engage in different behaviors before abandoning their carts and have different histories with your business. Because of this, it is important to use segmentation to divide your customers into groups. This way, you can truly send personalized emails targeting each segment. Here are a few example segments that might work for you:

  • Customers who have abandoned time sensitive items
  • Customers who have abandoned expensive items
  • Customers who have abandoned a large number of items in one cart
  • Customers who have abandoned their carts repeatedly
  • Customers who have never shopped your website previously and have abandoned their carts

Now, here are some strategies on constructing emails for a couple of these segments:

Customers Abandoning Time Sensitive Items

The most effective way to target these customers is a reminder that the item they are interested in purchasing will not be available for long. This could be because inventory is running low because it is a seasonal item, or it simply is being offered in a limited run. Just be sure that the item is truly time sensitive. You’ll build bad blood quickly if a customer feels pushed into making an urgent decision, only to find the item on your website a month later for the same price.

Customers Abandoning High Dollar Items

When people abandon expensive items, it is usually for one of three reasons. The first is that they have trepidation about spending that amount of money period. The second is that they fear to make that large of a purchase from your website. The third is that they want to do more research and comparison shopping. Composing an email that reassures the customer that their items will be waiting for them, reiterating that your checkout process is secure, and that reminds them of the ways in which making that purchase benefits them is often the best way to reach these customers.

With a little planning, you should be able to construct emails that work best for each of your customer segments.

Treat Subject Lines Like Headlines

It’s content marketing 101 that headlines are extremely important when it comes to getting people to consume your content. When it comes to email marketing, the same thing can be said for your subject lines. They should grab your customer’s attention and get them to open your email. Depending on the needs of each of your customer segments, you can use a variety of methods. For example:

  • Humor – Let’s Take This Relationship to The Next Level!
  • Concern – Can we Help You Complete Your Purchase?
  • Urgency – XYZ Product is Nearly Out of Stock
  • Reminder of a Benefit of Purchasing – Delivery Fee Waived on All Online Orders

One final note about headlines: chances are your email will be seen on a mobile device. Please optimize your subject line accordingly.

Get The Timing Right

You may be wondering, when is the best time to send out cart recovery emails. There is no single answer to that question. While some people believe that once an hour has passed, you should consider the sale to be a lost cause, that’s not always the truth. You have to have an idea of why the cart was abandoned, and whether or not there is an urgency in getting the customer back on board. Obviously, with time sensitive purchases, you’ll want to send out an email quite quickly. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to lose a big sale by badgering a high dollar customer or a customer with multiple items in their cart. Sending an email too soon can feel like a “hard sell” to many people.

Good Cart Recovery Emails Always Come in Threes

Your cart recovery strategy isn’t going to be very effective if you are only sending out one email. Instead, consider sending out a series of three well-timed emails. The first, for example, could be a simple reminder or an offer to help the customer complete the process. The second email could be used to create a bit of urgency. Finally, the third email could contain some kind of an incentive, e.g., complete your purchase today and we will throw in a free gift.


You’ll have to do some testing in order to formulate the strategy that works for you. However, when you do put together a working email strategy for abandoned cart recovery, it will be well worth the effort.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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