5 Abandoned Cart Email Examples to Emulate

Peter Sharkey in Email marketing on 28th of Dec 2016
Abandoned Shopping Cart Email Examples

Abandoned Shopping Cart Email Examples

Up to 75% of shoppers abandon their carts before purchasing. That, my friend, is a high number. The good news is that you have simple, effective tactics at your disposal to improve those results. Specifically, behavioral marketing techniques like abandoned cart emails can bring people back right in the nick of time.

Here are 5 excellent abandoned cart email examples to study, learn from, and emulate.

1. FiftyThree

FiftyThree keeps it simple and blunt here with a “You left items in your cart” message.

FiftyThree abandoned cart email(Image source)

The email design itself is also simple with a single button call-to-action which not only helps focus the email’s messaging, but also the recipient’s attention. Single call-to-action emails also outperform ones with more, anywhere from 17% for HelpScout and up to 42% for Whirlpool. This messaging also plays on the fear of missing out. There’s no telling how long that item will be in stock and available. Anand Kansal from ReferralCandy recommends to take a page from Cialdini’s classific Influence, and emphasize the potential pain of loss in notification messages to heighten their impact.

2. Expedia

Successful marketing automation does the heavy lifting for you, relying on filters and predetermined criteria to dynamically generate messages on-the-fly for the right people at the right time. According to a study by Jupiter, segmenting lists and personalizing your email targeting can increase conversions 355% and revenues by 781%. The problem? 44% of marketers aren’t satisfied with their marketing automation system, and 85% of marketers aren’t happy with their own execution. What’s wrong with it specifically? “Hey $FNAME.” “Hey $FNAME” isn’t personalization at its finest. Subject line exampleExpedia email The above Expedia example is; automatically tying together previous site activities with a perfectly tailored email message that uses targeted content. Look, here’s another that follows the same template so you know it’s not a one-off: Expedia subject lineExpedia reminder email The question-based subject line pulls in the location, and the email’s call-to-action links you back to the results that you were just browsing.

3. Dollar Shave Club

Humor is tough to pull off successfully in marketing messages. But when executed properly, it’s one of the best ways to trigger people to respond. One company that successfully pulls off funny marketing is Dollar Shave Club, who initially made waves with their hilarious YouTube video four years ago that featured the tagline: “Our Blades Are F***ing Great.” For most companies, that tagline would offend a large percentage of the audience. But that’s also why it works so well for Dollar Shave Club, who understands how their tone appeals to their specific audience. They follow up on that success with this quirky abandoned cart email.

Dollar Shave Club email(Image source)

It urges you to “stick around next time,” and features a bear named Chuck covering his eyes because he’s “bumming.” It’s weird, sure. But it’s also distinct and memorable. Their customers come to expect off-the-wall antics now, and this message helps cut through all the other clutter that shows up in customer’s email inboxes.

4. Airbnb

Shopping for a hotel isn’t all that different than buying an e-commerce product or even signing up for a new SaaS account. A place to stay for a few nights could easy reach $1,000+, so it’s not a no-brainer purchase like a Pencil Stylus from the FiftyThree example above. Turns out 81% of people looking up travel dates will end up abandoning their booking, and 19% will bounce if there’s not enough information. Further, people typically read 6-12 reviews prior to finalizing a reservation. How come? There’s a natural lead nurturing process that needs to take place prior to the conversion. You can’t always go straight for the hard sale. That’s why you engage socially. That’s why you create a blog. That’s why you combine SMS with other tactics to continually follow-up and build trust. Here, instead of forcing the user to go directly to a Book Now page, Airbnb provides alternative options. airbnb-email-example If you don’t take the first booking option, the second call-to-action shows similar listings to your original search query, and the third call-to-action features a value-building link to Airbnb’s Help Center, designed to build trust until you’re ready to take the plunge.

5. Nordstrom

There is one reason, above all else, for why people abandon their cart. According to a study of 19,000 consumers, most online shoppers leave without making a purchase due to being “presented with unexpected costs.”

Why people abandon carts

(Image source)

What’s the most common “unexpected cost” people see while going through checkout? Shipping. In this example, Nordstrom overcomes those objections multiple times.

Nordstrom abandonment email(Image source)

First, the preview text at the top states, “Don’t forget that shipping and returns are free.” This text also shows up after the subject line when someone is browsing all of the emails in their inbox. Towards the bottom of the email they repeat this same message twice—right next to each other. On the left you have, “You can exchange and return online purchases in any of our stores.” And on the right, you’ve got, “Free Shipping. Free Returns. All the Time.” It’s the same objection-overcoming message repeated multiple times throughout a relatively short email. (Just in case there was any ambiguity.) Oh, and let’s not overlook that the rest of this email’s content is also personalized based on the products still sitting in your shopping cart. It’s an all-around excellent abandoned cart email.


There’s one thing you can count on with the checkout funnels on your website: more people will abandon the process rather than successfully complete it. That’s sobering. And kinda depressing on the surface. But it’s also the reality of living in an omni-channel marketing world. The good news is that there’s a plethora of techniques to bring people back and get them to finally purchase. Abandoned cart emails are among the most powerful techniques if you can time it right, leverage personalization, stand out, build trust, and overcome objections to purchasing. What abandoned cart tactics have won customers back for you? Please share in the comments.

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