Your products and services are awesome; your marketing campaign is engaging, and you get thousands of visitors to your site every month. Despite all this, you’re still losing sales and don’t know why.


According to Statista, a total of 76.9% of online shopping carts were abandoned in 2017. This means that for every 10 people who add your products to their shopping cart, only two to three actually make the purchase. Cart abandoners back out for a variety of reasons: It could be they’re swayed by a slow website or frustrating transaction experience, hidden costs added at the last minute, finding better pricing from competitors, or simply wanting to shop around or getting distracted.

There is, however, a way to woo them back: A well-designed abandoned cart email campaign will re-engage potential customers, returning them to their shopping cart and closing seemingly lost sales. According to Thunder Bay Media, 70% of shoppers are likely to purchase if retargeted after cart abandonment.

The email campaign involves a series of emails that remind the visitor of their full cart and persuade them to complete their purchase. Using your marketing automation platform, the campaign can be triggered to begin immediately after someone leaves your website with items left in the shopping cart.

Here are details on exactly how to position each email to turn cart abandons into sales:


When to send: One hour after cart abandonment

This email draws many users back in right away: According to Business Insider, these emails average an impressive 40% open rate and 20% click-through rate.

It’s important to send this email as quickly as possible in hopes of reaching the abandoner during the same internet session. However, because the response time is within an hour of cart abandonment, it’s imperative that you do not attempt a hard sell. The first email should remind and assist the abandoners; anything more and you risk annoying or scaring off potential customers.

In this email, defuse any of their objections by including a note saying, “If you had trouble checking out or found something confusing, please contact our helpful customer support department. Click here to finish shopping.”

The first email:

  • Lists or displays the items left in the shopping cart
  • Includes a link back to the shopping cart or checkout process
  • Offers support and answers any questions the abandoner may have



When to send: One day after cart abandonment

The second email reminds abandoners of their existing shopping cart and should create a small sense of urgency. It’s been a day since they left your website, and they have already received an email from you; at this point a hard sell would still l be a turnoff. Instead, subtly nudge the abandoner in the right direction.

Easy ways to generate urgency include informing customers their carts will soon expire or that the items in their cart are popular and may sell out shortly (if that’s the truth).

The second email:

  • Creates subtle urgency
  • Doesn’t attempt a hard-sell
  • Gives a deadline



When to send: Three days after cart abandonment

Until this point, you’ve been nudging and encouraging. For the third email, it’s time to get into selling mode with a tantalizing offer like free shipping or a discount on their order. This is your final chance to convert the sale, so focus on tailoring the language of the email to be as persuasive as possible. Coupled with an exciting offer, you have a better chance of closing the sale.

The third email:

  • Is the final sell
  • Offers discounts and/or free shipping
  • Will drive customers to the checkout process


If you’re an ONTRAPORT user, this email campaign is already built for you; simply add it to your account from the Campaigns Marketplace (it’s called “Simple Abandoned Cart Follow Up”), plug in your email content, and it’ll run for you.

Cart abandonment is so common that launching a campaign like this shouldn’t be considered an add-on; it should be incorporated as part of your everyday sales process. It’s inevitable, and it’s actually a great thing for you as a business owner — those who abandon their carts are the hottest leads you’ll get. They clearly have already seen your marketing and are interested in your offer; now it’s just a matter of closing the deal.

About Guneet Kaur

Guneet Kaur uses her passion for marketing as ONTRAPORT's Content Engagement Coordinator. She has a Bachelor's degree in Economics with a minor in Professional Writing from UCSB (read: University of California, Sunny Beaches). When she's not working hard to refine her marketing skills, she is a seasoned dancer, a puppy enthusiast, a self-proclaimed fashionista and a professional Netflixer.