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Abandoned cart emails: Tips & Examples


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If you struggle with buyers exiting your website before they complete a purchase, you’re not alone. 69.57% of buyers abandon their cart. Fortunately, as frustrating as it is, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost a sale.

Email marketing is an important strategy
for reengaging your customers. With the right email marketing software, you can remind your customers of what’s in their cart and encourage them to complete the checkout process. 

In this guide, we’ll look at how to make the most of your abandoned cart emails by remarketing to your customer. From how to send a remarketing email to examples of remarketing done right, by the end of the article you’ll have a firm grasp on how to launch your own email remarketing campaigns. 

You’ll also learn: 

  • The psychology behind why abandoned cart emails work so well
  • What kind of open and click-through rates abandoned cart emails typically get
  • What you should include (and avoid) in your abandoned cart emails
  • How to set up an abandoned cart email

Along the way, you’ll see great examples of proven high-converting abandoned cart email templates and learn what makes them work so well. 

What is an abandoned cart email?

An abandoned cart email is an email sent automatically to the customer when they add something to the cart but fail to complete the purchase. A well-written abandoned cart email reminds them of the transaction and nudges them to take action. 

An abandoned cart email is often the one thing that stands between a completed order and your customer choosing a competitor or, worse, taking no action at all. So let’s look at why buyers abandon the cart. 

Researchers have identified then ten most common reasons that buyers fail to complete a purchase:

Chart showing reasons for cart abandonment including costs too high 55%, had to create account 34%, long or complex process 26%, can't see total cost 21%

Let’s look closely at this list:

  1. Extra costs are too high (usually shipping and taxes).
  2. They had to create an account to complete the order.
  3. Buying felt like a long, complex process.
  4. They can’t see the total cost.
  5. They don’t trust the site.
  6. Website errors or crashes interrupt the process.
  7. Delivery is too slow.
  8. The return policy isn’t generous enough.
  9. The payment options don’t suit them.
  10. Their card is declined.

These ten reasons can be grouped into four core issues that cause cart abandonment:

  • Technical issues 
  • Financial issues
  • Lack of trust
  • Complexity or additional work

Understanding this, it’s important to remove as much friction as possible. Your goal is to create a smooth buying experience to minimize cart abandonment. Then, for those buyers who do abandon their cart, use abandoned cart emails to help win them back. 

Tips for removing friction

A website that’s full of technical errors or security warnings destroys trust. Your first step is to ensure your website is error-free and hosted on a trusted platform. Kajabi, for example, makes it easy to build a website that offers visitors a smooth user experience.

Try purchasing your product as a customer would, starting with your landing page and ending with your confirmation emails. Look at the experience from your customers’ perspective. 

It’s also a good idea to invite a test group to perform a usability test. Offer them a discount in exchange. This can help give you insights into your overall branding and messaging as well.

Be aware, a percentage of your customers will still bounce. That’s why abandoned cart emails are critical to your marketing and sales strategy.

Do abandoned cart emails work? 

Abandoned cart emails are part of a strategic remarketing plan. Visitors who don’t convert are put into an automated email campaign, with the goal of re-engaging and converting them. 

Remarketing campaigns are incredibly effective in driving conversions. A study by Campaign Monitor saw a 760% increase in email revenue from targeted, segmented campaigns. 

Digital entrepreneurs see similar results from their abandoned cart campaigns. These emails have some of the highest open and click-through rates of all types of marketing emails. Consider the following: 

Chart showing remarketing email open rates between 41 - 45.5% between 2016 and 2021

Source: Barillance

Open rates hover around 43% year after year. Clickthrough rates are equally impressive: 

Chart showing remarketing email CTR between 8 - 9.2% from 2016 to 2021

Source: Barillance

Now for the bottom line: Abandoned cart emails have proven to increase sales. Peak Design sent a simple email saying, “Hey, we noticed you left a product in your cart,” and they added 12 percent to their profits

This is a powerful (and simple) way to boost your sales. And it’s as easy as setting up abandoned cart emails in your email marketing software.

The psychology behind abandoned cart emails 

Abandoned cart emails work because the customer is already interested in buying from you. They genuinely want to complete their order, but something has created friction in the process. 

By following up with your customers in an abandoned cart email, you can often build trust and get them to complete the purchase. We’ve already talked about why this works. Now, let’s look at how it works. 


When people leave the cart, they’re often still interested in your course. They just ran into one of the four issues we mentioned above.

If you engage with them quickly and address the issue that caused them to abandon the cart, you can turn things around. According to Salesforce, the timing of your abandoned cart email is critical. 

Here’s what they found about the effectiveness of abandoned cart emails, based on how quickly they were sent: 

Chart from Salesforce with the effectiveness of cart abandonment emails by open rate. Top result is emails sent 1 hour after cart abandonment with an open rate of 6.33%

The highest conversion rate occurs when the abandoned cart email is sent immediately after the buyer bailed on the purchase. By sending your email within the first hour, you’ll have the greatest success. The success rate drops dramatically the longer you wait to send it. 

Motivation, trigger, ability

The Fogg behavior model is a psychological behavior model stating that three things need to happen in order for a behavior (in our case a conversion) to take place: 

  1. Motivation - Is the person motivated enough to want to perform this behavior? 
  2. Trigger - Is there something that’s spurring them to take this action? 
  3. Ability - Can they actually do it, or is there something that’s preventing them from acting?

The motivation is generally found in the product or the deal itself. The customer likes it. It looks good. It’s just what they’ve been looking for.

The trigger and the ability are where your offer, your website, and your cart abandonment emails come into play. It’s important to clearly communicate the outcome of the course, membership, or coaching, so they’re highly motivated to buy. 

The trigger is the offer element that actually gets the buyer to act. It might be urgency, limited inventory, or promotions and coupons. 

Ability is a bit trickier to define, but psychologically, there are several forces at play that can take away from the ability to do something. These include: 

- If the user has to stop the checkout process in order to create an account, create a long, memorable password, verify the account, and countless other steps, they have to devote more time and effort into buying. A shorter, more convenient buying process reduces the time spent on this activity, making it more likely the customer will complete it.

Money - Buyers want to get the best deal possible. They resist forking over a considerable amount of money, even if they want the product. This isn’t to say that you should make your products as cheap as possible. Set a price point that is profitable to you but still offers value to your customer. Then justify the value of your product in your sales copy.

Physical Effort - Tasks that are physically strenuous are less likely to be completed than tasks that feel effortless. It may not seem like much of a deterrent, but creating a multi-page checkout process adds a few extra clicks. For busy buyers, that often feels like a longer, more complicated process.

Mental Fatigue - Users are more likely to complete a task that is straightforward and simple than one that requires them to think a lot. Think of the latest CAPTCHA you had to complete. “Is there a traffic light in that box or not?” That’s a bigger hoop than most people want to jump through to make a simple purchase.

Your customers lead busy, hectic lives. Sometimes they fully intend to buy, but get distracted before they’re done. Other times, they decide at the last minute to wait on buying, or they feel uneasy about the purchase.

An abandoned cart email can re-engage your customer, addressing the issues that caused them to leave the cart and gently reminding them to complete their purchase. 

Illustration of a person at doorstep with an email on their welcome mat

Creating your abandoned cart email

How do you create an abandoned cart email that moves your customer to complete their purchase? There’s no magic to this type of email. But you do need to be strategic.

Start by making sure you understand why they likely left the cart before buying. Here are some questions you need to think through:

Are they a new user or a returning customer?
Your messaging could vary depending on where they are in the customer journey.

How sensitive are they to pricing?
Would a discount encourage them to act or would they be more enticed by a coupon? 

Could any part of the process be confusing?
Is there anything support can do to make it easier or guide them through it?

Your analytics can tell you how users are navigating your website. If there are technical issues or problems with your messaging, you’ll see that in your numbers. 

Now, keeping these issues in mind, let’s craft an abandoned cart email that persuades and builds trust. Here’s the 3-step structure that you can use for your emails:

1. Create a can’t-miss subject line

Don’t try to be cute or clever. With the right subject line, your customer will get the message even if they choose not to open the email. It can be as simple as:

  • Complete your purchase
  • Complete your purchase with a 10% discount

2. Get right to the point

Here’s all you need for an effective abandoned cart message:

Looks like you have left some items in your shopping cart on [your website]. Would you like to complete your purchase?

3. Swiftly overcome possible objections

A simple reminder may be enough. But if you feel you need to give customers additional incentives or overcome objections, you can include additional messaging. Here are some ideas for doing that: 

Invite customers to reach out if they have any questions.

Make it easy to find your contact information. Phone number, email, helpdesk, and live chat are just a few options. Say something like:

Do you have any questions? I’m here for you. Hit reply to this email, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Reframe the value

Think about the life-changing transformation your students experience after taking your course. Does that impact their financial situation? Does it empower them to achieve life-long goals? Remind them of that in your abandoned cart email:

Remember, the training you get in [name of course] is nothing short of life changing. My students have used this material to get the job of their dreams and to ask for (and get!) a 10% pay hike.

Nothing is worse than the status quo. If you’re ready for a change, complete your purchase now.  Here’s the link. Join us on the inside today. 

Lower the financial risk

If you believe money is the reason the buyer abandoned the cart, find a way to remove or reduce the financial pain of purchasing your product.

In your abandoned cart email, you might say something like:

If you’re interested in achieving [promised outcome of the course], I don’t want you to miss out. How about trying [name of the course] for a few days before you commit? I can offer a 7-day trial, if you order with this link.
[Add the link to your trial offer.]

In many cases, once the customer experiences the value you offer first-hand, they’re willing to pay your full price. And if there’s another problem, they’ll likely let you know.

Looking for how to create coupons in Kajabi? Watch this tutorial:

Go all-in on social proof

The abandoned cart email is the perfect place to share testimonials, reviews, celebrity endorsements, and recommendations from well-known associations. These all go a long way in helping to build your credibility with potential customers.

Consider bragging about one of your star students. Or include a glowing testimonial.

Offer an alternative

A common tactic in abandoned cart emails is to offer alternative purchases. Maybe you have other courses that you’d like your customer to consider, so you mention them in your email. 

While that may seem like a good idea, done wrong, it can backfire. Making decisions is one of the hardest things for humans to do. 

We all struggle with something psychologists call this the status quo bias. It describes our tendency to do nothing rather than risking something new or different. When faced with a difficult choice, we often choose the status quo, because it’s easier to stay with what we know than risk making a bad decision.

To combat this, only offer one alternative. And consider using this tactic in a second abandoned cart email.

Hey, it’s been three days, and you still haven’t completed your purchase. You may be worried about the cost of the full program or the time it’s going to take to complete it. I completely understand! 

That’s why I created the [name of alternative course]. This mini-course is a quick-start program, so you can at least get started on your learning journey.

Abandoned cart email examples

There’s no “one size fits all” abandoned cart email strategy that works for every brand, every time. You can, however, learn from the abandoned cart email examples shared here.


Cart abandonment email from Depositphotos

Depositphotos uses a simple 2-step abandoned cart email. The subject line reminds the customer that files were left in the cart. The subhead and body get straight to the point.

I like that they include an image of the purchase. That helps jog the memory in case the customer doesn’t remember.

Notice that they use the word “files” in the subject line. Use a word that describes your product, so it fits your brand. If you sell courses, you could say, “You left a course in your cart.” If you run a membership, you might say, “Just one more step to complete your membership.”


Messages that look personalized can go a long way in helping foster an ongoing business relationship with your customers. Check out this example from Ugmonk

Text based cart abandonment email from Ugmonk

This abandoned cart email is more involved. Not only does it remind the customer that they didn’t finish their purchase, it also includes those extra blurbs that overcome potential objections.

Notice also that this email looks personal. The layout is the same as an email they’d get from a friend. This makes it feel like there’s a real person behind the email.

With this strategy, the message takes a minimalist approach. It has a logo and social buttons, but regular text and links. You can feel the owner’s desire to jump in and help out at a moment’s notice. 


Cart abandonment email from ThredUp with an image of a brown blouse

ThredUp does a lot of things right in this example. They’ve put the product image, the brand, and the price front and center. In the first third of the email screen space, a coupon code is included.

If you feel your customers are abandoning cart because of financial reasons, you might test giving them a coupon in your abandoned cart email. If you do this, put the coupon code at the top of the email, where it’s easy to see.

The subject line, “Your Cart is Expiring,” gives a sense of urgency. Note that the email never says when the cart is expiring, so the customer has no idea when they’ll go back to the website and find their cart is empty. 

It’s simple, short and to the point. And most importantly, it gets clicks. 

Your takeaway from this example is to include only the most relevant information in your email. Notice how ThredUp didn’t include other products, links, or the kitchen sink. Just the item details, a coupon code, and further down, a call-to-action to complete checkout. Sometimes, that’s all you need. 


Here’s another great abandoned cart email that follows a similar structure but adds a little something extra:

Cart abandonment email from Brooklinen with orange banner and a customer testimonial

Brooklinen does a good job of including social proof in their abandoned cart email. Notice below the button that they include the phrase, “28,000+ bull-sheet-free reviews and counting.” 

The 5-star rating beside the product image supports that message. This combination of social proof and the sheer number of reviews (over 28,000) prove to the user at-a-glance that this is a reputable company.

You can do something similar with a phrase like, “500+ success stories and counting.” To find the number you want to feature, think about: 

  • How many subscribers you have
  • How many students
  • How many success stories
  • The type of success stories you’ve got
  • The outcomes your students have achieved

This abandoned cart email also offers a 10% off coupon. I like that you have to click to activate it. That invites action.


Last but not least, if you know your audience well enough, you can inject a bit of humor. 

Cart abandonment email from ThinkGeek with a Lord of the Rings reference

ThinkGeek is all about geek culture, including movies and video games, so making reference to Lord of the Rings is not at all out of character for them. Using humor depends entirely on how well you know your customers and the type of humor they tend to have.

Here’s the takeaway from this example: Just be yourself. Abandoned cart emails don’t have to follow a formula. Nor do they have to be formal, stuffy emails.

Just as you do with your other emails, write like you talk. Create an email that sounds like only your brand could have sent it, and it will perform.

Essential elements of a successful abandoned cart email

As you can see, the best cart abandonment emails have several things in common: 

They’re minimalist.
Only include the most necessary details, like product, price, discount (if any) offer, and your call to action.

They’re meaningful. Good abandoned cart emails sound personal. They communicate your desire to help the customer have a positive experience.

They incorporate testimonials or reviews. Your emails should demonstrate that placing an order is a smart decision that the customer can make with confidence. 

Each of the email examples we reviewed is unique. Each speaks directly to its own audience, using its own brand voice.

As you craft your email, keep that in mind. Talk to your audience using your own style and personality. Remind them of the end result you know they want. Include triggers that will move them to act. Remove as many objections as you can. 

Now, let’s talk about the process of setting up your abandoned cart emails.

How do I retarget an abandoned cart by email? 

Once you have a user’s email address, you can easily set up a retargeting campaign via email in Kajabi. To do so, simply follow these steps: 

  1. From the dashboard, click Products.
  2. Click Offers.
  3. Click an existing offer or choose one to edit.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the Offer Edit page and activate the Cart Abandonment Email.
  5. From here, you’ll want to choose the number of hours that should pass after the customer abandons their cart until they receive the email. 
  6. Click Save to save your changes.
  7. If you want to edit the reminder email, click Edit reminder email template.
  8. Then click on Cart Abandonment.
  9. Click Save to save your changes.

Simple, right? 

Are abandoned cart emails transactional or marketing?

Abandoned cart emails are considered transactional since the customer has added an item to their cart and intends to purchase. However, with the right email retargeting system in place, you can customize your emails just as you would any other kind of marketing email. 

Although they may not be considered marketing, abandoned cart emails support and work with your marketing. They demonstrate your concern for your customers. They show how  responsive you are to their needs. And they help you persuade and move your customers to action.

How do I use abandoned cart emails in Kajabi?

The flow for your cart abandonment email depends on the checkout template you’ve activated for your offer. Kajabi’s New Checkout Template is a good example of the type of functionality you need.

Offer checkout customization page in Kajabi app

Kajabi’s template sends a cart abandonment email when an existing member: 

  1. Logs into their account 
  2. Selects an offer that has the cart abandonment email activated 
  3. Doesn’t complete the checkout process

There are times, however, when a cart abandonment email won’t send. That happens when:

  • The customer doesn’t have an existing account
  • There’s no cart abandonment email set up for the offer
  • The offer is a free 
  • The user abandons checkout but returns and completes the sale before the email is scheduled to be sent
  • There’s an upsell with your offer, but the upsell is abandoned

This is the type of functionality you want from your email marketing software. It should allow you to be responsive, sending an email that demonstrates you’re paying attention. But it should allow you to set parameters, so you won’t annoy your customer, sending unnecessary emails. 

Fortunately, Kajabi’s email marketing platform is smart enough to know this. It only sends these emails when it will help your customer.

Getting the most out of your abandoned cart emails

As you can see, setting up an abandoned cart email is simple and straightforward. It’s also a smart marketing option that can help you win back customers and increase engagement. By following the examples here and using them as models for your own business, you’ll be able to increase your sales almost effortlessly. 

Remember that you’re not just pushing a sale. The message should tie in well with your brand’s philosophy and voice. It should appear to serve the customer, not you.

A shopping cart abandonment email, like any other marketing campaign, is a tool. The results you get will depend on how well you make it work for you. 

Think about the role it plays in the big picture and how it helps you reach your goals. From there, you can tailor the messaging accordingly. 

Don’t forget about what happens after the sale

Okay, your emails are drafted. They’re uploaded to your email marketing software. Be aware, you’re still not done. You need to think about what happens after the sale. 

Even after you’ve poured all of your skills and knowledge into your abandoned cart emails, there’s room for improvement. From the moment the customer buys, there are plenty of emails and personal touches that make the customer experience complete. 

Pay close attention to your email marketing statistics. What are your cart abandonment rates overall? What are the open rates of your abandoned cart emails? What are the click-through rates? 

Consider where your users are in their customer journey and tailor your emails to match their needs. Send them an email that sounds like you wrote it just for them. 

Your customer will appreciate the personal touch. Hopefully, they’ll click through and buy.

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