How To Write The Perfect Abandoned Cart Email Sequence

You might be shocked at just how many sales you’re losing every single day if you aren’t accounting for the high number of shoppers who abandon their carts before checking out.

Are you ready?

As it turns out, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.23%. Put another way, that’s almost 7 out of 10 shopping carts.

Here’s the thing: a large percentage of potential customers can be persuaded to complete their purchase if you do a few different things right. And when it comes to reducing cart abandonment rates, one of the most effective ways to do so is with an email recovery campaign.

That means not only crafting a persuading email in the first place but also sending several different emails, all timed to go out at strategic points in time.

Yes, that’s right: several emails.

Customers who receive two emails are 2.4 more likely to make a purchase than customers who only received one email.

Shopify recommends that people send out least one email a day for five days.

With it being so simple to set up a recovery email, there is no reason why you wouldn’t want to take advantage of such a powerful tactic.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at how to craft the perfect abandonment email sequence.

The Basics: What All Emails Should Contain

Before we can even move on to the ideal sequence of emails and what each email should contain, it’s important to lay down the foundation for what all emails should contain within them. Here are some important considerations:

  • A Compelling Subject Line. Subject lines need to be designed to grab attention.
  • An Image of the Product. All emails should have an image of the product(s) that are dynamically inserted into the email.
  • A Link Back to Their Cart. When it comes to recovering abandoned carts, it’s important to make the process as easy as possible.

Don’t make potential customers have to complete all of their details again – include a simple link, underlined in blue, that will take customers back to their cart.

  • A Call to Action Button. All emails should contain an additional call to action button like “Click Here to Go To Your Shopping Cart” or “Click Here to Complete Your Purchase.” Make them prominent. Feel free to also include a couple of buttons.
  • Strong Copy. Just like all of your other marketing materials, your abandoned cart emails also have to have contained strong copy – both subject lines and the body of the content. Whether your copy is witty or funny or just fun, it should be anything but dry and boring. Keep in mind that it also reflects your brand.
  • Personalized. Anytime you can personalize your emails (by addressing the person by the name) you catch the person’s attention.
  • Have One Purpose: To Reduce Cart Abandonment. Your emails should have a singular focus: to reduce cart abandonment in some way. That means that you will want to avoid distracting customers by showing them other products or really anything else that isn’t related to getting potential customers to complete their purchase.

1. Email #1: The Reminder Email

If you craft your first email correctly, it should be the most profitable. Broadly speaking, the purpose of the first email is to simply remind customers of their outstanding purchase – think of it as the reminder email.

For this reason, you should aim to send it anywhere between three and four hours after the person has abandoned their cart.

Keep in mind that the email should be relatively short and specific.

However, there is a secondary component of the first email: it should communicate a sense of urgency. Scarcity is a powerful psychological phenomenon that can motivate people to make a purchase.

There are two ways you could go about communicate this urgency: you could either tell potential customers to buy now before you run out of stock OR you could offer to reserve the items in their cart for a limited amount of time. Both are effective.

Here’s an example of the first email sent by of Shopify’s most successful stores, Boom! By Cindy Joseph:

Another thing to keep in mind is if cart abandonment happens due to an error of your own. Perhaps your website crashed. Whatever the case may be, another great option is to make your first email an apology email.

Take a look at how Shape FX blends an apology with an incentive and social proof on top of it all.


In fact, you can even send an apology email even in the event that cart abonnement was not due to your fault.

You can also incentivize your customers as well with a discount account (if you know that the error was because of a mistake you made).

2. Email #2: The Second Reminder

The second email you send in your recovery email campaign is a fairly easy one – it reason is it should look pretty similar to the first email you sent. Think of it as a second reminder. This should be sent roughly 24 hours or so after someone has abandoned their cart.

The second email even has the same sort of purpose as the first one: to communicate a sense of urgency, and, ideally, spur potential customers to complete their purchase. Writing a subject line like “Last chance before your cart expires” conveys that sense of urgency.

Here is an example of the second email that Shopify’s Boom By Cindy Joseph sends to those with abandoned carts 24 hours or so after doing so:


Again, notice that the second email (and all emails to follow) all have the essential items like an image of the product that was dynamically inserted into the email, text that calls potential customers to action along with a couple of actual call-to-action buttons.

Now, if you are familiar with writing abandoned cart emails yourself, or you have even received them before, you may have noticed that some emails contain a discount code. You may find yourself wondering, “At what point should I offer a code”?

Indeed, there is nothing more incentivizing than a discount code, but many businesses out there make the mistake of sending discount codes too early – some even send a discount code in their very first email.

As you will see, discount codes shouldn’t be written into your email sequence until the end. Your second email should still try to entice users to complete their purchase by reminding them of their order and through conveying a sense of urgency.

After all, these are your most interested customers; that’s why it’s a good idea to wait before you make the decision to lose a percentage of your sales due to discounts.

3. Email #3: Communicate Your Value Proposition

The third email is where you begin to take a different approach than the first two. No longer are you trying to communicate a sense of urgency. The purpose of the third email is to communicate your value proposition – i.e. the benefits of your product.

The third year also demonstrates social proof and establishes authority. Take a look at Boom! By Cindy Joseph’s third email:


Notice that they demonstrated the benefits of their product and social proof by getting a beauty expert to review the product.

While the third email tends to generate smaller sales than the first two, the third email not only establishes authority but also gives a boost to the emails that come after it.

Now, there’s one important element to take note of. We mentioned above that all emails should have a call-to-action button that goes back to the customers’ shopping card.

The third email is one exception. The third email should include a link to the content that illustrates your particular social proof instead.

For the Boom! By Cindy Joseph store, that meant a call-to-action button that linked back to the video instead as you can see above. Any other videos work, including customer testimonials.

4. Email #4: Offer a Discount

The fourth email is where you can begin to finally issue a discount code. By putting an expiration date on the discount code, you not only incentivize customers to make a purchase but also create urgency as well.

However, the key is to make them an offer they can’t resist. This is what will catch their attention. You can make them feel extra special by telling them you don’t normally make offers like this.

Really sweeten the deal. As they say, make them an offer they can’t refuse.

As an alternative to a discount, you can offer a free gift or a discount on their next order.

When Boom! By Cindy Joseph sent out this email, they generated 5X their revenue than the email before.  


Ensure that you communicate this urgency in your subject line as well.

5. Email #5: Communicate Your Value Proposition Again

This email has a similar purpose as the third one: it continues to show social proof, communicate your value proposition, educate customers about the brand and build authority.

Boom! By Cindy Joseph did this by doing a live makeover demo using one of their products.


Like the third email, it moves away from communicating a sense of urgency and toward communicating the benefits of the product instead. Again, this email also does not link back to the abandoned cart – it links back to the relevant video instead.

6. Email #6: Final Offer for a Discount

The last and final email is designed to offer one final discount. It should also communicate a sense of urgency by telling potential customers that this is their final opportunity to get their products at a discount.

Other Tips

  • A/B Testing Is Key

As with all of your marketing efforts, it’s important to monitor your open/click rates.

If you’re not seeing the results you had hoped for, try testing different subject lines and the content within the body of your email to see what generates better results.

Wrapping It Up

If you want to improve your sales, cart abandonment emails are critical. That means having a strong foundation in all emails (for example, strong copy and links back to the abandoned cart) and then playing upon urgency.

As you near the end of your sequence, make potential customers an offer they can’t refuse.

Do you have any tips for writing the perfect abandoned cart email sequence? Let us know below.

If you’re interested in getting more online sales, you may want to also check out our blog post, “How to Get More Sales For Your E-commerce Website.



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