A 7 Step Cheat Sheet to Win Back Abandoned Shopping Carts

Abandoned Shopping Cart


Did you know that 99% of first time visitors to an e-commerce site do not make a purchase at all? This figure is a combination of people who browsed for a while, then moved on and people who simply bounced straight off to some other place on the World Wide Web.

A study on Shopping Cart Abandonment by the Baymard Institute pegs the former figure at 67.91% of all visitors to your site. Now, isn’t this is a more heartening figure than the 99% one that we started with? It means nearly 68% of all people who landed on your site did find something that caught their eye on your site and they looked around for a while. But for one reason or another, they decided to leave you site.

So according to this number, if your website attracts 1000 visitors a day, 680 visitors abandon their shopping carts per day. If we assume an average value of $50 per cart, we’re staring at an annual loss of over $12 million!

The good news is that at least 75% of first time visitors who abandon their carts do so with the intention of returning in a while to complete their purchase.

Unfortunately, not all companies spend any time or efforts trying to win over a potential sale. According to a study by and eConsultancy, “Only 29% of companies currently analyze cart abandonment.”

Don’t be one of those companies that turn a blind eye to such a huge opportunity. Winning back customers who’ve abandoned their shopping carts is not easy, but it is definitely possible and entirely worth the work.

Let’s begin on our 7 step program to recover potential customers from the abyss of the abandoned shopping cart.

Reach out to the customer via email


Simple though it may sound, it is proven to be incredibly effective.

A customer who has abandoned their shopping cart mid-purchase would normally have registered their email IDs already with you. Use this information to send out emails to the customer reminding them about their recent search on your site.

Try and include the customer’s name as well as the product searched for in the subject line to push the open rates even higher.

This may need a dedicated effort to track abandoned carts and set up automated emails with personalized content, but trust me you’ll thank yourself for doing this.

Studies show that retailers earn $5 worth of revenue with every single cart abandonment email sent out.


revenue chart

Image source: GetElastic


In the image above, the chart on the left shows a conversion rate of over 20% among Cart Abandonment emails v/s less than 2.5% for loyalty emails or business as usual emails. The chart on the right shows that the revenue generated from Cart Abandonment emails is nearly 3 times higher than the revenue from regular email campaigns.

Time it right


As in most other areas of life, promptness pays rich dividends.

A study of over 60,000 abandoned carts by SeeWhy showed that emailing a customer within the first few hours of cart abandonment is the most efficient way to win back the customer.

  • 54% of all customers who are won back, receive emails in the first few hours of cart abandonment. This number fell to 10% when an email sent 48 hours after cart abandonment.
  • Open rates are also higher for real-time triggered emails – 60% vs. 55% after 24 hours and 50% after 7 days.
  • Revenue per email is $11, $4, and $3, respectively for real-time, 24 hours and post 7 day periods.
  • Conversion rates for real-time recovery emails are 11% compared to 6% and 3% for 24 hours and 7 days, respectively.


Create urgency, include images


The need to not miss out on a great deal is very deeply ingrained in all of us. Tap into this primal instinct by creating a sense of urgency through the email message.

Make sure you include images as well as a link to the item the customer left unpurchased. The visual cue is a strong one and will push an uncertain customer closer to the finish line.

This email scores on both creating a sense of urgency and pushing the unpurchased product in an effective manner:



Image source: Doggyloot


Follow up with an exclusive goodie


Much as we would like it, not every customer will respond to your first recovery email.

However, that does not mean that the customer is a lost cause.

Email the customer again reminding them of their unfinished shopping. Sweeten the deal by offering something exclusive to the customer to encourage the purchase. Take a look at this Neiman Marcus recovery email that employs a coupon to convert the customer:




Some other options are:

  • Free shipping for this particular purchase – according to a ComScore study, 61% of consumers are likely to cancel their complete purchase if free shipping is not offered.
  • Price off or percentage off coupons
  • Free membership to your loyalty program
  • A bonus item along with the paid purchase


Customer testimonials


A glowing testimonial from a satisfied customer means a world more than any number of paid advertisements you may create.

A testimonial by a customer is basically a vote of confidence in your favor. It makes great sense to include some genuine praise from happy customers in your abandoned cart email. Another cool way to bring the customer closer to buying the specific item is to include positive product reviews left behind by other customers for this item.

A study by Econsultancy showed that 70% of customers trust recommendations from other users while just 14% trust advertising directly from the brand. Another study found that conversions grew by over 20% thanks to positive customer reviews.

Last Viewed items on return visit


As mentioned earlier in this article, 75% of customers who abandon their shopping carts return to the site for completing the purchase.


online shooes

Image source: OnlineShoes


A great way to ensure the repeat visit results in a sale for you is to remind them of their last viewed item(s) using cookies or by tracking the repeat visit through the username with which they logged in. You could also suggest items similar to what they searched for last to nudge along the shopping process.

Retargeting using display ads


So what if a customer has left your website? You can still reach them and try to change their minds about your products/services by advertising your business on the other websites that they move on to.

In the past, online advertising was a lot less sophisticated. But since the late 2000s, major online ad networks have been allowing businesses to specifically reach out to customers who have visited their website at least once before. You can choose from a plethora of ad networks including the Google ad network, AdRoll, Rocketfuel, even Facebook Exchange. Each of these has its own benefits and caters to specific audiences. You can pick and choose a network based on your industry niche, your customers’ preferences and your marketing dollars.

Your ads follow the customer to the other websites that they visit across the web using cookie-driven technology. The hypothesis is, if a customer has shown interest in your product once by visiting your site, targeting such a customer has a higher chance of conversion than spending advertising budgets on potential customers who have never visited your site yet.

Retargeting is not very different from traditional display advertising in the sense that all the fundamentals and dynamics of banner ads, landing pages and ad networks remain unchanged. The only difference is that the ads assist the user in recognition more than cognition.

According to Greg Coleman, CEO of Criteo, a display advertising company regular display ads get click through rates of 0.07% on an average. A retargeted ad gets an average click through rate of 0.7% – ten times higher!

A business that is committed to making the most of the marketing budget it spends would think twice before ignoring a customer who dropped off the site without making a purchase. After all, research shows that Average Order Value is 34% higher for an abandoned cart recovery purchase than a regular purchase.

Apply these 7 simple steps to recapture lost customers and watch your business derive value from every penny of marketing money you’ve spent on it.


About author:

Tracy Vides is a content strategist who likes to keep her finger on the pulse of the latest small business products, services, and apps. Hit her up on Google+ for a chat. She’s @TracyVides on Twitter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Need Help with your Digital Marketing

Submit Your Info and We’ll Work Up a Custom Proposal

Need Help with a Project Common Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.