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Abandoned Cart Email Examples & Templates
05.06.20, Haydar Yüce

The decision to win back shopping cart abandoners with email retargeting is obvious: persuading customers with existing interest to buy is cheaper than winning new customers with the help of expensive marketing campaigns. The email after a shopping cart abandonment is an efficient method for online merchants to reduce their abandonment rate and at the same time build a strong bond with existing customers. But for good reason, many online merchants have open questions regarding the structure, content and layout of emails before they start.

What’s more, the many best practices circulating on the web sometimes contradict each other. Our many years of experience show, however, that online merchants use a service-oriented approach to persuade far more successful shopping cart abandoners to make a purchase than they would with an advertising-intensive approach.

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Shopping cart abandonment: Service before advertising

A shopping cart abandonment always results from problems that the shop visitor is confronted with. These can be technical problems, a poor UX design or personal motives. An appropriate response to such problems are solution-oriented approaches that address the individual problems and are understood as a service. Advertising-intensive approaches are out of place here, because who wants to be swamped with advertising when problems arise?

Read our comprehensive guide and learn everything there is to know about shopping cart abandonment and reducing abandonment rate.

Whether transactional emails, advertising emails or abandoned cart emails: customers receive countless emails from online shops. The communication channel is tempting, because the opening rates speak for themselves. It is therefore obvious that online merchants also make use of this communication channel. 

A significant difference between the opening rate of transaction and advertising emails is striking. In order for abandoned cart emails to successfully bring cart abandoners back into the purchasing process, they must not create the impression of advertising emails. The following data illustrate that transactional emails have a higher acceptance and thus result in an increased probability of opening.

What are Abandoned cart emails?

Where do you classify the abandoned cart emails? Are they advertising emails or are they more like transaction emails? To answer this question, we will first characterize the different email types.

Transaction emails

Transaction emails are triggered by an action of the customer. The best known transaction emails in e-commerce are order and shipping confirmations. These types of emails meet with great interest on the part of the recipient, because the customer can remember the action (e.g. an order) and even expects such a notification. The recipient perceives the email as a kind of service.

Advertising emails

Advertising emails, on the other hand, are not triggered directly by the customer, but only require a one-time consent. The best known example of this are newsletter emails. This type of email has a clear advertising character and is a popular and at the same time well-performing marketing channel. The recipient logically perceives the email as advertising and then decides for or against advertising consumption.

Abandoned cart emails

From a purely legal point of view, abandoned cart emails are considered to be advertising emails. But apart from the legal perspective, they do not have much in common with them. They serve to convince shopping cart abandoners of the purchase. At the same time, however, they can be demonstrated as a kind of service through clever design. They are triggered by the customer when they abandon their shopping cart and offer the service of responding to the individual reason for abandonment in a solution-oriented manner.


Functionally, they are therefore a mixture of advertising and transactional emails. Ultimately, it depends on how the recipient views the email: Does he perceive it as advertising or as a service? This perception decides on the success or failure of abandoned cart emails.





Three key elements for successful mailings to shopping cart abandoners

Online merchants therefore best design abandoned cart emails as service emails. In fact, they are a service for the cart abandoners. How do online shops design abandoned cart emails so that the customers perceive them as a service? These three key elements help!

1. Content: Relevance through service orientation

In the case of a shopping cart abandonment, relevance means addressing the individual reason for abandonment and approaching the abandoner in a solution-oriented manner. The content of the email changes depending on the reason for abandonment and customer characteristics. Thus, the cart abandoner re-enters the buying process and completes the order without worries. Algorithms specializing in shopping cart abandonment identify the reasons for abandonment and then provide solutions.

The great long-term advantage of a service-oriented approach is customer loyalty. The numerous advertising-heavy emails that end up in the mailboxes every day lead to increasing disenchantment with advertising. On the other hand, the opening rate of transactional emails proves that obviously relevant content attracts great interest.


2. Communication: Personalized instead of impersonal

Another key element for abandoned cart emails is personalized communication. While some customers certainly prefer to use the polite form of address, others prefer the informal form. The way in which customers are addressed also plays a special role in personalized communication in e-commerce: Do I communicate in a warm, businesslike or even hip tone? Here, too, algorithms that use a variety of data sources and influencing factors to calculate the optimal individual tonality help.

To strike the right tone means appreciation. That’s how the cart abandoner feels addressed. In this way, online shops strengthen the customer experience, which in turn significantly increases the probability of winning back the cart abandoner.


3. Template: Simplicity as a differentiation from advertising emails

Advertising emails are often very colour- and graphic-heavy to attract attention. Besides all the advantages, there is a decisive disadvantage: As soon as the email is recognized as advertising, the interest disappears. That’s why abandoned cart emails should be distinguishable from advertising emails not only in terms of content, but also, and especially, in terms of appearance. Do not overload the email with advertising graphics. A simple, serious template is appropriate at this point.

The recipient immediately knows that it is a relevant service email. Once he or she has received the email, he or she will remember the service in the event of any further shopping cart abandonment and the subsequent emails. This is how online shops build a customer relationship at eye level.





Examples for Abandoned cart emails

Now we would like to illustrate the key elements for successful email retargeting after a shopping cart abandonment using three examples. In addition, we will provide you with sample email templates.

Bernhard Wagner | Age: 70 | Retired: Bernhard has been a big comic fan since his youth. Recently he discovered an online shop that sells many of his favorite comics. Without further ado, he registers, picks out his comics and starts the checkout. Unfortunately there are problems with the payment, which he cannot solve. The problem must be Bernhard’s, because the other payments in the online shop work technically perfect. He leaves the filled shopping cart.

Content: The solution lies in a service offer that Bernhard receives by email. In it he is offered the telephone service with the name of the corresponding employee. The Whatsapp service would be inappropriate because Bernhard belongs to the older generation.

Communication: Bernhard is used to being treated warmly in stationary shop. Therefore, in this case the following applies to communication: a cordial tonality.

abandoned cart email example

Noah Laurent | Age: 21 | Student: Noah searches for picture frames in an online shop and finds something suitable. After some consideration, however, he comes to the conclusion that the price is a bit too high. He would rather go to the city centre and look for picture frames in stationary shops, because he meets his friends outside anyway.

Content: Since Noah is obviously price-sensitive, the solution in this case lies in a voucher code, which only price-sensitive cart abandoners should receive as an incentive. Noah receives a push notification for each new email. So he will see the abandoned cart emails before he leaves the apartment.

Communication: Since Noah is quite young, he would like to be on a first-name basis. It is appropriate to communicate with a rather hip manners, which appeals to people of his generation.

Email after shopping cart abandonment Examples

Ela Yildiz | Age: 39 | Employed: Ela wants to buy a replacement charger cable for her smartphone. After some research, she finds the right product in an electronics online shop and adds it to the shopping cart. Since she is on the road and is distracted, she closes the window, leaves the shopping cart and puts her smartphone in her jacket pocket.

Content: Since Ela is neither service-needy nor price-sensitive, but simply had to cancel the shopping cart due to lack of time, the solution is a simple reminder email. In due course she reads the email. In this way she remembers the cart abandonment and resumes the ordering process.

Communication: Just like Bernhard, Ela is addressed formally in business and in everyday life. Therefore, a more formaly tonality is recommended when communicating with her.

E-Mail after cart abandonment template example

Service-oriented, personalized and non-advertising designed: The uptain® ALGORITHM automates the sending of optimized abandoned cart emails. The immediate advantage is the recovery of shopping cart abandoners. At least as important is the long-term benefit: The strengthening of customer loyalty, the customer experience and communication at eye level.

What should the subject line look like?

The subject line gives the first impression of an email. A short, concise and above all honest subject line underlines the service-oriented character and thus increases the probability of opening.

At what time should I send the abandoned cart email?

Basically, the earlier the better, because the shop visit is still fresh in the memory. However, at least 45 minutes should pass, as the person cancelling the purchase may only have had a short break. With high-priced products, the abandoned cart email should appear a little later because of the longer decision process.

What legal basis do I have to observe?

In Germany there are two central legal principles that apply to abandoned cart email: The Act against Unfair Competition (UWG) regulates the conditions for the sending of emails, whereas the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates the collection and processing of personal data. To find out more about the legal aspects, read the blog article “What to keep in mind with abandonment-mails“.

Which incentives do I use to convince shopping cart abandoners?

There are three incentives especially for shopping cart abandoners: vouchers for price-sensitive abandoners, service offers for customers who require service, and a simple reminder for abandoners who leave the shopping cart due to lack of time or distraction.

The individual incentives can be further subdivided: vouchers can be in the form of percentage (e.g. 5%) or fixed discount values (e.g. 5€) and for service offers there is the possibility of email, whatsapp and telephone service.

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Learn now:


  • How 11FREUNDE achieved a conversion rate of 35% with abandonment mails
  • What positive effects a proactive customer approach has for your brand
  • What the smart use of voucher looks like

Further interesting posts:
Mobile shopping cart abandonment in online shops
Buzzwords – is that really necessary?
GDPR: What to keep in mind with abandonment-mails