As mentioned in our previous article about the causes of shopping cart abandonment to be able to combat the shopping cart abandonment, you must first understand why the customer is abandoning their purchase. Once you have a basic understanding of what is turning your potential customers off, you can then put a strategy into place to try and prevent it happening in the future.
Some of the things that you can do are fairly straight forward and we touched on them in the previous article:

  • Ensure that your site is easy to use without anything that can distract the shopper from the goal of a sale.
  • Make sure that your site loads quickly and reliably
  • Make sure that there is an online way for your customers to contact you if there are questions or technical issues
  • Make sure that your shipping and returns policy are clear and easy to find
  • Think carefully before making it compulsory for potential customers to register before they can shop
  • Consider the impact of adding “up-selling pages” into the checkout process
  • Don’t direct your potential customer away from the cart process
  • Ensure that all the costs associated with the order are clearly visible as soon as possible

However, even if you do all this there is still more that you can do to help recover from shopping cart abandonment. The secret is a good post-abandonment marketing strategy.

What is post-abandonment marketing?

Simply put post-abandonment marketing is how to try and convert shopping cart abandonment into a sale. Even the most efficient and highly functional carts will still have abandonment issues. It is vital to keep a balance between customer service and hard sell and try and make sure your email will be seen as useful and valuable by the customer.

How to run a successful post-abandonment marketing campaign

Most post-abandonment campaigns consist of multiple emails, the market standard being 2 or 3. Each email is targeted slightly differently. In a recent study, it was shown that at least 13% of the companies questioned sent out at least one post-abandonment email to try and entice the customer back to complete the sale.

The average length of time between the abandonment and the email was 30hrs, although one company sent their email 45mins after the abandonment occurred. However, there is no “magic number” for the amount of time that should be left

During the study the impact of each area of the email was investigated, including the subject lines and content and this was then compared to the reactions of the customers who had received them.

Subject Line:

Many post-abandonment emails are sent out without any personalisation in the subject line as they are often auto-generated. However, most systems can be set up to insert some level of personalisation into an email from a database, and it is well worth the effort and possible extra cost as it can add a friendly touch but be careful not to be too over familiar as many respondents commented that receiving an unsolicited email with their first name in the subject line made them feel uncomfortable. A nice alternative may be to use a phrase like “Valued Customer” instead – more personalisation tended to be used in the second post-abandonment email.

It is also important to make sure the customer knows why you are contacting them, with many brands opting to use wording like “Please complete your order”, “a friendly reminder” or just mentioning the cart that was abandoned. Many companies suggested using an added incentive for the second post-abandonment email, like free shipping, in the subject line to try and hook in reluctant customers. Most also would point out that these were time limited offers as the carts would “expire” in a few days.


Many of the most successful post-abandonment emails mimic the look and feel of the cart, reminding the customer of the item that they were purchasing, and clearly stating the cost, shipping and have a direct payment link within the mail.

The content of the second email should be inviting but help put a sense of urgency into the buyer. It should clearly state that this is the last chance to buy the products in the cart, offer an additional incentive like free shipping or a discount on the next purchase and provide a quick and easy way for the customer to return to their cart.

Post-abandonment marketing in a nutshell

Timing – As mentioned before, there is no “magic number” that will work better than others, but it may be worth experimenting a little with your customers by sending out the messages at a variety of timescales from abandonment and see which time slot gains the best reaction for future mailings.

Incentives, hooks and promotions – Try offering reluctant buyers an additional hook, after all, everyone loves a bargain. The incentives could include things like, free shipping, discounts on future shopping, or free gifts. Again, test the impact, monitor the response you get for each hook, and see if there is a difference if you offer it at other intervals in the post-abandonment process.

Avoiding repeat abandoners – Be aware of “career abandoners” – make sure any system you have in place is set up so that repeat abandoners are exempt from the hooks and incentives otherwise you run the risk of training your shoppers to abandon their cart in order to get a better deal. Most companies recommend that you set it so that only those that haven’t purchased from post-abandonment emails in the last three months trigger the offers.