Skip to main content
Illustration of website browser depicting abandoned cart emails

9 common reasons your abandoned cart emails are underperforming

Back to Blog

Amplify your eCommerce sales by refining your abandoned cart email strategy

Online shoppers abandon their shopping carts regularly. In fact, it’s estimated that over 70% of shoppers who add products to their carts abandon them before completing the checkout process.

Are your abandoned cart emails working? There are many reasons why shoppers abandon their carts. Maybe they weren’t ready to make the purchase at that moment. Or perhaps they got distracted, didn’t have their payment card on them, or needed to check something with a family member first.

If your cart recovery emails aren’t delivering the results you’d hoped for, it might be time to take a more considered approach to drive online shoppers back to your Shopify or WooCommerce store.

Harness the power of your user data, website analytics, and insights gained from A/B testing to craft targeted and well-timed email campaigns with appealing incentives personalised to your target audience’s needs.

In this blog post, we’ll look at common reasons why you aren’t seeing the results you want from your cart abandonment emails, and suggest solutions. We’ll cover:

An email you’ll definitely want to click

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the know about all things eCommerce.

Why your abandoned cart emails are underperforming

1. You don’t have a follow-up plan for abandoned carts

Cart abandonment happens across the eCommerce space. Every sector has a slightly different baseline for abandonment rates, likely influenced by the type of product or services being sold. Some customers who abandon their carts will return to your website of their own accord at a more convenient time, some will not.

Sending automated follow-up emails to customers who abandon their shopping carts is a proven and effective strategy for recovering leads. A 2023 survey found that over 40% of cart abandonment emails are opened, and the average abandoned click-through rate is 21%. The survey also found that these emails have a conversion rate of 10%.

The first step in constructing your cart abandonment email strategy is examining your own website’s abandonment data. Compare this with industry benchmarks and use these figures to establish clear objectives and metrics around which to build your email campaign.

2. You’re not using data to inform your abandoned cart email strategy

Although setting up automated cart abandonment emails is a great first step towards recovering lost sales, this in itself does not guarantee conversions.

Your website’s user data and analytics contain a wealth of valuable insights into what attracts visitors to your site. Not just that, but also what makes them leave, and what is likely to persuade them to return. 

For example, if you notice high drop-off rates after your site visitors read through delivery information, perhaps delivery costs or timelines are a factor in abandoning purchases. 

Further segmentation may reveal that these rates are higher in certain geographical regions. You could test out this theory by offering these customers free shipping in your follow-up email, and comparing the conversion rate with that of previous emails.

In order to make the most out of the data you collect, you can centralise it all in a secure CRM database, and integrate different sources of data to build a clear picture of your customers.

Illustration of shopping journey from user to cart to checkout

3. You’re not personalising your messaging

In an increasingly competitive eCommerce market, brands that are able to provide personalised experiences will have the edge over their competitors. 

Research by Epsilon found that 80% of shoppers were more likely to shop with brands that offered personalised experiences. Brand loyalty and customer retention play a key role in this, which is why so many eCommerce businesses invest in customer retention campaigns.

The more data you are able to gather from your website users, the more you can adapt your email strategy to their behaviour and preferences.

Advances in artificial intelligence and email marketing software mean that brands can deliver these experiences, provided they take the time to listen to their customers. Part of this comes from tracking their behaviour through website analytics, but many customers are happy to share their personal data in exchange for content and offers based on their individual needs.

Data personalisation through Ikea account preferences

4. Your timing is off

Timing is a crucial element in the success of your abandoned cart emails. Send your first email too soon and it may be ignored. However, send it too late and you might have missed your shot. They could have purchased an alternative or found the product from a competitor.

Sending these emails within an hour of cart abandonment is generally considered best practice. However, the optimal time to send this email will vary from sector to sector.

Big-ticket purchases like furniture, travel and electronics generally require more research and consideration. Buyers will likely still be in the research stage if the email reaches them on the same day. 

By testing out the effectiveness of emails sent at different times and comparing their respective conversion rates, you can find out what timing works best for your customers.

5. Your abandoned cart emails lack incentives

According to research by Baynard, nearly half of online shoppers abandon carts due to unexpected costs. Incentives such as time-restricted discounts or free shipping can encourage shoppers who are on the fence about whether or not your product is worth it.

US-based barbershop and haircare brand Rudy’s offers free shipping to users who abandon carts. The brand combines this offer with a simple, eye-catching design that showcases the abandoned products and playful copy that still conveys urgency. 

By doing so, Rudy’s has created a powerful incentive for visitors to return to their website and take advantage of the offer while it lasts.

Offering free shipping after a threshold of order value is reached (eg. free shipping over £100) is also a great way to increase your AOV.

According to HubSpot, 24% of shoppers are willing to spend more by purchasing additional items in order to qualify for free shipping.

Experiment with different discount amounts, email copy and layouts to see what resonates most with different sectors of your audience. This enables you to test, learn, and optimise for maximum conversions.

6. Your abandoned cart email layout is distracting

When crafting your cart recovery emails, it can be tempting to throw in a bit of everything in the hopes that something will catch a shopper’s eye. In reality, this approach is more likely to reduce the effectiveness of your emails and may undermine your brand image.

Emails that are the most likely to lead to conversions generally contain the following:

Email marketing software providers such as Mailchimp will often provide you with the ability to set up A/B tests of different layouts to see what performs best. You can use the data from these tests to adjust your email templates based on proven results.

7. You’re not cross-selling

Adding product recommendations into your abandoned cart emails is an effective way to boost the average order value (AOV) of recovered transactions. 

Even if the shopper doesn’t proceed with the original purchase, sharing personalised recommendations will help them find products that are well suited to their needs. 

Consumers are increasingly expecting personalised experiences from brands, especially when they create accounts or provide personal details.

Even if shoppers don’t add the recommended products to their original order, 37% who click on these product links will visit your website again. This gives you further opportunities to engage with them and retain their attention.

8. You’re not experimenting

If you’ve got a large enough sample size to draw from, adding A/B testing into your abandoned cart email strategy can help you test out campaign ideas and refine them according to what performs best. You can apply this testing to several different elements, such as:

Other aspects of your campaign that can be tested are the timing and frequency of your emails, and performance across different demographics.

Katie, Sales Strategist, stood in front of exterior wall

Outshine your eCommerce competition 

We’ll work closely with you to unlock strategies to guide your business growth.

Learn more about our Insights service.

9. You don’t know when to let go

Sending endless emails, or emails that are irrelevant, can do more harm than good to your conversion rates.

Three abandoned cart emails tends to be the ideal amount – any more than that is likely to cause irritation and could put people off your brand. It’s also important to ensure your campaign will end when the customer has either completed their purchase or removed the item from their cart.

By focusing your energy on the shoppers who are invested in your brand (but just need that one final nudge), you can recover lost revenue and re-engage with casual visitors who may choose to become customers with the right incentive.


  1. Cart abandonment happens regularly across every eCommerce sector
  2. Sending automated follow-up emails is an effective way to recover some of these lost sales
  3. Examining your user data will give you a clearer picture of your target audience, allowing for more tailored messaging
  4. Brands providing personalised experiences will stand out amongst competitors
  5. Conducting A/B tests on timing, frequency, messaging and layouts will help you further refine your strategy
Working on laptop

Take a deep dive into your data 

We’ll show you what’s working, what could be improved, and how you can grow as a brand.

Contact us for a website audit.

Headshot of woman with long dark hair in casual attire

Anita Senaratna Writer & Creative

Friday 24th November 2023