Reaching shopping cart abandoners – strategies for winning back potential customers: ecommerce hack #12

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Shopping cart abandonment - customers adding products to their shopping cart but not completing the purchase - is a common problem in e-commerce that can lead to a significant loss of sales. In this article, we look at effective strategies to reduce cart abandonment, with a particular focus on implementing automated email sequences to recover these potential buyers.

The importance of shopping cart abandoners

Shopping cart abandoners are customers who have started the purchase process but have not completed it. According to studies, the average abandonment rate is around 70% (Search Engine Land). This means that seven out of ten customers who add products to their shopping cart do not complete the purchase. This high abandonment rate leads to significant sales losses for you as an online retailer. There are many reasons for this, ranging from unexpected shipping costs to complicated checkout processes.

Causes of shopping cart abandonment


Unexpected costs are one of the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment in e-commerce. Customers go through the entire shopping process, add products to their cart and are ready to complete the purchase. But then, in the final step of checkout, they are confronted with additional costs such as shipping fees, taxes or other charges that they were not expecting. These unexpected costs often cause customers to abandon their purchase.

A particularly big deterrent is shipping costs that are only displayed at checkout. Customers react with confusion when these are suddenly added. The psychological impact of such unexpected costs can be significant. A customer who thinks they have found an attractive price will be disappointed and frustrated if the shipping costs unexpectedly increase the total price. This may cause the customer to abandon the purchase process and possibly switch to your competitor who offers more transparent shipping costs.

Additional charges such as handling fees or packaging costs, which are only displayed in the last step of the checkout, also drive up the total price unexpectedly. Customers who have set their sights on a certain final price are often not prepared to bear these additional costs and abandon the purchase.

The psychological impact of unexpected costs should not be underestimated. Customers who had a positive feeling throughout the purchasing process can end up disappointed and frustrated by these costs. This feeling of "price shock" not only leads to an abandoned purchase, but can also cause lasting damage to trust in you as a retailer.


A complicated checkout process with too many steps or required information can quickly frustrate customers and lead to them abandoning their purchase. A cumbersome checkout process is a deterrent and gives the impression that you as a retailer do not value your customer's time. Studies show that every additional step in the checkout process increases the likelihood of shopping cart abandonment. Customers expect a quick and easy checkout process where they don't have to enter their details multiple times.

When customers are confronted with a form that asks for a lot of personal information that doesn't necessarily seem relevant, they feel uncomfortable or have privacy concerns. The need to create an account before the purchase can be completed also puts off customers who would rather order as a guest. A complicated checkout process can also lead to technical problems, such as errors when entering data or processing payments.

To avoid these problems, online retailers should make the checkout process as simple and intuitive as possible. This means minimizing the number of steps and information required, enabling guest orders and ensuring that the process works technically flawlessly.


The lack of your customer's preferred payment method can be crucial for cart abandonment. Customers are used to a variety of payment options, and if their preferred method is not available, this often leads to frustration and abandonment of the purchase process. Customers have individual preferences such as credit card, PayPal, instant bank transfer or purchase on account. If these are not offered, they feel restricted and insecure. Concerns about the security of other payment methods or unwillingness to sign up for a new method increase this uncertainty.

To avoid shopping cart abandonment, online retailers should offer a wide range of payment options that meet the different needs of their customers. These include credit cards, PayPal, instant bank transfer and possibly also purchase on account, installment payments or mobile payment options. By allowing your customers to choose their preferred payment method, you as a retailer can boost trust, increase customer satisfaction and ultimately increase your sales.


Unclear or restrictive return conditions are a significant reason for shopping cart abandonment. Customers want security and flexibility when shopping online. If the return or exchange options are not clearly communicated or appear too complicated, this leads to uncertainty and doubt. The fear of a bad purchase or difficulties with returns can prevent customers from completing the purchase.

To avoid shopping cart abandonment, you should clearly communicate the return and exchange options. This information should be easily accessible, ideally on every product page and in the shopping cart. The return policy should be written in simple language and include all important details, such as the return period, conditions for refunds or exchanges and any return shipping costs. A free return or free exchange can boost customer confidence and increase the willingness to buy.


Distraction and disinterest are common reasons for cart abandonment in online shopping. Your customers can lose interest or become distracted before completing the purchase. It is often everyday situations such as a phone call, an email or another urgent need that interrupt the purchase process. The customer may also lose interest in the products or decide to buy something else.

External factors also play a role. A better offer from another retailer or distracting advertising can deter the customer from buying. The multitude of available products and information can overwhelm the customer, which can also lead to them abandoning their purchase.

To prevent this, you should make the ordering process quick and easy so that the customer does not lose patience. An intuitive checkout process with just a few steps helps to keep the customer focused. You can also keep the customer interested with targeted marketing measures such as personalized product recommendations, shopping cart reminders or time-limited offers.

Getting shopping cart abandoners back-  solution:

There are various strategies to reduce shopping cart abandonment and win back lost customers:

  • Optimizing the ordering process: simplifying navigation, reducing the number of steps required, providing different payment options and presenting all costs transparently can reduce the abandonment rate.
  • Remarketing measures: Automated email sequences in particular, but also retargeting ads or personalized product recommendations can remind customers of their abandoned purchase and persuade them to complete it.
  • Incentives: Discounts, vouchers, free shipping or other benefits can motivate customers to complete their purchase.
  • Building trust: Customer reviews, seals of approval, transparent return policies and good customer service can strengthen trust in the store and thus reduce the abandonment rate.

Favourite solution: automated e-mail sequences

Automated email sequences are a particularly beneficial strategy for reducing shopping cart abandonment and offer several advantages over other approaches:


  • Automation: Email sequences can be set up to trigger automatically when a customer abandons their shopping cart. This saves time and resources compared to manual contact.
  • Scalability: Sequences can easily reach a large number of customers, making them ideal for growing online stores.


  • Individual approach: Emails can be personalized with the customer's name, the products in the shopping cart and other relevant information. This makes customers feel personally addressed and increases the relevance of the message.
  • Dynamic content: Sequences can be designed to adapt to the customer's behavior, e.g. by sending different emails depending on whether the customer has opened the first email or not.


  • Diverse content: Emails can include not only shopping cart reminders, but also additional information about the product, customer reviews, incentives such as discounts or coupons, and limited availability notices.
  • Customization to target groups: Sequences can be created for different customer segments to address specific needs and interests.


  • Detailed analyses: Email marketing tools offer comprehensive statistics on open rates, click rates and conversion rates. This allows companies to measure exactly how effective their sequences are.
  • Continuous improvement: Based on the insights gained, sequences can be optimized to further improve performance.


  • Order process optimization: While optimizing the order process is important to prevent abandonment, email sequences can win back customers who have already left the process.
  • Retargeting ads: Retargeting ads can also be effective, but emails offer a more direct and personalized communication with the customer.
  • Incentives: Incentives can be integrated into email sequences to increase their effectiveness.

Practical tips for automated mails

  • Personalization: Use the customer's name and specific details about the products in the shopping cart.
  • Clarity and simplicity: Keep the emails clear and focused to get the customer to return quickly.
  • Mobile optimization: Make sure emails are easy to read and click on mobile devices.
  • Analysis and optimization: Monitor the performance of the email sequences and optimize them based on the results.

Case studies and best practices: e-mail sequences these companies have introduced 

These companies have introduces e-mail sequences to win back shopping cart abandoners


Casper, a well-known mattress and sleep product company, uses minimalist and brand-compliant emails to win back abandoned carts. Their emails include clear CTAs, product images and testimonials to build trust and encourage customers to return. The simplicity and clarity of the emails contribute significantly to success by delivering the core message without distraction.

Screenshot of Webpage of Casper


GoPro used a simple but effective email to remind customers of their abandoned shopping carts. The email included a large product image of the abandoned item as well as recommendations for accessories such as replacement batteries and SD cards. This strategy of offering complementary products helped to influence the customer's purchase decision and increase the overall value of the cart.


Boot Barn used a successful email sequence to remind customers to complete their abandoned purchases. They sent their first email on the same day the cart was abandoned and emphasized that the cart would be reset after seven days. This tactic created a sense of urgency that motivated customers to take action. A clear call-to-action (CTA) and product images helped to keep customers' attention and encourage a return purchase. Optimization of the CTA button and a more detailed product description could further increase effectiveness.

Screenshot of Webpage of Boot Barn at kinsta

Design By Humans

Design By Humans created engaging abandoned cart emails that featured a personalized header image and clear CTA buttons. By highlighting the abandoned product and recommending related items, they were able to successfully win back customers. This shows the importance of a well-crafted email design and relevant product suggestions to increase conversion rates.

Screenshot of Webpage of Design by Hümans at kinsta


Another example of a successful implementation comes from Autonomous, who introduced an email sequence of five emails sent at 1 hour, 24 hours, 3 days, 7 days and 10 days after abandonment. This staggered approach allowed customers to be gradually won back through various incentives and reminders, resulting in a significant increase in conversion rates.

what elements should your automated e-mail sequence contain?


  • Content: Reminder of the items left in the shopping cart.
  • Time: 1-2 hours after abandonment.
  • Example: "You've forgotten something! The items in your shopping cart are still waiting for you."

incentive e-mails

  • Content: Offer of discounts or free shipping options.
  • Time: 24 hours after the abandonment.
  • Example: "Just for you: 10% discount on your purchase. Complete your purchase now!"


  • Content: Creation of a sense of urgency or scarcity.
  • Time: 48 hours after the termination.
  • Example: "Only a few hours left: Get your items before they sell out!"


  • Content: Request for feedback on why the purchase was not completed.
  • Time: 72 hours after the abandonment.
  • Example: "How can we improve? Let us know why you did not complete your purchase."

Timing - How to follow up shopping basket abandoners specifically and automatically:


Objective: To gently remind the customer of the abandoned purchase and rekindle their interest.


  • Subject: Friendly, personal address (e.g. "Have you forgotten something?" or "Your shopping cart is waiting for you!").
  • Text: Short, concise reminder about the shopping cart.
  • Product images: Visual representation of products to refresh interest.
  • Product details: Important information such as price, size, color, etc.
  • Call-to-action: Clear invitation to complete the purchase (e.g. "Buy now" or "Add to cart").
  • Tone: Friendly, helpful, not intrusive.


Objective: To offer additional value and persuade the customer to make a purchase.


  • Subject: Convey additional value or urgency (e.g. "Exclusively for you: 10% discount on your purchase" or "Only a few items left!").
  • Text: Additional information about the product that could convince the customer (e.g. customer reviews, product benefits, application options).
  • Incentive: Time-limited discount, free shipping or another offer to make the purchase more attractive.
  • Call-to-action: Renewed invitation to complete the purchase.
  • Tone: Appreciative, convincing, customer-oriented.


Objective: To offer a last chance and remove potential obstacles.


  • Subject: emphasize urgency and last chance (e.g. "Last chance: your discount is about to expire" or "Your shopping cart will be emptied soon").
  • Text: Last reminder of the shopping cart and the benefits of the product.
    Stronger incentive: Higher discount, exclusive coupon code or other attractive offer.
  • Reference to limited availability: If applicable, a reference to limited stock or a time limit on the offer can encourage the customer to act.
  • Contact option: Offer to get in touch with questions or problems to remove potential barriers to purchase.
  • Tone: Understanding, supportive, solution-oriented.

Implementation and Tools for automated e-mail sequences

Various tools are available for implementing automated e-mail sequences:


  • Functionality: Email marketing and automation, especially for e-commerce.
  • Advantage: Easy to integrate and extensive personalization options.


  • Functionality: Comprehensive email marketing tools, including automated campaigns.
  • Advantage: User-friendly and versatile.


  • Functionality: Automated email sequences and multi-channel marketing.
  • Advantage: Integration with common e-commerce platforms and comprehensive automation options.

Shopify Abandoned Cart Recovery

  • Functionality: Integrated function for recovering abandoned shopping carts.
  • Benefit: Seamless integration into the Shopify ecosystem.

Alternative Strategies for the recovery of shopping basket abandoners

In addition to automated email sequences, online retailers can also use exit-intent pop-ups, retargeting ads and personalized product recommendations to win back cart abandoners:

Exit-intent pop-ups appear when a customer is about to leave the site and often offer special discounts or incentives to encourage completion of the purchase.

Retargeting ads track customers who have left the website and show them targeted ads on other platforms to bring them back to the website.

Personalized product recommendations are based on customers' previous behavior and preferences and can be included both on the website and in emails to reignite customers' interest and motivate them to buy.

These strategies complement each other and can significantly increase the recovery efficiency of shopping cart abandoners.

Conclusion: successful strategies for winning back shopping basket abandoners

Reducing shopping cart abandonment in e-commerce is crucial for increasing sales and customer loyalty. By implementing automated email sequences, online retailers can effectively recover abandoned purchases. These emails remind customers of their uncompleted orders, offer incentives and simplify the checkout process. Examples from companies such as Casper, GoPro and Boot Barn show that a well-designed and personalized email sequence can significantly increase conversion rates. By continuously optimizing these strategies, retailers can not only reduce abandonment rates, but also sustainably improve customer trust and satisfaction.