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Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails

Learn how to create an Abandoned Cart Recovery Email Campaign to recover lost sales in your store.
Nowadays, Abandoned Cart Recovery emails have become a must-have tool for any eCommerce business.

What is an Abandoned Cart?

When a customer adds a product to the cart at your online store but doesn't complete the purchase, that cart can be considered as an abandoned cart. Sending automated abandoned cart recovery email reminders is the most effective and hassle-free method for making the customers come back to the store and recover their abandoned carts.

Why Abandoned Cart Emails are Important?

Increased revenue: About 70% of the carts get abandoned for various reasons. That is 7 out of 10 carts gets abandoned. But with a simple email reminder with a small discount is all required to recover the lost sales and get the customers to come back and complete their purchase. This helps increase the revenue for the store.
Our study found out, most of our merchants are able to recover at least 10 to 20% of their abandoned carts with an effective 'Abandoned Carts Recovery' automation workflow.
Customer Engagement: Abandoned Cart Recovery emails have the highest open rates. More than 60% of the customers open the abandoned cart recovery emails, and at least 30% of the customers click the recovery links.
Increased Productivity: Once configured, Abandoned Carts Recovery emails send on their own, automatically. The automation allows you to focus on other tasks and become more productive.

Best practices for Abandoned Cart Recovery

By default, the eCommerce platforms (be it WooCommerce or Shopify) do not offer an effective abandoned cart recovery solution. The single email reminder from Shopify is not effective enough to recover the lost revenue.
1. Number of Emails
According to several studies and our own research of analyzing over 1000+ stores, it has been found that an effective Abandoned Carts Recovery Workflow with at least 3 to 5 email reminders can help recover at least 10 to 20% of the lost sales.
2. Order of Emails
A successful email workflow to recover abandoned carts should have at least 3 to 5 emails, sent at well-timed intervals. Each email in the sequence should focus on different aspects.
Email 1: A Simple Reminder
The purpose of your first email should just serve as a reminder. Just let the customer know what items were left in their cart. It can be sent 30 minutes to 1 hour after the customer has started the checkout.
  • Just make sure you have given your customer service phone number
  • Ask a question. Whether they experience any trouble checking out
  • Do they have any questions about the product(s) before completing the purchase?
Email 2: A motivation to complete the purchase
This email should be sent 12 to 24 hours after the customer has started the checkout.
  • Make sure to include a simple motivation. A 5 to 10% coupon code, or a free shipping offer that encourages their return.
  • You can also consider including a few best-selling or featured products in your store in this email
Email 3: Reminder of the motivation + Brand Value with a social proof
This email should be sent 24 to 48 hours after the customer has started the checkout.
  • It should remind them about the offer in Email #2 but should ask the customer to take quick action to complete the purchase. Example: "Your coupon will expire soon."
  • Include customer reviews or testimonials in this email as this will help build a trust
Email 4: Product Scarcity or A Sense of Urgency
This email should be sent 72 to 120 hours (3 days to 5 days) after the customer has started checkout.
  • Use this email to add a sense of urgency. You can say something like "Stocks won't last for long. Order now"
  • Also, remind them about the brand value with a few more social proof like reviews / testimonials in this email
Email 5: Fear of Missing Out
This email should be sent 5 to 7 days after the customer has started the checkout.
This email is more like a last effort to bring the customer back. You can remind the customer what they will be missing out on if they don't buy. Also, the inclusion of some of the popular products in the store will help a lot.
NOTE: If not 5 emails, please make sure that you have at least 3 emails in the sequence.
3. Content of the Emails
The success of an Abandoned Cart Recovery email vastly depends on the content of the email. An effective email should have an engaging subject line, personalized content, and a single Call-to-Action.
Engaging Subject: The subject line needs to be interesting enough to get the recipient to open the email. Including a promotional offer, some humor, or a question can help capture the customer’s attention and get a click. Avoid lengthy subject lines. A simple one like "Forgot something?" will ensure a better open rate.
Personalization: The email should be tailored to the recipient. For example, include the items that were left in their cart and other personal information, such as their name.
Here is a list of shortcodes that can be used for personalization in your email content:
{{billing_address.first_name}} - The First name of the customer.
{billing_address.last_name}} - The last name of the customer.
{{customer_name}} - The full name of the customer (the first and the last name)
{{abandoned_checkout_url}} - The unique recovery URL for the cart abandoned by the customer. You can use this in any links or buttons in your email copy.
Call-to-Action: The email should encourage customers to complete their purchases. For example, the CTA might be something like "Complete your purchase", or "Return to Cart" or "Resume Your Order."
Compelling Copy: The copy should be concise and persuasive. Pair short action-oriented copy with images and other rich media to keep the customer’s attention on the desired action (e.g., A purchase).
Let's create an Abandoned Cart Recovery workflow on the above example with Retainful automation.

Creating an Abandoned Cart Recovery Campaign

Retainful comes with a pre-built workflow template for abandoned cart recovery, it will come in handy if you don’t have time to create a workflow from the scratch. The pre-built workflow template consists of three emails scheduled to send in good time intervals.
Follow the below steps to configure the Abandoned Cart Recovery workflow:
  1. 1.
    Login to your Retainful dashboard
  2. 2.
    Go to ‘Automation’ -> Create Workflow -> Choose ‘Abandoned Cart Recovery with dynamic coupon’
Select the workflow template
3. Give a ‘Name’ to your abandoned cart recovery workflow and click ‘Continue.'
Give a name to your workflow
Trigger - You can find the ‘Trigger’ on the top of the workflow template. The trigger lets you determine when a customer can enter into the workflow. By default, the trigger is set to allow anyone who starts checkout at your store to enter into the workflow.
If you would like to set up any custom trigger rule for the workflow, you can set it up on the right side. You learn how to configure the trigger here.
Wait - Since the trigger will allow customers to enter into the workflow as soon as they start checkout (entered email address in the checkout page), it’s necessary to have a ‘Wait’ block before the first email block. So, the first email will not be sent to the customers as soon as they started the checkout.
You can set the time delay as 1 Hour in the wait block. (You can change the pre-set time delay if you want.)
For example, if a customer comes to your store, adds an item to the cart, and submits his email address on the checkout page at 10:00 AM. He/She will immediately enter into the workflow and wait for 1 hour.
  • If he completes the purchase within that 1 hour, he will exit from the workflow right away.
  • If he fails to complete the purchase within that 1 hour, the cart will be considered as abandoned and the first abandoned cart recovery will go out to the customer at 11:00 AM.

Email Settings

Now, we are at the 1st ‘Email’ block of the workflow. You can click on the ‘Email’ block to customize the email subject line, preview text, and email content.
Email settings
Subject line: Change the subject line if you like (Here is an extensive list of subject lines you can use)
Preview text: You can set up a captivating preview text to motivate the customers to open the email.
Edit Email Content
Click on the "Edit Email Contents" button to edit the contents of the email. This will bring up the visual drag and drop email editor.
Visual Drag and Drap Email Editor
If you would like to change the email template, you can click on the ‘Change template’ button on the left top and select a template of your choice.
Change the Logo: Click on the placeholder logo. On the right side of the panel, you will see the option to change the logo.
Replace the Placeholder Image with Your Logo
Editing the email content: Just "double-click" on any content section to edit the default text on the email. You can use the following shortcodes to personalize the email,
{{billing_address.first_name}} - The First name of the customer.
{billing_address.last_name}} - The last name of the customer.
{{customer_name}} - The full name of the customer (the first and the last name)
{{abandoned_checkout_url}} - The unique recovery URL for the cart abandoned by the customer. You can use this in any links or buttons in your email copy.
Click the "Save" button once you have added the desired content and changed the logo in the email template.
Email Components in Editor
Retainful provides a few special components / blocks in the Email Editor for your cart abandonment emails. Here is the list of components.
Cart Summary Blocks
This block helps you insert the customer's cart contents when sending the email. When this block is present, it will display the products in the customer's cart along with product's title, image, and cost.
There are two styles in the Cart Summary block and you can use any one of them in your email to include the customer's cart.
Horizontal Block will have the cart contents displayed as a table:
Horizontal Cart Summary Block
Cart Summary Block - Vertical will highlight the product image prominently:
Vertical Cart Summary Block
Cart recovery URL
Retainful generates a unique cart recovery URL for each abandoned cart. When the email is sent, customers can click on the "Finish checking out" button to recover their cart and complete the purchase.
The Call-to-Action (CTA) button in the default templates are already linked to the cart recovery URL using the shortcode: {{abandoned_checkout_url}}
Abandoned Cart Recovery URL
However, if you want to use this in a custom button or a link, you can use this shortcode (a.k.a merge tag) as well.
Testing Email
Once you have completed editing the email template, you can test the email.
With an email customized, return to the top of the email editor and click the ‘Send Test Email’ button to make sure all of the content displays as expected in your inbox.
Sending test email
Click the "Save" button once you have added the desired content and changed the logo in the email template.
After the first email block, we have a wait block for '1' day. It's ideal to send the second email 1 day after sending the first email.

Coupon Settings

We have a coupon block in the workflow, the coupon block will generate a dynamic coupon, you can send this dynamic coupon in the following abandoned cart recovery emails in the workflow.
Offering coupons in abandoned cart recovery emails motivates customers to recover their abandoned carts.
It's ideal to send the coupon in the second abandoned cart recovery email.
Here is how you can configure the coupon block in the workflow,
Abandoned Cart Recovery Workflow Coupon Settings
  1. 1.
    Click on the ‘Coupon’ block
  2. 2.
    Select the Coupon type
  3. 3.
    Enter the coupon value and set up expiry (Optional: You can enter a minimum order value if you would like to set up a minimum order value required for using the coupon)
  4. 4.
    Save
Now, you have successfully configured the coupon block.

Creating a series of emails in the workflow

Followed by the coupon block, we have the 2nd email block in place.
The 2nd email can go with a dynamic coupon to motivate the customers.
Adding dynamic coupon in the 2nd email
In the email template, click on the coupon block {{retainful_dynamic_coupon}}, then you will find the coupon settings on the right side. In the coupon settings just click on the 1st option that says 'Use the coupon code generated by the coupon step'
Configuring Coupon Block
By doing this, you are ensuring that the coupon code generated at the coupon block will be sent to the customers through the 2nd abandoned cart recovery email.
Also, you need to change the logo, edit the email content as per your preference, and 'Save' it.
And, before moving forward to the 3rd email block, we have the ‘Wait’ block set for 2 days.
Make sure to configure the coupon block, change the logo, and edit the email content in the 3rd email template. Then, Save it.
Here is how your workflow would look like now:
Abandoned Cart Recovery Workflow with Dynmaic Coupon

Going Live

When you’re done with configuring the Abandoned Cart Recovery workflow, you can click on the ‘Start Workflow’ on the right top to ‘Set Live’ the workflow.
Setting Live
That’s it. You’ve successfully configured your Abandoned Cart Recovery workflow and set it live.

Testing Your Abandoned Cart Recovery Campaign

You can follow the below steps to test your abandoned cart recovery workflow.
Requirements
  • Make sure you have set live the abandoned cart recovery workflow at your Retainful dashboard -> Automation (The status of the workflow should be ‘Live’)
WooCommerce Merchants: Please go to your WordPress dashboard and LOG OUT before testing the abandoned cart recovery process. Also make sure to use an email address that is NOT an admin user in your WordPress.
WooCommerce Stores: Watch a video walk through for testing your abandoned cart recovery
Testing steps
  1. 1.
    Open your store front in a private / incognito window (so that you can browse like a customer)
  2. 2.
    Add an item to the cart, go to checkout... fill-in a valid email address and a first name. (TIP: Use an alternative email of yours instead of the store admin email)
  3. 3.
    Then close the browser window
You should receive the first cart recovery email based on the interval you’ve set.
Example:
  • By default, a customer will enter into an abandoned cart recovery email workflow as soon as the checkout process is initiated (Submitted email address on the checkout page)
  • If you've set the 'Wait' condition as 1 hour before sending the first email, then you should receive the first email 1 hour after initiating the checkout process

FAQs

1. When customers will exit from the abandoned cart recovery workflow ?
Customers will automatically exit from the abandoned cart recovery workflow, if they match any of the following criteria,
  • Successfully completed the checkout [or]
  • Unsubscribed from receiving emails [or]
  • Recovered cart [or]
  • Completed their paths in the workflow
2. When a cart will be considered recovered ?
We consider an abandoned cart as recovered when the customer successfully recovers and completes the purchase, satisfying the following conditions
  • Retainful delivering an email from your abandoned cart recovery workflow
  • the customer opening the email
  • the customer clicking on a link within the recovery email and completing the purchase
For instance, if the customer clicks a recovery link from a Retainful email and subsequently completes the order, Retainful will mark that order as recovered and also display a record in Retainful dashboard -> Metrics & Cart Activity
Also, a cart will be considered as recovered when a customer places an order on his own using the coupon code sent in the abandoned cart recovery emails.
3. When abandoned cart recovery emails will not be sent ?
Abandoned cart recovery emails will not be sent if ANY of the following conditions matches:
  • The visitor did not leave an email address while abandoning the cart [or]
  • You do not have at least one abandoned cart recovery workflow live at the time of the cart creation [or]
  • No line items in the cart... or an empty cart [or]
  • Customer has unsubscribed in earlier email remainder [or]
  • You have reached your free plan limit (example: 300 contacts in the free plan) [or]
  • The customer placed a successful order on his own in a different session / device after abandoning the cart and before its email sequence started
4. Is it possible to recover guest carts ?
When a customer didn’t submit his email address on the checkout page while abandoning a cart that cart will be considered as a ‘Guest’ cart in Retainful. And, it’s not possible to recover guest carts.
If you’re using Retainful for a WooCommerce store, you may want to consider using Retainful's Add-to-cart email collection popup or Exit intent popup. These popups can help you capture customers' email addresses before they leave your store.
5. Where can I find the sent abandoned cart recovery emails ?
You can find the sent abandoned cart recovery emails at your Retainful dashboard -> Metrics & Cart Activity -> Outbox.
You can use the workflow filter on the right side to filter the sent emails list based on the name of the workflow.
6. Where can I check the performance of the abandoned cart recovery workflow ?
Go to your Retainful dashboard -> Automations -> Find the abandoned cart recovery workflow and click on the Analytics icon next to the Edit Flow button to view the performance of the workflow.
7. Where can I find the list of recovered carts ?
Please go to your Retainful dashboard -> Metrics & Cart Activity -> Cart Activity and select ‘Recovered Carts’ in the filter to find the list of recovered carts.
You can find the recovered carts list at your Retainful dashboard -> Metrics & Cart Activity -> Conversions section as well.
8. How many abandoned cart recovery emails should I send ?
To recover up to 10 to 20% of abandoned carts you should send at least 3 to 4 emails in the workflow.
For more information, you may want to check out our blog post on how many abandoned cart recovery emails you should send.
9. Can I send abandoned cart recovery emails for carts that are tracked before installing Retainful ?
Retainful records abandoned carts, live carts, and recovered carts only after it is installed on the site. 
So, it’s not possible to send abandoned cart recovery emails for carts that are tracked before installing Retainful on your store.
10. How can I send the abandoned cart recovery emails only if particular products are abandoned ?
Click on the ‘Trigger’ block, and click on the ‘Trigger rule’ on the right side to add Product Name or Product ID trigger rules for the abandoned cart recovery workflow.
For example, if you would like to send abandoned cart recovery emails only if customer abandons product named ‘Laptop’, you can set up trigger rules like the following,
Product Name is Laptop
11. Can I import and use abandoned cart recovery email templates from a different tool ?
It’s not possible to import and use email templates from other tools. You can create and use email templates within Retainful’s drag and drop email editor only.
12. Is it possible to send abandoned cart recovery emails in different languages ?
It’s possible to send abandoned cart recovery emails in different languages.
If you have a multi-lingual store, you can use the trigger rule or conditional split rule in the workflow editor to trigger the workflow based on the customers' language preferences.
13. Can I send abandoned cart recovery emails for failed, on-hold, and cancelled orders ?
For WooCommerce, we have the option to consider failed, on-hold, and cancelled order status as an abandoned cart.
You can find the option at your WordPress dashboard -> Retainful -> Settings
When this option is enabled, the abandoned cart recovery emails will be sent to the above-said order statuses.
14. Can I manually add a customer into a live abandoned cart recovery workflow ?
It’s not possible to manually add customers into a live automation workflow.