Top Tips for Converting Cart Abandoners into Buyers

How many times have you browsed an e-commerce site, loaded a shirt or two in the shopping cart, and stopped right there?

Maybe you were distracted by your pup’s pleas for the outdoors, thought twice about adding another black t-shirt to the closet or intended to complete the transaction later. Whatever the reason, you left items in the cart. 

We all do it; in fact, cart abandonment happens about 70% of the time

Wise marketers take measures to recapture these abandoners. As Ashley Scorpio, VP of Partnerships of Hawke Media, said, “One of the lowest hanging fruits within retargeting is cart abandonment. How do you get that customer through your digital door to make a purchase?”

We’ve got coaxing solutions of both the technical and message varieties.  

5 Outlets for Recovering Carts 

Before we glance at some ideas for enticing visitors to part with their money, let’s explore the mechanisms for physically delivering our friendly reminders. 

Email Automation  

Steering shoppers back to their deserted carts with automated marketing emails is relatively easy yet extremely impactful. Cart abandonment emails were among the top three converting automations of 2020, coming in at a rate of 34%.  

Your e-commerce shop, such as Shopify, may provide the option to automatically send basic follow-up emails after a certain amount of time. But a marketing platform like Omnisend offers a variety of templates, advanced workflow features, more channels to add to the mix, and sophisticated tracking and reporting.

A little bit of strategy will go a long way. Our data shows that sending three cart abandonment emails results in 69% more orders, as opposed to relying on just one. 

Not only that but timing matters. Wait too long, the potential customer may have already moved on. Send too soon and it’s an annoyance if they’re still not ready to check out.  

Here’s the sequence we recommend for the best outcomes: 

First message: one hour after the customer abandons the cart

Second message: 12 hours after cart abandonment

Third message: 24 hours after cart abandonment

Luxury chocolate brand To’ak is one example that demonstrates the power of multiple messages. To’ak dives into different topics through its abandoned cart emails, from explaining its commitment to saving the world’s oldest and rarest variety of cacao trees, to FAQs and pairing suggestions. 

The series generates a 44% conversion rate and revenue-per-email (RPE) of $3.64. That’s an RPE of 2,195% more than the brand’s promotional campaigns. 


No need for emails if you can convince shoppers to buy when they’re still browsing your site. Stop them in their tracks by deploying an exit-intent popup. 

Marketers traditionally activate pop-ups to collect email subscribers. Put a clever twist on this push notification technique by timing them to appear when a visitor moves—by cursor—to leave the site before completing the purchase.  

When women’s apparel manufacturer Black Halo integrated push messages into its abandoned cart email workflow, the average popup earned $48 in revenue.  

As far as space goes, you don’t have much latitude in swaying the visitor’s actions. So get to the point with a sentence or two. Provide an incentive if you think it will seal the deal.  

SMS Marketing

More merchants are using SMS marketing to help visitors recall the items in limbo. 

Text messages can be used solo. Or, fold them into an email automation series. The latter is what equestrian apparel company Kerrits does. Senior Director of Branding & Marketing Sara Florin explained an SMS is sent one hour after the cart is abandoned, as is an email. 

“I think it’s a matter of hitting the customer where they are at the time,” Florin said. “Maybe they’re shopping on mobile, but for whatever reason didn’t pull the trigger. Here’s a little reminder.” 

Retargeting Ads

You know the deal with pay-per-click (PPC) ads. It goes something like this. 

It’s time to thank your kids’ teachers, so you load a few gift options into the cart. Indecision leads you to stray. 

Later the same day, what do you suppose surfaces on your social media feed or while scrolling online? A photo of the unique tumbler that’s in the running, of course, along with a prompt for you to make the purchase. 

While more expensive than other options, PPC is an effective means for recapturing interest. 

Marketing platforms that incorporate segmentation help ease the process to target these folks with the appropriate personalized message. Better yet, some solutions sync right up to platforms like Facebook and Google Ads.   

Live Chat

Customer support is a great mechanism for assuring anyone who is wavering about a product. This is where live chat can shine in preventing the need to recover a cart in the first place. 

Questions or doubts can cause hesitation, so squash them with someone to share knowledge about the product in real-time.  

Just ensure that the live chat function is accessible on all product pages as well as throughout the checkout process. You can stick to the basics or elevate your live chat functions.  

Live chat not only has the potential to convert but also provides valuable insights for improvement considerations. 

Cart Recovery Messaging Tactics

Now for the creative stuff. What to put in the message to generate a 34% conversion rate? 

Sometimes a “Hey, you forgot something!” falls short in inducing action. We’ve gathered techniques for sweetening the pot that tend to lure visitors into buying:

Boast your sustainability practices. Research shows that 87% of people are more likely to buy a product that features ethical and sustainable practices. Millennials and Gen Zers especially hold it in high regard. So, a cart recovery message is the perfect spot for mentioning a business’ eco-conscious side. Merchants of EcoCart should take full advantage of highlighting how customers can offset the environmental impact of their online order with the app. The plug translates to revenue: brands using it report an average 10% increase in conversion rates.

Offer a discount. But be discretionary. For example, Kerrits doesn’t go the coupon route. Messages that contain free shipping codes are sent to those with a cart value under $125—the ordinary threshold for free shipping.  

Guarantee free returns. Do you refuse to order any clothes online if you have to pay for return shipping? Remove your customers’ risk by emphasizing that returns made within 30 days won’t cost a cent. And if you partner with a company that reduces e-commerce waste, like GiveNKind, promote it alongside the return policy.  

Put the social proof on display. People want evidence from others that your product is worth the money. Research demonstrates that consumers who interact with reviews are 58% more likely to convert. And the revenue is 62% more than that generated by the average site visitor. Don’t forget about highlighting user-generated content or testimonials, like To’ak does with the one below.

Offer different payment methods. A survey found that eight percent of respondents abandoned a shopping cart due to a lack of payment options. Shoppers want alternatives for how they make a purchase, and we’re not just talking about a range of credit cards. We mean digital wallets like PayPal and Apple Pay. “Buy now, pay later” apps, like Klarna, are also rising in popularity since they enable shoppers to pay in installments. 

Win Back Shoppers, Boost Revenue 

It’s a saying that has been reiterated by so many who understand e-commerce, but we think it’s worth repeating: ignoring cart abandonment is leaving money on the table. 

You have someone who not only noticed your product but expressed interest in it. Remind them about the items that caught their eye. Tap all the tools—automated and otherwise—that make sense for your brand. Lace in techniques to craft the right messages that will help persuade and alleviate apprehension.          

Whatever you do, don’t let the cart abandoner quietly slip away without trying to win their business.


Tracy Puckett is a rockstar Content Marketing Manager for Omnisend, an email and SMS marketing automation platform trusted by over 50,000 e-commerce brands. Tracy is a content creator who believes in the immense power of the written word. Free time is for family, exploring community gems, and reading.

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