Sign up newsletter

Sign up to our weekly email newsletters for business stories, case studies, interviews and advice
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Sign up to Newsletter

Sign up to our weekly email newsletters for business stories, case studies, interviews and advice.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Email Marketing

Creating a Cart Recovery Email Strategy Using Marketing Automation

Edward Jeffrey

August 28, 2020

Cart abandonment is a major source of lost sales for any ecommerce store. According to a 2019 study, almost 78% of carts created in ecommerce stores are never purchased. Cart recovery emails powered by marketing automation are one of the most effective ways to tackle this issue. This approach enables you to remind customers to complete their purchase, address their concerns and upgrade their customer experience.

So how do you create a cart recovery email strategy that gets results?

When Should I Send a Cart Recovery Email?

The time to send the first cart recovery email is sooner than you think. Within an hour of a user leaving your site, an email offering help or asking for feedback can reduce your lost sales. In this time frame, the purchasing decision is still strong in your customer’s mind.


That is not the only email you should send either. On average, following up with 2 more emails can increase conversion rates by 69% over a single-email cart recovery strategy. If you don’t get a response after at least 24 hours, it is time to increase the sense of urgency by letting your customer know they are in danger of missing out on a sale or limited-stock item.

A few days later, users who still haven’t checked out may need a little extra incentive to complete the purchase, such as a discount or free shipping offer.

Cart Recovery Email Strategies

1. Start with a Soft CTA

Softening your cart recovery email call-to-action by removing sales language helps create a less pushy and more helpful tone for your first email.

At this stage your customer may simply have been distracted before purchasing, and all they need is a gentle reminder that they haven’t checked out yet. Later on however, a sense of urgency can still be useful.

2. Offer to Help

It is a good idea to start by addressing any issues preventing or delaying a purchase. You might think your checkout process is simple, but 27% of purchases are abandoned because the process was too complicated.

Open a dialogue in your first cart recovery email by asking if your customer had any questions or concerns about the product or your company policies. Linking to your FAQ and returns policy saves time for you and customers. Furthermore, tracking clicks on these links helps you identify issues with your checkout process or policies, reducing friction and abandoned carts for future customers.

3. Include Reviews

Social proof is one of the biggest factors in whether a customer decides to buy. Consumers want to know that others were happy with the product they are considering. Using marketing automation tools to select and embed reviews into a cart recovery email shows users they are not taking a gamble on a product of unknown quality.

Blank or one-line reviews are much less compelling even if they give you 5 stars, so specify a minimum review length to be featured in a cart recovery email. This makes sure customers get a detailed review that is more likely to answer their questions.

4. Specify a Product

Picking out the main item in your customer’s cart to remind them of its key features and benefits is a great way to rekindle their excitement for the product.

You can do this by creating cart recovery email templates for each product category, with the primary cart item’s store page embedded in the email. Use marketing automation to compare prices and product categories in order to accurately identify the main purchase.

For example, if a user adds a bicycle to their cart along with safety lights and a helmet, the bicycle is clearly their primary intent. There is no point focusing on accessories and extras if a customer is unsure about the main product.

5. Highlight Scarcity

Scarcity is a powerful motivator. Some customers may only realize just how much they want your product until there is a risk they might miss out.

By using marketing automation tools that monitor your stock levels and current discounts, you can ensure these cart recovery emails are sent out at an appropriate time. Let users know if a sale is about to end and bring the price of their cart up, or if you are close to running out of stock. This helps your customer out by giving them another chance to grab their item before it becomes unavailable.

6. Hold Over Sales Prices

The ending of a sale can help customers make the decision to buy, however if they don’t act in time you can still save the lost purchase by holding the sale price for another few days for the items in their cart.

This might not be worth the cost for every single customer; however it can be a great way to reward a repeat buyer for their loyalty or get a new customer over the hurdle of their first purchase. Use your marketing automation tools to evaluate customers and offer this opportunity where it will have the most impact.

7. Offer a Deal

The price can be a major cause of cold feet when it comes to completing a purchase. When asked why they abandoned a purchase during checkout, 50% of consumers say the extra costs, such as shipping, were too high.


Dropping the price of cart items for a valued customer, or offering free shipping on the purchase, makes the decision a little easier. Besides boosting your chance of recovering the sale, this enables better customer experiences, allowing more of your buyers to get the item they really want instead of compromising with a cheaper alternative.

8. Suggest an Alternative

34% of carts are abandoned because the customer was just browsing. As a result, your customer may have added an item to their cart only to review it in more detail and decide it is not what they want.

Suggesting alternative products from the same category can help them find something more suitable. Provide your marketing automation tools with product tags and store browsing history to pick out items that match the need behind their original product choice. Offering two similar products at differing price points based on the original item price helps ensure your recommendations will accommodate their budget.


A cart recovery email strategy requires in-depth marketing automation using the vital customer data collected in your CRM. Effective cart recovery tactics benefit both you and your customer, by making more enticing and more convenient.

Zuuba is dedicated to helping brands unlock the potential of marketing automation to provide personalized customer experiences. To be one of the first to know when we launch, subscribe to our newsletter here.

The Author
Edward Jeffrey
Edward is an eCommerce consultant and writer living in the UK, with experience covering a wide range of marketing and ecommerce topics.

Related Articles

July 29, 2020

What Will Website Be Like In 100 Years?

July 29, 2020

10 Great Examples of Responsive Websites