Abandoned cart campaigns are consistently high revenue generators for my clients. If you aren’t currently sending abandoned cart messages, I strongly recommend implementing a campaign. For some inspiration, I’ve pulled together four examples. Let’s take a look at what these brands are doing right and where they could improve.

1. Planet Blue
Planet Blue exampleWhat Works

Front and center, Planet Blue touts free shipping over $100 and hassle-free returns. Getting that information in front of the subscriber could help encourage those who may be on the fence about purchasing. And hassle-free returns put the buyer’s mind at ease. They know if something doesn’t meet their needs, they can return it with no issues. Planet Blue also highlights other categories to shop. Perhaps the item the shopper carted is no longer what they want. Including other categories within the message makes it easy for shoppers to browse other items that may be of interest directly from the email.

Room for Improvement

Coupon frustration is one reason people abandon, so making it as easy as possible for the shopper to enter coupon information is very important. Planet Blue provides an offer in this message, which may help conversions, but the code is part of the image, so the subscriber can’t simply copy and paste it into the cart. I would also have loved to see them make the coupon code pop out more by making it a different color. Right now, it blends in with the other white text. Ideally, the first message in an abandoned cart campaign should take a customer service approach and not include an offer. See if you can get the customer to come back and purchase without having to give them anything. Many people simply get distracted while they are carting and will come back even without an offer. When it comes to offering customer service contact information, this message misses the mark. Ideally, they’d highlight a toll free number or email address so the shopper could easily get in touch regarding cart difficulties or product questions. Blue Planet included preheader text within this message, which is a great best practice, but unfortunately, they didn’t make it clickable. Preheader text should always be clickable. In this instance, it would make the most sense to link that preheader text back to the customer’s cart. Lastly, this message missed an opportunity to drive list growth. Bronto considers the first abandoned cart email a transactional message, meaning anyone can get it whether they have opted into your marketing campaigns or not. By including a secondary callout to sign up for emails, you allow for the opportunity to grow your list over time and contact shoppers with promotion-oriented abandoned cart messages.

2. Paul Fredrick
Paul Fredrick exampleWhat Works

Free shipping on any order is highlighted prominently. This is great placement. Shipping cost sticker shock is another common reason behind cart abandonment, so this offer may resonate with shoppers and be the pull they need to get them back in the buying mood. This message takes a more generic approach, not showing the products that were left in the cart. If you don’t have the ability to showcase what was left in the cart, a message like this one is better than no message at all. But if you have the ability to show the products, be sure to do so. The product image serves as a visual reminder of what the shopper once wanted and can help drive conversions.

Room for Improvement

This email includes preheader text, but they only made the last part of the text clickable. Always make your entire preheader text clickable, and be sure to keep the copy short and sweet. As with the Blue Planet example, Paul Fredrick’s message lacks any customer service focus or callout. Simply adding a toll free number to the header or within the image under the call to action button could make a difference.

3. Simon Says StampSimon Says Stamp exampleWhat Works

For starters, their entire preheader text is clickable, and products that were carted are displayed. They also take the customer service approach and let the subscriber know that their service department is there to help, providing their email address for easy contacting. Remember when I mentioned Blue Planet’s missed opportunity for list growth? Simon Says Stamp has incorporated a secondary call to action to sign up for emails. The treatment of this button is perfect because it is white, which blends in with the message. Your eye is drawn more to the main call to action of returning to your cart.

4. NordstromNordstrom exampleWhat Works

This email takes an unexpected approach. Instead of a customer service tone or the more typical “oops, you left something in your cart” message, Nordstrom compliments the shopper on their great taste and doesn’t include an offer. They incorporate clickable preheader text that reminds the shopper about free shipping and returns, which is great for those on the fence about purchasing clothes online without being able to try them on first. They also reiterate this again in a banner callout so it can’t be missed. The display of the product image is great because it shows me both the front and back at a glance. And the “SNAP IT UP” call to action is a playful treatment that I find refreshing. I do wonder if they have done testing to be sure this works better than more standard calls to action, such as View Cart, Restore My Cart, etc. Nordstrom also includes a “sign up for email” callout within this message, making it easy to subscribe if the shopper hasn’t already.

Room for Improvement

While they did incorporate a subtle reference to customer service with “Let us know if we can help you bring it home today,” they failed to include any contact info anywhere in the email. The callout to win a gift card is confusing for me on a few levels. First, it’s bright red, drawing my eye directly to it instead of the main call to action. Second, it offers a chance to win a gift card if you write a review. Since this is an abandoned cart message, the shopper likely hasn’t yet purchased, and you want to keep them in the purchasing mindset. This type of banner seems like a better fit for a post-purchase series. I recommend using that banner space for something else in this abandoned cart message such as calling out ways to contact customer service and their hours, prepopulating the nearest store location or even highlighting best-selling products within the category I’ve carted.
If you are currently running abandoned cart messages, look back over them to see if you are implementing these best practices or if there's an opportunity to optimize your messages further. I hope these examples have provided some insight and a little bit of inspiration to get you started.