The Art of Bringing Back Lost Customers: A Guide to Abandoned Cart Recovery

Updated: March 14, 2023
by TJ Salvatore

As a former e-commerce business owner, I remember how frustrated I was every time I found multiple abandoned carts in my dashboard. You too must have experienced it. All those potential sales lost, all that effort going to waste, wondering which part of the checkout process is changing the buyer’s mind. 

But it is possible to bring them back to your store with some smart strategies. At least they showed interest in your products, you can certainly entice your customers back and complete their purchase. So why not take a deep dive into the art of abandoned cart recovery? Read on for tips and tricks that will help you win back those valuable sales.

The Art of Bringing Back Lost Customers A Guide to Abandoned Cart Recovery

Why Do Customers Abandon Their Carts?

Customers often add items to their cart, otinly to abandon them before completing the purchase, that’s completely normal. But you start to get paranoid when 9 out of 10 customers leave halfway through the checkout every day. They have all sorts of reasons such as;

  • They were just browsing and not actually ready to buy
  • They got distracted and forgot about their cart
  • They didn't realize how much shipping would cost
  • They found a better deal elsewhere
  • They had a problem with the checkout process

If you can identify why your customers are abandoning their carts, you can take steps to address the issue and increase your chances of recovering lost sales. 

For example, if you find that customers are frequently forgetting about their carts, you could send them a reminder email after a certain amount of time has passed.

Or, if high shipping costs are deterring customers from completing their purchases, you could offer free or discounted shipping on orders over a certain amount. 

To boost your sales and keep your business thriving, it only makes sense if you address the reasons for the abandonment and offer a better solution for each reason. 

How To Set Up An Abandoned Cart Recovery Campaign

Simply put, an abandoned cart recovery campaign is to send a follow-up email to the customers who didn’t complete a purchase.

Here’s how to set up an abandoned cart campaign:

  1. Send your reminder email within 24 hours of abandonment for the best results.
  2. The email should be brief and to the point, with a clear CTA.
  3. Don’t be pushy: Avoid sounding too sales-y or desperate in your email copy.
  4. Personalize where possible: Use the customer’s name in the subject line and throughout the email for a more personalized touch.

What Type Of Abandoned Cart Email Should You Send?

Here are 3 of the most common campaign email type you can send to try and recover the sale. 

Reminder Email

A reminder email is a simple, orthodox one. It should be sent shortly after the customer has abandoned their cart, and its purpose is to remind them that they have items in their cart that they haven’t yet purchased. This type of email should include a link back to the cart so that the customer can easily finish their purchase.

Discount Email


A discount email is normally sent a bit later than the reminder email, and its purpose is to offer the customer a discount on their purchase if they finish it within a certain time period. This type of email can be effective in getting customers to complete their purchases, but it should only be used sparingly so as not to devalue your products or brand. 

The disadvantage of sending a discount email late is that the customer may have purchased the same product from your competitor by the time your mail reaches them.

On the other hand, if you send a discount email automatically (e.g. give a 5% discount to all customers who abandoned the cart), then they’ll start to take advantage of it. They deliberately abandon the cart and wait for your discount email to arrive before they complete the purchase. 

This is not a bad thing because at least you are retaining repeat customers this way.

“Last Chance” Email

The third and final type of email is a “last chance” email. This email should be sent even later than the discount email, and its purpose is to let the customer know that their items will soon be gone if they don’t purchase them soon. 

This type of email can be effective in getting customers to complete their purchases, but it should only be used sparingly so as not to create a sense of urgency that could turn customers away.

Which Email Campaign Tool Should You Use?

For the best price, deliverability, and reliability, then GetResponse, AWeber, and Mailchimp are my top recommendations. All three of these platforms provide exceptional value with their different plans and services. 

  • GetResponse has great tools to help create stunning emails as well as excellent reporting capabilities.
  • AWeber is renowned for its reliability in sending out campaigns on time with a high delivery rate.
  • Mailchimp also offers lots of features like automation options and custom templates which makes it easy to start creating effective messages quickly. 

Each one of these platforms will provide you with the resources needed for abandoned cart recovery.

How To Segment Your Abandoned Cart Emails

You can also segment your abandoned cart email list to maximize your results. Here are the ways to achieve this.

1. By Product Category:

If you have a lot of different products, segmenting by product category can be a great way to keep your email focused and relevant. This way, you can highlight the products that the customer was interested in and make it more likely that they’ll complete their purchase.

2. By The Time of Day:

Another great way to segment your abandoned cart emails is by time of day. This can be helpful if you notice that certain times of day are when most people abandon their carts. For example, if you see that people tend to abandon their carts late at night, you could send an email early the next morning reminding them of the items they left behind.

3. By Location:

Segmenting by location can also be beneficial. This is especially true if you have customers in different time zones. By sending abandoned cart emails at the right time for each customer’s location, you’re more likely to reach them when they’re actually able to shop again.

4. By Purchase History:

You can also segment your abandoned cart emails by purchase history. This is helpful if you want to target customers who have made multiple purchases from you in the past. You can remind them of their loyalty to your brand and encourage them to complete their purchase.

Segmenting is, as you can see, another strategy worth considering because it will allow you to personalize them and make them more relevant to each customer. This can help increase your conversion rates and boost your overall sales.

When and How Often To Send Your Abandoned Cart Emails

When and How Often To Send Your Abandoned Cart Emails

So when really is the right time to send emails, and how many times in order to maximize their effectiveness?

From my experience, twice is enough. I have sent three emails within 48 hours of the customer abandoning their cart and receiving spam complaints for it. Some customers decide not to purchase and leave a checkout page without emptying the cart. Their decision may be final and they don’t want store owners to push them again. We should respect that.

The time to send is, I would say, definitely within a few hours of the customer abandoning their cart. This ensures that they will still be thinking about their purchase and will be more likely to respond to your email. You could send the 2nd email after 24 hours - the next day at the same time.

You don't want to wait too long to send these emails. If you wait more than a few days, the customer is likely to have forgotten about their purchase entirely and will be less likely to respond positively to your email.

Results: What To Expect From Your Abandoned Cart Recovery Campaign

When you launch an abandoned cart recovery campaign, you should expect to see at least a bump in the number of orders that come through your online store. 

But over time, you can also expect to see a reduction in the number of abandoned carts overall. This happens because customers who receive abandoned cart emails are more likely to remove the items from the cart before they leave (unless they expect to receive discount emails from you.)

No matter what type of emails and how often you send them, your friendly reminder will help you see an increase in customer loyalty and satisfaction. Customers appreciate being able to recover their lost items, and this will make them more likely to continue shopping with you in the future.


There's no shame in asking customers to come back to your store. In fact, it is a key part of customer retention and loyalty - the lifeblood of any successful business. Asking customers for repeat visits builds positive relationships and shows that you value their patronage. 

You can do this by offering special discounts or rewards for returning customers, creating personalized emails or messages tailored specifically for them, or simply sending out regular reminders about why they should visit again soon. Automate your “come back” email campaigns and you can turn lost customers into loyal ones.

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About the author 

TJ Salvatore

A freelancer. A nomad. An LGBTQ and animal rights activist. Love meeting new people, exploring new styles of living, new technologies and gadgets, new ways of making money.

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