Jake Rheude

Guest Author

How to Recover Abandoned Carts

How to Recover Abandoned Carts and Bring Customers Back

There’s nothing more frustrating than finding out you have a leaky funnel. Your brand is gaining traction, your marketing is reeling people in, but then you’re losing your potential sales right as they’re about to click “buy.” This poor conversion rate at checkout, also known as cart abandonment, is one of the many ways that eCommerce stores leak money. While this is a common problem across all eCommerce stores - the average cart abandonment rate is around 70% - that doesn’t mean you should just accept it. In fact, it’s an opportunity ripe for experimentation.

Let’s talk about how you can bring them back and get them across that final threshold.

Understand Why They Left

There is one undeniable conclusion you can come to when a customer abandons their cart: they liked the products they added enough to at least consider buying them. From there, you need to do some detective work to figure out why customers are abandoning their carts, and brainstorm some cart abandonment solutions. Some of these reasons are preventative, while others can be fixed post-abandonment by devising strategies to reel them back in.

Why people abandon carts during checkout

Shipping Costs

Let’s start with the number one reason why customers abandon their carts: unexpected costs, particularly shipping costs. We are many years into the paradigm shift Amazon caused with their free two-day shipping phenomenon, and free shipping is often the expectation for customers these days. When they head to checkout and see any line item with shipping costs, they’re liable to leave.

The simplest way to prevent abandoned shopping carts due to shipping costs is to make it free.

Account Creation

While you would love nothing more than to add every new customer to your email newsletter, forcing them to do so can make you lose out on the sale altogether. Customers hate long checkout processes, and asking them for pages of detailed personal information can overwhelm them enough to leave - make it an option, not a requirement.

If you decide to offer account creation as an option, make sure that there’s a clear value proposition for doing so, like getting a discount on their order. Better yet, offer them the opportunity to create an account once their payment has gone through.

Long Checkout Process

As an extension of the above point, any and all bumps in the road to checking out can make your potential customers turn around. Audit the whole checkout process to make it as streamlined as possible - guest checkout, multiple payment options, and as few fields to fill out as possible are a good start.

Adding 1-click payment options like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal can help your customers feel less form-filling burnout.


Whether your potential customer is researching multiple different products or starting to question their impulse buy, they might just need some more time to make up their mind. This is a retargeting opportunity that the strategies below could help you with.

How to prompt a purchase with personalized website product recommendations

Waiting for the Discount

Now, you’ve probably read your fair share of articles at this point with retargeting strategies, and the most common advice is to send an email with a coupon. However, customers aren’t stupid, and that advice has been going around for a while. It’s perfectly good advice, but some customers know that if they wait, they might just get an email with a coupon and they can save some money.

Convince Them To Return

In a way, you’ve already converted this viewer. Maybe not to a sale, but you captured a lead, got them to look through your products, and a few were compelling enough to catch their interest. This is why retargeting is so important, because it can be a lot cheaper and easier to bring back a lead that’s three quarters of the way down the funnel than to start all the way at the beginning again.

So what are some strategies you can use to bring these interested parties back around?

Catch Them Before They Leave

Of course, the ideal situation is to grab their attention before they ever leave. Exit-intent pop-ups are a popular strategy for this, featuring a quick, eye-catching message like, “Wait, you forgot something!” and a nice little carousel of the items in their cart. This is also a point where you can offer an incentive of some kind.

Retargeting Ads

It may feel a little creepy when you see an ad on Facebook for the athleisure leggings you were just looking at, but it sure is effective - instead of your eyes glazing over the sidebar ads, your attention is grabbed by an image of the product you were just looking at. This is a popular strategy to remind would-be abandoners just what they’re leaving behind, and why they should return.

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This is a tried-and-true method that can be a great converter if done well. However, this means that you’re hardly the first brand to end up in their inbox trying to win back their heart, so you have to work a little harder to stand out.

This is a great opportunity for you to do some A/B testing in your email marketing to try to suss out exactly why customers are leaving. If you charge for shipping and are suspecting that that’s the culprit of your high abandonment rates, you can craft a retargeting email that offers free shipping as an incentive. If it’s an overwhelming win it can help you decide if you want to provide free shipping across the board. You can also test various subject lines, images of the products in their cart, and various other incentives to see what wins.

Abandoned cart email

Everything you need to send abandoned cart emails

Get Creative

While some of these methods are effective, they’re also becoming increasingly common, which means that you need to also consider how you’re going to stand out from your competitors. If your potential customer is researching multiple brands of leggings and you’re the only one that shows up in her inbox later that day, you have a pretty high chance of getting her attention. But what if you’re all there? How can you stand out?

Think about a typical retargeting email: after the attention-grabbing subject line and witty copy, it shows photos and details of the items left in the cart, along with a big CTA button to take them back to their cart. How can you innovate on this design?

One way is with some sort of social proof alongside this email. If they have one of your bestsellers in their cart, consider highlighting that specifically - if a lot of people have bought it, it must be good, right? In a similar vein, you could show the average rating of the items, or the highest rated item with a quote from a great review. Let your existing customers convince your potential ones.

Convert Elsewhere

You won’t be able to convince everyone, and that’s okay. But that doesn’t mean that this game can’t be won elsewhere. Instead of making the stakes a win for getting the sale and a loss for not getting the sale, consider other wins you can incorporate. If you’re trying to grow your brand’s social media presence or get more subscribers to your email newsletter, try to at least convert them into a follower or subscriber, and maybe they’ll return to that cart when they’re ready - and they won’t forget about you in the meantime.


No business is going to convert every customer that walks through their virtual door, but there are endless ways you can increase your chances. Targeting those potentially interested customers enables you to redirect them back into the sales funnel and hopefully get them all the way through the journey the second time around.

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Jake Rheude

Guest Author

Comments 1

Anton Vinnychenko 3 years ago

very useful

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