Maximize your conversions: Email Marketing strategies to recover abandoned carts

Pauliny Zito
Planner, copywriter, and copydesk

A customer enters a store, walks through the aisles looking at the products, chooses one or two items, and his cell phone rings. He answers the call and, after a few minutes, hangs up and hurries out of the store.

The sales assistant observes the situation but does nothing. He can’t leave the store and go after the customer to ask if he’d like him to keep the products to pay for and pick them up later.

Lost sale.

This is just one of the many situations in which a purchase in a physical store is abandoned. On the internet, in online stores, so-called cart abandonment also happens, and that’s the subject of this article.

Pauliny Zito
Planner, copywriter e copydesk

A customer enters a store, walks through the aisles looking at the products, chooses one or two items, and his cell phone rings. He answers the call and, after a few minutes, hangs up and hurries out of the store.

The sales assistant observes the situation but does nothing. He can’t leave the store and go after the customer to ask if he’d like him to keep the products to pay for and pick them up later.

Lost sale.

This is just one of the many situations in which a purchase in a physical store is abandoned. On the internet, in online stores, so-called cart abandonment also happens, and that’s the subject of this article.

Regardless of the cause of cart abandonment, it’s important to try to recover that sale through an email strategy. But before we talk about exactly that, let’s take a look at the e-commerce landscape in the world and in Portugal.

E-commerce in the world

Data Reportal’s Global Digital Report 2023 reveals that 4.11 billion people shop online, reaching an estimated total spend of 3.59 trillion dollars in the year.

The average annual spend per person on online consumer goods is 873 dollars.

E-commerce in Portugal

Of the more than 8 million users in Portugal (85% of the country’s population), more than 5 million shop online, with an estimated total annual spend of 5.04 billion dollars.

The average annual spend per person on online consumer goods is 930 dollars (around 848€).

The decisive factors influencing online purchases are:

  • Free delivery (69.2%)
  • Coupons and discounts (51.7%)
  • Easy return policy (34.7%)
  • Easy and quick checkout (32.2%)
  • Online reviews from other customers (31.8%)
  • Next-day delivery (31.3%)

44.8% of users between the ages of 16 and 64 shopped online every week, and 30.8% made price comparisons on existing platforms.

The 7th edition of the CTT e-Commerce Report 2022, a document that brings the results of the market study on e-commerce in Portugal promoted by CTT, which took place between August and September 2022, reveals that:

The vast majority of users who buy online are aged between 18 and 44, but the majority of new adherents are in the higher age groups.

Women are the biggest buyers (52% of all online purchases).

The average value of the last purchase was €55.3 in 2022.

The preference for the online channel is due to the convenience of the purchase, namely the ease of buying (68.2%) and the possibility of buying at any time (61.4%), followed by promotions (60%) and lower prices on online platforms (55.8%).

The most popular categories were Clothing and Footwear (73% of consumers), followed by Electronic and Computer Equipment, Books and Films and Hygiene and Cosmetics.

The payment method most used by the Portuguese is MB reference (43.6%), followed by PayPal (43.4%) and MB WAY (33.8%).

The main reasons for repurchasing are “lower prices” (62%) and “promotions” (57%), followed by “security” (49.2%).

Cart abandonment statistics

According to, the main reason for abandoning a purchase is a lack of confidence in the payment as well as a lack of options for making it.

The Baymard Institute gathered 49 statistics on the rate of shopping cart abandonment in e-commerce and calculated that the average cart abandonment rate is 70.19%.

Source: Freepik

As for the main reasons why customers abandon their shopping carts, according to the 7th edition of the CTT e-Commerce Report 2022, the “final price being more expensive than expected” continues to be the main reason for abandonment at the checkout (67.8%).

Source: CTT e-Commerce Report 2022


The biggest difficulties with online shopping are: “delivery costs” (48%), “uncertainty about the returns policy” (36.6%) and “needing to register on the site to make the purchase” (36.6%).

Source: CTT e-Commerce Report 2022


B2C email marketing statistics

Almost 22% of all email campaigns are opened within the first hour of being sent. (GetResponse, 2020).

59% of respondents say that marketing emails have influenced their purchases (Salecycle, 2022).

Email marketing demographics

99% of email users check their inbox every day – some of them 20 times a day. Of those, 58% check their emails first thing in the morning (OptinMonster, 2020).

84.3% say they check their emails at least once a day (Pathwire, 2021).

Consumers spend an average of 10 seconds reading brand emails (Statista, 2021).

Effective email marketing strategies to convert abandoned carts into sales

The main purpose of remarketing is to convince the potential customer that it is worth completing the purchase with you.

One of the remarketing actions is to send emails to remind the customer of the products that have been left in the shopping cart.

The thing is, a lot of emails are received every day, and the challenge here is to stand out by getting the person to open and read your email.

Abandoned cart emails have an average conversion rate of 18.64% (Barilliance).

Number of e-mails

Sending a single cart abandonment email is not enough. If you want to maximize conversions, you need to send at least three. 

Data collected by Chadwick Martin Bailey – CMB indicates that 64% of people open your emails based on the subject line, which we’ll see below.

The first email should be sent one hour after cart abandonment; the second, 24 hours after cart abandonment; and the third, 72 hours after cart abandonment.

Email subject lines

The subject line is the most important factor in each of these emails. 

Effective subject lines increase the open rate of shopping cart abandonment emails.

Write a short*, direct, and optimistic subject line, with clear and concise language.

Action verbs at the beginning of the email subject tend to be more attractive to click on.

Create an email subject that arouses interest or curiosity so that the customer opens your email.

In the second email, use the urgency trigger, informing them that the cart will expire soon.

In the third email, with the cart about to expire, offer the customer a free shipping benefit to encourage the purchase, or a discount, with a clear call to action.

Using personalization tokens such as the recipient’s name or location in the subject line increases the click-through rate (HubSpot Research).

Another tactic is to focus on a product that is in the cart and has limited stock (scarcity trigger).

Everyone likes to feel special and to have a sense of belonging, so use this tactic to your advantage when writing email subject lines.

Use data and numbers to get your email noticed.

And don’t forget to always use a friendly tone. Above all, be human. And, if your brand allows it, use humor.

Remember the KISS approach – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

*Although shorter email subject lines are generally better, according to Gartner, “longer and more detailed subject lines, with more than 70 characters, perform just as competitively as those with 11 to 20 characters”.

However, it’s best not to exceed 50 characters, as 41% of email opens come from mobile devices, according to research from HubSpot’s blog in 2022.

Source: HubSpot Blog – Estatísticas de marketing móvel


Extra tip

Define an attractive display text.

Even though it is not technically part of the email subject, the preview text must be defined in advance and appear right next to the subject line, as it will be displayed next to the subject line for recipients using iPhone Mail, Gmail, and Outlook.

If this text is not defined, the email-sending platform will automatically display the beginning of the email body text next to the subject line, which may not be ideal and may even be confusing for the customer.

What NOT to do

Don’t use CAPITAL LETTERS or lots of exclamation marks!!!! As well as being distracting, your email will also look like spam.

Don’t write a question and an exclamation mark in the same subject line, as your email may automatically go to the spam folder.

Examples of email subject lines for abandoned shopping carts

Your purchase is reserved! [OPEN] to view…

Complete your purchase! Your cart is about to expire…

(Customer name), we’ve noticed that you haven’t completed your purchase

Don’t miss out! Empty your cart and get 10% off

15% off your shopping cart!

(Customer name), your (product name) is waiting for you! 

Hurry up! The items in your cart are running out fast!

We’re waiting for you! You forgot to complete your purchase

Reminder: Purchase your products before the shopping cart expires 

Congratulations! You’ve made some great choices, now all that’s left is to complete your purchase 😉

(Customer name), we’ll save your cart

We’ve saved your cart! Only one step left to complete your purchase

(Customer name), continue your purchase with us!

Price reduction notice! Complete your purchase with a discount within 24 hours

More than (#) customers have already bought and approved this (product name) this week alone

Last few hours to complete your purchase!

(Customer name), we have an exclusive offer for you in your shopping cart

Call to Action (CTA)

For each email, use only one call to action, with clear language and contrasting design elements. Guide the customer to take the action, i.e. complete the purchase, and set expectations about what will happen when they do.

A/B tests

Run A/B tests on your email subject lines and adjust the text according to the results.

Sending e-mails via the main e-commerce platforms

E-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce automatically track users’ actions on the website by registering potential customers who add products to the cart and leave the website without completing the purchase.


Shopify provides basic abandoned cart email templates, which can be edited in the Settings > Notifications section. You can also edit the design using the CSS style sheet and add a personalized message.

Source: O Guia de Ação para E-mails de Carrinho de Compras Abandonado – Kinsta Blog

To control the template and content of your emails, you need to install an application such as Abandoned Cart Recovery.

Source: O Guia de Ação para E-mails de Carrinho de Compras Abandonado – Kinsta Blog

Other cart abandonment email tools for Shopify:


WooCommerce doesn’t have the functionality for cart abandonment emails, but you could use the official WooCommerce Follow-Ups extension (paid), or the free Abandoned Cart Lite plugin for WooCommerce, which adds a new section to your WeCommerce control panel called Abandoned Carts, where you can edit your email content, change the email sending settings, check on recovered carts, among other actions.

Source: O Guia de Ação para E-mails de Carrinho de Compras Abandonado – Kinsta Blog


Option: use the standard WordPress WYSIWYG editor to create your emails in the Abandoned Carts > Email Templates section (by clicking on the Add New Template link).

Other cart abandonment email tools for WooCommerce:


BigCommerce gives you total control over your cart abandonment emails, from the design, product images, and texts, to the number of emails to be sent and when they should be sent.

Source: O Guia de Ação para E-mails de Carrinho de Compras Abandonado – Kinsta Blog


You can edit all the settings in the Abandoned Cart Notifications section of the dashboard.

Source: O Guia de Ação para E-mails de Carrinho de Compras Abandonado – Kinsta Blog


Other cart abandonment email tools for BigCommerce:

Third-party email marketing software

To create, optimize and personalize your email campaigns even more, without having technical experience or even graphic design skills, there are several options for specialized e-commerce tools that not only send cart abandonment emails, but also reminders and recommendations based on your browsing and purchase history, for example:

7 Hacks to optimize your online store

  1. Mobile friendly and responsive website.
  2. The quickest and simplest possible purchasing process.
  3. Payment security.
  4. Various payment method options.
  5. Checkout options for customers who don’t have a registered account or the
  6. option to complete registration automatically, via a social login, for example.
  7. Transparency on all additional costs.
  8. Complete and solid refund and return policy.

Anticipate! Taking into account the various reasons that lead customers to abandon their shopping cart, optimize your online store for a better shopping experience for your customers and prevent abandonment from occurring. 

Write effective subject lines, send emails at the right time, and create a sequence of emails that convert.

Hybrid e-commerce: the end of exclusivity

Sandra Caravana

I bought some sneakers at a multi-brand sports site. How many kilometers will my sneakers travel to get to my house?

As a consumer (or shopper – for this text, we will put the two together), I traditionally go to a store and choose sneakers.

Sandra Caravana

I bought some sneakers at a multi-brand sports site. How many kilometers will my sneakers travel to get to my house?

As a consumer (or shopper – for this text, we will put the two together), I traditionally go to a store and choose sneakers.

Source: Pixabay

Why do I go to that store? Because of the price and the brands. And let’s leave aside the ‘white label’ discourse – it is discrediting for brands that have already established themselves in their niche. Take the case of Quechua. Scouts don’t buy Decathlon white brand tents, but Quechua tents.

Sneakers chosen – tried on with more or less originality by the store – and proceed to the checkout. They are ready to wear.

If you buy the sneakers online, I don’t have the consumer experience – putting the sneakers on before you buy them and talking to a salesperson who also wears the same sneakers. But as a general rule, there are more options online. Physical stores have limited space (no matter how big they are) and that’s why you make range choices.

I know from buying online that I have to wait for the sneakers to make the trip from the store (or warehouse/factory) to my home. And if I’m not home at the time of delivery, the sneakers make one more trip to some warehouse, where I have to pick them up. No problem, what matters is that the sneakers arrived.

The challenge for today is to put ourselves in the shoe’s shoes.

What is the big dilemma? Sneakers don’t choose their route. They want to go home – the final consumer – but until then, they can have several homes. Or temporary foster families, is this the correct term?

The H brand and SUPER sneakers

I represent the brand H (let’s be inclusive and stop always using X or Y). We created some sneakers that, besides the futuristic design, have a technology that allows the foot to breathe, preventing the user from getting sweaty feet at the end of the day. We even baptized this model: SUPER.

SUPER sneakers are manufactured (we will not go into details here about where in the world) and are shipped to wherever we want. This choice is related to the business model chosen by my company.

We will speak here of the business model in the sense of the purchase/sale transaction.

Fonte: Pixabay

A brief introduction to business models

The acronyms in this part of the sales business are intuitive, but take note:

  • B2C (business to consumer): Classic. Direct sale. The business relationship occurs between the company and the final consumer (or shopper) and involves no third-party action. 
  • B2B (business to business | from company to company): The consumer relationship is between companies, not involving the end consumer. The sale/purchase has the purpose of supplying a need of the company – which may or may not reach the end consumer. 
  • B2E (business to employee): occurs when the company provides discounts or forms of payment that are not applied to the market. This way, employees can buy the products/services of the company they work for in a differentiated way.
  • B2G (business to government): is the business relationship between companies that sell, or provide services, to the government – either to municipalities or at a national level. These are companies with a track record of responding to public tenders. This model need not be exclusive.
  • B2I (business to investor): the business relationship takes place between the company and the future investor and works as an accountability, where the company that is selling presents its projects, data, and information. Widely used in the real estate industry.
  • D2C (direct-to-consumer): is a business model that resembles B2C. Here the difference is in the source of the product – instead of a company selling, the marketing is done directly by the manufacturing industry. It is easy to identify with the ‘factory price’ label.
  • B2B2C (business to business to consumer)

… Well, we get it.

So where are the SUPER going?

The choice of a B2B or B2C model is closely linked to the storytelling of the product, its marketing strategy, and the way the brand decides to communicate with the shopper and the final consumer.

I want to manufacture SUPER and sell directly to the final consumer: it means quick sales. The brand is talking to those who use the product. It follows the more traditional model and opens a physical and online store, with its brand name: H. It will be present in malls and traditional commerce – OR exclusively in one of them. This choice is related to the persona created/chosen by the brand (the ideal consumer).

When we choose a B2C, the most common thing is not to have the financial fit to have a store/warehouse, a large space with aisles, and more aisles of products lined up and organized by price. Better known as retail.

These stores/warehouses are built from scratch (preferably) by B2B business models – WARNING: this is not that taxing, but it is the most common. For this example, we are talking about such multi-brand stores: the MM store sells sneakers of its brand, but also of other brands, for which it has no influence on the construction of the product or its history. The MM store can, if the H brand so allows, insert SUPER sneakers in its range and sell them in-store. But the decision is on brand H’s side: B2C, B2B, or D2C.

In the digital world, the choice of business also differs.

There are many decisions to be made:

  • Do we sell exclusively on our site?
  • Do we sell exclusively on the site of multi-brand stores?
  • Do we sell both?
  • Do we sell both, at different prices? – Yes, the law of the market allows it, because…

… the price of the product also depends on the journey it takes.

What is the great advantage of selling online?

Besides increasing the volume of business?

We know who buys our product (shopper) and we know who uses our product (consumer). Buying and using are different things. The best example is toy stores. Who buys? Adults. Who uses? The children. So here we have two audiences to analyze.

We want to know everything, EVERYTHING, about them. Everything is recorded, like history, like the digital footprint. Wonders of e-commerce.


… if I only sell the SUPER ones in multi-brand stores, I don’t know who my final consumer is. I give up this data. But that data is what enables us to have products that meet the needs and interests of the customers.

Choices, choices, choices.

Source: Pixabay

In B2C, the sales process is focused on the individual needs of the customer, and the sales cycle is short, with a large (or medium) emotional component.

In B2B, we expand our cycle.

Do we have to choose one of the models?

Yes and no. In typical Portuguese, it depends.

But we can have a hybrid business model.

A hybrid model allows you to bring together, on a single platform, the entire digital structure: customer databases, product information, content, graphic arts, pricing, profit margins… well, all the information you want to cross-reference. So the hybrid model has a single e-commerce platform. And who will analyze this data, will also be a single team – a reinforced team, of course. Because here, the data analysis work requires creating and analyzing multiple customer profiles.

All this for the better…

… business optimization. Obvious. Everything is in a single system, even marketing strategy. Strategies. Plural. For the same product, we can have different images and canopies, depending on the location of the sale.

This hybrid model will have an advantage over your competitors: you can create customized products and different marketing strategies for shoppers and consumers.

Source: Business Webstars

What about merchandising?

Ah, who doesn’t love an offer of a tote bag, a pen… a notepad!

Businesses whose commercial exchanges are exclusively B2B do not invest much in merchandising. It makes sense: why invest if we are not selling directly to the consumer? They can, and usually do build a layout for their product at the point of sale. A good example of this is the huge and colorful furniture full of cookies, also full of sugar, in small grocery stores. There is no brand store for these cookies, but the brand invests in creating displays that are compatible with the small business that sells these cookies.

Already in a hybrid business, merchandising is important and everything is chosen and described on that one platform, with a well-defined budget.

In conclusion:

A hybrid business model is a crossover. Yes, like when the characters from Grey’s Anatomy take a trip to the world of Station 19. This analogy makes perfect sense: in the first episode of Grey’s Anatomy, there were no streaming platforms. We had to wait for RTP2 to buy the series and we were only allowed to watch one episode a week. Today, we can watch Grey’s Anatomy online, on our pc, tablet, and smart. It is the natural evolution of things to the digital world.

The key phrase of this hybrid model is EXPAND: more customers, a bigger database, and a bigger business volume. And on the other hand, SAVE is a single e-commerce platform.

It’s all a bed of roses. But it isn’t.

These are choices, above all.

By changing your business, customers will be more demanding.

Let’s talk about Nespresso. What else?

Nespresso has been among the most profitable projects at Nestlé with steady growth for two decades, although the beginning of its history dates back to 1970. You can read more about this long journey here

Nespresso arrives in Portugal with a physical store in Chiado, Lisbon in 2003. Not store – Boutique. So, I, who am from Coimbra, had to go to Lisbon to buy the machine and the coffee capsules. No. The website had that option. Mainly for the capsules. In 2007, they decide to open a new boutique in Norteshopping. The brand is no longer only in prime locations, but also in shopping centers. In 2009, they opened a new boutique in Porto, and from then on these boutiques – small stores where the capsules are displayed for sale and consumption, in a customer experience logic – became the norm. But until we reached this point, the Nespresso consumer in Coimbra had to buy the coffee capsules directly from the Nespresso website. Why? Because Nespresso doesn’t sell on large commercial surfaces, it doesn’t sell to small businesses or the retail trade.

In 2022, Nespresso still doesn’t sell the capsules for other commercial surfaces to sell, but the Nespresso brand coffee machines are within our reach in any home appliance store.

It is indeed an interesting example that shows different choices, without exclusivity.

Will we live to see Nespresso coffee capsules for sale in big supermarket chains? The red one? Or that green one… Baby steps, without ever escaping the original concept of the brand.

Fonte: Pixabay

What about Nike? Nike has moved to the hybrid option: we can buy on Nike’s website, in Nike’s stores, and multi-brand stores. And at the multi-brand stores’ websites.

So Nespresso’s preferred commercial exchange is D2C: direct to client. Nike is B2B, D2C, B2C.

In a D2C, my SUPER sneakers may even have a lower price, because they don’t have many miles to go. But if brand H decides to sell to retail as well, it has the right to increase its value, because there is more logistics work. To match the value, the multi-brand store has to lower its profit margin. Easy math to do.

For this hybrid model, we have decided to give an acronym name: B2E – business to everyone.

Does it make more sense? Or is it too populist for the business world?

We won’t end this article without mentioning C2C – client to client. Yes, we can also sell our Nespresso machine on the OLX of this life. The internet made e-commerce possible and social networks developed C2C. And here, there are no taxes, no fees, no legislation, and no control of the exchanges.