What is abandoned cart?

“Abandoned cart” refers to instances where customers add items to an online shopping cart, but abandon the transaction before completing checkout. This is a common problem among e-Commerce stores and marketers are often tasked with finding ways to reduce abandoned cart rates and increase conversions.

Abandoned cart campaigns are an effective means of improving conversion to sale. Customers are already engaged with the brand and have added products to their cart, but have ended the session without completing the purchase.

Abandoned cart encourages customers to complete the transaction by sending an initial email containing their cart contents and a reminder email two days later. It can support revenue objectives by contributing to strategies such as converting leads to first-time buyers, converting first-time buyers to active customers, and winning back inactive customers.

What are the most common reasons for cart abandonment?

  • Lack of trust in payment systems
  • Complicated checkout process / poor user experience
  • High shipping costs and/or long delivery estimates
  • Technological issues (e.g., slow loading website or crashing browser)
  • Inadequate return policies or guarantees
  • Payment declined due to incorrect card details entered by the customer

What are effective cart abandonment strategies?

Broadly speaking, there are two ways to solve abandoned cart issues.

The first is to stress-test your operations. The second is to optimize your abandoned cart marketing strategy.


Ensure your checkout process is as frictionless as possible and that your payment systems work flawlessly. Wherever possible, look for efficiencies to streamline domestic shipping (1-3 days) and international shipping (3-7 days).

Pay special attention to your returns policy. Make sure it is explicitly stated on your website and in the checkout process.

In terms of user experience, check page load times, user journeys, and product information. Remove any unnecessary steps in user journeys that may distract or discourage customers from completing a purchase.


The following marketing strategies can be used to reduce cart abandonment:

  • Including a live chat option at checkout
  • Setting up an automated email remarketing campaign
  • Linking to directly to a live chat in abandoned cart emails
  • Using channels like SMS or social ads to retarget customers with discounts on abandoned cart items
  • Include positive user testimonials or reviews in retargeting emails

When should I send abandoned cart emails?

Sending abandoned cart emails at the right time is critical for maximizing their effectiveness. Some studies suggest that sending an email within one to three hours of cart abandonment yields the highest conversion rate, as customers are more likely to still be considering the product.

Additionally, sending multiple emails in succession can also increase conversions, as shoppers may need more than one reminder before they make a purchase.

The optimal number here is three, with the first one being sent one to three hours after cart abandonment, the second 24 hours later, and the final between three to seven days after cart abandonment.

Abandoned cart campaigns with Emarsys

Emarsys works with leading brands like PUMA, Pizza Hut, and Nike to increase their acquisition, purchase frequency, average order value, and retention by unifying their customer, sales, and product data to enable personalized, automated abandoned cart campaigns.