2018 Cart Abandonment Inspiration: We have abandonment issues

MCM Cart Abandonment Email Design

2018 Cart Abandonment Inspiration: We have abandonment issues

There’s something special about receiving a cart abandonment email. It could be the anticipation of seeing what discount they are going to offer or which products they are going to recommend. Or it could just be the surprise of receiving an abandonment email at all!

Despite the many benefits such as huge open and click-through rates, recovered revenue, and amazing conversions that many marketers claim, you still don’t see THAT many cart abandonment emails. In fact, according to a 2017 study by Litmus and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, less than a third of major US retailers retarget abandoners with an email. Unfortunately, that number still seems fairly accurate as we have abandoned over 50 shopping carts in the last month and didn’t receive abandonment emails from some of the largest retailers and e-commerce stores in the world, including, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and Macy’s.

So, to encourage and hopefully inspire these abandonment-shy retailers, we have put together a list of our favorite cart abandonment emails including the time of day that we abandoned, the ESP used, and what we generally did and didn’t like. However, before we get to that, it’s worth quickly taking a look at our abandonment methodology in case you want to receive some of these emails yourselves.

The Curated methodology for triggering cart abandonment emails

Getting your hands on a cart abandonment email can be a little tricky to do sometimes. Even if you leave items in a shopping cart, you won’t necessarily receive an email, depending on how the abandonment process and software has been set up. These are the steps that we followed to ensure that we received as many cart abandonment emails as possible:
  • Create an account on the e-commerce website. This usually involves creating a login and password, submitting my address, date of birth, and sometimes preferences. Make sure that you’re still logged in for the next step.
  • Browse various products and add a couple to your shopping cart.
  • Start the checkout process by adding your name, email address, and physical address.
  • Abandon the website just before having to enter your credit card details
In most cases, this should trigger a cart abandonment email if one has been set up. Of course, some e-commerce stores have much more advanced technology which can identify you from a past browsing session or from an email click through, but we’ve found the adoption of these technologies is still surprisingly low, so it’s best to go through the above process if you want to ensure that you receive an abandonment email.

Our favorite cart abandonment emails of 2018


Subject line: Need something new? Check your shopping bag.

Time of abandonment: Approximately 9am

Time email was received: 9:48am

ESP used: Responsys

What we like:

J.Crew has obviously put some effort into their cart abandonment email. The design itself looks very similar to their regular marketing emails and we love the complementary tone of voice in the copy. Including a banner at the top with a link to the latest sale is also a nice touch.

What could be improved: 

Although I really like the design of this email, I wonder if it looks a bit too much like a regular J.Crew promo email? It would be interesting to do a split test to see how this design performs against something that looks a bit more transactional in nature.

Otherwise, the only other thing that could potentially enhance the performance of this email is product recommendations and customer reviews. Great job, J.Crew!



Subject line: Your Shopping Bag items are hot—don’t miss out!

Time of abandonment: 6:58 pm

Time email was received: 10:34 pm

ESP used: Oracle Responsys

What we like:

We love the on-brand and responsive design of this abandonment email. Similar to J.Crew, they have a banner at the top of the email promoting their latest sale. We’re not sure if this is dynamic or not, but it’s a great touch. We’re also fans of the recommended product section near the bottom of the email.

What could be improved:

We’re big fans of white space, but this email feels like it has too much, especially in the “Recommended for you” section.



Subject line: You left something behind

Time of abandonment: 2:40 pm

Time email was received: 3:40 pm

ESP used: Communicator

What we like:

Wow! What a gorgeous cart abandonment email design. It looks amazing on a full-size screen and mobile. We just wish we had abandoned more products to see how the template adapts.

What could be improved:

The subject line is a little dry, would be good to see something more creative that complements the rest of the design.


MCM Cart Abandonment Email Design


The Iconic

Subject line: ? You have items in your bag that could sell out, Andrew

Time of abandonment: 9:11 am

Time email was received: 9:41 am

ESP used: Vero

What we like:

The Iconic didn’t waste any time sending this email; it took roughly 30 minutes for it to come through. We’re not mad at that since they have crafted a nice responsive and on-brand design with a subject line that actually has some personality. We also liked how they remind customers that they can live chat with them on their website if they have any questions.

What could be improved:

There isn’t too much that we would change about this email apart from maybe adding product recommendations based on customers browsing behaviors.

The Iconic Cart Abandonment Email Design

American Giant

Subject line: It’s Still In Stock – But Not For Long

Time of abandonment: 9:07 am

Time email was received: 10:07 am

ESP used: Bronto

What we like:

What we really liked about this cart abandonment email from American Giant is the helpful tone of voice in the copy. Asking customers if they have any questions or concerns about their order can be a more effective approach than simply telling them that they’re products are going to sell out. The design is also on-brand and looks fantastic on mobile.

What could be improved:

American Giant has a lot of fans, so it would be great to see some customer quotes or reviews in an email like this.

American Giant Cart Abandonment Email Design


Subject line: Did you leave something behind?

Time of abandonment: Approximately 3:30 pm

Time email was received: 4:32 pm

ESP used: Communicator

What we like:

Fun on-brand copy and design. The mobile version of the email is even better than the full-size version!

What could be improved:

The subject line is a bit generic and uninspiring. It would also be nice to see some value-added content like a size guide or some kind of buying advice since many people might be hesitant to buy a running shoe online.

Asics Cart Abandonment Email Design



Subject line: Thanks for visiting

Time of abandonment: We didn’t write it down 🙁

Time email was received: 7:43 pm

ESP used: Salesforce Marketing Cloud (ExactTarget)

What we like:

Patagonia emails always have fun / beautiful photography combined with clever headlines and copy. This cart abandonment email is no exception! We also like the customer service section at the bottom of the email.

What could be improved:

The subject line is a bit dull. It would also be great if the customer service message was a bit more prominent since that’s what Patagonia is well known for.

Patagonia Cart Abandonment email design



Subject line: Don’t leave without this

Time of abandonment: Unknown

Time email was received: 6:10 pm

ESP used: SendGrid

What we like:

We love the clean design and fun copy! It’s also nice to see their customer service phone number and email address at the bottom of the email along with a reminder of their 100-day free trial.

What could be improved:

This design isn’t mobile responsive! That should be a must-have for a company with customers that travel and use their mobile devices as much as Away’s do.


Subject line: we saw that you were eyeing this

Time of abandonment: Unknown

Time email was received: 4:30 am

ESP used: Cordial

What we like:

There’s a lot to like about this cart abandonment email from Revolve! It has a really nice, mobile responsive design, product recommendations, and customer service contact details. We also loved how they included the available sizes of the abandoned product.

What could be improved:

There honestly isn’t much that we’d change about this email! The only complaint we had was that we received it at 4:30am and it would have been nice to receive it at a more reasonable hour.

Revolve cart abandonment email design


Warby Parker

Subject line: Downing Wide might be the one

Time of abandonment: Unknown

Time email was received: 9:03 pm

ESP used: Mailgun

What we like:

Unsurprisingly, Warby’s cart abandonment has a beautiful design, clever copy, and a customer service focus. We also really like the messaging around the low risk of trying the glasses with free returns and shipping.

What could be improved:

I didn’t really remember the name of the glasses that I abandoned, so the subject line which led with the product name was a little bit cryptic at first.

Warby Parker Cart Abandonment Email



Still thirsty for cart abandonment email inspiration?? Check out our full collection of beautiful abandonment emails here.


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