Why Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails Aren't Working

Shopping cart abandonment is the biggest issue for most e-commerce businesses. If your online business sells direct-to-consumer, you have or can expect to deal with abandoned items. The shopping cart is no longer a strong indicator of whether a consumer will actually buy. While exact rates vary, the Baymard Institute found that businesses lose an average of 67.45 percent of sales to shopping cart abandonment. Listrak has found rates reaching as high as 73 percent.

It's common for visitors to browse a site, place a few items into their cart, and instead of finishing the purchase, exit your site. Reasons for abandonment vary, but most businesses respond with automated emails.

It's easy to send automated cart abandonment emails, but most of the time, these emails don't do their jobs. Here are three reasons why your shopping cart abandonment emails aren't working.


You know that we mean because you've received robot-emails like this in your own inbox. Automation is helpful and simply sending some form of communication to your audience can recover 5% to 11% of abandoned cart sales. But that still means the vast majority of your users are ignoring your emails.

Without a human touch, you make it easy for visitors to delete your emails without a second thought. Consider it from the consumer's perspective. In a physical store, you expect to interact with a store clerk, who may offer choices and compliment you on the option that looks best. Receiving an automated response would be like being ignored by the clerk and instead, being directed to a sign that reads "you look great in that shirt!"

Personalizing an automated email is an excellent way to apply emotion-based selling. Research has shown time and time again that emotions drive consumer behavior before, during, and after purchases.


A significant number of your emails may not even reach their intended recipients, at least not on time. That's because in 2013, Google introduced email filters that separated emails away from a user's "primary" inbox and into "social" and "promotions" tabs. While these tabs are still part of the inbox, they are not immediately visible to users and are more easily forgotten.

Today over 1.2 billion consumers use Gmail and Google has 20 percent of the global email market. A large percentage of your emails go to Gmail users. But 68.4 percent of emails that enter a Google inbox are automatically placed in the promotions tab. The average click rate for e-commerce emails hovers around 16.75 percent, and that's when users actually click on their promotions tab to see your email.

While you can't completely prevent your emails from being redirected, you can focus on increasing open rates and engagement. Begin with headline optimization. Inboxes are busy and you only have 1 second or less to capture your audience's attention and encourage them to open your email. Once you've captured their attention, you guide users to conversational marketing, whether through a one-on-one email exchange or a chat system once they open your website.


Cart abandonment is only a symptom of a bigger problem with customer engagement flow. The root causes of cart abandonment lie in the way consumers experience your website. From user experience and interface to website navigation, your website should be optimized to create engaging customer experiences.

Even seemingly minor aspects of your website can deter visitors from buying. Consumers are looking for quick, convenient service online. Slow loading times can lead to thousands in lost revenue, especially in the shopping cart. And roughly 25 percent of shoppers will abandon a cart if they are required to create an account before their purchase. Rather than automated emails, considering the entire customer journey is vital to reduce abandoned shopping carts.

Shopping cart abandonment is a widespread problem for direct-to-consumer businesses. But with personalized emails, engaging and conversational marketing, and streamlined customer engagement flow, you can begin to change abandonment into adoption.

Learn about how our customers address shopping cart abandonment issues here.