Tips and Tricks for Cart Abandonment Emails for the Holiday Season

[This post was originally published on 14th Oct 2020. It has been updated on 30th Jan 2023.]

The holiday season is right around the corner!

Considering that holiday spending is expected to clock a new high of $960 billion in 2022, we hope that your email marketing campaign to capture buyers’ attention is already underway.

After all, this low-cost, high-ROI digital marketing channel is your best bet to drive up conversions.

Even so, getting your target audience to your online store doesn’t guarantee sales. According to a study by Statista, 88.05% of all orders are abandoned mid-way. 


Even though the rate of cart abandonment varies from study to study, swinging in the range of 55 to 89%, the average rate for 2019 was 77.13%. That’s more than two-thirds of your cart value not converting into sales!

But as it turns out, there is a silver lining after all. This tendency of a majority of buyers to abandon a purchase right before hitting the payment button can be brought down considerably via targeted emails. If used the right way, it can be a game-changer for your business’ cart abandonment woes.


According to a Barilliance study, the average cart abandonment email conversion rate is 8.24% in 2020.

Let’s take a close look at why customers abandon purchases mid-way and the role of targeted email messaging in reversing that trend, especially during the high-rush holiday season!

Why Do Customers Abandon Carts?

Consumers can bounce from the checkout process for a host of reasons. These can range anywhere from poor connectivity to high shipping fees or a complex checkout process. These abandoned purchases can result in losses to the tunes of billions during the holiday sales season.

According to a Retail Dive report, 63% of consumers who abandon their purchases claim that they’re less likely to purchase from a retailer or e-commerce platform after a poor shopping experience. This means you not only risk losing out on one sale but a customer’s loyalty. Half of the customers who abandoned purchase attributed it to a time-consuming checkout process, 41% said it was because the shopping experience wasn’t optimized for mobile devices and 23% blamed it on the checkout process not going through.

Once a buyer abandons a purchase, they’re not likely to follow it through on another device at a later time either. While some of the factors for cart abandonment relate to the sub-par end-user experience, others may be beyond your control. Apart from working to optimize the user experience across devices, the next best thing you can do to turn around sales volumes during the holidays is to give them a nudge by engaging with them in their inboxes.

How to Create Emails that Reverse Cart Abandonment?

Almost every business today leverages cart abandonment emails to some extent. However, not every email leads to conversions. That’s because not all cart abandonment messages are created equal. To ensure that yours is compelling enough to make the recipient want to act on the CTA, it must contain three key elements:

  • Personalized Messaging: You have to make the consumer feel like the email is talking to them and addressing their specific needs. Personalized tone and messaging are a sure-shot way of achieving that. An email with the customer’s name in the subject line alone can yield a 46.21% open rate. You can make it more impactful by adding the name of the abandoned product into the mix.
  • Timing it Right: One would think that sending an email as soon as a customer abandons cart would be ideal. However, data suggests that sending emails within one hour of an abandoned purchase achieves a conversion rate of 3.14% whereas those sent exactly one hour later can drive 6.33% conversions. Beyond an hour, the efficacy of a cart abandonment email to drive conversion continues to dip consistently. So, this holiday season, plan your abandonment emails accordingly.
  • Right Messaging: Apart from personalization and a clearly defined CTA, your email must also offer something additional of value such as product recommendations, coupons, discount offers that are specific to the holiday spirit or season. Besides, using a responsive design, clean design, highlighting your USPs, and customer reviews can make the messaging more impactful.

8 Tips to Create the Perfect Holiday Cart Abandonment Email Templates

Sales are the ultimate source of holiday cheer for any business. To make sure your spirits are not dampened by items left sitting in the cart, here are 8 impactful abandoned cart email tips to create winning campaigns for the holiday season that will give your buyers just the right nudge needed to complete their orders:

1. Craft an engaging subject line

Your cart abandonment subject lines should instantly remind the customers that it is about the product/s they had left in the cart. Try to incorporate a sense of urgency in the abandoned cart email subject lines. It will not only pique the subscriber’s curiosity but also make them complete the purchase. The best abandoned cart emails are the ones that get opened and convince the recipients to pay.

Some examples are:

  • Hey, you were eyeing on this beautiful purse
  • Your cart is waiting for you
  • 60% off your cart is expiring soon
  • Like what you see? Here’s 50% off coupon code

2. Discount, but Strategically

holiday email template


Your customers may well be leaving items in their shopping carts as a way to prompt you into offering them a sweeter deal. It is one of the reasons why cart abandonment messages have high open rates – and even more so during the holiday season – when they expect deals and discounts to be raining everywhere!

You can use this to your advantage by offering your buyers small, strategic discounts before announcing a sitewide sale. See how GoPro has done in this cart abandonment email template. They have offered the buyers a special bonus that lasts until Christmas and is lucrative enough for anyone who has been holding off a purchase for a better offer.

3. Personalize Messaging based on Data Insights

personalize email template


One of the best practices to make your abandoned cart emails more effective is to include product pictures. This is especially crucial during the holiday season when your buyers may be browsing and building shopping carts on multiple sites.

A picture can help jog their memory and stir their desire to own that particular item. To make it even more effective, you must use data insights to personalize the abandoned cart emails and capitalize on a buyer’s taste. For instance, if a customer leaves a dress, a pair of earrings, and shoes in the cart, you can turn to customer data insights to choose which product to display. If your customer has bought dresses from you in the past, prioritizing that item from their cart can get you top billing.

4. Create urgency

holiday cart abandonment email


You can create a sense of urgency in your buyers by adding a countdown timer to your holiday cart abandonment emails. These can trigger the FOMO instinct in your buyers, pushing them to complete a purchase. These are particularly effective in making your customers process their orders during highly anticipated sales such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday or make them want to take advantage of an ongoing offer.

This email, for instance, reminds the customers of the urgency of buying gifts before Christmas and availing an ongoing offer at the same time.

5. Grab Attention with Interactive Elements

interactive email


Interactive emails have emerged as a top marketing trend, owing to their ability to capture the recipients’ attention and engage them. Using GIFs, videos, sliders or gamification can be a great way to make your customers engage with your cart abandonment message.

You can use interactive email templates to weave in a special discount or sales announcement to incentivize a purchase. Or purely to engage your readers for better brand recall or traffic diversion to landing pages. The above email, for instance, uses an interactive game. When a customer engages with it by playing, they become invested in the process and are more likely to spread the word, boosting brand awareness.

6. Add an Incentivized Survey

Algolia email template


There are myriad reasons behind cart abandonment. Using incentivized surveys in your custom email marketing templates serves a dual purpose. It allows you to gain insights into the reasons behind incomplete orders as well as gives your customers the enticement needed to make a purchase.

In this email, for instance, customers are being offered a gift card that has been carefully targeted toward the Black Friday sale. A classic case of two birds with one stone move!

7. Optimize the Check Out Process

nomad email template


One of the key reasons why customers abandon shopping carts is a time-consuming checkout process. So, use your cart abandonment emails to address that. Make sure that clicking on the CTA takes them straight to the payment option so that the process of completing the order is quick, seamless, and straightforward.

By giving your customers a direct checkout option – as this email does – you can cut back the risk of a customer abandoning the cart all over again despite clicking on your email.

8. Target Conversions with an Email Series

When it comes to post-cart abandonment communication with your customers, once is necessary but not quite enough. A great way to mitigate the risk of a potential sale lost to cart abandonment is to craft an email series rather than bundling reminders, recommendations and offers in a single email.

The idea is that if one email doesn’t do the trick of nudging a customer, three might. Besides, you can hold off offering discounts until the final email in the series. That way, you don’t compromise your profit margins unless you absolutely have to.

craft an email series 1

Check out this cart abandonment email series sent by Uncommon Goods.

craft an email series 2

craft an email series 3

The Bottom Line

Between the influx of customers during the holiday season, last-minute and early-bird discounts, the holiday season can get hectic quickly. While dealing with all that rush, you cannot overlook the possibility of sizable cart abandonments. Plan your email marketing strategy ahead of time to effectively counter this tendency among your buyers!

At Email Uplers, we provide you with an established ecosystem to help you automate every html email campaign – especially during the busy holiday season. Visit this link to learn more about what’s in store for you!

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