shopify cart recovery email not working

Why Is Your Shopify Cart Recovery Email Not Working and What Can You Do?


If you have an online store on Shopify, cart abandonment is one of the most unavoidable problems you’ll face. With the average online cart abandonment rate being a whopping 71%, only about one-third of all shoppers who add a product to their cart, complete their purchase. That’s a serious loss of potential revenue for any eCommerce store.

While most stores have an automated cart recovery email campaign in place, most of these emails end up unsuccessful in persuading their customers to return to their carts. Just like any other email marketing strategy, your abandoned checkout recovery campaign should be well thought out to stand out in people’s inboxes. Otherwise, it’s simply more noise your subscribers will ignore.

So if you have been wondering why your Shopify store’s cart recovery emails somehow just don’t seem to be working, this article is for you. Here are 7 reasons that are keeping your cart abandonment emails from working their magic.

Why are your Shopify cart abandonment emails not working?

1. You’re not leveraging automation properly

More than 50% of Shopify stores have an automated email setup in place that notifies the customers as soon as they abandon their cart. However, these cart reminders often get lost in people’s inboxes given the sheer number of emails people receive every day.

In such a case, how can a brand make its cart abandonment email stand out?

Given that the huge benefit of abandoned cart emails is that they’re automated, you can amp up the reach of your email campaign by leveraging automation properly and send more than just one email.

Set up a series of follow-up emails that goes out all on its own – and nudges people to get back to their carts and complete the purchase.

A great example is Casper, an online sleep products retailer that sends a series of 3 automated emails with a gap of 24 hours between each email. The first email simply reminds the customer that they forgot their shopping cart. However, the second and third email strategically tries to gain back the customer’s trust by showcasing 5-star reviews and further nudges them to complete their purchase by offering discount incentives.

shopify cart recovery email

Learn more about automated abandoned cart recovery workflows here.

2. You’re not tapping into consumer psychology

Let’s say you’ve created an automated cart recovery email series with a catchy headline to make it stand out. Your email gets opened, but then, nothing! Your customer just drops off.

Why? Because your customer can’t connect with the email copy.

Cart recovery is not just about sending multiple email reminders, rather HOW you remind them makes all the difference. And this is where your email copy comes into play.

The key to writing a convincing cart recovery email is to tap into consumer psychology and find out what relates to them. There could be many reasons why a shopper might choose to abandon their cart. The brand should anticipate these reasons and try to address them in its follow-up emails. While it’s a great idea to send a simple cart reminder at first, you need to follow up with content that is focused on telling them why they need to come back to make a purchase.

For example, sharing social proof like testimonials from other customers about the product is a great way to convince a first-time customer who is skeptical about their purchase. Or educate them on how your product can benefit them in multiple ways is another way to recapture their interest. Numerous brands also go for incentives like a one-time discount offer to encourage their customers to complete their purchases.

However, It’s important that your follow-up email does not sound the same over and over again, but rather offer a different value every time. Failing so, you’ll actually end up irritating the consumer instead.

Check out how KiraGrace uses customer testimonials in their cart recovery email to regain the reluctant shopper’s trust in its products:

shopify cart recovery email example

3. You’re not experimenting with your templates

Another reason why your cart recovery emails could be underperforming is bad design. Your email copy could be very convincing but how you present this information can make or break its success.

A good email design establishes brand credibility and makes the entire email experience a delightful one. That’s why having a great email design is crucial if you want to instantly capture your audience’s attention and engage them further.

Email recipients follow a typical behavior: they scan information and quickly abandon emails that lack value or appear to be too dense. Your email content and design should appear clean, professional, and inviting. This will put the cart abandoner’s mind at ease when they open your email and legitimately know what’s in their cart.

Your email design should be attention-grabbing, aesthetically pleasing, and among other things, on-brand. Highlight your logo, stick to your branding colors, and use elements like the product images/ visuals or GIFs that complement your copy. Details like the amount of information you include in your email to the type of CTA button you use need to be well-thought-out.

The key to figuring out the perfect cart recovery email template is to experiment with multiple and see what works for you. Here’s how Ritual uses different templates to explore what works for them in recovering more carts:

shopify cart recovery email 2

shopify cart recovery email 3

4. You’re not using power and action words

A lot of brands face one common issue with their cart recovery emails: the cart abandoner opens their emails but drops off without completing the purchase. This is because no matter what consumer psychology brands tap into while crafting a cart reminder, it is important to drive an action out of the email. And this is where power words can help you.

As humans, we’re subconsciously driven to be receptive to certain words. From an email marketing standpoint, it becomes even more valuable to know which power words to use to influence your reader into taking the action you want. By strategically leveraging power and action words in your email subject line, copy and CTAs, you can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your cart recovery campaign.

Power words can help you accomplish two main things: they invoke emotion and trigger curiosity. When used correctly, power words can be incredibly persuasive and can get readers to open and engage with your emails, ultimately leading to conversion.

For example, if you want your CTA to be action-driven, steer clear of words like “buy” or “pay”. These are considered “high-friction” words that suggest doing something that the person might not be willing to do. Instead, replacing your CTA with words like “return to your cart” gets people to take the next step (clicking on the CTA) before making the sale.

cart recovery email not working

As a word of caution, try not to go overboard with your use of power words, else they’ll sound like exaggerated urgency and end up creating a rift between you and your customers.

5. You’re not sending the email at the right time

If you’re witnessing low open rates on your cart recovery emails, chances are you’re not timing them right. Cart abandoners, if not reminded promptly, will either forget about their cart products or lose interest in them.

So, what’s the right time frame to send out your checkout recovery emails? We recommend scheduling the first reminder email around 2 hours later. That’s neither too soon to creep out the customer nor too late to lose them.

Often, a single cart recovery reminder is not enough. In such a case, you can schedule a sequence of 3 emails at different touchpoints:

  1. The first cart recovery email can be sent 2 hours after the shopper abandons their cart. It’s to remind them that their purchase is incomplete.
  2. The second follow-up email can be sent 24 hours later. This would try to leverage principles like urgency and scarcity, and prompt them to complete their purchase.
  3. The third and ideally last email can be sent 48 hours later. This email can try to sweeten the deal with a limited-time hard-to-resist offer. The third email is the brand’s final attempt to lure back their customer.

Learn more about the best suited workflows for email abandoned cart recovery here.

6. You’re not experimenting with your offers

One of the few reasons why people abandon their cart is that they find the cart value to be too high or find a better offer on the product elsewhere. To motivate your customer to finish their checkout, try offering incentives like discount coupons, free shipping or freebies. This makes them feel like they are getting a special deal on their cart that they should not miss.

Make sure you experiment with different incentives and learn from your data on what motivates buyers to complete their purchases. For eg., you may think that a 10% discount coupon will help retrieve the cart, but it may turn out that the consumer is just looking for free and fast 2-day delivery or a hassle-free return guarantee.

If you do decide to go the discount route, we’d advise offering a discount code in your second or third cart recovery email. This way, your customers won’t habitually abandon their carts just for the sake of getting a discount.

7. You’re not A/B testing

A/B testing is one of the most essential best practices in email marketing and is a great way to increase the open and click-through rates of your cart recovery emails.

With A/B testing, you discover how different subject lines, copies, and incentives work for improving your cart recovery rate with different segments of customers. You can also test various layouts and experiment by adding different sections like related products or customer reviews to increase the efficiency of your cart recovery email.

A typical email A/B test follows this workflow:

Image source

For example, SitePoint tested images in their email, only to discover that emails with images distracted people from the content and resulted in slightly decreased conversions. Similarly, you can play with different subject lines, layouts, and CTAs to ascertain which ones get the most response from subscribers.

Want to learn more about A/B testing your abandoned cart recovery emails? Book a demo with us here.

Why is it important to send cart recovery emails?

For whatever reason—intentional or unintentional – customers abandon their online shopping carts all the time. In fact, nearly 75 percent of customers who abandon their carts never meant to leave before completing their purchase.

That’s where cart recovery emails come to the rescue. They establish that lost connection between the customer and the cart and ultimately recover those almost-lost sales.

While there are multiple mediums like SMS, Whatsapp, or ad retargeting to re-establish the lost connection, emails are one of the most lucrative eCommerce marketing channels and can be thought of as a failsafe method against cart abandonment. Here’s why:

  1. High ROI: Emails have the highest ROI out of any other eCommerce marketing channel. For each $1 spent, email marketing yields $44. That’s a whopping 4400% ROI.
  2. More personalization: Emails allow you to build a more personal connection with your buyer and get them to converse with you one-on-one.
  3. Lower cost of customer acquisition: Thanks to automation, emails are one of the most cost-effective ways to acquire new customers compared to other mainstream marketing channels.
  4. Better engagement: Email is the only channel that customers willingly engage with. Businesses using email marketing only send messages to those who have signed up to their email list. This potentially leads to a much higher conversion rate as the business is targeting only those who have already expressed an interest in their brand.

Wrapping up

No matter how many strategies you have in place, eCommerce brands will always face the issue of shopping cart abandonment. Therefore, follow the tactics outlined above to increase the effectiveness and make the most out of your cart recovery emails.

Continually monitor the performance of your emails to see what brings the most sales for your business and where there is a scope to improve. And once you figure out what your customers are responding to, seamlessly work them into your copy for maximum impact.

Happy Converting!

If you want to learn more about the best practices used by industry leaders to get more conversions on their abandoned cart recovery emails, schedule a demo with us today.

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