9 Card Abandonment Alternatives to “You Left Some Items in Your Cart”

Patrick Foster
Patrick Foster

Getting users to return to their abandoned carts and complete their purchases is incredibly valuable at a minimal cost. That much, I’m sure, you already know. But just having a robust system for reaching out to those who have left your sales funnel isn’t enough. You also need to have the right message to bring them back from cart abandonment.

And while there’s room for optimization in your visual presentation and your timing, it’s the quality of the copy that really sets the great cart abandonment emails, push notifications, and text messages apart. After all, what you say and how you say it can make all the difference.

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Impactful Cart Abandonment alternatives

So with the ultimate goal of drumming up some inspiration for how you can get those almost-customers back, here are 9 awesome alternatives to the basic “You left some items in your cart” chestnut that might have little more potency.

“Not much time left to buy these…”

Fear of missing out (also known as FOMO) is an incredibly powerful motivator (fear, in general, is hugely influential in eCommerce). It appears implicitly in every cart abandonment email — what products worth any focus stay in stock forever? The prospective buyer can easily infer that they risk losing out by not ordering immediately.

cart abandonment, message

Image credit: Warehouse

But you can lean on it more directly by presenting the recipient with a countdown timer and letting them know that they don’t have forever to make a decision. They need to complete their order right now or risk losing it entirely (whether there is actually any such urgency is immaterial).

“How could you leave us?!”

You can get quite far with a mild guilt trip if you stick to playful indignation. Whether the recipient actually feels bad for abandoning their cart — which, of course, they shouldn’t — or simply appreciates the boldness of the guilting attempt, you’ll have a better chance of getting that all-important attention.

Cart abandonment emails

Image credit: Blackmilk

If you can parlay that opening line into an entertaining narrative of some kind that explains in detail why it’s so important that they finish their order, even better. You can even work in a spiel about your customer loyalty program to make it clear how they stand to benefit from ordering.

“Let’s make a deal”

If the deal the recipient chose to walk away from wasn’t quite sufficient, you can offer to sweeten it a little. You might offer a discount, upgraded shipping, or a ‘free’ gift of some kind (though proceed with great caution). It could be as simple as giving them several viable codes to enter and letting them pick one.

Cart abandonment messages

Image credit: Nomad

The reason I suggest this particular phrasing is that “Return to your cart for 5% off” is rather generic. Why not give the recipient the opportunity to feel in control of their own destiny, uniquely gifted with dealmaking power?

“Whenever you’re ready, we’ll be here”

You can call this the anti-FOMO approach. Because, rather than suggesting urgency, you’re giving the recipient the freedom to take as much time as they need to before returning. In the average email inbox, packed with spammy promotions and ceaseless pleas to go there, do this, buy that, an email that goes a different route can be very eye-catching.

More than anything, it shows confidence that you don’t have anything to worry about. You know you’ll get there eventually.

Cart abandonment success examples

Image credit: Hardgraft

And if the recipient clicks on the email to learn more, they can read that while you can’t promise their exact cart will be there later (reintroducing regular FOMO). And they can be sure that your store will continue to offer great products when they need them.

“Everything alright with you?”

This one is a handy double-whammy line. You get to show somewhat-plausible concern while subtly advancing the notion that there must be something wrong with them to pass up an order of that quality.

It also gives you some creative freedom with the rest of your copy. Since you can veer off on fun tangents about the events that you imagine might have led to the their cart abandonment. It’s a great way to show some personality and make your brand more endearing.

“What’s wrong with it?”

In most cases, I imagine, an abandoned cart isn’t the result of an item being rejected due to a perceived lack of quality. You generally wouldn’t get to the point of adding an item to your cart unless you were fairly sure it suited your needs — unless you’d thought “Yes, this seems right for me”.

If you challenge the email recipient to tell you what’s wrong with the item they abandoned, it will prompt them to remember that they did want it for a legitimate reason, possibly rekindling that interest. (And if there is something wrong with it, perhaps they’ll tell you, giving you a chance to do something about the issue.)

“Not right for you? Maybe you’d like this instead…”

Sometimes you get so into the online shopping groove that you click too freely and end up with unplanned cart items. Other times, you feel optimistic enough to aim for an item out of your price range, only to return to your senses and retreat from the financial danger.

Cart abandonment how to make sales

Image credit: Birchbox

If your analytics show that a lot of visitors are considering a particular item but not choosing to buy it (even with email reminders), try offering a comparable item that’s cheaper, or easier to use (for instance, Shopify’s self-build webstore crafter provides access to both the Recart toolbox and recommendation add-ons like Personalization).

You’ll probably see that many people will appreciate opportunities to place orders, even though they won’t be the orders they originally anticipated.

“Did we mention the free shipping?”

Whether in the product itself or the service surrounding it, you’ll have killer features on offer. Simply emphasizing them might be enough to overcome the resistance that led to the cart abandonment. We all want to be convinced, don’t we?

Cart abandonment, ecommerce examples

Image credit: Huckberry

I used free shipping as an example here because it’s something people could plausibly fail to spot (depending on your design), and highlighting it in a follow-up further sets it apart as something special and worthy of attention. And if you don’t offer it by default, you can provide it through a code, as seen above.

“Come on, treat yourself”

This might be the simplest and most blatant plea, but that doesn’t make it any less worth trying! Maybe the person reading the email is having a rough day. They’ve slept poorly, missed breakfast, and suffered in morning traffic — and then your email pops up, urging them to go for some classic self-indulgence.

Joybird cart abandonment

Image credit: Joybird

9 ready-made cart abandonment ideas you can use today!

We like to shop for comfort, and it can take staggeringly little prodding to get us to drop our practical objections and embrace retail therapy. After all, we view our willpower as limited (regardless of how accurate that is), and it doesn’t take long to wear us down.

There you are; 9 ready-made replacements for your generic abandoned cart message. Rework whichever ones are most suitable for your emails, then do extensive A/B testing to see how well they perform. You’ll find that the copy you use has a major impact.

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Patrick Foster is a writer and e-commerce expert from Ecommerce Tips — a well-regarded blog that offers practical marketing advice, so companies’ online stores receive the exposure they deserve.

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