19 Cart Abandonment Email Subject Lines to Win Your Prospects Back

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Online shopping carts are abandoned at an alarming rate, causing e-retailers to lose money and waste time. Nearly 70 percent of shopping carts are left before checkout over all devices. Fortunately, there are a few key ways to retain your sales and prompt customers to check out by emailing prospective customers.

These cart abandonment email subject lines can help you get back your lost revenue and make and keep ongoing customers.

Abandoned Cart Emails

Writing compelling email subject lines is often challenging because you have to avoid spam filters and encourage people to open the email. Fortunately, writing enticing subject lines is a breeze once you get the hang of cart abandonment email subject lines and have a few templates to work from.

The Importance of the Subject Line

The subject line is an essential element of your email, and the customer uses it to determine whether or not your email is worth reading. In addition, almost 50 percent of people use the subject line to determine whether or not they should open the email, so it’s imperative to get it just right; otherwise, your recipient will toss it in the trash or, worse, flag it as spam.

If a customer flags your email as spam, this creates more trouble in the future because all additional emails from your company will also go straight to the spam folder.

Therefore, it’s vital to get the subject matter right to communicate effectively with your customer this time and every time.

Best Practices of Abandoned Cart Subject Lines

The best email subject lines are often a matter of trial and error. First, see what works for you, then duplicate it and tweak it if necessary. There are a few best practices that you should stay apprised of, though.

Custom image of best practices for cart abandonment subject lines.

Send Multiple Emails

Your customers are busy people, and emails often get overlooked, so sending multiple emails is a good business practice. You want to hit the sweet spot between reminding them of the pending sale and annoying them. Whenever possible, schedule automated emails to go out rather than sending them one by one. This will save you time and help you remember to email your customers.

Avoid Spam Folders

The last thing you want to do is wind up in the spam folder. The best way to stay out is by making your subject lines as straightforward as possible and sending emails from a trusted and verified email account.

Also, avoid having your customers put you deliberately in the spam folder by making your email subject lines exceptionally compelling and sending only a few emails at a time. Once you go to the spam folder, it isn’t easy to get back out.

Check Analytics and Adjust

Analytics are your best friend regarding customer retention and filling up those empty carts. You can see the open rate for your emails and adjust the subject lines as needed.

Regarding effective email subject lines, the general rule is that the shorter, the better. Get your point across quickly and give your customers an appealing call to action to return to your store and finish their purchases.

How To Write Abandoned Email Subject Lines

Using one or a combination of tactics will help you increase your open email rate, stay out of the spam folder, and get customers back into purchasing. Play around with what works for you and your company. There are a few things to keep in mind before you start sending off your cart abandonment emails:

  • Stay on brand with your message
  • Personalization goes a long way, especially for boutique-style stores
  • Be clear, but not pushy, with your call to action

Now that you know what to do, you can start getting those valued customers back and ready to press the “pay now” button.

Custom image of ideas for writing cart abandonment subject lines.

Make It Personal and Appealing

Email can be highly impersonal, so you can stand out by simply personalizing the email with someone’s name. It’s also easy enough to do if you set up an email template that pulls the customer’s first name from a database and then adds a gentle call to action to finish shopping.

Generate Curiosity

Is your store offering something new and exciting? Do you have some terrific information to share with customers? When you give them something to be curious about, they’re more likely to open your email and finish the sale. Additionally, emails that offer the customer some information are more effective than asking for something.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Email subject lines should never be more than five or seven words, so every single one counts. Play around with different formats to see which one is the punchiest.

Email subject lines that are vague, or run on forever, are distracting and too time-consuming in our quick-fix culture. Instead, get straight to the point with an impactful statement.

Offer Them Something Special

This email subject line tactic is compelling during the holidays or sales. Giving customers a little incentive to check out their abandoned cart encourage them to navigate back to your store.

Often, the “something special” is small. For example, if they order today, you might add a 10-page PDF checklist for free.

Use Scarcity and Urgency

This tactic can be powerful if you use it right, and it can be your sales Achilles heel if you use it improperly or too often. Wield this one carefully!

Scarcity and urgency can undoubtedly make customers navigate back to their shopping carts, but they can also feel too pushy in specific contexts.

Also, if you use them too often, people can start to get suspicious of whether or not there is scarcity at play. So instead, only use scarcity and urgency when there is a demand for specific products.

Abandoned Cart Email Subject Line Templates

You can craft your cart abandonment email subject lines in several different ways. Don’t use the same email subject lines every time. If the emails from your company start looking like spam or becoming annoying, you can expect a one-way trip straight to the spam folder.

Instead, have several catchy lines at your disposal; don’t be afraid to mix them up.

These templates are just some examples to get you started.

  • Helpful: “Did something go wrong?” There could be any number of reasons for a customer’s abandoned cart, but this heading shows you can help.
  • Engaging: “Did you forget something?” engages the customer, especially when using their first name.
  • Product recommendations: “If you liked XYZ, check out ABC.”
  • Follow-Up: “Thank you for visiting.”
  • Don’t Miss Out: “XYZ is selling fast.” Use this powerful tactic sparingly, as businesses can overuse this and lean on scarcity too often.
  • Free Samples or Incentives: “Get a free XYZ with purchase.” When the customer clicks on this email subject line, they’ll be directed to their abandoned cart and learn that they can cash in on their free goodies if they finish the transaction.

Examples of Cart Abandonment Email Subject Lines

These additional examples of cart abandonment email subject lines will help you tailor emails to your particular company and products.

Custom image for examples for different cart abandonment subject lines.

“Forgot Something” Subject Lines

A very effective tactic, the “forgot something” email subject line asks a simple question and prompts the user to open the email at least and check out entirely at best. Personalize them for the best results.

  • Philip, did you forget something?
  • Oops, you forgot to complete your order

Incentivized Subject Lines

Give your customers an incentive, and they’re more likely to open the email and head straight to the checkout.

  • Order today and receive a free moisturizer with your purchase
  • 25% off at checkout today

FOMO Subject Lines

FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” can be a powerful motivator, but like scarcity, it is best to use it sparingly and when there’s something to fear missing out on.

  • Only two online course licenses left
  • Angora sweaters are going fast
  • Don’t miss out on our flash sale

Product Mention Subject Lines

Sometimes customers forget what they’ve ordered, and you can use your email subject line to remind them gently. This tactic accomplishes two things; it’s more personalized and prompts a memory.

  • Your green angora sweater is waiting
  • 15% discount on your black trousers

Getting Curious Subject Lines

Like FOMO subject lines, they are getting curious subject lines to tap into our desire to be in the know. Give your customers a mystery they can reveal the minute they click on the email.

  • One of your items is discounted
  • XYZ item is now available in new colors

Emoji Subject Lines

Emojis are an effective way to communicate our point and are perfectly appropriate in business today.

  • (Heart emoji) Valentine’s Day flash sale now
  • We’ve missed you (Big-eyed cat emoji)

These cart abandonment email subject lines can help you get your valued customers back without irritating them or prompting them to banish you to spam.

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of coursemethod.com. After gaining a Master's degree, she worked in research for about seven years. She started a training company in 2001, offering a course helping people pass a professional exam. That course has earned multiple 7 figures. She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 22+ years of experience in the trenches creating and selling online courses. Get help starting and growing your online course business here.

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