How to Make Abandoned Cart Emails Funny

Imagine you’re at the mall. You’re in a store, browsing around, thinking about whether that shirt will look good this summer. Or maybe you’re thinking about a cool new case for your phone. But… you can’t quite make up your mind.

Why? Well, you’ve got to be somewhere in 30 minutes and it’s a 25 minute drive. Or maybe you’re just not sure it’s the right look. What if everyone hates it? If you had a friend there, they’d get you to pull it off the rack and make the plunge. But, you’re by yourself and change is overrated. Right? So you decide to leave. And as you pass through the front entrance of that store, there goes that sale.

Sometimes Customers Aren’t Ready

Decisions like this happen all the time. It’s not that you’re saying no, but that you’re not ready to say yes. You’re interested, but for whatever reason, now isn’t the right moment. In physical stores, when someone walks away, that’s it. But online, you might have a chance to win someone back.

Enter the abandoned cart email. (We prefer to call them “cart reminders” at Klaviyo, but more on that in a bit.) A lot of people have mixed feelings about them. There are plenty of people who don’t checkout because they weren’t quite ready, but probably do want to buy. After all, they added something to their cart, started the checkout process and then suddenly stopped.

So sending them an email makes sense, but it can also feel a little, for lack of a better word, sleazy. You’re pushing someone to buy and you’re not sure whether you’re being helpful or seeming too aggressive.

Why You send Abandoned Cart Emails

At Klaviyo, we believe you should have one goal when you send email: delight your recipients. Because if you make people happy, not only will they want to be your customer, they’ll probably be great, passionate customers who advocate for your business.

How does this philosophy jive with the abandoned cart email? Seems a bit contradictory, right?

Let’s go back to the mall example. Imagine you’re walking out and an employee walks over and says, “Hey! Saw you were leaving. Sure you didn’t want to buy that shirt you were looking at?” Probably not going to win you over.

Imagine instead she walked over and told you a joke to start:

Sales woman: Why did the bacon laugh?
Customer: Umm, I don’t know. Why?
Sales woman: Because an egg cracked a yolk! (Cue the laugh track.)

Alright, really corny. But you smiled, didn’t you? And now if she said, “Hey, thanks for coming in today. If you’re still interested in that shirt, we’re here.” Now you’re thinking a bit more. Whatever reason led you to walk away before, you’re giving it a second thought. Why? Because she made you smile. She delighted you.

This is a great strategy and the facts back it up. The New Yorks Times bestseller Buyology by Martin Lindstrom summarizes years of research he conducted about what causes people to buy. Part of that research was “The Smile Study,” which found that a smile from a salesperson leads to more sales. That probably isn’t surprising, but it turned out to be one the major influencers of purchasing behavior.

So here’s a crazy idea, make your abandoned cart email funny. Make it something people will chuckle at. This is why we prefer to call these types of emails cart reminders instead of abandoned cart emails. The important part isn’t that someone “abandoned” their cart. The main focus shouldn’t be on you recouping something that was abandoned. The important part is that your customers have given you a chance to build a relationship by sending a reminder. Even if they’re not interested in that purchase, you’re leaving them with a positive feeling towards your brand which might pay off right then or down the road.

Or, if you prefer a dollars and cents view of abandoned cart emails, they increase sales. But that doesn’t need to be the focus. Leaving potential customers with a smile can come first and extra sales is just gravy.

3 Ideas to make your abandoned cart funny

Most abandoned cart emails include a table of the items in your cart with pictures and a link to go back to your cart. By itself, that email can seem like a naked sales pitch. You can change that by adding a funny picture and caption above that content. By changing the first thing people see when they open your email, the entire tone of the email changes. Here’s an example:

A shocked squirrel is a good way for an outdoors store to leave an impression.

If you’re not sure what type of image to use, here are three themes to give you some ideas:

  • Shocked expressions. Finding images of shocked expressions is pretty easy and they’re eye catching. The caption for your image can be something simple, such as “Wait! Where did you go?” Or, if you want to be more creative, you can lead with an overly dramatic sentence and then follow it up with a completely sober one. For example, “Noooooo!!! Don’t leave us here! How will we live without you!” and below it say, “Don’t worry, we’re not actually crazy. We just wanted to remind you about your order in case you’re still interested.”
  • Cute sadness. Think big cartoon-ish, doe eyes. The kind of image that evokes a sense of vulnerability and makes someone want to go “awwww.” Animals, especially small or young ones, are always a crowd pleaser. The caption could read, “This little guy is sad you left,” or, “He looks like he might just cry.”
  • Absurd. And lastly, you could throw a complete curve ball and lead with an image that seems unrelated to your business. You know those Old Spice ads? Something like that. For example, maybe you think the reason someone didn’t finish checking out is because they were captured by pirates while lying on the beach. You could have a picture of a pirate ship with a caption that reads, “We noticed you left. Did pirates take you hostage while you were browsing our store? If so, we’ll send the [insert business name] Armada to save you.”

With that in mind, give it a try. If you’re not sending abandoned cart or cart reminder emails now, you’ve got a good reason to do it. It’ll help you build relationships with customers as well as increase sales. If you’re already sending these emails, give this strategy a try. You’ll be surprised how email engagement and sales jump.

Check out our latest roundup of actionable abandoned cart best practices »

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