4 Ways to Target and Win Back Shopping Cart Abandoners

small squares of soil with plant seedlings denoting shopping cart abandoners

Based on 37 recent studies on shopping cart abandonment, The Baymard Institute has calculated that the average ecommerce shopping cart abandonment rate is ~69.23%. Moreover, looking at data from the last 10 years reveals that shopping cart abandonment rate hasn’t dipped below 60% globally.

Translated into monetary terms, that’s approximately $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise that will be left unpurchased. Fortunately, all is not lost. You see, estimates show that between 60% (BI Intelligence – The Shopping Cart Abandonment Report 2016) and up to 72% (VWO eCommerce Cart Abandonment Report 2016) of all online shopping carts are not irrevocably lost. In fact, they are indeed recoverable by savvy online merchants.

To understand how to do that, we first must understand why people abandon shopping carts in the first place. Data from UPS/comScore, Visual Website Optimizer, eMarketer/FuturePay and others shows that by far the #1 reason for cart abandonment is cost of shipping. So, working on making that part of your business better and cheaper is a good place to start to lessen the effects of shopping cart abandonment.

Moving on from shipping, there are always going to be people who will need just that little extra nudge to finally make the purchase and this is exactly where running targeted win-back campaigns and offers come into play.

Research by RedEye and Econsultancy shows that 70% of merchants that (re)target lost customers will see an increase in sales.

Or, in other words, 70% of such campaigns work!

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the tactics that can be used to make cart abandoners change their mind.


With retargeting you can use display ads to re-engage would-be customers on websites that they frequent like Facebook, Twitter, major news publishers etc.

While you’re probably familiar with using retargeting to get people back into your online store by displaying product images of the products that they have shown interest in, with cart abandoners you can take this one step further.

You know what products they viewed and what they added to the shopping cart before abandoning. So why not use some creativity and come up with graphics and messaging that is targeting them specifically?

Image via WordStream

This is just one example but there are literally endless opportunities to come up with something that is different and that will stick out. Targeting abandoners is also a great place to remind them of your awesome customer centric shipping policies (#1 reason for cart abandonment!) and to display messages and offers that speak to the specific fears or reasons that they might have for not buying from you.

To come up with better messaging and to better understand your customers and their specific fears you can use surveys and live chat to gather intel.

Surveys & live chat

Surveys are a great way to get into the mind of visitors during checkout. By asking questions like “What is stopping you from buying” or  “What would have convinced you to complete the purchase of the item(s) in your cart?” you can better understand the fears and concerns that would-be buyers might have.

All this data can later be analyzed and changes made to whatever it was that was made your visitors leave.

We know from global data that shipping is a major reason for abandoning, but there are bound to be additional things that are specific to your store that might make visitors hesitant. By running surveys, you’ll discover what those specific concerns are.

The surveys I’m specifically talking about are ones that pop-up (usually) on the right side of the bottom right browser window and in action they look like this:

Image via WebbROI

The best thing about pop-up surveys is that they can be configured to show up at different times. Maybe the sweetspot is 30 seconds after in-action in the checkout flow or displaying the survey at the very moment that the user is leaving the site (exit intent). Test out different timings and combinations of questions to find one that works for you.

Image via Optimizely

Naturally, this can be combined with an exit intent offer. Simply display the offer/discount code at the very end of the short survey like this:

Image via Qualaroo

Another similar tool that let’s you get direct information from your would-be customers is live chat. The difference with surveys is that visitors can ask their own questions and get specific answers that surveys are not able to deliver.

The downside of using live chat is that, well, it needs to be live, meaning that someone from your company has to be at the ready to answers any and all questions as they come in. Or alternatively have the capability that when you’re not online, visitors can leave questions and their email so you can get back to them at a later time.

Survey Apps:

Exit intent offers

Image via Gleam

Exit intent offers displayed during checkout are your normal everyday popups with offers and discounts with the difference that they are displayed when the visitor is in the actual shopping cart or at various stages of the checkout flow and then decides to leave the site. At that precise moment, the offer/discount is displayed.

As the aim of showing this kind of offer is to get the visitor to stay and continue the checkout, the offer has to be enticing enough to actually make the visitor want to stay. So things like discounts, as in monetary or percentage off, and free shipping or free shipping upgrade (expedited shipping!) work best.

Image via MaxTraffic


Abandoned cart recovery via email works by sending a “we miss you” style email after the abandoner has visited a store, added items to the shopping cart and began the checkout process, but for whatever reason didn’t manage to finish it.

It’s best used on abandoners who have shown more interest than simply adding something to the shopping cart and left. Email is personal and so it needs more work than simply displaying a pop-up offer or retargeting on Facebook.

And, needless to say, you need to know their email address for any of this to work.

To illustrate all of this better, let’s take a look at how an actual merchant, Peak Design, uses email for recovering abandoned shopping carts and the results that those efforts are having.

First, timing and frequency.

Peak sends out the first recovery email 30 minutes after the cart has been abandoned and instead of using salesy language, their goal is to drive would-be customers to customer support to get their questions answered. This relies heavily on the belief that the reason for not buying was indeed unanswered questions. This might not be the case for your store.

The email itself looks like this:

Image via Kissmetrics

30 hours after sending the first one, a second recovery email is sent. This time with a small percentage off discount to nudge the abandoner over the line:

Image via Kissmetrics

As for results, the recovery campaign is able to convert 12% of people into paying customers with the average recovery value being roughly the same as their average cart value meaning that when recovery is successful, it’s more likely that not that the entire abandoned cart is purchased.

For open rates, the first email saw one of 66%, with the second email seeing 59% with CTRs (click-through rates) of 14% and 18% respectively.

If you want to learn more about cart recovery emails, we recently published a whole article, head over HERE to read it.

Final thoughts

Like previously stated, research clearly shows that merchants that target cart abandoners will see an increase in sales. The same research also shows that over half, 54% to be exact, of online merchants don’t target them at all. Don’t be one of them.

Interested in learning more about creating and optimizing abandoned cart automations? Check out these shopping cart abandonment resources.


10 Ways to Segment Your Email List to Increase Customer Engagement


How to Apply What You Know From Other Marketing Channels to Get Awesom…


Common Dynamic Tagging Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

.yuzo_related_post img{width:260px !important; height:250px !important;}
.yuzo_related_post .relatedthumb{line-height:16px;background: !important;color:!important;}
.yuzo_related_post .relatedthumb:hover{background:#ffffff !important; -webkit-transition: background 0.2s linear; -moz-transition: background 0.2s linear; -o-transition: background 0.2s linear; transition: background 0.2s linear;;color:!important;}
.yuzo_related_post .relatedthumb a{color:#323b43!important;}
.yuzo_related_post .relatedthumb a:hover{ color:}!important;}
.yuzo_related_post .relatedthumb:hover a{ color:!important;}
.yuzo_related_post .yuzo_text {color:!important;}
.yuzo_related_post .relatedthumb:hover .yuzo_text {color:!important;}
.yuzo_related_post .relatedthumb{ margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px; padding: 5px 5px 5px 5px; }

jQuery(document).ready(function( $ ){
//jQuery(‘.yuzo_related_post’).equalizer({ overflow : ‘relatedthumb’ });
jQuery(‘.yuzo_related_post .yuzo_wraps’).equalizer({ columns : ‘> div’ });

Back to Blog Home
Get email marketing insights delivered straight to your inbox.
*By entering your email address and clicking Subscribe, you consent to receive marketing emails (such as newsletters, blog posts, webinars, event invitations and new product updates) from Klaviyo from time to time. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of our emails. For more information on how we process your personal information and what rights you have in this respect, please see our Privacy Policy.
Own your data.
Own your growth.
© 2022 Klaviyo. All rights reserved. Klaviyo and the Klaviyo logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Klaviyo, Inc. or its affiliates.
Terms and Privacy Manage Cookies