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Our Best Abandoned Cart Email Subject Lines To Drive More Sales
Written by Ryan Turner
For Ecommerce business owners, a highly effective way to attract new customers is simply by identifying people who are 'almost' customers, and helping them get over the line with purchase.

An email campaign aimed at shoppers who’ve abandoned their shopping cart at your website checkout is a simple (but surprisingly underutilized) way to bring in revenue and new customers to your ecommerce brand.

Learning how to create lively, interesting, and in some cases funny abandoned cart email campaigns is an essential skill to master when trying to attract those elusive buyers. We’ll show you some great ways to start writing the best abandoned shopping cart subject lines possible for your brand.

One Of The Most Important Emails Your Business Will Ever Send
If you’re wondering when the best time is to implement an “abandoned cart” email campaign, here is your answer:


The statistics couldn’t be more striking: nearly 69% of all shopping carts on ecommerce websites are abandoned by potential customers.

For whatever reason—an interrupted session, a sudden case of cold feet, maybe some exploratory, comparison shopping by savvy customers—the vast majority of items that have been checked off for purchase on an online shopping cart never make it to the end stage.

Recovering even a fraction of those potential sales—remember, 69%!—could result in a huge boost to your company’s revenue and bottom line. If your company doesn’t have an abandoned cart email campaign strategy, you’re simple missing out on one of the simplest and most effective ways to reach buying customers.

The Good News & Bad News About Abandoned Carts
Alright, let’s get this out of the way:

The bad news is that you’ve somehow lost customers in that crucial moment before they drag out their credit card and make a purchase of your product. For whatever reason—and there could be many—those potential customers have simply decided to give your company a pass.

The good news? They might not be totally lost.

You’ve already got them to your website, after all. You’ve engaged them enough that they’ve perused your products and made some cognitive decisions about what you offer. They’re here, they’re interested. This is a good thing. They’ve shown more than a casual interest in your products and services, and now, with just a bit of prodding, you can compel them to complete their purchase.

This is when an expertly-crafted abandoned cart email strategy can make all the difference – and it all starts with the subject line.
Note: Cart Abandonement emails are different to Browse Abandonment emails which we explain here.
Picking The Best Abandoned Cart Subject Lines
One thing to remember is that even the most entertaining abandoned cart email won’t generate a single penny of revenue if no one opens it.

If your abandoned cart subject line is bland, or boring, or deceptive—forget it. You’re history. You’re not going to stop anyone from scrolling right past your earnest abandoned shopping cart email.

Remember, the average ecommerce open rate for emails is just over 15%. That’s it. Fifteen percent. Those aren’t good odds for any ecommerce business owner, but if you’re willing to be a little creative, there are ways to improve your chances of getting noticed.
Finding The Right Approach
First of all, let’s play a quick game of “What Not to Do”:

In most cases it is best to stay away from any abandoned cart email subject line that is simply a boring reminder: “you didn’t complete your order” or “your cart has not been processed” is not going to compel anyone to stop in their tracks and open the email. It’s too inconsequential a line to be remembered, and, chances are, people have already forgotten it as soon as they’ve read it. 

You’re going to have to do be more creative than that to get attention.

But don’t be so creative that you start telling whoppers, either.

“Wanna go to Jamaica?” might be an engaging subject line, and could certainly get some traffic, but there’s a good chance you’re going to annoy or turn off potential customers when they open the email and realize you’re not offering a trip to Jamaica but are trying to get them to complete an order.

When a subject line has absolutely nothing to do with the body of the email, potential customers are going to feel that they’ve been duped, and that’s no way to build a bond with consumers. You might even be building up some negative brand associations with that approach as well, and it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to get the sale.

A better approach would be using an abandoned shopping cart subject line that’s engaging without being disingenuous.

“I stopped the truck JUST in time!” is a better abandoned cart subject line, for it’s interesting enough to make the customer stop scrolling through their inbox while still being able to tie into the content of your abandoned cart email. Within the email itself, you could reveal another line of text that reinforces the theme, like “It was about to leave without your order!” with an accompanying button that prompts the recipient to complete their order: “Get Your Stuff on the Truck!”

It’s an off-beat approach, but often the off-beat approach is the one that cuts through all the inbox noise and gets you noticed. Funny abandoned cart subject lines can be especially effective. “It’s not you—it’s us!” might get your almost-customer to take a second look at your email, especially if a mildly whimsical subject line is consistent with your brand’s tone.

A word to the wise: make sure your funny abandoned cart subject lines are actually funny! There’s nothing worse than being on the receiving end of a joke that falls flat. Before you commit 100% to a humorous Shopify abandoned cart subject line, run it by a few of your friends and coworkers to ensure it’s actually as witty as you think it is.
Finding The Right Subject Lines For Your Brand
The best subject lines for abandoned cart emails do three things:

1. Stand out in the inbox
2. Are consistent with your brand’s tone
3. Tie into your email’s content

If your abandoned shopping cart email subject lines accomplish all three, you’re well on your way to building a successful strategy. Keep all these things in mind when you’re writing subject lines of your very own and don’t feel overly constrained by the format of the email.

While it will inevitably feature the product(s) the recipient added to their cart and a call to action button, you’re still afforded some creative leeway. If your ecommerce store sells clothing, you could try writing a subject line that mimics a conversation one might have while shopping with friends in the real world: 

“This would look SO good on you”, for example. 

Not only will this likely get a higher open rate than a typical boring subject line, it will also help get the recipient thinking positively about the products languishing in their cart.

If you’re worried about losing customers who’ve suddenly developed “cold feet” and aren’t ready to make a purchase, you can always try to warm their feet up for them, so to speak. Once you’ve gotten their attention and they’ve opened your email, consider offering a discount on their previously abandoned order, and place it right next to the “Order Now” button. 

Most email service providers make it easy to segregate new purchasers and repeat buyers into separate abandoned cart campaigns, so you can ensure that you’re only offering discounts to these potential new customers who might need a little extra incentive to place their orders.
Klaviyo’s abandoned cart flow makes this incredibly easy to set up.
cart abandonment email flow in Klaviyo
By restricting the flow to recipients who have never ordered before, you can ensure that your discount offer is only reaching the people most likely to need it. It’s worth noting that you don’t necessarily need to lead with an offer – oftentimes people, even first-time buyers, don’t complete a purchase simply because they suddenly got busy or had a technical issue. 

To try to capture their business at full price, then place your discount offer in the second email of your abandoned cart email series. If the recipient places their order after the first email, you capture the sale without having to offer a discount. If they don’t, they’ll receive a second email with a discount that might provide the incentive they need to purchase.  
Testing Your Abandonment Email Subject Lines is Everything
So, you’ve started an abandoned cart email campaign for your ecommerce business, and you’ve come up with some killer subject lines for the various emails. Your job is finished, right? You’re ready to sit back and watch that new revenue stream into your coffers, right?


The only way to discover the best abandonment subject lines for your business specifically is through extensive testing. Any good email platform offers access to excellent analytics that can quantify exactly how effectively your individual subject lines are performing.

You need to begin to split-test (A/B) the different subject lines you’re using to determine which option is getting the best results. Try different, contrasting styles in the tests: funny abandoned cart subject lines vs. serious abandoned cart subject lines, copy that uses emojis vs. copy that doesn’t, even changing the “from” name.
split testing abandoned cart emails
Split-test results from the third email in a client’s Klaviyo abandoned cart email series.

After you’ve put your tests in place, give the analytics ample time to collate the data and prove, conclusively, which approach is working the best. And then: do it again. Rinse and repeat. Keep running the tests.

After a series of completed tests, you’ll have identified the best subject lines for your customers and prospects, and the data will help you decide what style, tone, graphics, grammar, etc., should be used in the future. This data is essential in guaranteeing that you will only be using the most effective and highest performing subjects in your abandonment campaigns.
Don't Be Afraid to Take Chances
The average email user in 2019 receives about 88 emails every day, which is a lot of info to take in and a lot of subject lines to glance through. Trying to get someone’s attention amidst all that noise is a real challenge for any email marketer. One advantage to the abandoned cart email campaign is that the customer already knows who you are; they’ve been on your site and know what you offer.

Now, it’s up to you to write that winning subject line that will get your customers to return to your website. Don’t be afraid to take some chances; use humor, or some off-beat approach, or something that’s highly stylistic or quirky but is still consistent with your brand’s tone. Don’t settle for some placid or boring subject line that will get the “Delete” button used immediately.

You should try to remember that your potential customers out there are probably just like you, in many ways. Don’t condescend to them. Try to remember that they’re smart, just like you. That they’re funny, just like you. That they’re savvy, just like you. Remembering that will make it easier for you to craft the abandoned cart subject lines that will resonate with your most loyal customers.
Some Abandoned Cart Email Subject Line Ideas and Examples
Need some inspiration to get you started? No problem.

Below you'll see 20 subject lines which are proven to effectively recover lost sales in various e-commerce markets. These were some of the top performers in an abandoned cart study by the e-commerce ESP Klaviyo...
split testing abandoned cart emails
You might want to use these as starting points when coming up with your own tests, just remember to adapt them based on how you typically talk to customers.

Also, read our complete Ecommerce email marketing strategy guide for more on effective subject lines, and how abandonment fits into an overall strategy for your brand.
Working With An Email Marketing Agency For The Best Results
If you'd like to explore the possibility of having your email strategy taken care of by true professionals, we'd love to speak with you. Click here to schedule a free strategy Ecommerce email marketing strategy call with our team of email experts.
About Us
The Email Funnels Agency helps successful Ecommerce brands profitably grow sales using the latest Klaviyo email marketing strategies

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a 10+ year Ecommerce veteran and Klaviyo specialist
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About Us
The Email Funnels Agency helps successful Ecommerce brands profitably grow sales with Klaviyo email marketing
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