Ecommerce businesses lose trillions of dollars each year in abandoned carts.
No matter how good your sales funnels are, you’re losing revenue due to people leaving your site before they finish purchasing.
Want to recover some of that revenue?
Abandoned cart emails are the #1 way to encourage shoppers to complete purchases.
But for these emails to work, they need to be opened.
Today I'm sharing the best abandoned cart subject lines to ensure your emails are opened.
A 2015 study from Return Path found that there is actually no correlation between the length of a subject line and its read rate.[*]
MailChimp also notes:[*]
For most users, there is no statistical link between subject line length and open rate. But for subscribers reading your campaigns on mobile devices, shorter may be better.
So there’s no “perfect” length for your subject. The best thing you can do is experiment and find out what works for your audience.
It is worth thinking about how your subject line will look in mobile email clients.
On smaller iPhones (6, 7, 8), the Mail app truncates subject lines after 47 characters, yet on the larger iPhones (7+, 8+), the subject line is cut off after 53 characters.
The Zurb TestSubject tool is a great way to check how your emails will look across devices:[*]
With all this in mind, don't worry too much about the length of your subject line. Instead, focus on what content might be cut off in a long subject line, and push your call-to-action (CTA) to the beginning.
When it comes to crafting the perfect subject line for your abandoned cart emails, there are a bunch of tried and tested formulas that can help you.
Here are seven types you can use today.
This is the most common type of subject line. And if you’ve ever left an item in your basket without completing a purchase, you’ve no doubt received an email with a subject like one of these:
Did you forget something? Casper, MCM
Did you forget this?
Have you forgotten something?
Heading out without checking out? Huckberry
Looks like you forgot something, complete your purchase
Ooops, you forgot something. J Crew
Ready to buy? Complete your order now
You left something behind. Moschino
This style uses a well-known sales technique to drive opens:
The Assumptive Close.
The assumptive close assumes the shopper has already made up their mind to buy and was interrupted; they didn't leave because of shipping terms or product costs.
With these subject lines, you’re simply reminding the shopper that they didn’t quite complete the sale. Here are words to use; don't forget to phrase some subjects as questions!
And here’s how these words could fit into subject lines:
Ooops, your forgot [Product]
Come back to complete your checkout
Did you forget to checkout [Product]
People abandon shopping carts for all kinds of reasons. Two of the biggest reasons (41% in one survey) are shipping costs and comparing prices.[*]
To sway these shoppers to make a purchase, you can use subject lines that you know will address their reasons for abandoning the sale.
If shipping costs are a concern, you could use your subject line to offer free shipping; for price comparison, experiment with offering discounts to shoppers in the subject.
In the long term, you might want to do some research to figure out exactly why users are abandoning carts and address those issues across your site. If shipping costs are a big reason, maybe you could work on making those costs clearer before a user reaches the checkout.
Make it abundantly clear what you’re offering the shopper in return for them completing the purchase.
Remember what it is you’re battling here:
Shipping prices and
A few subject line formulas you can use:
[Percentage] Discount off of [Product]
Save [Percentage] when you complete your purchase
Free shipping, just for you [Name]
Get Free Shipping on [Product] Today
The price dropped for something in your cart. Target
Hey, forget something? Here's [Percentage] off. Bonobos
Good News: Your price dropped! Pinterest
Price Drops. Canopy
Free shipping on your [Company] order. Huckberry
We have [$X] just for you!
FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is one hell of a sales tactic.
Let’s face it; nobody likes feeling they're missing out on something.
And essentially, FOMO is a fear of just that — you might be missing out on something. You might worry you're missing a great deal if you don't go to the flash sale at the mall or your life might be so much better if you just had an Instant Pot.
Scarcity is a big component of FOMO and Google taps into this with its abandoned cart email subject lines.
When a shopper leaves an in-demand product in their cart, Google sends an email with the subject line: ‘The [Product] in your cart is going fast’.
When it comes to using FOMO, you want to create a sense of urgency or scarcity.
Use information like product availability or time sensitivity in your subject line to encourage opens and sales.
Here are a few formulas you can use:
[Product] is selling fast: Complete your purchase now
Almost sold out!
Don’t miss out: Only [Number] [Product] left in stock
Limited time only
You left [Product] in your cart: only [Number] left in stock
Your cart expired
Your cart is expiring
Experian reports that personalized subject lines had 12 percent higher unique open rates than mailings without personalization.[*]
If the shopper is logged into your site before they abandon their cart, you might be able to use some neat, personalized touches to increase your open rates.
With personalization, it’s best to keep it simple and try to avoid overdoing it. It can sometimes feel a bit much for a business to appear a little too “in-the-know” about its customers.
Try to use the shopper’s name and details about the product(s) in their cart.
A few formulas you could use:
[Name], complete your purchase of [Product]
Did you forget this, [Name]?
Still thinking it over, [Name]?
Hey [Name], complete your purchase in two clicks
Forgot Something: [Name], did you leave this behind?
Free shipping offer for [Name]
Hey [Name], your cart is expiring soon
[Name], complete your purchase in two clicks
Using copy related to your product in your abandoned cart email subject lines can help remind shoppers why they love your brand and wanted to purchase from you.
Running shoe brand Asics could have used a simple, ‘Forgot Something’ subject; instead, they chose to go with something that aligns with their product:
Don’t get left in the dust
Another example of this is alcohol subscription business, Whiskey Loot. Its brand is super fun and playful, so it uses the following subject line for its abandoned cart email:
Your cart is sobering up
Product-related subject lines are a little harder to create simple-to-follow formulas for. But try to think about how you can use the copy in the subject line to connect your brand to completing a sale.
In both the examples above, Asics and Whiskey Loot use words commonly associated with abandonment emails like ‘cart’ and ‘left’ alongside copy that ties it back to their brand:
Whiskey Loot: ‘sobering up’ relates to alcohol
Asics: ‘left in the dust’ relates to running a race
Maps: We don't want you to get lost!
Food: Are you hangry yet?
Linens: We still want to sleep with you!
Coffee: Uh oh, someone's going to have a case of the Mondays
Shoes: Your cart is about to run away
With so much going on in shopper’s day-to-day lives, a gentle reminder of exactly what product they left in the cart can be super helpful.
Mentioning the product a shopper left in their cart in the subject line will help remind them why they added it to their cart in the first place — and why they were keen to purchase.
In this example, 23&Me, uses this subject line:
Your DNA kit is waiting for you
Dyson and Ralph Lauren use brand names in their subject line.
As well-known, leading brands in their respective niches, their names convey quality and remind the shopper of where they wanted to buy from.
Here are the subject lines they use:
Dyson: Items in your basket at dyson.com
Ralph Lauren: Finish Your Order at Ralph Lauren
Using the shopper’s first name, coupled with the products in their cart, can make a huge difference to your abandoned cart emails.
Here’s how Massdrop personalizes its messages (notice the name at the beginning of the subject line and the product hyperlink in the opening paragraph):
With these subject lines, you’re trying to remind shoppers of exactly what they wanted to buy.
If you have a recognizable brand name, using it in the subject line can help to remind people of why they wanted to buy from you specifically.
When using these formulas, try to weave in the product and your brand name.
Complete your [Product] purchase at [Brand Name]
Your [Product] is waiting in the [Brand Name] store
Complete your [Brand Name] purchase
Your [Brand Name] items are in your basket
Every audience is different.
For some businesses the clear, to-the-point ‘Forgot Something’ subject lines that lean into the assumptive close technique will work perfectly.
For other businesses, you might want to be a little less blunt and give your shoppers a slight nudge towards completing their purchases.
Once a product has been added to a basket, the shopper has done the hard work. They've:
Researched the product
Decided what they wanted
Made a commitment
Sometimes, they just need a reminder to get them over the finish line.
That’s exactly how Virgin Atlantic approaches its abandoned cart emails. The subject line ‘You’re nearly there’ reminds the shopper that they’re only a few steps away from booking their dream trip:
With this style of subject line, you’re looking to be a little more subtle than some other styles we’ve discussed today.
Try to focus on the positives from the shopper’s perspective:
They’ve already done most of the work
Checkout will only take a few minutes
Rewards if they complete checkout (a dream holiday, looking great at a party in their new clothes, etc.)
A few subject line formulas you can use here include:
You’re so close
Your new [Product] is just two clicks away
Complete your checkout in two steps
Your [Product] is almost ready to ship
Can I help you?
It takes time to perfect your subject lines. Once you’ve found one that’s performing, you don’t have to stop there. You can take your most successful subject line and experiment with small, subtle changes to see how it affects performance.
For example, let’s take one subject line — You Forgot Something In Your Cart — and modify it in eight different ways.
To change this subject line you could…
Experiment with capitalization, sentence case and all lower case text:
You forgot something in your cart
You Forgot Something In Your Cart
you forgot something in your cart
Play with emojis before and after your text:
🛒You forgot something in your cart
You forgot something in your cart 🛒
👀You forgot something in your cart 🛒
Use parentheses to add extra details:
You forgot something in your cart (it’s beautiful)
Turn it into a question:
Did you forget something in your cart?
Here’s how each of those subject lines will look within an email inbox:
Want to recover lost revenue? Make sure you’re sending cart abandonment emails.
Want to ensure those emails are actually opened? Use irresistible abandoned cart email subject lines.
The subject lines and formulas shared in this article will help you to maximize your revenues and claw back those abandoned cart lost sales.
Click the button below to get a swipe file of over 40 abandoned cart email subject line examples.