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Abandoned Cart Emails, and Ads, and Mailers, Oh My!

6 Min Read
by Ambur Cole

Table of Contents:

Reasons Consumers Abandon Their Carts

How to Bring Shoppers Back

Have you ever gone to a website, loaded up your cart, and then just…closed the tab? Decided the product wasn’t what you needed? Gave up because the website was too slow? Wanted to keep shopping and got side-tracked by other life things? If so, you just abandoned cart, and you’re absolutely not alone in doing so. In fact, 71% of online shoppers abandon carts, and this results in lost revenue to the tune of nearly $18 billion across all eCommerce businesses in the United States. It’s money left on the table – low hanging fruit – and likely one of things that keeps D2C marketers up at night.

Because shoppers are abandoning carts with wild abandon, it’s absolutely critical for eCommerce brands to recover that revenue by creating an effective abandoned cart strategy that brings them back. To do that, it helps to have an understanding of all the levers available, including their web experience pre- and post-purchase, as well as paid media tactics both online and offline.

But before building any of those strategies, it helps to get your head around reasons for cart abandonment at any and all stages of the purchase funnel. Let’s dive in, shall we?

6 Common Reasons Consumers Abandon Their Carts

No matter your product (or service), market (audience), or size, the abandoned cart struggle is real. It’s just part of the process inside the engine of an eCommerce business model. But understanding why it might be happening can help inform the strategy you create to curb it. 

While there are dozens upon dozens of reasons why shoppers abandon carts, here are some of the most common for consideration:

1. Unclear or misleading pricing.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to be as honest and transparent as possible, so when prices are hidden with phrases like “price reflected during checkout” or appear to be misleading in any way, customers lose trust and will swiftly abandon cart.

2. Create an account.

Our most valuable (and precious) resource is time, and no one wants to waste it on cumbersome checkout processes. In fact, 24% of shoppers will abandon cart if they’re required to create an account. Offering a Guest Checkout option is a great solution here, and can create a fantastically frictionless path to purchase. Pro tip: You can still remarket to shoppers who abandon guest checkout using Postie’s email match-back technology – this can trigger automagically and be in their mailbox in 1-4 business days!

3. Unexpected extra fees or high shipping costs.

Order Total will cause 72% of shoppers to abandon their carts — especially if it was higher than anticipated. Additional fees like taxes, shipping fees, special handling and others can add up quickly and create sticker shock for shoppers. Again, transparency throughout the entire process is key here. 

4. Return/exchange policies.

We live In an Amazon world now, where convenience is king. If your return/exchange policy includes extensive limitations or is altogether nonexistent, prepare for an onslaught of abandoned carts. Keeping this information front-and-center reduces the element of cart-abandoning surprise at checkout. It can also help to have more robust detail pages on these policies that are linked throughout the purchase process.

5. Glitchy or slow-loading websites.

Your shoppers’ time is valuable (see reason #2 above), and your web experience could be leaving money on the table. The ideal load time for websites today is two seconds or less. If yours lags any longer than that, you’re likely seeing higher bounce rates and adding unnecessary risk of abandoned carts. Pro tip: ensure your site is either mobile-first or mobile optimized to maximize acquisition and retention efforts.

6. Shiny object syndrome.

Distractions happen. Life happens. Even as we’re shopping. Whatever the reason, it’s compelling enough to pull us away from completing the purchase, resulting in an abandoned cart. Activating an omnichannel remarketing strategy here can be highly effective for bringing those shoppers back for purchase.

If You Build It, They Will Come (Back)

So, now that we’re tuned in to some of the more common reasons why shoppers abandon cart, let’s get to work on how to bring them back by focusing on a three-pronged approach (because who doesn’t love a proven three-pronged approach?).

You’ve built an omnichannel marketing strategy to drive growth and retention. Amongst the suite of toolbox tactics, some of the more effective for revenue recovery caused by abandoned carts are email, retargeting and direct mail campaigns, particularly when leveraging content personalization, sequence of delivery, and addressable audiences. 

Let’s think about that for a second: a single abandoned cart behavior triggers an email drip to their inbox, a series of personalized content ads that serves to remind them of their cart as they move around the web, and then a beautiful, personalized mailer that lands in their mailbox and sits patiently in home (or on the fridge). 

That’s the three-pronged approach. Pretty compelling? Yes. Highly successful? Oh yes.

Let’s dig a little deeper on the prongs:

Build an abandoned cart email sequence that deploys based on a time delay.

We’ve all gotten an email in our inbox reminding us of items we left behind or carts we forgot about. Often, abandoned cart email campaigns are quite effective, especially in combination with a discount of some kind. Adding time pressure or happy customer reviews to the email has proven successful, too. A best practice is to set these sequences to trigger after a certain amount of time whenever someone leaves items in their cart.

Launch digital retargeting ads.

With the power of cookies, it’s possible to retarget shoppers with the items they’ve abandoned on social media networks like Instagram and Facebook, as well as broader display networks that reach across the web. This keeps your brand and the carted products top of mind, and is a highly effective tactic for revenue recovery. In fact, nearly 30% of customers who abandon carts return to complete their purchases because of retargeting ads.

Create in-home direct mail campaigns that are automatically triggered from abandoned cart behaviors.

Direct mail is more effective than ever, and it’s actually more engaging than any other digital channel out there (the average mailer lingers in home for 17 days, versus 17 seconds for a digital ad!). What’s more, direct mail cuts through the digital noise, finding its way into your shoppers’ amygdalas and thus improving brand recall (and affinity). Because the numbers don’t lie: 3 out of 4 consumers remember a brand from their mail.

At the end of the day, an omnichannel approach is a winning approach when recovering revenue from abandoned cart activity. Sprinkle in some personalization, sequencing of channels, and addressable audiences across tactics and you’ve got a recipe for acquisition and retention success.


For more information on how you can leverage Postie’s best-in-class technology and ethically sourced data to easily orchestrate successful, measurable direct mail campaigns that drive growth and retention, check out Postie today!

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