How To
7 min read

How to Write Effective Abandoned Cart Email Subject Lines

Karen Le
November 20, 2022


Figuring out your email marketing strategy can be daunting if you don’t know where to start.

Luckily, abandoned cart emails are a great starting point.

According to Baymard, the average cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%. This average was calculated using 46 different studies about shopping cart abandonment.

This means that a high percentage of people that enter your site may not purchase from your business.

But don’t worry—with the right optimization tactics and tools implemented during the checkout process, you can increase conversions and sales.

This guide will cover the basics of abandoned cart emails, how to create effective subject lines, and examples from brands to help you visualize how to implement this successful business strategy. 

Are abandoned cart emails GDPR compliant?

GDPR (Global Data Protection Regulation) is a set of privacy and security laws that outline how companies can use data from their customers and internet users.

The GDPR was passed through the European Union (EU). Any organization is obliged to comply with these laws as long as they are collecting data from or targeting people in the EU. 

So, what about abandoned cart emails? Yes, according to the European Commission,, you’re compliant as long as you have explicit consent from the visitor to receive those emails.

What are cart abandonment emails and do they work?

Cart abandonment emails are triggered when a shopper abandons their shopping cart on a website.

Big commerce reports that the three reasons why people abandon their carts are due to shipping costs, finding a better deal somewhere else, or that the item is out-of-stock. 

Baymar conducted a study that revealed 48% of people abandon their carts due to extra costs associated with the purchase such as shipping, taxes, fees, 24% abandoned their carts due to the site wanting the user to create an account, and 22% said the delivery was not fast enough.

Keep in mind that the percentage of these abandoned carts can also vary between industries. 

But what happens when companies implement an abandoned cart email strategy?

Do they work?

According to Klaviyo, their customers generated over $60M using abandoned cart emails (all within a 3-month window). 

The average performance from these abandoned cart emails had an open rate of 41.18% and clickthrough rate of 9.50%. 

This is a fantastic opportunity to understand your customers better and, of course, recover otherwise lost revenue.

Types of abandoned cart email subject lines

Simple reminder subject lines

This type of subject line keeps it short and sweet. The customer knows exactly what you are talking about and it serves as a clear reminder regarding their abandoned checkout process.

‘Bargain hunting’ subject lines

Nearly 59% of US online shoppers abandoned their shopping carts because they were just browsing.

These bargain hunters are most likely doing research and scoping out other brands that carry similar products.

You know that this customer is a hot lead as they already added items to their shopping cart. The best way to encourage these shoppers to take the plunge and make a purchase is to offer promotions, discounts, or rewards. .

‘FOMO’ subject lines

Nobody likes the feeling of being left out. This is known as FOMO (fear of missing out), and this feeling can help drive impulsive urgent decisions.

One way to take advantage of FOMO is adding a deadline to your email copy, as this is a time-sensitive action you want your prospect to make. This can encourage the shopper to open the email and take action so they don’t miss out on this particular deal. 

Curiosity-driven subject lines

The curiosity-driven subject line is used to spark a sense of wonder in your prospect. The subject line might come off as vague or cheeky, which prompts the customer to open the email. The customer isn’t quite sure what is inside the email and the copy incentivizes them to find out.

‘One last chance’ subject lines

The ‘one last chance’ subject line is another way to create a sense of urgency. This is perfect for limited-time offers that are ending soon and serves as a reminder to finish checking out their shopping cart. Time-sensitive deadlines can help drive action and offer that extra nudge for customers to grab the latest offer.

‘No muss, no fuss’ subject lines

The ‘no muss, no fuss’ subject line cuts right to the chase and uses personalization to ensure the customer gets it.

According to Helpcrunch, this type of subject line harnesses the benefits, reminds the customer what they have missed out on, and brings them back to the purchasing decision. 

Typically, a product from the shopping cart would be mentioned directly in the subject line itself.

‘So close’ subject lines

17% of US online shoppers abandoned their cart because the checkout process took too long or was complicated to complete. 

By sending the ‘so close’ reminder, you can help alleviate any stress of the checkout process and send a reminder that they are close to processing their order.

Customer service subject lines

The customer service subject line is helpful to those that need assistance with addressing their concerns, questions, or advice from a brand representative. This email is packed with value and a solution that will leave the customer satisfied.

‘Scarcity’ subject lines

Common scarcity subject lines include time-sensitive action. The scarcity subject line is similar to the FOMO strategy, where this tactic plays on a person’s fear of missing a good deal or product. According to Drip, this phenomenon is based on humans wanting what is in demand and hard to attain. 

‘Forgot something' subject lines

Have you ever shopped online, added items to your cart, and forgot about it?

You might have received a message from the business after saying something like, “You forgot something!”

This is a great way to contact your hot leads as you already know they are highly interested in purchasing from you. They might have simply forgotten.

Think of how much money you are leaving on the table without sending this kind reminder (probably a lot!).

It can be as simple as saying, “Did you forget (insert brand/product)?”

Examples of abandoned cart email subject lines from popular brands


Image Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: Still thinking about it?

Type of email subject line: Reminder + ‘So Close’ question

Why it works: Italic asks a question in their subject line as if they were speaking 1:1. This type of personalization lets the customer know that Italic is aware they have been on their site, added items to their shopping cart, and sends a simple reminder directly to their email.

Once the customer opens the email, a blocked color section is divided from the rest of the email. This section is letting the customer know they are almost finished checking out and offers an incentive of a $30 credit if they choose to become an Italic member today.

A button with a link redirects the customer back to their shopping cart and visuals of the products are shown within the body of the email.


Image Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: 🌲Thanks for Exploring. We Saved Your Cart. 

Type of email subject line: Simple reminder

Why it works: Danner uses an emoji related to their brand to grab the customer’s attention. As they are a brand focused on the outdoors, a tree fits well with their messaging. They continue to play on this theme through the first sentence of “thanks for exploring.” “We saved your cart” is a simple reminder for the customer to return to their purchase. 

When the customer opens the email, there is a blocked color section sharing how the customer can receive free shipping with an order of over $50. This addresses the customers that are unsure about purchasing due to extra costs that are typically associated with an online shopping order.

A section with their shopping cart is shown after with a direct link to help them finish checking out.

The email ends with other benefits to build confidence for the customer such as free return shipping, a buy now, pay later option, and talking to a Danner expert to address any questions they may have.

Blu Dot

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: Wait up. Your order is not complete. 

Type of email subject line: Simple reminder

Why it works: Blu Dot cuts to the chase by sharing what the email is about. The intention of the email is to remind the customer that they forgot to complete their purchase. 

Inside the email, they make it easy for the customer to navigate back to their cart by sharing how they “saved your items” and a button that reads “complete my order.”

Underneath the copy are visuals of the products the customer had added to their cart.

The email ends with sharing benefits to convince them why they should choose Blu Dot.

Topo Designs 

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: Go ahead, take another look

Type of email subject line: Sparks curiosity 

Why it works: Topo Designs sparks curiosity and ambiguity for the reader by suggesting that they should take a look at their email. Once they do, they receive an additional 10% off their order by inputting the code provided.

A direct link is provided to redirect the customer back to their checkout process.

Pulp & Press

Image Source: Really Good Emails 

Subject line: We noticed you checking us out…  👀

Type of email subject line: Simple reminder + sparks curiosity

Why it works: Pulp & Press immediately share that they know the customer is going through the checkout process. They are cheeky with their messaging, adding the  👀.

Inside the email, they share the product the customer added to their shopping cart and a link to redirect them back to complete their transaction. 

They also try to upsell their customers by adding, “you might also like…” with links to other products.

United by Blue

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: Looking for a sign? Free shipping.

Type of email subject line: Bargain hunter + simple reminder

Why it works: This email works because they are addressing one of the biggest reasons why people abandon their carts—additional costs. If shipping is a deciding factor for the customer abandoning their transaction, this is the perfect email for them to receive.

The email says, “you’re a click or two away.”

This alleviates the stress of a long checkout process by reminding the customer how simple the process is.

Underneath is a direct link to get back to their cart and an image of the product they previously added.

Homes Alive

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: Hey Smiles Davis, did you forget something?

Type of email subject line: ‘Forgot something’

Why it works: Homes Alive does a great job at addressing the customer with personalization. They mention the customer’s name in the subject line and inside the email.

They share their personality within the email with a cute graphic of a dog and tailored brand messaging with the words, “ you left something pawsome behind!”

There is a direct link for the customer to go back to their shopping cart and checkout, along with the products they added on the business’ website.

The email ends with a customer support link where the customer can ask any questions or concerns they would like to address. 


Image Source: Really Good Emails

Subject line: Leave something behind?

Type of email subject line: ‘Forgot something’ 

Why it works: Moment does a great job with their abandoned cart email. Their email is minimal, clean, and simple to process. They made it easy for the customer to head back to the checkout process by sharing the product they have forgotten and a link redirecting them to their cart. Moment also asks the customer questions they may have about the product. This helps alleviate any questions and concerns about the product, shipping process, fees, etc., with customer service reps available to help. Opening the door to questions can also help those on the performance team optimize their checkout process and email marketing strategy.


Abandoned cart emails are one part of a great email marketing strategy for your business to start implementing. It’s an effective way to maintain or increase customer retention and drive sales. 

It can be overwhelming to start something new, but the first step is just giving it a try. Hopefully, this guide has served as a helping hand, and you will soon be well on your way to email marketing success!

Need further help writing email subject lines?’s email subject line generator composes engaging subject lines to help create your emails. 

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