Email Marketing is the most economical way of bringing back customers who abandon their carts. The planning of an abandoned cart email campaign should start off not with the content of the email but the subject line. If that impresses the customer, then there is no looking back. Open rates will soar high followed by returning customers.
Here are some abandoned cart subject lines used by top retailers to reduce cart abandonment.
Table of Contents
13 Subject Line strategies for your abandoned cart emails
A look into these subject lines will change your general perspective on how to craft one. Let's dive in!
‘Generic-type’ subject lines
The list of subject lines that you find here are the most commonly used ones. Any avid shopper will be used to coming across these after cart abandonment.
1. Heading out without checking out?
Sent by: Huckberry
Rhyming words never fail to catch a person’s attention and Huckberry has used this element in the subject line of an abandoned cart email. Some marketers term this as the ‘oops approach’.
This kind of subject line is useful when the customer is assumed to have been interrupted during the checkout process. To say in detail, the cart is abandoned when the attention of the customer is diverted due to some other issue that is unrelated to the shopping done. In such cases, this subject line is the right one to go for.
In reality, it is not possible to do this research separately for each customer and so the abandoned cart email with such a subject line is usually sent as the first one in the cart recovery campaign.
Some more examples for you.
1. Did you forget something?
2. You left something behind. - Moschino
3. Your cart is waiting.
4. Hey, did you forget to open this? - Dollar Shave Club
5. Your shopping bag misses you. - Dote Shopping
6. Don't miss out on your cart full of awesomeness at 80sTees.com. - 80sTees
7. Don’t leave your items behind. - Adidas
‘Funny n Friendly’ subject lines
1. Lemme Teleport You Back To Your Cart. Free Of Charge.
Sent by: Chubbies
This abandoned cart email subject line makes the reader feel like being part of a movie based on science fiction. ‘Teleport’ is the word that makes all the difference here.
The use of informal language (lemme) resonates a friendly and fun-loving approach by the company to connect with the customer. Of course, we do know that a link back to our cart is free but even then the phrase ‘Free Of Charge’ strikes a chord.
2. Let’s check this off your list
Sent by: Kate Spade
Kate Spade never fails to impress with their effective abandoned cart emails. The subject line is one aspect that catches the readers’ attention. It sends out a message that reads like ‘let’s do this together’ or ‘we can help you get through this’.
As expected, the copy of the abandoned cart email too addresses checkout issues with the lines ‘trouble checking out? customer care is standing by.’ - a real issue to be considered from the customer’s perspective.
Take a look at these too.
3. Howdy! - Chubbies
4. WHERE’D YOU GO?! - Black Milk Clothing
5. Open up and say wowie zowie! - Dollar Shave Club
6. This way please…
7. Oh, NO. Your cart just slid down the stairs. SAVE IT!
8. Your cart has found love again. I hope it’s YOU.
‘Personalized’ subject lines
Campaign Monitor found out that when emails have personalized subject lines, they are 26% more likely to be opened.
What other reason must you hunt for to start personalizing your abandoned cart campaigns?
1. Emma, thanks for visiting 100% PURE
Sent by: 100% Pure
This one is just plain you might wonder. Notice the personalization? It does create some magic. When it is personal, it tends to feel like the initiation of a real conversation. The brand, 100% PURE, is thankful and it seems obvious that there is some surprise waiting in the email which makes a customer click.
The mention of the brand name in the abandoned cart email subject line too sets high expectations for the customer, acting as a bait to get tricked into clicking the email open.
Here are more samples.
2. Wendy, that choice of yours in unique.
3. This is just for you, Sarah.
4. Hey John, your cart is expiring soon.
5. Haven’t decided yet, Scott?
6. Grab on to the free shipping offer for your cart, Steve.
7. Danielle, Your cart needs you.
8. Hi Bella, welcome to EddieBauer.com - Eddie Bauer
‘We are concerned’ subject lines
You might never know the problem or emotion that a person is experiencing while shopping from the other end of the world. It does not mean you can stay away from addressing them in your abandoned cart email subject lines.
After all, you are human too. Guess the issue and give it a shot. Things might fall in place.
1. Sorry to hear about your Wi-Fi
Sent by: Adidas
Adidas addresses a concern by saying ‘Sorry to hear about your Wi-Fi’ in the abandoned cart email subject line. Has really something gone wrong? The fact here is that nothing is wrong with the Wi-Fi of the customer and Adidas very well knows it. After all, it is email marketing .
The email also starts with a header that supports the subject line and it reads ‘Is your wi-fi OK?’. Other details to shop again follow the heading. It is one of the best and unique abandoned cart subject lines which demands the attention of the user instantaneously.
More options to choose from.
2. Having trouble checking out?
3. Need some help with your shopping cart?
4. Don’t worry. We have your cart saved.
5. Distracted during the checkout process? Try your luck now.
6. Still interested in that deal? - Groupon
7. Was there a problem checking out? - 80s Tees
8. Does this belong to you? - Chicos
‘Scarcity’ subject lines
Orders will pour in when you say ‘2 pieces of [product name] remain’. Everyone wants to own those last two pieces because people hate missing out on their favorite stuff.
When sending a cart recovery email you are already dealing with a person who has shown some interest in the product, which is why using the scarcity technique works here.
1. Choose or Lose! Free Gift Worth up to $210, with your purchase.
Sent by: Estée Lauder
According to yourdictionary.com, exclamatory marks were originally called the ‘note of admiration’. No wonder why people pause when they read a sentence with an exclamation mark because of which 29% of marketers used ‘!’ in the subject line according to Unific.
Estée Lauder put this into practice to create their scarcity-infused abandoned cart subject lines. The above subject line conveys a ‘do or die’ message and the exclamation is the one that reinforces it. With the mention of the free gift, it would be absurd if people don’t click open this email.
Some more here.
2. Eek -- something you like is almost sold out! - Mod Cloth
3. All eyes are on you cart. Own it.
4. It is either now or never. Few stocks left.
5. Say Goodbye - Brooklinen
6. One more chance to get 35% off! - J. Crew Factory
7. Your favorite designs are flying off the shelves.
8. CLEARANCE SALE: There is hardly any stock left. HURRY UP!!!
‘FOMO’ subject lines
The tick of a clock literally pumps the heart at a faster pace. Similar is the purpose of a countdown which generates fear - the Fear Of Missing Out, dearly called FOMO.
1. Ending in 10…9…8…
Sent by: AYR
AYR is a US-based clothing store known for denims meant for women. The store has used this abandoned cart email subject line to convert more of their visitors into customers. One thing to make sure is that this subject line ‘Ending in 10…9…8…’ is meant to be used when customers have abandoned products that are on a flash sale.
2. Blink and you’ll miss it
Sent by: Happy Socks
Happy Socks nails their abandoned cart email with the subject line which is short yet classy and creates a sense of urgency. It is a way of conveying that the product in the cart is in high demand and there is hardly any time left to grab the stuff.
More to ponder about.
3. Going, going, ...almost gone…
4. It is raining orders! We are unable to hold on to your cart...
5. Your time is up!
6. Final call to regain your cart.
7. This is your only chance.
8. Shirts for $39 ENDS MIDNIGHT - Charles Tyrwhitt
‘Product mention’ subject lines
Forgetfulness is everywhere nowadays. We depend on gadgets to remind us of important things. So, the gadgets in your eCommerce store have the data of what the customer was about to purchase. Utilize that data to the fullest for the abandoned cart emails.
1. Still Deciding? Your Dolce- & Gabbana Three-Button Wool Blazer Is Waiting!
Sent by: The RealReal-
It could have been just ‘Still -Deciding?’ to make it short and sweet like a little nudge. Why should the product name be there?
The answer is this. The RealReal is an online store that sells out clothes and accessories from various brands and designers. So, it is a necessity to let the customer know the product in the abandoned cart. In addition, it also acts as a reminder to entice the customer into completing the checkout.
2. Only a few left! Aerie Drapey Hoodie - American Eagle
3. Still Interested In: Vista Roller Ball GT? - Pen Factory
4. We’re still holding the Angus Queen Bed Gray for you. Act fast if you want it. - Fab
5. A Penny Loafer with a sporty sole. - Quoddy
6. Introducing The Elk Ridge Polo Shirt - Ralph Lauren
7. Hey, Your [product name] needs you.
8. It has been so long. Come on and grab your [product name].
‘Being Sweet’ subject lines
e-Commerce stores that decide on such subject lines must have a very kind heart and be generous with incentives.
People are obsessed with offers and when there is one they never let go. It is estimated that around 60% of people accounted for extra fees as the reason for cart abandonment and shipping cost tops the chart.
1. Your Cart’s Loaded & Ready To Go - Free Shipping. No Minimum.
Sent by: Under Armour
Under Armour has done it right by mentioning ‘Free Shipping’ in the subject line. The point here is that the subject line indicates the reward that the customer gets for proceeding to checkout. This can never go wrong.
Check out the below subject lines too.
2. Price Drops. - Canopy
3. Free shipping on the way….
4. Here's free shipping to get what's in your cart! - Express
5. Now you're IN THE KNOW! Plus, enjoy Free Shipping - Neiman Marcus
6. Sale Now 50% Off + More Items Added - Gitman Bros
7. Just for you! $25 towards Bike to School Gear - Showers Pass
8. Rikke! Receive a Free Full-Size Advanced Night Repair Eye, with your purchase. - Estée Lauder
‘Getting curious’ subject lines
You have already tapped into your customer’s mind when you get them to think ‘What can that be?’, ‘What’s in there?’. This is done with subject lines that create a curiosity to open the email.
Now that the door is thrown open, you can barge in with a compelling email copy.
I have compiled some of the best abandoned cart subject lines of the lot.
1. The price dropped for something in your cart
Sent by: Target
Customers go on a shopping spree when the prices hit the lowest mark, be it the bricks and mortar store or online. A price drop, without mentioning the rate of reduction, is a good way to get customers back into the store.
The 8th largest retailer in the US, Target, uses this tactic to increase the open rates and get people shopping again for what they like.
2. Don’t open this email
Sent by: REBEL8
The human mind is always inquisitive. It generally tends to take action on when something is opposed to. Some people call that nature reverse psychology and yes, it does work out with this abandoned cart email by a US clothing brand.
Another fascinating point here is that the tone of the abandoned cart email subject line is in line with the name of the brand, REBEL8. This is a smart marketing strategy to imprint the brand name in the customer’s mind.
Get inspiration from these too.
3. What are we about? - Chubbies
4. STOP BUYING US - Chubbies
5. Too busy to read this email? - Bonobos
6. Clocking in - Chubbies
7. Your cart has gone for a ride.
8. We want to give you money. - Dollar Shave Club
Too many subject lines from Chubbies? That is because they are worth it. They are epic when it comes to crafting email subject lines and body copy.
‘So close’ subject lines
The customer might never know how far he has traveled to get to the checkout. Shopping cart abandonment is something like giving up on your gal when the destination is just around the corner.
It is your duty to make the customer realize ‘You have come a long way. Why not take another step?’
1. Don’t Forget: You’re a Click Away from Making it Yours
Sent by: Bloomingdale’s
Bloomingdale’s is an online store that deals with clothing, jewelery, and skincare for all people alike. The subject line is a gentle reminder about how close the customer is to the checkout point.
Tracking the journey of the customer while shopping is important in this case. These types of subject lines give best results when sent within an hour after cart abandonment, i.e, as the first email of the abandoned cart email campaign.
Seven more here.
1. Just one more step…
2. You are ALMOST THERE.
3. You’re nearly there. - Virgin Atlantic
4. Your cart is at your arm’s length.
5. Here's a little motivation for you. - The Home T
6. Spend a minute to own it.
7. You are nearly done. Just a tad bit to confirm it though.
‘Word-play’ subject lines
The inboxes of your customers’ are bombarded with hundreds of emails every day. How will you make yours stand out and noticeable? You play with words. When done, it catches the attention of the user immediately in seconds.
1. iiiiiiiiiiittttttsssssss haaaaaappppeeeeennnniiiiinnnggggg
Sent by: Chubbies
‘Crazy!’, you might think looking at the subject line. It’s true. You have to think out of the box to get some attention in this competitive world.
Chubbies is known for enticing people with their subject lines and they win every time.
Other crazy subject lines.
2. Nooooooooo, you CAN’T DO THISSSSSS.
3. ReVeRsIBLe jAcKeTs -Chubbies
4. This is for YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.
5. AAAAAALLLL JEANS, DRESSES & TEES ARE ON SALE! - Old Navy
6. Dun-dun-dun… Buy one, get one 60% OFF ends today! - Crocs
‘Obey my command’ subject lines
Think twice before you try out these subject lines. It is a word of caution. If you want this to work, you must know your audience inside out.
1. Don’t leave without this
Sent by: Away
Away is a company that sells travel bags and accessories. An apt name I must say.
They decided to use an authoritative tone for their abandoned cart subject lines. It works for them simply because they have built a good rapport with their customer base.
You probably would not listen to anyone whom you despise. No one will. So, when credibility is established this abandoned cart email subject line is a CLEAR winner.
Moreover, by saying ‘Don’t leave without this’, the content of the email is not revealed and so readers get intrigued to take a peek which itself spells success.
2. Complete you order
3. Make your purchase now
4. The TIME is HERE. Proceed to your checkout.
5. This is it. We can’t wait anymore.
6. Open me up and head to your cart.
7. Act now or your cart will be up for sale.
8. Finish your purchase before it sells out! - Express
‘Emoji’ subject lines
Emoji have replaced words from the time they were designed and the trend has never faded. When used in abandoned cart email subject lines, the emoji demands attention just like the word-play technique.
1. There’s still time to save!⏰
Sent by: Happy Socks
In fact, there is nothing much to say here. It was the table clock emoji that you noticed first right. That is exactly the idea behind it.
2. 300 minutes of free shipping – starts now! ⚡ - Vinomofo
3. Your cart is wondering where you went ❤️
4. Did you forget about me, John? 😱
5. Your cart MADE us send this reminder 🙂
Ufff, that was a long read. Wasn’t it?
How about a quick recap?
Abandoned Cart Subject Line Type
The Essence of the subject line
Ask if your customer has forgotten anything.
‘Funny n Friendly’
Use your wit and talk like a friend.
‘Obey my command’
Order your customers. Authoritative tone.
Use customer name.
‘We are concerned’
Inform about number of stocks left.
Ask customer to make a quick move.
Mention the product that is left behind.
Learn to be a giver. Incentives.
Give incomplete information in subject lines.
Remind about that single step left.
Portray words in an unusual manner.
You know this. 🙂
Here is a bonus!
Scheduling of a cart recovery campaign must be given prime importance to get the desired results from it. A campaign must contain at least 3 effective abandoned cart emails set at certain intervals of time. Below given is the suggested time interval between emails.
Email 1: 1 hour after abandonment
Email 2: 3 hours after abandonment
Email 3: 24 hours after abandonment
Go on, think of some striking abandoned cart subject lines and deliver the best of the lot to your customers’ inboxes before time runs out.