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A Brief Guide to Abandoned Cart Emails in Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Includes Cool Tips and Strategies)

A Brief Guide to Abandoned Cart Emails in Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Includes Cool Tips and Strategies)

Abandoned cart – the bane of every eCommerce Marketer! Every organization that has an eCommerce arm worries about abandoned carts. And this worry is...

Abandoned cart – the bane of every eCommerce Marketer!

Every organization that has an eCommerce arm worries about abandoned carts. And this worry is completely justified. An abandoned cart represents a potential sale that didn’t quite convert into an actual sale – a case of too near, yet too far.

Why do online shoppers make the effort to initiate shopping, only to balk when taking it through to its logical conclusion, i.e. payment? As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons – they change their minds about buying the item (or maybe about buying it now), they find better deals on other eCommerce sites, they didn’t like the price, etc.

Abandonment Survey Data
Abandonment Survey Data

To minimize abandoned carts and convert them into completed purchases, you can send these almost-customers abandoned cart emails. In fact, abandoned cart emails are a proven strategy to move site visitors towards purchase and payment. Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) enables marketers and email developers to seamlessly design, deliver and track personalized abandoned cart emails that encourage shoppers to complete their purchase.

If abandoned carts are problematic for your organization, then this article is for you. We will share some proven strategies and (abandoned) cart tricks using SFMC to help you minimize abandoned carts and improve your cart conversions. Let’s start with a brief intro to abandoned cart emails in SFMC.

Abandoned cart journeys and emails in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The abandoned cart journey is not restricted to SFMC alone. It actually leverages two components in B2C Commerce: SFMC Personalization Builder and the Commerce to Marketing Connector. Therefore the abandoned card journey workflow includes steps that span both components:

SFMC Personalization Builder actively monitors and reacts to eCommerce customers, logs page views and purchases, and initiates and computes a shopping session to help with audience segmentation in abandoned cart cases. It also captures data about the audience and the abandoned items they left in their carts.

With SFMC and B2C Commerce, you can initiate many scenarios with abandoned cart emails:

  • If a shopper doesn’t make a purchase, an email with a purchase incentive is initiated
    1. If the shopper clicks the link in the incentive email, click tracking is initiated
    2. If the shopper makes a purchase propelled by the email, the data gets recorded
  • If the shopper clicks the link in the email but doesn’t make a purchase within a certain wait period, a second email can be sent offering a different incentive

Why send abandoned cart emails from SFMC

Abandoned cart emails generate the highest average revenue per click at $36.02. They also generate the second-highest revenue per open at $1.77. (Source: Salesforce Predictive Intelligence Benchmark Report)

Abandoned cart emails provide some of the largest influenced revenue and ROI, yet very few marketers send awesome cart abandonment emails like this one:

Types of abandoned cart emails in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Not all abandoned cart emails are created equal. Depending on who the customer is, and when they abandoned you (before cart checkout or during browse checkout), you can send abandoned cart emails with different kinds of messaging, such as:

  • Still thinking about it?
  • Need more time to decide?
  • Tell us how we can help
  • Here’s what you’re missing
  • We miss you. Come back!


You can also send different kinds of abandoned cart emails like:

  • Email with products they added to their cart (but didn’t purchase)
  • Email with similar, recommended products
  • Abandonment surveys
  • Special (or limited time) offers
  • Contact form with or without callback button

Strategies to overcome cart abandonment with abandoned cart emails in SFMC

Here are some ways you can recover more abandoned carts with Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

1. Set up abandoned cart emails for visitors who abandon ‘guest checkout’

Given the option, most shoppers prefer to go through guest checkout instead of setting up an account or logging in. And such shoppers also abandon carts with alarming frequency. However, there are ways to trigger cart abandonment emails to such visitors. Try these strategies:

  • Leverage exit-intent pop-ups with a special offer or incentive
  • Personalize pop-ups according to shopping cart items, geo-location or other relevant data to further boost conversions
  • Add ‘event listeners’ to capture the email address typed into a guest checkout form field, without requiring a complete form submission. Since the email address is stored in the cookie record, a cart abandonment email is triggered in SFMC if a shopper exits

2. Create open- and click-worthy emails

Try these suggestions to ensure that cart abandonment emails are opened and clicked on:

  • Include pricing information with the abandoned items
  • Make all images clickable with links back to the checkout page
  • Include time-sensitive promo codes or other offers to encourage immediate action. E.g. “50% off – limited time offer!”
  • Add a  ‘Rebuild Cart’ cart button in each abandoned cart email to take shoppers directly back to their cart and encourage them to finish checking out
  • Rebuild carts with cross-device detection to ensure that the shopper will click and return to their abandoned cart just as they left it, even if they change devices
  • Offer customer support and route replies if any to your customer service team

3. Set up ‘browse abandonment’ campaigns to capture shoppers who exit before reaching the checkout page

Cart abandonment is a problem so capturing shoppers who exit checkout is absolutely essential. However, capturing shoppers who exit before reaching the checkout page offers even bigger opportunities. Creating a browse abandonment campaign starts with capturing shoppers’ email addresses.

Here are a few ways to capture email addresses, and the browsed or added items and pass them directly to SFMC for browse abandonment campaigns:

For new and anonymous visitors

  • Use an exit intent pop-up with a discount or gift offer
  • Use JavaScript event listeners to capture any emails entered into forms

For returning visitors (logged in)

  • Grab the email address from a cookie record or the HTML source

For returning visitors (not logged in)

  • If a visitor has previously submitted their email address, store it in a cookie and use it to trigger cart abandonment campaigns on future visits

Cart tricks and abandoned cart email best practices for SFMC

Try these abandonment email cart tricks with SFMC to reduce cart abandonment:

1. Send a series of messages instead of just one single email

2-3 is a good number – not too few and not so many as to annoy the shopper and turn them off forever.

Here is an example of a brand sending two abandoned cart emails:

2. Along with names, make sure you also include the pictures of abandoned products

Visual reminders are more powerful than simple textual reminders.

3. Add seasonal context to your emails

Adding textual references to upcoming holidays, the shopper’s birthday, anniversary, etc. are all proven methods of engaging with them in meaningful ways and encouraging them to complete their purchase.

4. Create a sense of urgency

Discounts, promo codes, limited time offers are all great ways to encourage shoppers to complete a purchase quickly.

5. Provide product recommendations to encourage them to keep shopping

Just like you can see in the above email by Ralph Lauren.

And the most important cart trick for abandonment emails – make sure your abandonment cart emails are triggered quickly!

Wrap Up

Abandoned cart emails are super powerful – if you use them right and if you use them on time. Most of your competitors are probably not using them to recapture their lost sales. So you have a great opportunity to recapture your lost sales. And now you know how!

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    Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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