How to Save Abandoned Shopping Carts in WooCommerce

Did you know that on average 76% of all shopping carts are abandoned and 58% of those who have abandoned their carts would have completed the purchase if they had been offered a discount?


According to research conducted by VWO, there is a huge potential for remarketing as more than half of respondents said that they would be willing to complete an order if given a little motivation.

In this article I am going to show you how to quickly boost your WooCommerce business sales by saving Abandoned Carts.


Why WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is currently the most popular e-commerce platform in the world and it is not hard to see why:

  • Flexibility. It is easy to upgrade WooCommerce with additional features using many free and premium plugins. And because of the good documentation WooCommerce has, it is also fairly simple to develop your own.
  • Easy setup. You can set up your e-commerce shop in literally less than an hour.
  • Huge community. The more popular it gets, the bigger the community grows and with this the free plugins, tutorials, free themes, etc.
  • Constant development. The team behind it works relentlessly to improve the user experience (UX), security, and functionality.
  • Based on WordPress. Currently 51% of all websites are run by WordPress meaning that if you are familiar with this Content Management System (CMS), you won’t have a hard time understanding WooCommerce.

However, WooCommerce does not come prepacked with a function for saving Abandoned Carts and this is something you will have to setup manually (I will show you how to do that further below).
I must admit that the toughest part for me was learning that there is such a term as “Cart Abandonment.” Years ago, when I made my first e-commerce store, I had no knowledge about this subject and was frustrated by the headaches it was causing.

The Matter of Cart Abandonment

Cart Abandonment is simply an action when a person adds one or multiple products to his shopping cart and then decides to leave without completing the order.
There are many reasons behind online cart abandonment. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Just browsing
  • Doing research to see what the payment options are, shipping costs etc.
  • Unexpected shipping costs
  • Forced to create an account
  • Security concerns
  • Long checkout process

An interesting study by VWO found that 35% of online shoppers who add products to a cart without the intention to buy use their shopping cart as a wish list.

add products

Unfortunately, it is not in our power to change the behavior of online shopping. However, not all is lost and there are some things that can be done:

  • Minimize Cart Abandonment. There are different website optimization techniques. You can read more on ways to reduce cart abandonment here.
  • Recover Abandoned Carts. We can collect abandoned carts and later try to recover them using email reminders.

How to Collect Abandoned Shopping Carts in WooCommerce

The first step to recovering abandoned carts is to capture them in your database. One of the best parts of working with WordPress is that with just a few clicks and the right plugin you can easily add new functionality.

Follow these steps:

  1. Download the Save Abandoned Carts plugin from the WordPress plugin repository. I am using this one since it is really simple to set up and has the function to remember checkout form field input data for the user if the page is refreshed, thus allowing you to reduce the cart abandonment rate. But you can also choose another solution from the repository.
  2. Install and Activate it. Once activated, the plugin will automatically hook into your WooCommerce checkout process and will start saving abandoned carts.

And that is all; no other configuration or setup is required. From now on you will be able to reach out to people and remind them about abandoned carts.

Now let’s look at how to compose successful recovery emails.

How to Compose Successful Recovery Emails

Now that we are collecting abandoned carts, let me show you how to boost your WooCommerce sales by recovering them.

abandoned cart

A study by VWO discovered that 58% of people who do abandon their shopping carts can be persuaded to complete the purchase with a discount. This is an awesome finding that we can use in our recovery process.

Here is the perfect recipe for a successful abandoned cart recovery email.

perfect recipe
  1. Short and clear subject line. Tell your recipient what’s inside the email in 4 – 6 words - longer subject lines will get cut off by most email browsers.
  2. A clear message. Your message should be well structured (make use of product images, lists, line breaks etc.) and content written as if you would be saying this in your own words – I bet you wouldn’t want to receive a message from a robot, would you?
  3. One or more Call to Action buttons. Make the lives of your readers easier by helping them know what to do next if they would like to resume shopping. Include an obvious Call to Action button close to the start of your message and one at the end of it (in case you have a longer email, you should include them also in between). Doing this will also help those who prefer scanning messages instead of reading them.
  4. A pinch of motivation. You should try including a small motivation for completing the purchase. In the chart above we learned that offering a small discount or free delivery is precisely what most users need to complete the order. I would not advise you to use discounts in your first email - the user might be entirely happy to buy it without one.
    However, I would recommend you offering this discount in your second email. In case that fails - use your third email and notify them that the product they wanted to purchase is currently in high demand and just a few of them remain (you could also use this in your second email – testing is the key here). A little extra motivation never hurt anybody ☺.
  5. A touch of personality. Make your reader feel like the email he reads has been hand tailored exactly for him - include his name at the beginning of the message.
  6. Products of your choice. If the first email goes rogue and does not give you the results you were hoping for, try adding some related products from the same category – if the Abandoned product is no longer tempting, maybe something similar will be?
  7. The perfect timing. The best recovery results can be achieved when your first email is served one hour after the Cart Abandonment. It is not too early - the user most likely has left the shopping process, and it’s not too late – the idea of buying is still fresh and warm.
  8. The right frequency. You will increase the chances of success by sending multiple consecutive reminder emails. Send your second email in the next 24 hours after the first and your third 2 – 3 days after the second one.
    Sometimes we just have too many things on our mind - a friendly reminder can be highly appreciated.
  9. Encourage feedback. Your visitors may come across questions or encounter issues during the checkout – provide them with an option to get in touch with you.
  10. Taste your dish. And by tasting, I mean testing. Even the most advanced marketing chefs follow the success ratio of their campaigns and always strive to become better and trump their own records by improving their technique.

Wrapping up

Rest assured, online shopping cart abandonment is not going away any time soon. However, if you are aware and understand the issue, you can boost your profits by both recovering your abandoned carts and reducing the abandonment rate.

If you have any questions or would like to start a discussion, I will be very delighted to share my knowledge and make new friends in the comments below.

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