Abandon cart emails. A great tool to capture those users that abandon your checkout process, send them an email to the effect of "whoops, looks like you left something in your basket, click here to continue buying...", and voila, an extra conversion (hopefully).

To effectively capture these people that leave your checkout process, let's say on the delivery page, you need to have their email address (And ask their permission but we'll park that for now).

How do you get their email address for the abandon cart email to be sent?

Same question, but how do you get their email address in a log-in free checkout? Eg. www.asos.com (where it says "continue" for new customers)? My manager has recommended instead of having "continue" have "email address" - but this isn't a true log in free checkout is it? Would you still consider it a barrier?

2 Answers 2


This is how storefront's anonymous checkout works. Reference URL:http://www.storefront.net/smbiz/anonymous-checkout.aspx

Statistics show allowing anonymous checkout in some industries improves conversion rate. When a customer who would like to use anonymous checkout, he will submit an e-mail address to bypass the create an account page. This e-mail address will be used for receipt of the order confirmation as well as their account name in StoreFront.

Statistics show streamlining the checkout process often improves conversion rate. Offering account set up after the sale is complete may help minimize cart abandonment while still providing you with an opportunity to capture more contact information.

Thus the only difference between registered user and anonymous user is the username and password. Other than these two elements, shipping, billing and email address is required regardless which checkout approach is used.

Regarding asking customer about their email address before or at the time they add a product to the cart, it feels untimely and will make them concerned about privacy unnecessarily. When a customer is entering into a purchase funnel, the last thing you want is to distract him and asking for personal information before there was a need will be a big turn-off. Purpose of this "abandoned cart notification" effort is to bring the users back who had left their carts open AND and not to increase the users who abandon their carts.

Sites like Group-on asks for email address before you could begin browsing their deals but they are a different and probably the only model where asking email before purchase has yielded business value.

  • I think this is different than what the original questioner is asking. Anonymous accounts only require asking for the email address during the checkout process. The original question was asking about prompting people for an email address when they put something in a cart prior to the checkout process.
    – 17 of 26
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 13:39
  • This is correct. Anonymous is different than guest checkout I've updated the comment below... Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:24

I would strongly advise against this tactic. It absolutely is a barrier and you have to think carefully about what's going on here.

In order to get an extra conversion, the following things have to be true:

  1. They didn't buy the item after placing it in a cart (I suspect this is a low % to begin with)
  2. They didn't place the item in the cart accidentally
  3. They didn't buy the item from somewhere else in the meantime
  4. They didn't decide against buying the item entirely
  5. They were going to return to your site anyway even if you hadn't annoyed them with a reminder email

I don't have any numbers, but I imagine that the potential conversion rate here is very low. Now you have to balance this against adding a barrier and potentially annoying anyone who puts something in your cart.

I can picture a couple of scenarios here:

  1. User places item in cart
  2. You say "Hey, give us your email!"
  3. User says 'screw you, bye'


  1. User places item in cart
  2. You say "Hey, give us your email!"
  3. User says 'umm, ok I guess"
  4. User leaves site, intending to return later to buy
  5. You send an email "Hey, come back and buy your stuff!"
  6. User says "screw you, I was going to come back but now that you've harassed me I've changed my mind!"
  • 2
    Here is a beautiful article which answers some of the questions you put. forbes.com/sites/kernlewis/2012/04/18/… Reminding customers who have left their carts open is a becoming popular and if only 0.1% of people who abandoned their cart change their mind and buy, it still may mean several thousand dollars a year. Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 23:38
  • Maybe I'm not an average consumer, but the behaviors described in that link would annoy me to no end and push me away from returning to shop.
    – 17 of 26
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 13:42
  • Well what do you think about John Lewis? They ask for your email address - probably for this reason...? Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:24
  • I don't know what John Lewis is.
    – 17 of 26
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 15:31
  • This is completely right. If someone were to measure conversions on the product originally put in the cart they might see an increase but miss the point of this answer (i.e. that there would likely be a decrease in repeat business). In short, don't do this unless you only sell one item (and you also sell some kind of embarrassing or niche item that would inoculate you against any negative word of mouth). :)
    – A.M.
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 17:46

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