There are loads of topics around why abandonment emails are important, when they should be sent, how many stages and bla bla.

But what is the common practice by the leading e-commerce companies and fancy alternatives?

  • The basket abandonment email can pre-populate the basket with its abandoned contents at that time, but what happens if since then the user has changed the basket contents?
  • How does it work with logged in/out states?
  • Are basket contents merging?
  • Can users choose to merge or not?

It's quite tricky, and if done without thinking - can end up with a very messy basket.

Anyone got some examples?

  • Welcome to UX.stackexchange. Unfortunately I'm not too clear on what you're asking.
    – Mayo
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


I spent a lot of time on cart abandonment in a large ecomm setting. I can tell you what we found and what I've experienced in the wild while investigating.

  1. Don't re/pre-populate the cart.* I've heard of this idea, but never seen it used in any real world setting. There are too many complications from a UX perspective. Ultimately, those problems will result in an increase in expensive customer service interactions.
  2. Detect the source of cart entry. Users coming in from abandon emails should be recognized as such by URL parameters. If they aren't signed in, present them with a welcome message and action to do so.
  3. Cart merging is good. Outside of the abandon scenario, some users will shop before signing in. If they choose to sign in and discover pending items, tell them that you will merge the two sessions for them. Providing a choice in this action is fine, but you'll need a comparison interface and selective merging and removal. The cost tends to outweigh the reward for the user and business.

* There is a solution to the system-populated cart idea (#1). Sometimes the abandoned cart email is clicked after your system's cart expiration settings have triggered a cart clear. With proper URL parameters from the email link, you can do a look up in the system to recall those products. Don't actually put them back in the cart, but present them as something like recommendations in an adjacent promotion area on the cart. In-cart promotion can be very profitable. Be sure to test because I've seen it go the other way and reduce revenue (presumably, choice overload).

  • Thanks for your insight. I also had a resistance to pre-population due to many additional ux issues and cost associated to prevent them. We're already detecting the source, so it's just tweaking the messaging.
    – Kris
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 16:36

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