Cart Abandonment Emails with Social Proof: 7 Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Conversions

Abandoned cart emails work. Few other marketing emails boast anywhere near the same open and conversion rates. Yet if you’re like most retailers, you probably aren’t fully capitalizing on the opportunity that abandoned cart emails present.

Why? Because you’ve forgotten about social proof. More likely, you probably didn’t even think of it in the first place!

It’s important not to over-complicate email marketing. Of course, human beings are multifaceted creatures. But we email marketers need to remember that our recipients, just like us, are evolved chimps – eager to fit in and follow the crowd. That’s where social proof comes in. Properly used, it’s an immensely simple, practical, and powerful email marketing practice.

In this post, we’re going to cover seven proven ways of building social proof into abandoned cart emails. With the help of real-life examples, you’ll learn practical tips to boost your conversion rate.

Sound good? Let’s dig in.

Social Proof in Abandoned Cart Emails: The Stats

So what makes me so confident about the wonders of abandoned cart emails and social proof? In a word: data. Study after study has shown their effectiveness.

Stats on social proof and abandonned cart buying behavior:

  • the average conversion rate for cart abandonment emails, which has been around 8-9% over the last four years.
  • BrightLocal found that 57% of customers will only use a business if it has four or more stars. 91% of 18 to 34 year-old customers trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
  • A study by Moosend showed that cart abandonment emails can have a whopping conversion rate of 10%. The same study also showed that nearly 50% of cart abandonment emails are opened.

Why do people abandon their carts?

shopping cart abandonned cart reasons

The reasons vary by sector, research by SalesCycle found that for retail sector, these were the most common reasons for abandonment:
If we are just looking at 34% were ‘just looking’ / researching and the 18% wanted to compare prices, these are just some of the abandoners that are open to nurture and persuade.

1. Show Star Ratings in Your Abandoned Cart Emails

Star ratings are visual symbols of social proof that readers instantly recognize. Include a visual star rating, an average of all the reviews for a product, alongside the titles and product description.

social proof abandonned cart email homedepot

They’re a straightforward design element to add. They’re inconspicuous and don’t take up too much space.

Abandoned cart email email marketing tip:
In this abandoned cart email example, Home Depot places the star rating just above the CTA “Shop Now”. This is an excellent way to combine social proof with a direct prompt to action. The CTA encourages customers to click at the moment they’re most affected by social proof triggers.

Home Depot also shows the number of reviews in brackets alongside the star rating which adds credibility to the star rating and highlights the popularity of the products.

2. Create Urgency by Highlighting Social Demand

Let customers know when a product is in-demand, especially when they don’t have much time to make a purchase.

This is an excellent strategy because it combines the persuasion tactics urgency and social proof. Social proof is implied by the fact that lots of people want to buy a product. Customers feel urgency because they know they don’t have much time to make a purchase.

This tip is especially useful if you are running a sale or time-limited discount.

massdrop abandonned cart email social specificity join in

Abandoned cart email tip: Be exact with your social proof
An exact number of days is used in the cart abandonment email above from Massdrop. This adds credibility to the claim that the offer is time-limited.

3. Include a Product’s Best Reviews

Pick one or two stand-out reviews and showcase them in your abandoned cart emails.

Cart abandonment emails have a 50% open-rate. So you have a perfect opportunity to display a product’s best reviews, showing social proof while highlighting the best features.

Abandoned cart email email marketing tip: Prove that reviews are from a real person.

In the email above, Adidas formats the review in their abandoned cart email in a simple and easy-to-read way. The text is short and an image is directly alongside it. They also show the star-rating like mentioned before.

Adidas cleverly included the screen name (where you’d normally use the full name) of the reviewer with the quote, so it feels that it is from a real person AND they are in tune with the audience.

4. Showcase Media Mentions and Celebrity Endorsements

Building social proof isn’t just about taking advantage of “herd mentality”. It’s also about associating yourself with reputable individuals and brands. One study published in SHS Web of Conferences, for example, found that celebrity endorsements positively affect buyer intent in a significant way.

There are two strategies at your disposal: draw attention to positive mentions in popular publications like review websites and magazines, and showcase celebrity endorsements.

When you associate yourself with an individual or brand that customers already trust, you immediately build your social proof. Often, just one sentence or a logo is all that’s needed.

Abandoned cart email tip: In the email above, Casper isn’t shy about letting recipients know about positive feedback it has received. It describes itself as “America’s #1 Rated Mattress Brand” and also includes logos of the magazines it’s been featured in. The link underneath the logos, prompting recipients to “See what they said” shows they are ready to back their positive claims.

5. Show Related Popular Items or Best Sellers

Cart abandonment emails are good places for upsells and cross-sells.
Customers have already shown a willingness to buy with adding an item to their cart. Often, however, they may have changed their mind about the specific product they chose or were still looking at different options.

In its cart abandonment email, Asics prompts customers to check out some of its best sellers. Presenting suggestions as “Best Sellers”, “Customers Also Bought…”, or “Top Picks” adds an element of social proof.

email price drop abandonned cart email

Social proof and abandoned cart email tip:
A portion of customers that still want to buy the original product will be curious about complementary items. Cart abandonment emails are the perfect place to showcase the best preforming or best rated ones.

7. Use Copy That Shows or Implies Social Proof

So far, we’ve spoken mostly about specific, standalone elements that build social proof.

But one of the best places to let recipients know that items are in-demand and popular is in your email copy. There are numerous opportunities to intertwine direct and subtle social-proof building statements into an email’s text.

Areas to build social proof into your email copy:

  • Email headline
  • Intro copy
  • Product title
  • Product description
  • Body Copy
  • Callouts

Phrases as straightforward as “Don’t Miss Out”, “Highly Popular”, and “Get It While Stock Lasts” could hold just enough phychological effect to nudge recipients ointo pressing that buy button.

Abandonned cart tip from Ralph Lauren: By using the phrase, “Don’t miss out…” in its introductory copy, Ralph Lauren implies that products are in high demand and likely to sell out. Along with implying that products are in high demand, this strategy also legerages FOMO (fear of missing out) and is effective at encouraging customers to buy.

7. Show Pictures of Team Members

When a visitor purchases from you, they’re essentially “joining” your company.

You’re offering them the opportunity to be part of a group of people that share a common interest in your brand. (you know, customers)

This presents an excellent opportunity from a social proof perspective. Give recipients a tangible “flavor” of your company by including pictures of your team and even quotes or product suggestions from team members.

Email marketing tip: By including a picture of its team, Bonobo provides a visual sense of “who” the company is. Recipients are being invited to join a broader community of people where they will be welcomed and valued. This works very well in abandoned cart emails as well, think about showing your call center staff or account managers for instance.

How to Get More Reviews and gather Social Proof

Many of the tips in this post are based on drawing attention to positive customer reviews. But what if you don’t have lots of product reviews? Then we should stimulate the recent buyers to give their reviews and testimonials.

Here are a 3 tips to get more reviews:

  • Send review requests – “Feedback emails” prompt recipients to leave a review after they’ve purchased a product. Leave enough time prior to sending for customers to try their product.
  • Offer incentives – Offer a reward for leaving a review, is one way to increase survey response rate. A discount voucher or inclusion in a prize draw are both effective incentives.
  • “Train” customers to leave future reviews – Once a customer has left a review, thank them for doing so. Let them know when other users are reading their reviews. This creates positive associations and increase the chance of future reviews.


Email marketing strategies are constantly changing. If you compare a typical marketing email from five years ago to one today, the differences would be stark.

But you would also see commonalities.

Human nature doesn’t change. And that’s why social proof will stand the test of time.

That said, however, there’s an important point to keep in mind.

The only way to find your “winning mix” of social-proof building tactics is through testing. Fortunately, cart abandonment emails present one of the best opportunities for A/B and multivariate testing. The average ecommerce store sends thousands of these emails every day.

Remember: it’s not about implementing all of these tips in your abandoned cart emails. It’s about finding the right mix that works for you and your audience.

Pawel Ogonowski

Pawel is the co-founder of Growcode, the first conversion rate optimization System as a Service that guarantees revenue growth for B2C online stores. With 10+ years of ecommerce experience, Pawel has been helping companies (e.g. Limango, Virgin Mobile, Eniro, 4F, Showroom, Budapester) leverage data from their online channels to improve user experience that results in higher conversion rates, average order value and customer lifetime value.