As I revealed in a study on basket abandonment emails I carried out in September, out of 45 shopping baskets I filled then abandoned on UK and US ecommerce sites, only three stores sent me basket abandonment emails.

Adidas can join that small group of top ecommerce sites carrying out this important method of retargeting.

I added a pair of shoes to my shopping cart on 15 October. Since that date I’ve received three basket abandonment emails, dated 15, 16 and 22 Oct…

Each has a different subject line, each offers an increasingly tempting message. The first email I received came within hours of leaving the Adidas site without purchasing the shoes. The second arrived the next day, the third and final one arrived five days later.

Obviously the first two are to capitalise on the customer’s initial intent, however Adidas has done the wise thing and left the customer alone for a short while after the second one was sent. It’s realised that if the customer hasn’t responded to these first two emails, they probably won’t with any more.

Unless of course they are tempted with a discount offer.

Cleverly Adidas hasn’t offered the 10% off promo too early in the proceedings, it’s waited five days. If offered right from the start, Adidas wouldn’t have known whether the discount was needed or not. The customer may have paid full price anyway, and you needlessly lost some profit.

Almost a week later, if the customer hasn’t come back to the cart they probably never will, so you might as well offer a discount.

The trouble is there’s a chance you might end up training your customers to do this all the time, if they’re always going to receive a discount code after five days anyway.

However the discount on offer is available only on the next purchase, so if the marketing here works, Adidas may bag itself two separate sales, which wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Perhaps the second best thing here is that after the third email, Adidas have wisely left me alone.

Subject lines

There’s lots of really good information on the blog about the importance of subject lines so do read further for more general guidance. 

As for Adidas, its subject lines are absolutely top.

They’re direct, simple, short and they describe exactly what will be featured in the content.

The first subject line ‘forget something, click to buy’, directly relates to my activity so I know this isn’t just spammy marketing. It also makes clear how easy it is to go straight into the check out from the email without having to leave my inbox and find its store again.

The second subject line ‘Free returns on all orders’ lets me know something that I might have missed during checkout, it also subtly says “go on, give them a try, you can always send them back”.

The third subject line ‘Your last chance’ adds urgency, and of course with the ‘10% off’ offer adds temptation. Although discount offers that are sent in general email marketing can be regarded as a turn-off, here I feel it works because it directly relates to a product that I may actually buy.

The other important thing here is that every subject is different. It’s vital that your messages should offer variation or your recipients will just get bored of them and mark you as spam.

Here are 45 other things to avoid in your email subject lines.


The content in Adidas’s emails tick all the right boxes for me.

This is its first email (please note this is just above the fold):

It’s made clear that this email was triggered directly from my activity, with added urgency thanks to the ‘get it before it’s gone’ message. There are also plenty of links for help and customer services throughout the email.

Most importantly though, as we scroll to the bottom of the email…

…we can see that my exact item is featured, with a large image, full description and a direct link to ‘view my bag’, which indeed links directly to my shopping cart where the item still waits.

There are a few negative points with the email unfortunately. The major one is that it’s unresponsive, therefore it’s impossible to read on my smartphone.

Adidas should include the price of the shoe here, with total including delivery, just for transparency.

Also, I’m not entirely convinced that those products at the bottom of the email really have been ‘especially selected’ for me.

These are minor niggles though. Here’s a look at Adidas’s second email…

This is where Adidas reveals all of its added value services, free returns, free postage (over £100) and fairly speedy delivery. Although there’s a case to be made that all of this info should have been in the first email.

Here’s the third and final email…

It’s the same as the second email, except with the major addition of an incentive. (It should be noted with the above two emails, if you scroll below the fold they contain the same product image and ‘view bag’ button as the first.)

It’s all strong stuff, with clear messaging, a good frequency of delivery, working links (you’ll be surprised at how many email links lead to dead-ends) and all personalised to my own customer journey. 

Further reading…

For more on basket abandonment emails from the blog, check-out:

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