How to save and recover abandoned carts in WooCommerce using ActiveCampaign

Since you are here, allow me to assume you run a WooCommerce shop and would like to save and recover abandoned carts. By default WooCommerce doesn’t show any shopping cart activity unless the cart is turned into an order. So it is a bit like running a store with ghost shopping carts – you know they are being used but you have no clue what’s inside them nor how to recover them after they’re dumped like illegal garbage on the streets of New York.

This is both a major issue and an amazing opportunity for you as a shop owner. According to a study, about 63% of all online abandoned carts can be recovered if you play your cards right.

How to save abandoned carts in WooCommerce

First things first – you must start recording those dumped carts. There are many options you can use to save abandoned carts in WooCommerce. You could develop one yourself or use a plugin to help you with this. Luckily WordPress very well known for the vast amount of plugins you can use. WooCommerce itself have released a premium abandoned cart plugin which is packed with many great features like:

  • Follow up emails
  • Abandoned cart reports
  • SMS notifications
  • Review rewards
  • Birthday emails
  • Wishlist marketing
  • etc.

As you can see, it is packed with many cool features and they are the reason why it’s a bit pricey. Most probably you will be using only a few of them meaning you get a lot of cool stuff that you don’t need which takes up the free space, impacts performance and speed of your shop. For these reasons I would recommend you looking at another lit plugin that helps to save abandoned shopping carts in WooCommerce – CartBounty.

CartBounty is a lightweight plugin that is built for efficiency and it has one purpose only – to save and recover abandoned carts. It is a lot more affordable and functions slightly different from the one WooCommerce provides in terms of how it captures abandoned carts – CartBounty saves the cart as soon as the user gets to the checkout form and enters either his phone or email address – you don’t have to wait for the customer to press the Submit button to record it.

CartBounty Exit intent popup example that appears before user tries to leave an abandoned shopping cart

One other brilliant feature CartBounty offers is the Exit Intent popup with an email input field that works on mobile phones and desktop devices. Exit Intent popup is a form that is presented to each and every visitor right before he tries to leave the shop with a full shopping cart. This allows visitors to save their shopping carts for later thus recording a new abandoned carts that you as a shop owner can later try to recover using e.g. ActiveCampaign’s abandoned cart recovery automation (more on this later in the article).

Early email capture is another awesome feature that allows to save customer’s data as soon as he first hits the “Add to cart” button. This way you can greatly improve your recoverable cart ratio as well as increase sales sending out abandoned cart reminder emails.

Selecting the best recovery strategy

At his point we have taken care of recording those abandoned checkouts. Now we must figure out the best strategy of recovering them. Your plan of attack should take into account multiple factors:

  • Your target audience and customer profile
  • Product pricing
  • Number of deserted carts you get daily
  • Available resources
  • Company values
  • Other factors

You should decide between contacting your abandoned cart customers manually, reaching out using automated tools or using a mix of both (e.g. manually getting in touch with high valued carts and sending automated retrieval notifications to the rest). Reaching out individually could bring the highest checkout recovery results since we all love a personal touch, however it’s also the most time consuming method and requires lots of swag. This option works best if you get small numbers of deserted carts and your products are expensive enough to make up for the costs involved in recovering them.

Next step in your recovery strategy should be to decide what medium will be used to inform your abandoned cart holders. Basing on the factors listed before, you could use:

  • Emails
  • SMS messaging
  • Facebook messenger
  • Phone calls, e.g. picking up your phone or using automated robocalls

Since email is the most common and neutral way of sending abandoned cart notifications we will focus our attention on this medium.

Options of sending automated abandoned cart recovery emails

Now let’s take a small step back and have a quick look at the options we have to send out emails. We can send out emails using:

  1. Our favorite email provider (e.g. Outlook, Gmail, Apple’s mail)
  2. Built-in email sending solutions WordPress and its plugins provide or
  3. A 3rd party service e.g. ActiveCampaign, SendinBlue, GetResponse or MailChimp.

The first option isn’t really intended for sending automated emails so we’ll take a look at the 2nd and 3rd options – their pros and cons. First up – Built-in email sending solutions WordPress and its plugins provide.


  • Very convenient since everything in one place
  • Doesn’t require to register in a 3rd party system nor sync data over to it
  • Free of charge


  • Relies on WordPress Cron (WP-Cron) which is how WordPress handles scheduling time-based tasks in WordPress. If you aren’t familiar with this, here is a brief intro of how WP-Cron works. Every time a page is loaded, a list of scheduled tasks is checked to see what functions need to be run. Sounds simple and fine, but this is where scheduling errors may arise. For example, if you have scheduled an email that is supposed to be sent out exactly 1 hour after the user has abandoned the shopping cart, it might not be sent out after 1 hour if nobody arrives at the shop. In such case, the visitor will not receive his email in 1 hour but once a new page is loaded.
  • Lack of experience in email marketing business which many professional companies like ActiveCampaign, SendinBlue, GetResponse or MailChimp have
  • Weak email design options and visual performance issues across different email browsers and devices
  • Weak when it comes to avoiding spam filters
  • Lack of detailed reports
  • Little support

Next we will take a look at 3rd party service pros and cons to have a better understanding and see the differences.


  • Work using custom scheduling solution that don’t rely on page loads and send out emails when schedule them to
  • Experienced in email marketing business – comply with regulations and have the best measures not to be picked up by spam filters
  • Intuitive, feature packed and beautiful email design options + many cross device friendly email templates
  • Ability to build elaborate automation workflows with multiple steps and If/Else statements
  • Visual and detailed reporting allowing not just to see when the email was opened, but to track if the user converted or reached a specific goal (e.g. new order or recovered abandoned cart)
  • Professional support team


  • Have to sign up for an account and get an API key
  • If you are sending out a lot of emails, you will have to purchase a plan, otherwise most of them offer a free plan

It is up to you to figure which option works best for you but I would suggest to rely on a professional service both in the case of small number of abandoned carts and even more in the case of large numbers since that will not only make sure that your visitors get your reminders but will also increase your chances of turning those carts into recovered orders.

CartBounty offers an easy way to integrate with both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp. We have already previously covered how to use MailChimp to recover abandoned carts so in this article we are looking at integration with ActiveCampaign.

Why use ActiveCampaign instead of MailChimp?

ActiveCampaign is wonderful alternative to MailChimp and in terms of building automations (at the time of writing) it is far superior. MailChimp unfortunately doesn’t allow to create elaborate automation workflows to recover abandoned carts. Here are some of the few ActiveCampaign’s features that make these automations outstanding:

  • Ability to send out many abandoned cart recovery emails. E.g. you could send your first email in 1 hour, 2nd in 24 hours, 3rd in 3 days, 4th in a week and 5th after 2 weeks. The options here are not limited and it’s up to you how you set them up. MailChimp in contrary allows to send only 1 email and the next ones in the series are sent out only if the user is subscribed
  • If/Else statements that allow to create very detailed automations and take into account customers shopping cart, previous order history etc.
  • Option to include an SMS notification message in the automation workflow.

So there are a lot of ways to customize these automations and reach out to your customers. However don’t abuse it and remember not to spam the customer or you might get the opposite effect ;)

Using ActiveCampaign to recover abandoned carts

Now enough with the boring theory, let’s get to the business! These are the steps required to start sending out your WooCommerce abandoned cart recovery emails via ActiveCampaign.

  1. If you haven’t already then download and install CartBounty
  2. Sign up for ActiveCampaign
  3. Find your API key. Login to your ActiveCampaign account, open up Settings > Developer and copy your API key and URL
    Developer API key location in ActiveCampaign user interface
  4. Get back to your WooCommerce and open up CartBounty. Then switch to ActiveCampaign tab and paste your API credentials
    ActiveCampaign's tab location in CartBaunty where API key and URL must be inserted

At this point you have linked your WooCommerce abandoned carts with ActiveCampaign and can get back to it to create a deep data automation workflow that will take further care of abandoned carts. Here’s how to setup abandoned cart automation workflow in ActiveCampaign:

  1. Login to your ActiveCampaign account
  2. Open up Automations and choose to Create new automation. Here you will be presented with an option to create a new one or base it on a template thus saving you time. Use the search and enter “abandoned cart” and select “Abandoned cart reminder” template
    Abandoned cart reminder automation location in ActiveCampaign
  3. Next you’ll be presented with an automation setup wizard that will help setting up your automation. You don’t really need to change anything at the moment, just approve the defaults and continue
    Abandoned cart automation wizzard default values in ActiveCampaign
  4. And now the fun part starts where you get to create your automation workflow. The default automation workflow will be setup to send out 1 reminder email but you can update it and create a chain of emails to be sent out
  5. Change the Wait time of your first email to 10 minutes if you would like to send out abandoned carts as soon as they are abandoned. Please note that CartBounty will consider a shopping cart abandoned after 1 hour of inactivity
  6. Now to create the 2nd email in the series, add a new “Wait” block right under the first abandoned cart reminder email and set your wait time – a good time for the 2nd one would 24 hours or 1 day
  7. Under this block place a new “If/Else” block and search for “Has recovered abandoned cart” in the conditions. ActiveCampaign will add two new paths (“Yes” and “No”) under the new “If/Else” conditional block.
  8. Now add a new “Send an email” block on the new “No” path. When asked for what email template should be used, you can use the same email as in the 1st email but I would suggest creating a new email. Try playing around with different calls to action, try adding an incentive or a fun animated gif image to make it more persuasive and interesting (scroll below to see how to personalize your emails). This is something you will have to experiment with to find one that has the best conversion rate.
  9. Repeat steps 6, 7 and 8 to create 3rd abandoned cart reminder email and make sure it is sent out in a couple of days, e.g. after 3 – 5 days
  10. Final step, once your automation is ready – activate it.
    Active abandoned cart recovery email reminder automation in ActiveCampaign

This is a very basic guide of how to capture, synchronize and recover abandoned carts in WooCommerce using ActiveCampaign.

We haven’t yet managed to cover another very important topic and it’s the abandoned cart emails themselves.

How to create personalized abandoned cart recovery email in ActiveCampaign

Let’s first see what options ActiveCampaign has in store to personalize abandoned cart emails and then take a look at a great real life example.

Both MailChimp and ActiveCampaign allow to customize and personalize emails using special tags. Here is a basic overview of how to add personalization to ActiveCampaign’s abandoned cart emails:

  1. Login to your ActiveCampaign account
  2. Open up your automation
  3. Use the “View Emails” button to open up all emails associated with the current automation and choose to edit one
    ActiveCampaign's email list used for abandoned cart reminder automation
  4. In the Edit mode you will be able to use different blocks to create an email you want. First and most important thing you should do is to make sure that you have “Abandoned Cart” block in the body of your email. If it is not there, please add it. Without it your customers will simply receive a basic email that will perform poorly since the email will lack shopping cart contents and there will be no recovery link
  5. Make sure to customize the looks of your email so that it matches with your brand and the recipient can quickly recognize the sender
  6. Add a new or edit existing “Text” block by personalizing it. It is very important to grab the recipients attention in the very first second and make him feel that this is not just a random spam email but a genuine one. Use the recipient’s name in the beginning of it or try to use it in the content
    Available personalization tags that can be used in email campaigns
  7. Save the changes and you’re done.

ActiveCampaign offers many different personalization tags, not just the basic name, surname, location but also ecommerce data like:

  • Contact’s total revenue
  • Total orders
  • Total products ordered
  • Price of last order
  • Name of the last purchased product
  • Etc.

You can use these to your advantage when creating new ideas on how to persuade your customers to return to the checkout and complete the order. You can learn more on how to personalize and prepare your abandoned cart emails in one of our previous posts.

Here is an additional video showing you everything we have just covered.

Example of a 3 step personalized email series using ActiveCampaign

And now the desert, I would like to show you an awesome real life example of a 3 step personalized email series CartBounty is using in their abandoned cart recovery process. A clever, fun and attention grabbing way of letting know that there is a cart waiting to be recovered.

1st abandoned cart email that is sent right after the shopping cart is abandoned displaying personalized message if the user has left his name and a fun animated visual.

1st abandoned cart email example from CartBounty featuring a pirate on a treasure island

2nd email in the series which is sent out after 24h of inactivity if the shopping cart isn’t recovered featuring a beautiful evening with a clever copywrite that builds upon the first email in the series.

2nd abandoned cart email example from CartBounty featuring a pirate by the fireplace in the evening cooking supper

3rd and final email in the abandoned cart series which is sent 3 days after abandonment with the final call to recover the shopping cart before it has been taken into the deep blue. This one also contains an incentive – a coupon code that is used to motivate the potential customer and seal the deal (:

Last and 3rd abandoned cart email example from CartBounty featuring the final warning before the shopping cart is gone

Let’s recap what we have just learned. We have learned how to use CartBounty to efficiently save dumped carts in WooCommerce. We have touched on the subject and different tactics available on recovering those lost sales. And we have learned how to utilize ActiveCampaign to create abandoned cart automations and design deserted cart emails. Please feel free to leave your comments and question below.

In categories: Tutorials, Website development, Woocommerce, Wordpress

Nauris Kolāts

Nauris is a freelance designer / developer who loves to dig into the UX as much as in the ground for fishing worms. And fishing is just one amongst the long list of his active lifestyle hobbies.

Other posts

Your thoughts

Join the discussion

  1. Jonas

    Hi, thanks for the post. Two questions. What subscription plan do you need with ActiveCampaign for this? And secondly, I see with Mailchimp you said one can clear out contacts from your mailing list whenever they come close to reaching the contacts limit for your plan. Is that possible with ActiveCampaign as well?

    • Hey Jonas, thanks for your questions.
      You can use any plan from ActiveCampaign – they all are support abandoned cart automation. And you can easily delete contacts from your ActiveCampaign account in case you reach your limits.

  2. […] in the lives of regular people and businesses than now. Working to minimize cart abandonment and abandoned cart recovery must be one of the top priorities because of the huge potential revenue it holds. Continue reading […]

Latest work