How I Set Up an Abandoned Cart Series With FREE Automation Tools From MailChimp

How I Set Up an Abandoned Cart Series With FREE Automation Tools From MailChimp

Tracking PixelRecently I accepted the opportunity to write a sponsored blog post about my experience with e-commerce automation tools. The client is MailChimp , the marketing automation platform and email marketing service – you know, the one with the chimp mascot! So of course I jumped at this unique chance because first, I love MailChimp and have used the platform with my clients for years. What I love about this platform in particular is that it becomes a favourite solution for smaller businesses when it comes to email marketing. It allows them to be able to grow their business. Email and social media marketing are one of the two popular go tos if you are looking to grow your business. Even better is that it does so through automation making it easier for you to handle. Secondly, I knew this gig would kick my butt into high gear in terms of finally setting up my own services for KnitHacker, the fiber arts community I founded in 2008. My hobby is knitting, but my professional background is in marketing, and as such I’ve been using email marketing tools in one way or another for over 15 years … but, as the saying goes, the cobbler’s children have no shoes … well, all that changes today folks!

The first thing I did was research MailChimp’s different e-commerce options to learn about what the platform offers in terms of automation. Automation is great because it lets you send messages and communications with your customers in a way that doesn’t need to be micro-managed, it literally runs itself once you finish the initial set-up. Some examples of automation include, a welcome note when someone subscribes to your mailing list (which can instill a lasting sense of trust); or a simple reminder when a customer forgets to purchase a product in their shopping cart. An abandoned cart series can often recoup revenue that may have otherwise been lost.

In short, automation allows you to connect with new contacts, boost customer loyalty, bring people back, and ultimately sell more stuff. Based on my e-commerce experience, I knew that I wanted to be able to set up an abandoned cart series with MailChimp and lucky me, they provide the service:

“When a customer leaves an item in their shopping cart, you may want to follow up to remind them to purchase the item they left behind. After you set up an abandoned cart series, we’ll send a sequence of reminders to encourage your customers to come back and complete their purchase.”

With new stores coming online every day, people are tending to abandon their shopping carts more and more. In fact, the current industry statistics suggest that only about ¼ shoppers actually finish their purchase – that’s a lot of potential revenue getting left behind! The good news is that MailChimp offers shopping cart integration with several e-commerce platforms – with free abandoned cart automation — including WooCommerce. I chose to work with WooCommerce because I’m running WordPress and have had good experience with Woo products in the past; plus a big bonus for me is that WooCommerce has a partnership with Printful, an on-demand printer that I’ve recently started using to make knitting and crochet-themed t-shirts, mugs and tote bags.

With my research complete, my mission now was to integrate all the platforms I love and set up my abandoned series.

Let’s do this.

Step one: Sign up for a MailChimp account and start collecting email addresses for my mailing list – newsletter ares still the best way to capture leads and make sales! Lucky for me, this was something I set up about a year ago. It was as easy as opening a MailChimp account and installing the MailChimp / WordPress plugin. Once that was done, I set up my email list collection form – on both a newsletter sign-up page and on my sidebar. Done.

Step two: Set up a WooCommerce account and integrate it with WordPress using the WooCommerce plugin. WooCommerce has an excellent tutorial here. Add some products to get started. Done.

Step three: Next it’s time to connect WooCommerce to MailChimp (if you don’t use WooCommerce, check out MailChimp’s other commerce connection tutorials here).

The basic roadmap for this step is as follows:

  1. Download the plugin.
  2. Install the plugin on your WordPress Admin site.
  3. Connect the plugin with your MailChimp API Key.
  4. Configure your list settings to complete the data sync process.

You’ll want to check out MailChimp’s thorough step-by-step walkthrough here.

Step four: The moment we’ve all been waiting for, setting up the abandoned cart automation!

Visit the MailChimp dashboard and select “Create Campaign” and then click on “Create an Email” and select “Automated” which will take you to a screen that looks like this:


Look at all the cool automated emails you can set up! You could give people coupons on their birthday – oh, my! Ok, ok … back to the task at hand … please click on “Recover abandoned carts” and think about whether or not you want to set up a single reminder or a series of reminders.

So for example, if your customer doesn’t finish their transaction when you send one reminder, do you want to send a second reminder? It’s really up to you to decide how your audience will respond here and think about whether or not the majority of your sales come from people you’re already communicating with. Related to this it’s important to note that the first abandoned cart message you send is considered “transactional,” which means that the customer does not have to be subscribed to your marketing mailing list to receive it. However, the second reminder and anything after is considered marketing messaging, so only people who have opted in to your mailing list will receive them.

To start, I opted for a single reminder to be sent six hours after the shopping cart is abandoned. I’ll start here and test and tweak the settings as needed.

On the next screen you can set up your subject line and message content. I have an informal relationship with my audience, so my subject line is, “Hey, did you forget something?” Again, as time goes on I’ll test and tweak … playing in this space is all about testing and tweaking – there is no one right answer, just keep testing.


So I save all that and voila! I am the proud operator of an abandoned cart series and that much closer to increasing my email generated sales by 12%. Woo! And it didn’t take long to set up at all. It was pretty easy, actually. Phew!


Great success! And here’s what the email that goes to the customer looks like:


Simple and classy, right? And now every time I login to my MailChimp account, this is what I see – a snapshot of my abandoned cart data:


If you have questions or need more help on setting up your abandoned cart series, MailChimp has a great tutorial here. Now I’m going to sit back and wait for the money to start rolling in.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of MailChimp. More than 16 million people and businesses around the world use MailChimp, which has been around since 2001.


About The Author


Danielle Holke is a long-time knitter, first taught by her beloved grandmother as a young girl growing up in Canada. In 2008 she launched KnitHacker, a lively blog and knitting community which has since grown to be a popular presence in contemporary knitting culture, reaching more than a million readers each year. As a marketing professional, Danielle advises and works with a motley squad of artists, yarn bombers, film makers, pattern designers, yarn companies and more. Learn more about her latest book, Knits & Pieces: A Knitting Miscellany.

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