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Adidas: Email Psychology Breakdown

minute read

Abandoned cart emails can be relentless and boring - but they don't have to be.

This abandoned cart email from Adidas grabs attention and packs a strong conversion punch, supercharged with psychology and behavioral science.

Here's what I think it gets right, a few things I'd change and the psychology behind why.

We're using the Choice Hacking 3S framework to guide our analysis:

You can watch the video breakdown below, or keep reading. 

1. Soulful: Is this email easy to love and emotionally engaging?



Here's what's working well in this email: 
✅ Out of the ordinary abandoned cart headline that captures your attention with a question. Most abandoned cart emails start with a version of the phrase “Forgot something?” That approach is forgettable and easy to ignore, while this headline grabs your attention. 

What's the psychology behind why this headline works?

The principle of Deprivation Sensitivity: Recognizing a gap in knowledge the filling of which offers relief.

✅ Including social proof at the bottom of this email a brilliant way to make a human connection and de-risk the purchase for potential customers.

2. Simple: Is this email easy to navigate and do I quickly know what to do next?

⭐⭐⭐ Not as simple as it could be.

Here's what's not working: 

❌ The secondary call to action might cause confusion, because the two buttons have equal salience (attention-grabbing ability).

In this case, simplifying to one call to action is the best way to direct people's attention - too many choices might cause some folks to hesitate and choose to do nothing instead of choosing between "shop now" and "customise."

3. 🧠 Salient: Is this email easy to notice, pay attention to, and remember?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Yes.

What works well:
✅ The counter-intuitive headline makes it stick out from other emails.

By formatting it as a question, it forces readers to think for a minute: "Wait, is my wi-fi ok?" and hopefully find a little humor in the question.

✅ It leads with a personalized image of the product you were browsing.

What's the psychological principle behind why this works?

It's the Mere Exposure Effect: The more we see something the more we like it.

About the author

Jen Clinehens, MS/MBA

Hi 👋 I'm Jen Clinehens (MS, MBA) the founder and Managing Director of Choice Hacking.

I started Choice Hacking in 2021 to help marketers and entrepreneurs figure out what makes buyers tick, and elevate their work using behavioral science, marketing psychology, and AI.

If you want to learn more, check out links to my newsletter, podcast, YouTube channel and other free resources below 👇


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