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Skims: Email Psychology Breakdown

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

This abandoned cart email from Skims 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.

(I'm using the Choice Hacking 3S framework to guide my analysis):

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

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

⭐⭐⭐ Yes but it could improve

WHAT WORKS:
✅ Love this personalized subject line that sticks in your head with a rhyme.

🧠 It works because of something called Rhyme as Reason Effect: When a saying rhymes it’s more memorable and persuasive.

WHAT I'D CHANGE:
❌ This email isn't creating an emotional connection or getting a reaction from me.

This could be achieved with some small tweaks, for example:

- An image where the models are making eye contact with the user.
- A subheader that says, "These will make you feel like a million bucks."

(Here's an email from adidas that does a good job of creating that connection with humor.)


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

⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Good

WHAT WORKS:
✅ This email doesn't overwhelm - the CTA to "shop now" is clear.

WHAT I'D CHANGE:
❌ I'd recommend testing the products in the "this would be perfect for you" section.

Experimenting with an email that shows all bralettes (since that's what the customer was shopping for) instead of a mix of t-shirts, panties, and body suits might keep the customer focused on their original shopping mission, making them more likely to complete their purchase.

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

3. 🧠 Salient: Is this email easy to pay attention to and remember?
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ -Not bad but needs a small tweak to make it 5 stars

WHAT WORKS:
✅ The basic design of this email is easy to navigate and familiar to customers.

WHAT I'D CHANGE:
❌ The salience of the CTA button (how attention-grabbing it is) could be much higher - it's easy to lose because the Skims brand is very neutral, resulting in a CTA that's low contrast and easy to miss.

Dialling down the nude to a darker shade (dark brown or black) with white text would make it easier to spot among all the neutral products and images.

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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