Abandoned carts - shopping trolley graphic

Abandoned cart SMS: how to win back sales on your eCommerce store

After all the work you put in to create a great online store — sourcing stock, setting up product pages, analysing your checkout flow, the list goes on — how is it still possible that so many potential customers are abandoning their cart?

Driving traffic to your store is important, but getting them to convert is another ball game. Cart abandonment is frustratingly common in online retail — we have the stats below.

But the good news is, there are ways to recover abandoned carts. Win back your sales online with this guide to shopping cart recovery.

Hint: SMS is fantastic for recovering carts 🔥

So what does an abandoned cart mean?

An abandoned cart is when a user adds a product to a digital shopping cart, on an online retailer’s website, but does not finalise the purchase. When you sell online, the abandoned cart rate is an important metric to watch. It’s simply the proportion of carts that did not get finalised over the number of total carts that were created — and by ‘created’ we mean at least one item was added to the shopping cart.

Customer abandons sad shopping cart in the rain

Shopping cart abandonment rate statistics

The results are in – market research shows that customers drop off far more frequently than purchase. Here are some rates by industry:

  • 76% for general retail
  • 89% for fashion
  • 76% for utilities
  • 89% for travel

And a whopping 81% across all sectors.

Yet 75% of customers who abandon their carts have, at that moment, every intention of later completing their purchase. So why do customers leave their virtual shopping carts? To win them back, we need to understand why they’re are leaving.

But first – how do I find my abandoned cart rate?

Some eCommerce platforms make it easy to find shopping cart data. We’ve included how to find this data on 3 of the most popular platforms.

Shopify abandoned cart report

With 26% of online retailers using Shopify to power their store, Shopify is currently the most popular platform to build online stores.

And they make it easy to find abandonment rates. Simply log in, click orders and then click abandoned checkouts. Here you will be able to see all your abandoned carts for the past three months (anything older will be automatically removed). It’s also helpful to check payment events (in behaviour reports). If an online shopper’s payment fails, they’re more likely to abandon their cart.

WooCommerce abandoned carts

If your website is hosted on WordPress, chances are that WooCommerce is powering your online store. If this is the case, it’s a little trickier to find abandoned cart data.

Here are some options:

  • Install a cart report plugin
  • Set up Google Analytics enhanced eCommerce tracking on your store. Then use the Checkout Behaviour Report (Conversions > Ecommerce > Checkout Behavior) to see where customers are dropping off during checkout.

Magento abandoned cart report

Good news for stores on Magento – there’s a standard marketing report for abandoned cart. Just log in, click Reports in the left side menu and click Abandoned Carts under the Marketing section.

Now once you see how many customers are leaving your site, you can delve into what’s causing it. And why.

Why DO customers abandon their carts?

For many reasons. Customers could be looking for information, get distracted or something wasn’t right during the buying experience.

Here are common reasons why shoppers abandon their baskets.

Shining a light on why carts get abandoned

Fees. Shipping. Returns.

Three major reasons why shopping carts get abandoned:

  • Hidden fees: the total cost of the basket is more than the customer expected (whether from added taxes or fees).
  • Shipping cost: the fee for delivery was more than the customer expected or was willing to pay.
  • Lack of returns policy: 91% of consumers said return policy is a crucial factor when buying online (as customers don’t get to hold and see the physical product).

How to reduce drop-off: have a transparent returns policy and make sure pricing is clear during checkout. This includes all applicable taxes, discount codes and shipping fees. We also suggest including returns information on the checkout page so customers don’t have to leave the page to find it.

Customers didn’t like the checkout experience

And this could be for any number of reasons:

  • Checkout was too complex or had too many steps
  • They did not want to create an account
  • Website was too slow
  • Difficulty navigating your store on mobile
  • No express shipping options available
  • Limited payment options

How to combat these issues: try to make the checkout process as simple as possible. Page speed is super important, so is mobile experience. Offer guest checkout. Consider adding shipping options. Accept standard payment types (major credit cards and Paypal), and maybe even new options like Google Pay or Afterpay.

The customer doesn’t know or trust you

You must earn the trust of your customers — most consumers are uncomfortable sharing personal and credit card information online. If the consumer doubts your integrity as a vendor, they won’t commit to the purchase.

What to do: use secure payment partners. Include options to contact you, including address, phone and email contacts. Check your social media and directory sites for any negative reviews that might be lurking on the web.

Expecting cart items to be discounted

Then there are the customers who add items to cart when expecting you’ll offer a discount – maybe ahead of a special online shopping day or seasonal events like Cyber Monday. The shopper may even check their cart two or three times in anticipation of a sale.

Tip: check your analytics to see whether cart abandonment rates increase ahead of these sale days. This is an excellent opportunity to send an SMS to alert the consumer of a sale.

Customers simply got distracted

People are busy. We get so many notifications during the day, it’s easy to get distracted. These are the people who are most likely to engage with your abandoned cart recovery strategy.

So let’s continue – how to recover your abandoned carts.

Cart recovery: getting customers to commit

Happy shopping cart with a happy customer

As frustrating as it can be to see abandoned carts for your online store, there are ways to encourage customers to complete their purchases and win back these sales.

Abandoned cart recovery email

Email is a popular solution to improve cart abandonment rates. Almost half of cart abandonment emails are opened, and half of those who click through end up converting. But email can lack immediacy, and deliverability issues can have an impact. The success of these emails rely on captivating subject lines, great copy and a clear call to action.

Enable web based push notifications

Enable push notifications on your website so that you can send reminders as notifications on your customers handset. Push notifications drive significantly higher click-through rates than email. There are plenty of plugins that allow eCommerce stores to add push notification functionality to their store. Note that customers have to opt-in to receiving notifications this way.

Show customers their cart items wherever they browse

Thanks to retargeting you can remind customers of their cart items on their social media or around the web, wherever they browse. The best retargeting ads usually show the items in the cart, which is great for being top of mind. However, retargeting ads only work if users are not using ad blockers.

Cart abandonment SMS

Use the easiest, most cost-effective way to communicate for recovering shopping carts. Most consumers have a mobile phone and SMS delivery requires no internet connection. With near-perfect delivery and open rates, and 90% of messages opened within less than 3 minutes, text messaging is incredibly effective.

Abandoned cart message best practices

Get the most out of your messaging with these tips.

  • Timing: send text messages an hour after the customer abandons their cart.
  • Friendly reminder: for example, you’re “saving” items in their cart – did they still want them?
  • Create urgency: for example, the selected item will not be available for much longer.
  • Personalisation: use their name, list the items in their cart, and use your brand tone of voice to speak to them. You can even recommend other products – but make sure it’s about the customer and not a hard sell.
  • Automation: trigger messages in response to inaction of the customer. We’ll show you how below.
  • Added incentive: if the gentle reminder didn’t work, it might be time to sweeten the deal. This could be a discount on the product or free shipping/express shipping upgrade.

Abandoned cart SMS best practice

Remember to include the following essentials:

  • Your store name
  • The recipient’s name
  • Link to your store
  • A clear call to action
  • Opt-out/unsubscribe option

Or better yet, why not try using MMS to send your customers an image of the product to remind them of what they could miss out on.

Elements of a good shopping cart recovery message - text message on mobile handset

Copy-and-paste these cart abandonment message templates

Here are a couple of templates to get you started.

Hi, (First. name), it’s [brand name]. We’ve noticed that you forgot a few items in your cart. We look after our customers, so use [discount code name] for 15% off your order! Today only. Shop [Link]. Opt out reply stop.

Hey (First. name), great choice of [product category] at [store name]. It’s so close to being yours but there’s one more step. Get it here [Link]. Opt out reply stop.

Don’t forget to edit the placeholders in square brackets to be relevant to your business.

Send automated abandoned cart text messages – a Shopify example

Using an integration platform like Zapier, you can add SMS ability to almost any eCommerce platform. (Or check out our direct integrations for WooCommerce, Magento or Zoho users).

In this example we are setting up automated abandoned cart messages from Shopify. Here’s how to create your abandoned cart SMS Zap.

Shopify abandoned cart SMS automation in Zapier
  1. Head to the Shopify and ClickSend integration page on Zapier.
  2. Choose abandoned cart as your trigger from Shopify. Follow the prompts to verify your account.
  3. Add SMS as the action. Verify your ClickSend account with your username and API key, then save and continue.
  4. Write your abandoned cart message, using the tips above.
  5. Test your Zap – make sure that it works as expected!
  6. Turn your Zap on. Voila 🎉

Then just sit back and watch your customers return, thanks to your new message automation.

Ready to convert more customers?

(Of course you are.)

Get started with abandoned cart text messaging with us. Sign up today and start turning more abandoned carts into sales.

Sharing is caring!