How To Recover More Abandoned Carts With SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing

Last updated - August 16, 2021

Wouldn’t it be amusing if people could easily abandon their shopping carts in brick and mortar stores as often as it happens in their eCommerce counterparts?

Picture this, you’ve gone to a store, browsed around, popped a few items into the cart then when it’s time to check out, you just leave the shopping trolley by the door and walk out without checking out. Imagine the logistical nightmare that would come out of this? As the store owner, you’d probably be spending more on lawsuits incurred from people colliding with abandoned carts than anything else. 

Odd as it may seem, it’s a common problem that many eCommerce store owners are familiar with. How many times have you seen visitors come to your store, put some items into their cart only for them to leave without checking out? Too many to count, I bet. 

Well, I’ll have you know that you’re not alone. Nearly 70% of all shoppers don’t checkout. This implies that for every 100 people that visit your store, only 30 will proceed to checkout. Put like that, the numbers are scary. They imply a 70% loss in potential business! 

For any business owner, that’s just unacceptable. 

To be fair to eCommerce stores, cart abandonment rates are not necessarily their own fault. It’s part of the online shopping experience. The tradeoff for convenience goes both ways – customers can abandon their carts as quickly as they can fill them. 

However, just because most of the reasons for cart abandonment are out of your control does not mean that there is nothing you can do about it. With a few tweaks, you can increase your checkout rates by more than 35%, according to data from Baymard

Why do People Abandon Carts?

It’s important to understand the reasons behind cart abandonment as espoused by the customers themselves. Baymard’s research posits that more than half of US online shoppers did not checkout because “they were just browsing / not ready to buy

Take a look at the following infographic taken from the same study on reasons for cart abandonment among US online shoppers:

SMS Marketing

Source : Baymard Research Institute

Unlike users who are just browsing, most of these are solvable problems. They are an actual problem that store owners can address. 

The key takeaways from the study is that users abandon carts due to extra costs and a lack of convenience. Having to go through a complicated checkout is a deal breaker for most customers since they’ll just switch to a store that has a simpler interface for a smooth shopping experience. 

Scrapping shipping costs and trying to make your checkout experience more intuitive is among the quickest, sure fire ways to reduce cart abandonment rates. But there’s always more you can do depending on the specifics of your store. 

Why should you recover abandoned carts

There are plenty of benefits to recovering abandoned carts. 

  • Increase revenue – By getting more customers to checkout, you are increasing sales which translates to more revenue. Getting a customer who’s already interested in your products to make a purchase is easier and cheaper than trying to acquire a new customer. 
  • Get better insights into your business – Understanding the reasons behind cart abandonment can make you a better store owner in myriad ways. If particular products are always left in the cart then you might want to offer a discount or a coupon. If people from a particular country or region keep on abandoning their carts, it may have something to do with your shipping costs. 
  • Improve customer relationships – By getting in touch with your abandoners, you are able to re-engage with them and understand their reasons for abandonment. It ups the relevance of your communication while giving you a nice opportunity to personalize your brand. Your customers will appreciate you taking the time to explore their complaints as this makes you come across as being attentive to their immediate needs. 

How to Recover Abandoned Carts

With potential increase in earnings, eCommerce stores have adopted various strategies to increase their conversion rates by recovering abandoned carts. 

However, most of these businesses still use the old, tried and tested methods of abandoned cart recovery. It’s treated like a sedentary part of the business. While old tactics do indeed work, rapid innovations in the eCommerce space means that you have to keep updating your tactics. 

Some of the techniques used in recovering abandoned carts include:

  • Retargeting marketing – this is marketing aimed at users who frequent your site. You can retarget them with ads of products they were going to buy. If a prospect left a pair of shoes in their cart and did not checkout, you display similar ads in their feed. It’s easier to get a sale that way as you are advertising products they already have interest in. This makes retargeting ads cheaper. 
  • Cart recovery emails – These are among the most productive of emails one can send. They basically work by urging shoppers to go back to their abandoned carts and checkout. With links to abandoned carts, these emails offer a chance to go revert back to the site with one click, which ups the convenience. 
  • Push notifications – Push notifications are an effective way of reaching users who’ve just left your site. They are easy to embed into your store and can be customized to be sent a few minutes after users have left the site, compelling them to finish their checkout. 

While these are effective methods, no doubt, they all face their drawbacks. These have been in place since the advent of eCommerce and have thus been employed to saturation. 

Try different strategies

Don’t get me wrong, cart recovery is an omnichannel marketing strategy that requires you incorporate many of the techniques into your overall strategy but the mushrooming of online stores means that you have to stand out. 

For instance, your average shopper is generally inundated with emails. They may not even see your cart recovery email, let alone open it. Spam filters make sure only the most relevant content lands into your client’s inbox and chances are, business emails don’t make the cut. 

Similarly, shoppers are bombarded with ads of all sorts. Not to mention, most have ad blockers in place so your ads may not be hitting their mark. 

To discerning customers, these methods seem spammy and do not really strike at the heart of the matter. 

The human approach

You are convincing someone to finish their shopping. It should be a persuasive strategy. Something personal with a human approach to it. Something that shows you care for their reasons for cart abandonment and not just your bottom-line. 

While automated responses to abandoned carts do play their part, a touch of warmth in your approach is the best bet to increase your cart recovery rates exponentially. 

So, how do you do this?

The secret lies in SMS marketing

Recovering carts using SMS is a proven method. 

Let’s face it, when it comes to coming across as friendly and personal, nothing beats SMS. SMS open rates and ROI far outweigh those of email. 

Let’s take a look at the stats. 

SMS Marketing

Source: Aviaro

With such an edge over email and other marketing channels, SMS truly is king. Here are 5 ways on how to leverage the power of SMS in recovering abandoned carts:

Use Visuals of Products

People respond extremely well to visuals as opposed to text. When sending cart recovery texts to shoppers, make sure to incorporate images of the products they were to purchase. 

Let’s say you wanted to get some burgers then for whatever reason, you did not go through with the purchase. 

Ping! In comes a text from your burger store with a juicy burger splurged on your screen asking you if you still want to have a taste of all that goodness. That’s more likely to convince you than a generic text asking you to finish your shopping. It puts you back to the shopping mindset. 

GIFs are also popular. Since GIFs are already used across all social media sites, why not integrate them into your own campaign?

Use your Customers First Name

SMS is personal, leverage that. 

Using a customer’s first name immediately catches their attention and makes them more interested in what you have to say. 

The difference between email and SMS is that SMS is almost guaranteed to be opened. No one wants to feel texted by a business that views them as just consumers. People want to feel like they are talking to their friends. 

Using their first names brings this about. It may seem like a trivial detail but with the limited scope of SMS, nothing is too little. It’s the details and paying attention to them, what matters. 

80% of online shoppers are inclined to purchase from a brand if it delivers personalized marketing experiences.

Pro-tip : Where possible, include other personal details you may have in your database like a complementary offer on a trending product. 

Have a clear Call-To-Action

Reading texts is all good but if there isn’t a strong CTA on what are the next steps to take then it’s all wasted. 

A customer has opened your text, they have been enticed by the images and you’ve caught their attention. Good. Maybe you’ve even asked them to go back to their cart but to do this, they would have to go back to their device and type in your store’s address. Most people probably won’t do this so it’s a lost sale. 

You have to be clear on what you would like customers to do with the information and give them a quick way to do it. Remember, you only have a few seconds of their attention so the time it takes to log in to your site is precious.

To avoid this, you should include a shortened link to their carts. With their cart just a click away, most customers will go back and complete their orders. 

Pro-tip: Short, branded links work best. People are hesitant to click on unknown links from texts but one with your brand’s name on it re-assures your customers they are in good hands. Brand recognition immediately ingratiates you to your customer. Moreover, consumers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value.


Embed personal discounts and coupons in the URL

Unexpected charges and high shipping costs are the leading cause of cart abandonment. With the plethora of online stores, consumers want to spend the least amount. They are able to navigate different stores comparing prices and looking for the best deal. 

77% of shoppers say discounts can influence where they shop, and 48% say they can speed up the decision-making process.

To nab these customers, we recommend you offer a discount or free shipping in your first cart recovery text. This saves them the time it would have taken to compare prices while at the same time winning you a sale and a satisfied customer. What more could a business want?


Shipping costs are a major obstacle when it comes to recovering carts. Work on optimizing your shipping charges and if possible scrap them entirely. While these may incur a few extra expenses on your side, the resultant cart recovery rates and returned customers will more than cover for it.

Promote a sense of urgency and scarcity

People are more moved to buy items that they think are going to get sold out soon. It’s the central tenet to business. 

A prime example is in the case of the coronavirus where essential items have sold out in most stores. Most people did not crowd the stores to buy food and essentials because they might starve in the near future and thus require them. Nope. It’s because other people were buying them as well. 

While the above example is not something we’d encourage, it perfectly encapsulates the psychology behind the effectiveness of creating a sense of scarcity. 

Customers who have abandoned their carts suppose that they can do without the items. It’s your job to convince them that they cannot and put a little pressure on them to purchase the items immediately. 

You should come at your customers with an “act now approach”. Phrases like “Your order will expire soon”, “Items going fast” or “About to run out of stock” are genius ways to get your customers to complete their orders.

 SMS Marketing


Pro-tip: Use this effectively and sparingly. Bombarding your customers with multiple telling that their order will expire soon makes you come across as desperate to make a sale and may just lose you one. After all, if items are moving that fast, why pester them then?

Engage in 1:1 conversations with customers

If you want to recover even more abandoned carts, adopt a conversational approach. Why? People love to talk about their lives and issues, they love to be listened to. By allowing your customers to reply to your texts, you can find the real reasons behind their abandonment, help them with any kind of issue they might be facing and encourage them to make the purchase with a sweet discount. These insights not only help you close the deal, but to adjust your buying experience in order for the customers to not have to face those issues again. Considering that emails have a meagre conversion rate of 3.2%, it does not hold a candle to SMS’s near 45%. Start using a conversational platform powered by real humans like Cartloop and you’ll be surprised how many happy, satisfied customers will become your most loyal ones. 

Wrapping Up

Text messages offer an immediate way to reconnect with your customers who abandon their purchases. As we have seen customers are happy to receive texts from brands they trust. Recovering their abandoned carts via text is very convenient for many of them as it cuts the process of having to wait for an email reply or for live agents.

With the right approach, simple cart abandonment SMS will contribute to your wider customer retention strategy in ways you’ve never thought of before. 

Capitalize on the power of SMS to recover more than 29% of your abandoned carts using Cartloop. Try it free for 7-days and watch your sales increase while your ROI skyrockets. 

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