Cart Abandonment SMS: How to Integrate Text Messages into Your Strategy

Cart abandonment, SMS integration.


Karolina Petraškienė

Content Marketing Manager

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Recovering abandoned carts is a big challenge for the vast majority of retailers nowadays. Marketing tools like email reminders, Facebook, and Google retargeting are well-known and widely used to win customers back. But marketers wouldn’t be marketers if they weren’t on the lookout for new, more effective, and more affordable marketing means and communication channels.

Over the last few years, SMS marketing has become rooted in retailers’ marketing strategies. However, we see that many marketers don’t use this channel to its full capacity and subsequently miss an excellent opportunity to automate text messages for cart recovery and generate more revenue.

Without a doubt, an abandoned cart SMS reminder is a tool to consider adding to your marketing toolbox. And here is why:

  • SMS has a very high reach as a marketing channel. More and more people are opting into SMS, with 75% of customers say they wouldn’t mind receiving an SMS from a brand.
  • SMS marketing is more affordable than Facebook or Google retargeting.
  • SMS is quick to consume and gets more engagement than an email. Ninety-seven percent of text messages are read in the first four minutes of receipt, and retailers see a 400% lift in click rates from SMS compared to email.
  • It’s easy to be personal with SMS. This channel is perfect for personalized, time-sensitive messages—like cart abandonment reminders.

Although it might be a bit too early to build an entire marketing strategy solely on SMS, it’s a perfect addition to already existing email marketing, social media, and other digital marketing channels. According to Omnisend research, omnichannel campaigns that involve SMS are 47.7% more likely to end in conversion.

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So if you are eager to try SMS auto-reminders and are still not sure how to start and what exactly to say, keep reading this article. Here you will find insights and tips that we’ve shaped after analyzing thousands of SMS messages and different cart recovery scenarios.

A Blueprint of a Cart Abandonment SMS

Cart abandonment SMS reminders are text messages sent automatically after the shopper adds items to the cart but leaves without completing the purchase.

Because an SMS is a concise text message, it should be straight to the point and contain only a few must-have elements. Unlike email or retargeting campaigns, it doesn’t require any visuals or design solutions. So without any help, you can write and send it in a minute.

Note: For sending this kind of message, the retailer should have the shopper’s marketing consent and phone number. Service providers track this data differently, so before launching an automated cart abandonment SMS, you should double-check how your SMS provider handles it.

Now, let’s learn how to draft your perfect abandoned cart text message.

  1. Brand name. Don’t be an anonymous sender. Put your brand name at the front or clearly indicated in the copy to get instant brand recognition.
  2. Shopper’s name. By including your customer’s name, you will make your message more personal.
  3. Brief yet compelling copy. Typically, a single SMS shouldn’t exceed 160 characters, so short and sweet copy is exactly what you need. Emotional triggers like a sense of urgency or scarcity can help your text message to convert.
  4. Discount code. Offering discount codes depends on your strategy. However, if you are willing to offer one, don’t forget to include it in your message.
  5. CTA. Every promotional message should have a clear call-to-action, no matter how short it is.
  6. URL. Always add a link to your store. No matter if the customer gets the email or SMS, the link should lead directly to the abandoned cart.
  7. Opt-Out. Always add an unsubscribe option to your SMS. It is a must-have element in every promotional message.

These are just a few examples of abandoned cart SMS:

  • [Brand name]: Your shopping cart is waiting for you, [customer’s name]. Don’t let it expire! Use code [code name] to get a 10% off for the entire order. [link to the abandoned cart] Reply STOP to opt-out.
  • Still shopping? Don’t miss out a 20% off your order at [brand name]! Use code [code name] at the checkout: [link to the abandoned cart] Reply STOP to opt-out.
  • Hi! Do you need help selecting your perfect platinum ring at [brand name]? Call us at +911 222 3333 for any assistance! Reply STOP to opt-out.

3 Ideas on How to Fold SMS into Your Abandoned Cart Strategy

Abandoned cart text messages can be sent as single auto-reminders or integrated into a more sophisticated cart abandonment strategy–combining SMS with cart recovery emails and/or retargeting yields retailers significantly better results.

The purchase rate of campaigns using three or more channels is 287% higher than single-channel campaigns.

Omnisend research, 2019

Although it might sound too advanced at first, combining SMS and email into one workflow is extremely easy and doesn’t require additional resources.

Now, let’s look at what approaches you might take with your abandoned cart strategy that includes SMS.

1. Send a friendly reminder

As mentioned earlier, ideally, SMS should go hand-in-hand with an email to achieve the maximum result. So you can send a friendly reminder of an abandoned cart via email, and the next day, send a text message as the last reminder before the cart expires. It would be a time-sensitive notification–a perfect fit for the SMS channel.

Here’s how this workflow would look.

2. Spice up the reminder with an exclusive coupon code

Using a discount code can be a powerful way to provide your shoppers with yet another reason to purchase the products they were already thinking of.

However, you may not want to spoil your shoppers and offer discounts for all abandoned carts—maybe only for those over $150?

In this case, you can simply split your cart abandonment workflow depending on the abandoned cart amount. The blueprint of such a workflow would look like this:

For more of abandoned cart incentives, check out this article.

3. Ask if your shoppers have any questions

If you sell exclusive products or have a category of such, offering some help might turn out very well.

Let’s say you sell jewelry. Your accessories under $300 sell out fast, but luxurious ones with gems are abandoned more often. For you, this might be fine, as you know it takes customers longer to decide on purchasing more expensive jewelry.

At this point, your cart abandonment strategy might again be split based on the cart value. For the less expensive carts, you can send messages only to remind the shoppers about the items in their cart. For the higher value carts, your messages may offer some sort of assistance (or even a discount). For these customers, you may also consider retargeting them on Facebook.

Another example, for the same jewelry seller. By knowing your customer abandoned an engagement ring, you can trigger a specific set of messages to customers leaving an engagement ring versus those who abandoned a pair of earrings.

You may also choose not to send SMS reminders to those engagement ring shoppers so as not to potentially spoil the surprise. On the other hand, SMS reminders for the earring shoppers may be the perfect tool to recover the sale. This personalized journey matters.

Here are a few more ideas to try too:

  • Shuffle the timing between messages.
  • Variate the number of messages and the sequence of SMSes and emails.
  • Use a different tone of voice.
  • Use different copy to loyal customers and the newcomers.
  • Provide discount codes only in SMSes and tell about it in your signup forms, etc.

As you can see, when it comes to ideas about what to test in your abandoned cart strategy, the sky is the limit. The most important thing is not to limit yourself by sending a single, one-type-fits-all email reminder. Instead, employ more channels and use customer data to personalize your messages and win back those abandoned carts.

SMSes are a powerful addition to your digital marketing strategy and can lead you toward a bigger and more sophisticated digital marketing strategy. If your customers have opted into the SMS program, it’s a sign that is a channel they want to be communicated with. Don’t be scared to try it.

This article originally appeared in the Omnisend blog and has been published here with permission.

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