How Brands Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment with SMS (Plus 8 Examples)
Automations, Ideas / Inspiration

How Brands Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment with SMS (Plus 8 Examples)

Kaleigh Moore

May 6, 2020

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you ask ecommerce brands what their greatest challenge is, many will say it’s reducing cart abandonment.

According to Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is a staggering 69.57%. In other words: nearly three-quarters of ecommerce customers are going through the buyer’s journey and leaving before they finalize their purchases. 

An effective cart recovery campaign helps brands reduce abandonment rates by reminding customers that they still have items in their shopping cart. One of the ways you can do this is by sending an abandoned cart SMS to your prospective customers—which is one of the more likely ways you can get subscribers to open and act on your offer while adding a personal touch from your brand.

But first, let’s learn more about cart abandonment and how it can affect your business.

In this article (click to jump to a particular section):

Why do customers abandon carts?

You’ve likely experienced cart abandonment before. Perhaps you spent an hour browsing your favorite online store, adding items to your basket—but when you got to the checkout stage, maybe you had second thoughts before entering your payment details. Or perhaps you wanted to read a few more reviews before completing your purchase.

People abandon online shopping carts for a wide variety of reasons. When Baymard Institute asked customers why they abandon carts, they found:

  • 50% of customers abandoned their cart because of fees

  • 28% abandoned their cart because they had to create an account

  • 21% felt the checkout process was too complicated


Source: Baymard Institute

In total, cart abandonment costs the ecommerce industry an estimated $4.6 trillion in lost sales every year. 

The thing is: some of those carts can be recovered by simply reaching out to the customer and reminding them to complete their purchase. While emails are commonly used to connect with customers, studies show that SMS could be a more effective medium for your cart recovery campaign. According to Gartner, SMS can have an open rate as high as 90%, compared to a rate of 20% for emails. 

If you haven’t considered using SMS in your cart recovery campaign, now’s a good time to start.

How to Create a Cart Recovery Campaign Using SMS

Now that we’ve touched on the importance of stopping cart abandonment, let’s look at how you can create an abandoned cart SMS campaign of your own.

As you're building your recovery campaign, keep in mind that you'll never be able to completely stop cart abandonment. The focus of your campaign should be to recover carts from people who were genuinely interested in buying your product or services. Generally speaking, good recovery rates tend to be around 5-10%.

Setting up your Recovery Campaign on Shopify

If this is your first time creating a cart recovery campaign, you may not know how to find abandoned carts on Shopify. You can see this by visiting the Abandoned Checkouts section in your Shopify account. (If you’re looking for more information, Shopify also has a helpful guide on improving conversions that covers cart abandonment and many other common pain points.)

Setting up an automated abandoned cart SMS campaign is quick and easy with Postscript.


It only takes a few minutes for you to create an automated cart recovery campaign that reaches out to prospective customers through SMS. All you have to do is write the messages you want to send your customers, then decide how long you want to wait before sending your initial SMS and follow-up message. 

It’s that easy. You can see for yourself by reading our guide on enabling automations for abandoned cart SMS.

Optimizing the Layout of Your SMS

SMS is an excellent channel for your cart recovery campaign, but it needs to be optimized for engagement. Brands like Grunt Style have used SMS to boost abandoned cart recovery rates to an impressive 45% among customers who opened their text messages. They were able to do this by sending text messages that grab readers’ attention and make them want to complete their purchase.

collect customer data sms

You want to make your abandoned cart SMS as engaging as possible. You can do that with a few simple elements, such as:

  • Visuals: An image to catch the reader’s eye, like a picture of your product or a branded logo

  • Your brand name: Boost brand awareness by starting the message off with your company’s name

  • Personalization: Include your recipient’s name in the message––Personalization sells

  • A branded URL: Using a branded URL lets recipients know their SMS isn't spam, and it helps increase your brand awareness

  • A call-to-action: Tell your reader how to complete their sell with a clear-cut CTA

These are elements that every SMS should have. You can increase your conversion rates even more by adding one or more of the following components:

  • A personal message that encourages your buyer to complete their purchasing journey

  • An emotional trigger that conveys scarcity or a sense of urgency

  • A code or link where the customer can opt-out of text messages 

Creating an SMS that is optimized for engagement can go a long way in helping you maximize recovery rates.

When it comes to when you should send, remember: You want to capitalize on the momentum of a shopper’s interest. Sending a first message within that first 1-2 hour window after a cart is abandoned is essential, but you can always follow up 2-3 days later in case the shopper is still in the decision-making phase and needs a bit more time, and even a third time a week later for any last-chance efforts.

3 Tips for Creating your Own Abandoned Cart SMS Recovery Campaign

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to creating an effective cart recovery campaign. You may need to adjust your tone and overall marketing strategy depending on your industry or the customers you’re appealing to. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure your campaign runs as smoothly as possible. Let’s take a look.

1. Don’t constantly offer discounts.

One of the most common mistakes brands make in their cart recovery campaign is offering discounts or “buy one, get one free” deals. This might seem like a good idea because it encourages your customer to complete their purchase, but discounts can:

  • Encourage future cart abandonment for more deals

  • Cause you to lose out on revenue 

  • Cheapen your brand

If you feel like you need to do a little extra persuading in your recovery campaign, consider implementing a loyalty program where buyers receive points with every purchase. This will create an incentive for customers to complete their purchases without placing you in a position where you’re rewarding cart abandonment.

2. Make it easier for customers to purchase items.

Inconvenience is a big reason people abandon carts. After they’ve spent part of their day browsing your online catalog, the last thing they want to do is jump through extra hoops during the checkout process. 

One way you can simplify the checkout process is by adding a “guest checkout” feature. Not everyone wants to register for an account, and you shouldn’t be losing sales because your site doesn’t allow guest checkout. 

You can simplify the checkout process for returning customers by implementing SMS-based orders. Postscript and ReCharge make it easy to enable “reply to buy” text messages for your Shopify store with subscription-based products.


3. Use dynamic product images.

Dynamic product images add a whole new layer of personalization to your abandoned cart SMS campaign by including the image of the abandoned product within the text message. This means your recipients can actually see the item left in their basket, alongside a reminder encouraging them to complete their purchase. If they have multiple items in their basket, the picture of the most expensive item will be included in the text message.

Best of all, the whole process of adding dynamic product images is automated. With Postscript, you can set up this feature with the click of a mouse and watch as your conversion rates go up.


If you’re still not sold, consider this: adding dynamic product images to abandoned cart SMS has helped some ecommerce stores exceed 20x ROI.

8 Examples of Automated Abandoned Cart Texts

Need some inspo for your brand's abandoned cart automation? Check out some real-life cart abandonment messages from 8 brands that have this SMS strategy on lock.

1. The Perfect Jean

Clothing brand The Perfect Jean sends this abandoned cart message to customers who have not purchased before. Unlike many abandoned cart messages, this one does not include a discount incentive. Instead, this text leverages the brand's unique voice and tone to woo prospects into taking action.

PerfectJean NewAbandonedCart

2. Run Gum

Energy gum brand Run Gum takes a more classic approach to their abandoned cart SMS message for new customers. In addition to promoting a 20% discount, the message creates a sense of urgency by putting a deadline on the recipient's opportunity to redeem their discount code. Then, they give the subscriber a direct link back to their cart so it's easy to make the purchase right then and there.

RunGum AbandonedCartNewCust

3. Three Ships

Beauty brand Three Ships created an abandoned cart message specifically for their super-popular Bestsellers Kit. To reinforce the value of this product, the brand touts the hundreds of 5-star reviews it has received. That, along with a $27 discount, goes a long way toward getting hesitant shoppers to the purchasing finish line. In fact, we recommend testing a percentage discount against a dollar amount discount to see which one resonates more with your audience.

ThreeShips AbandonedCartDollarDiscount

4. Wandering Bear Coffee

Coffee brand Wandering Bear combines playful copy with a free shipping offer to entice cart abandoners to come back and buy. This can also be an effective strategy, especially for larger orders or items that may cost a lot to ship.

WanderingBear AbandonedCart

5. Your Super

Organic superfood brand Your Super plays on subscribers' curiosity by promoting a mystery offer for those who return to—and complete—their order. Shoppers have to go back to checkout to reveal the offer, and getting them there is half the battle. So, this can be a strong play to inch people toward converting.

YourSuper AbandonedCartMystery

6. Super Coffee

Super Coffee keeps their abandoned cart message short, sweet, and on-brand. It really does feel like a quick reminder text from your best friend. In fact, including an incentive or discount would probably take away from the casual feel. So, this is a great angle for brands that don't want to sling discounts like they're going out of style.

Super Coffee Abandoned Cart

7. Doughp

Edible cookie dough brand Doughp combines two abandoned cart strategies in one message. First, they create a sense of urgency by letting the shopper know that other customers are ordering this product "left and right"—implying that they better get on it if they don't want to miss out. Second, they mention their rewards program and let the subscriber know that they can use rewards points on their purchase.

Doughp Abandoned Cart

8. J Skis

Ski brand J Skis makes things conversational by offering to answer any lingering questions the subscriber may have about the products in their cart. They even take it a step further by making it appear that the text is coming from a specific person at the company. To add even more value, they let the subscriber know about their free shipping offer as well as their money-back guarantee—which could help alleviate any feelings of risk holding new customers back from trying out the product.

J Skis Abandoned Cart

Real Abandoned Cart Text Results from Real Brands

As you can hopefully tell by now, text messages are an excellent channel for recovering abandoned carts. These industry-wide stats go a long way toward proving it:

But nothing shows the power of an abandoned cart SMS like tangible revenue results from real brands. Let’s look at how actual ecommerce companies on Shopify have used Postscript to recover carts and increase revenue. 

How Buttercloth Increased Revenue by $72,000 in One Month

Popular clothing manufacturer Buttercloth turned to Postscript and MuteSix to help them convert visitors into paying customers.


The two companies responded by creating an automated SMS marketing campaign that included abandoned cart messages, a loyalty campaign, and a welcome series. Within 30 days, Buttercloth had earned $72,000 in revenue and gained more than 4,500 subscribers. Their cart recovery SMS campaign had generated:

  • 19.7% click-through rates

  • A cart recovery rate of 47.2% on texts clicked

  • More than $22 for every message sent

How Grunt Style Generated $100,000 in Revenue in Two Weeks

Patriotic clothing manufacturer Grunt Style wanted to build a strong SMS campaign that generated additional revenue without undermining their email marketing initiatives. With the help of Postscript and MuteSix, Grunt Style was able to implement a comprehensive SMS marketing campaign that focused on improving mobile conversions through welcome series, abandoned cart automation flows, and targeted promotional messages.


After two weeks of using Postscript’s SMS marketing tools, Grunt Style gained an impressive $100,000 in revenue. That number jumped to $650,000 in 45 days as they gained more than 50,000 subscribers across mobile, desktop, and email opt-ins. 

What’s more: the abandoned cart SMS campaign earned Grunt Style more than $4 for every SMS sent, while giving them 25% click-through rates and an impressive 45% cart recovery rate on all opened text messages.

Reduce your Abandoned Carts with Postscript

Remember how a large portion of cart abandoners left the purchasing journey because they felt inconvenienced? Your abandoned cart SMS can remind customers that their cart is still waiting on them and that they don't have to start the purchasing journey all over.

With Postscript, you can automate your entire SMS marketing campaign for your ecommerce store. Everything from abandoned carts, cross-selling initiatives, and shipping notifications can be automated and integrated into Shopify within minutes. 

If you’re ready to get started, schedule a demo today and see how Postscript can help you get a 4x ROI within your first month.

Kaleigh Moore

Kaleigh Moore

Freelance Writer

Kaleigh Moore is a freelance writer for ecommerce companies.