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A Beginner’s Guide to Cart Abandonment SMS Remarketing

A Beginner’s Guide to Cart Abandonment SMS Remarketing


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In this article we look at Cart Abandonment SMS remarketing, with some examples and stats from brand campaigns. 

Cart abandonment emails work by reminding shoppers of the contents of their abandoned carts, and prompting them to return to checkout and complete a purchase. It’s a great tactic, and the same principle can work using SMS messages rather than emails.

Users who have recently left the site without completing a purchase can be targeted with SMS messages encouraging to return to the site.

With people more likely to check their phone than their email inbox, an SMS message can drive an immediate response from shoppers while also increasing mobile conversions

The immediacy of SMS is key here. Messages are opened on average within 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for email. SMS has an open rate of 98% with 90% of messages opened within three minutes.

This makes SMS a powerful and highly responsive channel, and we’ve seen it outperform email in terms of click through rates (CTR).

What Is SMS Remarketing?

Abandoned cart SMS remarketing is a method that uses text messages to reconnect shoppers with their abandoned basket. 84% of visitors add something to their shopping basket but then leave your site. You can use basket abandonment SMS remarketing to remind them what they left behind. Much like cart abandonment email, SMS uses a site visitor’s contact details to send them a message a short time after they have abandoned a possible purchase.

cart abandonment sms

Visitors can be sent a personalised message with specific product information, and a unique URL to send them back to their shopping cart, or any other page on site.

If retailers have a compatible app, then deeplinks can be used to send shoppers to the relevant mobile app for a better shopping experience. SMS can also be used for post-purchase emails to improve customer retention rates. These messages include:

  • Thanking your customers for a recent purchase.
  • Sending a survey to gather some feedback on a recent purchase.
  • Providing product recommendations to drive further purchases.

Why Abandoned Cart SMS Test Messages Are Important 

The increased use of mobile is a key factor behind the effectiveness of Cart Abandonment SMS. People take them everywhere. Indeed, up to 75% even use their smartphones in the bathroom.

SMS offers a more immediate way to use remarketing and retargeting  tactics simply because they’re likely to see text messages more quickly than emails.

In addition, people are now much more likely to make a purchase from their phones. With mobile retail apps and sites optimized for mobile users, it needn’t be a struggle to buy via mobile.

Mobile now takes a greater share of online traffic and sales than ever before. Data from our 2021 Ecommerce Stats Report show that mobile accounted for more than 68% of all retail traffic.

Abandoned Cart SMS Examples 

We’ve seen click through rates for Cart Abandonment SMS in excess of those for email (36% vs 3.2%) as well as higher conversion rates.

For example, we worked with Firefly, a subsidiary of Malaysian Airlines, on a Cart Abandonment SMS campaign.We even won an award for this campaign.

Firefly was looking for a more immediate way of communicating with visitors who abandonment flight bookings. In some cases, flights abandoned were due to leave within days, so speed of response was a key factor.

Firefly saw its first recovered sale from only the fourth SMS message sent out, and after six weeks SaleCycle had sent approximately 8,000 remarketing SMS messages achieving a click-through rate of 15%.

The conversion rate (from send) was an impressive 4.5%, much higher than overall conversion rates for the travel sector.

Thorpe Park also used SMS to deliver messages to visitors 30 minutes after abandoning a booking. These messages were personalized and contained a shortened URL to take the customer back to the booking.

The results speak for themselves. 32% of SMS recipients clicked on the messages, and almost 7% returned to complete their purchase.  Overall the campaign drove a 5% increase in Thorpe Park’s online sales.

In Summary

Cart Abandonment SMS offers a more immediate method of (re)connecting with visitors who abandon bookings or purchases.

People are happy to use their mobiles to respond to cart abandonment messaging. Indeed, some stats suggest that many people would be willing to receive more marketing via SMS.

Though the message goes straight to the user’s mobile screen, it isn’t intrusive. People can choose whether or not to respond to messaging without having to expend too much time or effort.

And, as the results from SMS marketing demonstrate, it’s an effective tactic.

Reviewed by Brad Ward
Written by Graham Charlton
— Updated on 25/08/2021


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Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.