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A Beginner’s Guide to Cart Abandonment SMS Remarketing With Examples

A Beginner’s Guide to Cart Abandonment SMS Remarketing With Examples


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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 text messages encouraging them 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 online shopping boom has forced many brands to improve and expand their marketing strategies, especially for mobile. eMarketer predict global retail online sales via mobile will make up 69.9% of total online sales by 2024.

Mobile Ecommerce Key Stats

In 2023, ecommerce will continue to grow and evolve, with a significant increase in mobile ecommerce. Consumers have become more comfortable making purchases on their smartphones and tablets, leading to a shift in online buying behaviour.

Ecommerce brands should consider using SMS abandonment solutions given the amount of mobile users within ecommerce. 

Total Abandonment Rate
– Mobile: 83.22%
– Desktop: 71.81%

Total Online Sales
– Mobile: 55.25%
– Desktop: 44.75%

Total Online Sessions 
– Mobile: 75%
– Desktop: 25%

Abandoned Cart Text Message vs Email  

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).
click through rate email vs sms

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What Is Abandoned Cart 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.

9 Ways To Improve Your Abandoned Cart SMS Strategy 

Below we provide you with 9 abandoned cart SMS strategies to help increase your mobile conversion rate and grow online sales. 

Build Your Opt-in Customer Database

First things first – collecting data! Using a clear opt-in box to consent to marketing communications will ensure you are compliant with recent GDPR and PECR regulations.

Different countries have different rules around soft opt-ins and hard opt-ins so be sure to read up on this to see what area you fall into. By obtaining the customer’s opt-in you will be able to start building trust from the word go, helping you gain more value from your customer relationships and therefore your SMS messages.

Less is More

Many don’t have time to read lots of content, especially on a mobile screen. Keeping cart abandonment text messages short, sweet and simple with a clear CTA is more than enough. Firefly directs customers back to book their lost flights in a very concise 22 words, while still retaining that bit of personality within the text.

firefly sms example

Be Sure to Have a Sender ID

Using Sender ID increases the likelihood of your abandonment text message being read. The Sender ID is the first thing your customer will see and therefore forms that initial judgement on whether or not to open the text. Many brands opt just to use their brand name i.e. LA MUSCLE, while others use a personal name followed by their brand name to give it that personal touch. Either is fine.

LAMuscle SMS sender ID example

Segment for Exclusivity

Mobile is perfect for making a direct approach but it’s important to know your customer and keep them engaged with the right messaging at the right time. It’s important not to become spam that gets deleted before it’s even read. 

So before you start sending make sure you segment. What gender are they? What do they like? What have they been looking at recently? What did they last purchase? This is all information that can personalise a text and help generate a relevant message to them.

Don’t know what they like? Then ask! HolidayPirates open up the conversation giving subscribers the option to receive the messages they’re interested in, be it more flights, holidays, sun codes or even their daily ‘Deal of the Day’. Building this kind of report with each individual customer can only help increase conversion rates further making their messages feel more exclusive.

Reconnect With Lost Shoppers

Three quarters of all online shoppers will abandon their purchase and it’s a huge problem for many retailers. Reconnecting these ‘interested’ visitors via an SMS with a link to their abandoned basket is a very powerful method for recovering online sales. For example, if a customer had recently abandoned a basket on your site, sending them a personalised SMS remarketing message that provides a unique URL to return straight to their basket would make perfect sense and provide a frictionless buying experience.

Thorp Park abandonment sms example


Timing is crucial when it comes to converting your visitors into customers. For an optimum conversion rate from SMS remarketing messages, send 30 minutes to an hour after the visitor has abandoned their basket. Of course reaching out to customers all depends on their behavior and the product they are buying.

This hungry customer (Dominos text below) ordered pizza on several occasions in the past month, so letting them know about the “Royal Deal” a couple of hours before dinner might just be an offer they can’t refuse.

Dominos SMS timing example

Keep Your Customers in the Loop – Replenishment SMS!

Some products don’t last. Product replenishment makes it easy for customers to reorder their favorite things and even keep their favorite things looking new. A replenishment message helps to bring your customers back to purchase with you when their products are running low.

Providing a direct route via SMS to the relevant product page will up that conversion rate. These messages also work very well for products that need a bit of care on a regular basis, i.e. Car, bike, or even boiler services.

Product replenishment sms example

Make Your Links Accessible 

URLs are unsightly at the best of times. Thankfully this is where vanity URLs come in. A customised vanity URL is clear, short and easy to read. Use a branded vanity URL and you can expect 40% more clicks than a normal shortened URL. This small cosmetic change is certainly worth the effort. 

Make links accessible sms example

Offer A Clear Unsubscribe 

Every SMS you send out should include an unsubscribe function. With SMS, the best practice is simply to instruct the recipient to reply ‘STOP’ to unsubscribe at the end of the SMS. This covers all legal requirements without detracting from the main content.

sms unsubscribe process example

Should You Consider An Abandoned Cart Text Message Solution?

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 08/02/2023


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Brad Ward

Brad Ward is the SEO & Content Manager at SaleCycle. Brad is a former magazine journalist with over 8 years experience in digital, including SEO, social media and copywriting. Brad has written thousands of articles for a range of different sectors including online gambling, travel, education, sports and ecommerce.