Are customers visiting your online store, adding products to their shopping cart, but not completing the check out process?
If so, you’re not alone. Customers abandoning carts is a major problem facing ecommerce businesses. It’s estimated that between 55% and 81.4% of online shopping carts are left abandoned, costing retailers approximately $18 billion every year.
Thankfully, there are ways you can easily recover abandoned carts. Two of the most popular methods are abandoned cart emails, and, the topic of this article, SMS reminders.
This article will explore abandoned cart SMS, including best practices, as well as analyze some examples of real-world campaigns.
Why SMS is vital to abandoned cart recovery
Chances are you already have an abandoned cart email automation set up (if not, check out this article here on why you definitely should), so why bother with SMS?
While email is a great, versatile and highly effective marketing channel, SMS has the ability to cut through the noise and grab customers’ attention in a way that no other channel can match.
This is because, unlike emails and social media messages, virtually everyone reads SMS messages. In terms of open rates, SMS enjoys an open rate of 98% compared to roughly 20% for email. And more than half of SMS campaigns are read within 5 minutes of being sent.
We also know that the longer a cart is left abandoned, the lower its chances of being recovered are. So combining SMS’s unique cut-through ability with your cart recovery makes for a powerful marketing strategy.
That said, success with abandoned cart SMS campaigns isn’t guaranteed.
While SMS can generate impressive results, it’s also a delicate marketing channel that requires a carefully considered approach. Otherwise you’ll risk annoying your customers and doing more harm than good.
That’s why it’s important to follow the best practices we’ve outlined below.
Abandoned cart SMS best practices
Make it a friendly reminder
The tone you take in your abandoned cart text messages has a big impact on how successful it’ll be.
What makes achieving the right tone challenging is that you’re walking a fine line between encouraging people to complete their purchase and coming across as pushy.
Often the way merchants get around this is by framing their abandoned cart messages as friendly reminders.
Phrases like “we saved your cart for you” help position your campaign as helpful and as though you’re doing them a favor in the minds of your customers. Especially when people may have genuinely forgotten about their cart.
The SMS below from FREY is a great example of an abandoned cart reminder that achieves this and strikes a good overall tone.
Another good way to keep your abandoned cart marketing messages friendly and light is to ask your customers if they have any questions. Just as Brooklinen has done in the example below.
Doing this will also help improve conversion rates when people abandoned their cart because they didn’t understand something or had a question about your product.
Maintain a light touch
We’ve already mentioned that people pay greater attention to SMS messages than they do to emails.
The implication of this is that it’s important to be more selective about when and how often you send SMS campaigns to your customers.
While you can send emails as often as once or twice a week, this frequency is inappropriate for SMS. Sending SMS messages this often will only frustrate your customers and end up with them unsubscribing.
And while the same customer isn’t going to be abandoning their cart every day, keep in mind that your abandoned cart SMSs should be sent in conjunction with your abandoned cart emails.
Because of this, we typically recommend the following sequence:
Customer abandons cart > Wait 30 minutes to 1 hour > Send first email > Wait a few hours > Send first SMS > Wait 24 hours > Send final email follow-up.
Of course, as soon as a customer comes back to complete their purchase, you don’t need to send any subsequent messages.
Consider adding discount codes
When people abandoned their cart, it can be because they’re on the fence about purchasing the product or are comparing offers between different online stores.
This is why including a coupon code in your abandoned cart SMS is highly effective. It’s often what pushes a customer across the line and gets them to complete their purchase.
That said, this doesn’t automatically mean you should blindly add a discount code without fully considering the impact it’ll have.
Firstly, you’ll want to consider how much margin it’ll eat into. There’s little point in giving customers a discount if it means you’ll end up selling your product at a loss.
Secondly, it’s good to consider the impact adding a coupon code might have on your brand. Will it cheapen your brand in the eyes of your customers? Will it lead to them not wanting to pay full price again? These are questions to consider before offering a discount (and not just in your abandoned cart series).
Decided you want to include a discount? The example below from Need Skin shows how you can easily add incorporate a discount into your campaign.
Make things interesting with an image
One thing you may have noticed about the two SMS abandoned cart examples above is that they both include images.
Including an image, or even better, a GIF, makes your campaign more impactful and helps to grab your customer’s attention. Just compare the two abandoned cart SMS examples below from Homesick and Cloudy.
While there’s nothing glaringly wrong about the message from Homesick, it just doesn’t grab your attention the same way Cloudy does through its use of imagery and emojis.
To learn more about including images, GIFs, and even videos in your SMS campaign, check out our explainer on the difference between SMS and MMS here.
Keep general SMS marketing best practices in mind
The final thing to keep in mind when creating your campaign is the general SMS best practices, including:
- Ensure you give people a way to unsubscribe from your SMS marketing messages. Such as a “reply STOP to opt-out” line at the end of your message.
- If possible, personalize your messages with your customer’s name.
- Identify yourself by including your store’s name so that your customer knows who you are.
For more on general SMS best practices, check out our ultimate guide to SMS marketing here.
Time to add SMS to your abandoned cart recovery strategy
Adding SMS to your abandoned cart strategy is a powerful way to recover otherwise lost sales. Especially when you have your email and SMS messages work together for the best results.
With SmartrMail, it’s easy to properly combine email and SMS within your single abandoned cart campaign.
If you’re already a SmartrMail user, you can learn how to create an SMS campaign here.
Otherwise, you can install SmartrMail for free right here.