Abandoned Cart Recovery Strategies: How To Win Them Back After They Leave

November 21, 2022 Julio Romero

Reading time about 11min

Cart Recovery Strategies: How To Win Them Back After They Leave

Jairene Cruz-Eusebio on Aug 14, 2021 11:06:44 AM

One of the biggest challenges that any online stores faces is that of cart abandonment. Studies indicate that nearly 70% of all carts are abandoned for a variety of reasons, including high additional costs (shipping, tax, etc.), a long checkout process, website issues, and more.

There are numerous ways to combat cart abandonment, among which is website optimization. However, it’s essential for store owners to remember that even a perfectly optimized website will see some level of abandoned carts.

This is why it’s essential to make sure that you have some sort of strategy with which to entice customers back to your website after they navigate away and convince them to complete their purchase.

When Is the Best Time to Send a Cart Recovery Message to Customers?

One of the most crucial parts of a retargeting strategy is deciding when to start contacting the customers. There are s couple of challenges you might encounter:

  • If you reach out too soon, there’s a good chance the customer will remember why they abandoned their cart, making your retargeting efforts ineffective.
  • If you wait too long, the customer may have either forgotten why they need the products in their cart or have purchased an alternative. Additionally, the occasion for which they required the product may have passed. As with reaching out too early, reaching out too late means there’s a good chance your retargeting strategy will be ineffective.

Thus, it’s essential to find the perfect moment to reach out to customers and make sure you don’t advertise too frequently, as that can cause annoyance and messaging fatigue.

Your retargeting strategy should include a series of messages for the customer. It should ideally be composed of three messages with the following time intervals:

First Message: One Hour After Abandonment

Most people probably don’t know this, but there’s actually a time when it’s best to contact your cart abandoners. You want to send that first abandoned cart message 60 minutes (or an hour) after they last interacted with your site. If you contact them too soon, then their conversion rates will be lower. But if you leave it too long, then they’ll buy from someone else before you get a chance to talk to them.

Your first abandoned cart message generates the most revenue, so take some time to A/B test what approach works best. Would it be via email, SMS, or push notification? Would a customer-service approach work better, or a simple cart reminder be enough?


Second Message: One Day After Abandonment

So what’s the best message to send? A simple reminder seems to work just fine. Don’t push your customers too hard to complete their purchase or they might even decide against purchasing from you altogether.

Of course, it’s better if they don’t end up going elsewhere, so at this point, you can offer to help if they’re experiencing any issues with their purchase. Tell the customer that replying to the message (if via email or SMS) is possible in case they have any concerns.

Third Message: Three Days After Abandonment

Finally, the third reminder message must be delivered three days after cart abandonment. The purpose of this email is basically to make the customer aware of how much they are losing out on if they miss this purchase.

That’s not all, though. This message also serves as a chance for you to make an appeal and explain your product or service’s benefits via a more expensive offer.

You can also include some extra incentives in this last message – like a guaranteed discount or another freebie that will help seal the deal.

Lastly, you can add a sense of urgency. Mention that this is their last chance to get the product at a discounted rate, or that there is a limited number of stocks.

When to Stop the Cart Retrieval Message Series

Even when the message series is not yet complete, there are a couple of instances where you should hit pause or stop on auto-delivery.

  • After cart retrieval

If your customer clicked on the cart retrieval link and proceeded with the purchase after the first or second message, make sure to prevent the next message in the series from being delivered. This is to avoid irritation on the part of the customer.

  • Seasonality

Depending on the seasonality of your products, you may find it helpful to change this schedule to better meet your needs.

For example, if a customer abandons his cart that contains Valentine’s Day products on the 13th of February, sending a reminder three days later – on the 16th of February, two days after Valentine’s Day – may not be effective unless your retargeting messages address this delay.

On the other hand, if someone is shopping for Christmas decorations in July and abandons the cart, you may find that sending out a reminder closer to the big day – for example, at the start of December – may show results, despite it being significantly longer than the date of original cart abandonment.


Cart Abandonment Retargeting Techniques

When retargeting customers and encouraging them to complete the purchase they had initially abandoned, it’s essential to consider making your original product more enticing.

This can be achieved via various methods, including:

Offering free shipping

One of the biggest reasons cited for cart abandonment is high additional costs, including the high cost of shipping. By offering free shipping, you address this concern and make your product look more attractive in comparison to competitors.

There are numerous ways to offer free shipping, including:

  • Free Shipping Thresholds

This is where free shipping is offered only after a certain order threshold is reached. This reduces the risk of you losing money on shipping arrangements.

  • Selective Free Shipping

Offer free shipping only on items that have lower, cost-effective shipping costs.

  • Higher Product Prices

You can also increase product prices to account for the loss that offering free shipping will cause. However, this tactic should only be used if you’re increasing prices across the board – doing so only as a part of your retargeting campaign can backfire easily.

Creating a Sense of Urgency

If the customer feels like there’s a chance they may not be able to buy a product they are interested in unless they act immediately, there’s a greater chance they’ll return and complete their transaction.

Some ways to create urgency include phrases like:

  • Stock running low
  • Offer valid until stocks last
  • X hours left to buy
  • Offer valid for X hours


Providing discount codes

Offer a flat discount on products in abandoned carts.

The second and third suggestions may seem to be counterproductive to your business goals – after all, you ideally want to make as much money as possible. However, what many businesses don’t realize is that new user acquisition is an expensive proposition.

Attracting new customers costs five times as much as retaining existing shoppers will cost you, and that’s where discounts come in. While a discount means that you will undoubtedly make less on the sale of the product in question, you’ll likely end up saving money in the long run.

Providing discounts must be in line with the Customer Lifetime Value, which we will discuss in-depth in a different article.

At the same time, it’s essential to make sure you’re not offering too many discounts, as this can encourage future cart abandonment just so they can receive more discount codes. Instead, tailor your discount codes based on your segmentation information, such as only offering them to people with high-value carts they have abandoned, return customers, first-time customers, etc.

Utilize one-click checkout

Make it super easy and seamless for your customer to proceed with the transaction. You can add a link that directs the user to the cart page or the checkout page so that all the user needs to do is complete the purchase process.

Cart Recovery Messaging Options

Aside from determining ways to make transaction completion seem attractive to customers, you also need to look for ways to target and advertise to people who abandon their carts.

There are numerous options available to you, the most effective of which are:

1. Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails

Abandoned cart recovery emails are perhaps the most common way of trying to convince users to complete their transactions. Statistics indicate that, on average, such emails are effective 15% of the time (according to Unific), which is considered a good success rate.

Some strategies to use with recovery emails include:

Create attention-grabbing subject lines

Email open rates are usually around 48%, and attractive subject lines can help increase this number.

Some ways to create an attention-grabbing subject line include:

  • Use an exclamation point somewhere in the text
  • Ask a question
  • Use the recipient’s name
  • Use emojis
  • Add urgency

(Image from ActiveCampaign)

Some subject line templates you can refer to for abandoned cart recovery emails include:

  • Oh no! [First Name], did you forget something…?
  • Hey [First Name]! It seems you left without taking your shoes along… 🤔
  • Hey [First Name]! It seems your cart’s missing you… 🥺


Add a Noticeable Checkout Button

As previously mentioned, you must include a link that directs the user to his cart page. Make sure that the link or the button is noticeable in the body of your email.

If you can include a list of the items already in the user’s cart, then you can direct the user to the checkout page already since they have reviewed the items in the cart shown in your email.


Encourage a Reply or Engagement

Ask users to reply to the email. If they contact you via SMS, phone call or live chat, then you can continue your discussion as long as they still have interest in purchasing from you.

Additional communication lets customers know that your business is still there for them if any problems arise with their transactions.


Cart Recovery Email Apps

Additionally, there are numerous Shopify apps you can use to make the email process easier, including (but not limited to):

This app’s seamless integration with Shopify means you can set up the first email marketing campaign in a matter of seconds. You can recapture lost sales and revenue by setting up automated emails.

The best part of using this app is that it is completely free!


Care Cart is another good option for abandoned cart recovery software available in the market. The software helps you recover your lost sales by offering simple yet powerful automation features along with live support to guide the customers through an easy checkout process.

With their complimentary helpdesk tool, you can offer your customers instant assistance on anything that may affect their decision-making process, including payment concerns, product information, and other issues related to their purchase.


2. Abandoned Cart Recovery SMS

SMS marketing is one of the most effective tools that marketers have available to them, regardless of the reason they are utilizing this option. The reason for this is simple – SMSes are usually opened within 90 seconds of being received, and the open rate is a sky-high 98%.

Furthermore, SMS is also cost-effective and easy to maintain. This combination of benefits means that you’re unlikely to find a more effective marketing strategy available to you.

Some techniques you can use to make your SMS retargeting strategy more effective include:

Personalize your SMS messages

If your customer left midway through the checkout process, then chances are your website has kept some of the customer’s information such as name or even address.

For more information on how to customize your SMS, refer to our article entitled The Art of Personalization.


Keep it short and simple

Because of the limited “real estate” of SMSes, you need to make sure that the message is short and straightforward so that the customer’s attention is retained. This includes shortening the checkout link that must be included in the message.

Be Compliant

Provide an option that allows them to opt outof receiving similar messages in the future. This is a requirement by the CTIA. If you don’t follow this, you can kiss your SMS Marketing goodbye.

Be Clear in Your Offer and Your Brand

Make your additional offer (for example, your additional discount) clear in the message itself.

Also, don’t forget to include your brand name, so the customer immediately knows who the message is from. They might be browsing several eCommerce sites the same day, so don’t give your customers a chance to get confused.

Be Captivating

Add visuals where possible, including emojis in the text or images of the products in the abandoned cart. This helps grab the receiver’s attention immediately.

SMS Recovery Templates

Hey [FirstName]! [Store] here. You forgot [product] in your cart. I’d like to offer you a [x%] discount – click [URL] to continue! Text STOP to opt-out.

Hi [FirstName]! You’ve left something in your cart at [store] – we’ve got limited supplies, so don’t miss out! Buy it now: [URL]! Text STOP to opt-out.

Hey [FirstName]! We’d hate to see you miss out on [product] from [store]. Click here [URL] to complete your purchase before stocks run out! Text STOP to opt-out.

Free shipping for customers from [city]! Offer is for 24 hours only, so complete your order now at [URL]. Text STOP to opt-out.

Your cart at [store] is waiting for you! We’ve saved it for you, but only for 12 hours. Check it out here [URL]. Text STOP to opt-out.

There are numerous Shopify apps available that will help you automate sending text messages for abandoned carts, but we recommend nothing short of the best: WinBack.

WinBack boasts of providing a 34% cart recovery with its SMS Marketing. If you need more proof of how effective our app is, you can check our Case Studies of real-life businesses.

3. Push Notification Cart Recovery Messages

Push notifications are pop-up alerts that are sent to subscribers via their mobile phone or desktop. This makes it easy for stores to contact customers even when they are not on either the store’s website or their email or not checking their text inbox.

The main advantage of push notifications is that they appear prominently on a device’s screen no matter what the person in question is using their device for. This ensures that you do not have to wait for the customer to open a particular website or app, and you can reach out to people at all times of the day.

When sending push notifications to retarget customers that have left post cart abandonment, here are some reminders:

  • Pay attention to time zones.

Ideally, push notifications should be sent at a time of day during which receivers will conceivably be using their device. This means that if you have customers across time zones, you will need to be careful to ensure they don’t receive push notifications at off times, like the middle of the night.

  • Segment your users.

Segmentation categories you can consider include browser and device type, time zone, country, previous purchase history, etc. This allows you to tailor your notifications and offers (if any) for the customer’s needs.

Read our article on Customer Segmentation to understand more on this topic.

  • Add images to make the notification stand out.

Images of products can encourage customers to go back because they will remember why they liked the product in the first place.

  • Localize the notification if possible.

If the notification is in the local language, it helps you relate to the reader and makes it more likely they will agree to your request and complete their transaction.

You can also use the [CITY] dynamic token to localize and personalize offers such as discounts and freebies.

Some push notification templates you can refer to include:

Hey [Name]! Come back to [store] and save [x%]. Use code [CODE] and complete your cart. Code is valid for X days!

We’re holding on to the [product] that you loved. Shop now to get them before they sell out!

Hey [Name]! We love the [product] that you chose – enjoy free shipping on those and more for the next [x] hours!

Some Shopify apps you can use to automate the push notification process for retargeting include:

PushOwl is the best push notification app on the market. It’s been designed to make it easy for you to keep in touch with your audience even when they’re not logged in.

If you’re looking for a way to re-engage customers who have abandoned their carts, check out PushOwl’s Cart Recovery feature. You can set up an automated sequence of push notifications that will bring them automatically back to your cart.

After checkout is abandoned, you can use PushEngage to send messages to potential customers through push notifications. The app has a Drip Push feature so you can time your messages thoroughly.

4. Retargeting Ads

There are several types of retargeting ads you can use to send abandoned cart notifications, including social media ads (such as Facebook chatbots), display and search ads, banner ads, native ads, and more. Retargeting ads, in general, can be great for conversions – one study found that they are 76% more likely to be clicked on than non-retargeting ads.

Each option has its own advantages and drawbacks and depending on your marketing strategy, you may find that one or all of these options are effective for your store.

For a deeper understanding of retargeting ads, check our post on The Remarkable Power of Remarketing.

Some Shopify apps you can use to send such notifications include:

Brainity is the best and easiest to use Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads software. Brainity features a campaign builder that empowers users to create power prospecting and retargeting campaigns. The campaign builder gives users the ability to bring in targeted traffic, personalize ad content, and deliver dynamic retargeting messages.

In addition, it leverages machine learning to automatically optimize campaigns which improve ROAS dramatically, which is why it is very effective for cart abandonment.

Are you looking to create an effective Google Ads campaign? Clever’s Google Shopping, Smart Shopping, Search, Display & Remarketing campaigns software are designed to help you do just that. With a simple installation process that only takes a few minutes, your ads will be in the Google network with the guarantee of a Google Premier Partner.

With Google’s wide display network, your remarketing banner ads might just be seen almost anywhere your customer goes.

Final Thoughts on Winning Your Customers Back

While cart abandonment will always be an issue that online stores face, sending cart recovery messages remains to be a powerful – and effective – way to help redirect customer attention to your website.

If you run an online store and are looking to boost sales and recover lost revenue from cart abandonment, look into using remarketing, email marketing, or most importantly, SMS marketing to get your customers back. Sign up for a 14-day free trial of WinBack SMS Marketing today.


Topics: SMS Marketing, Email Marketing, Push Notification Marketing, Cart Abandonment, SMS Messaging Templates, Best Practices