How To Use Two-Way SMS To Maximize Your Abandoned Cart Recovery

Tivan Amour
CEO, Co-Founder

68.88% of shopping carts are abandoned 😲

If you’re running an e-commerce store, that’s an incredibly painful number. Right? 

You gave Facebook and Google all that money getting the right people to your site with your beautiful ads, and almost 70% of people who make it to the last step leave.  Most don’t come back. The average abandoned cart recovery rate is about 10%.

So, you know it’s a BIG problem. But most brands are only running an outdated playbook to solve it. 

Here’s the old way of recovering abandoned carts:

  1. Send an abandoned cart email sequence
  2. Retarget abandoned carts with more Facebook ads

The new way is all about human conversations. When a shopper abandons their cart, here’s what you do:

  1. Send a text message asking if you can help
  2. Answer their questions quickly via a simple text message conversation

We call this Two-Way SMS marketing, and it’s a game-changer for abandoned cart recovery.  

Research on why people abandon carts shows that the vast majority have questions about shipping, sizing, or product specs that can be easily answered by a human.

Your one-way abandoned cart email and retargeting ads aren’t going to save these customers. 

But taking a personal approach to winning them back will. 

Before we really dive into two-way SMS abandoned cart recovery, let’s take some time to talk about what two-way SMS actually is.

What is two-way SMS marketing?

Take a look around any public space, and you’ll probably see most people buried in their phones. 

Smartphones have become essential to everyday life, so what better way to reach consumers than with the device already in their hands?

Brands have been using SMS to communicate with customers for years, but usually the conversation only flows one way. Too many brands take a blast-and-pray approach to SMS marketing. 

Here’s how that works:

A brand blasts out a text for a limited time offer or announcing new product. That’s where the interaction ends. No one is on the other end to respond to customers’ questions or needs. 

Or worse, you get sent to a customer service inbox (why can’t you just text me back)?

Two-way SMS puts the focus back on the customer and on human interaction.

Using conversational texting messaging, brands can chat with customers in a naturally flowing and casual way that requires no extra time investment on their part.

So, what are the benefits of two-way SMS for recovering more abandoned carts?

According to a study referenced by Geckoboard, an average of 68.8% of e-comm shopping carts are abandoned before customers make a purchase.

That’s an incredibly painful stat. You did all that work getting someone to the last step, and then they leave your site (and probably never come back). 

Retargeting ads are one way to try to bring customers back to your site and buy, but they get expensive. This can’t be the only way to bring back lost customers. 

Every brand runs abandoned cart emails. But the average open rate for these emails is only 43.3%, which means that over half of the people who were so close to buying never even see your recovery message. Plus, these emails only work one-way. If a potential customer responds with a question, they typically have to wait hours for a response. 

The best thing about text messages is that everyone opens them. In fact, 90% of text messages are opened within 3 minutes or less. 

And with two-way SMS, you can turn those high open rates into engaging, high-converting conversations. Across our brands at Tone, we’ve typically seen a 42% response rate to abandoned cart text messages.

Let’s walk through an example with Legends, an apparel company that makes pro-athlete tested performance wear.

Here, Legends sends a helpful text message to a customer who abandons their cart. This kicks off two-way text experience that allows the customer to clear up some questions they had about a pair of shorts:

After this conversation, the customer’s objection is now cleared, and they’re ready to buy.

What would have happened if the customer was left hanging?

5 tips to easily integrate SMS into your abandoned cart playbook

Now that you know why two-way SMS abandoned cart recovery works, let’s talk about how you can integrate it into your existing abandoned cart strategy. 

Here are 5 ways to make it happen:

  1. Start collecting phone numbers at checkout:

If you’re on Shopify, this step is super easy. You add a field to your checkout for the customer to add their phone number for more support:

This will allow you to re-engage the customer if they decide not to complete their purchase. 

  1. Pair Two-way SMS into your existing email strategy:

Two-way SMS doesn’t need to replace your email strategy. Almost every brand that runs the SMS playbook also sends abandoned cart emails. These can work well together. For example, if after an hour a shopper hasn’t purchased from the email, try a text.

  1. Ask the customer if they have questions:

Simple questions about things like shipping, sizing, and product details get in the way of purchase. So, like we showed in the legends example above, try ending your abandoned cart SMS message with something like:

“Any questions I can answer for you?”

This will surface the key objections to purchase, and allow you to convert the customer.

  1. Use triggers:

Use triggers and incentives to persuade shoppers to complete their purchase. For example, you could offer an expiring discount if the shopper completes their purchase in the next 24 hours. A little bit of urgency can go a long way to maximizing conversion.

  1. Text with personality:

Using emojis, humor, and a more casual style of conversation—the same way people talk to their friends – makes customers feel like they are speaking with a real person. This is what you want! Build from the brand voice that you’ve already developed, but make sure that you’re texting like a human. This isn’t email.

The Takeaways For E-Commerce Brands

The brands that connect with customers in a human way are the ones that earn their attention. 

You work really hard to get the right people to your website. Don’t settle for just email and retargeting. 

Human-driven, two-way SMS is the new way to recover more abandoned carts. 

The problem is that it’s incredibly hard for brands to text like humans at scale. You need to be fast, accurate, and on-brand. We learned this first-hand while running our own e-commerce company.

That’s why we’ve spent the last 2 years solving this problem…by building a technology and system that enables us to text faster, more accurately, and more on-brand than anyone else. 

If that sounds like the experience you want for your customers, talk to us here

And if you want to get started with SMS for cart recovery, click the button below and we’ll show you how it works: