Recover Abandoned Shopping Carts with Conversational Text Messaging

If you run an online business, you know shopping cart abandonment is one of the key problems online retailers face. Customers find something that they’re interested in purchasing, add it to their cart, and then bounce. As an Online Retailer, you spend an enormous amount of money acquiring a unique visitor, but most estimates show you will lose 75% of them without a purchase. Even the highest performing retailers are losing at least 25% of their customers every day. 

Once your customer leaves their cart behind, you have two options: you can either let them go or you can try to "recover the cart," aka get them back. In our modern "Get It Now" era, time is of the essence. When your customer abandons their cart, they are likely navigating to another merchant to buy their desired product.

Ten years ago we solved this problem via email with a discount offer to return to the abandoned shopping cart. Not only has that channel has become stale, but promotional emails don’t make it the inbox, and the ones that get home aren’t read immediately. Additionally, the blanket “Get a Discount” strategy isn’t effective because consumers have grown wise to that strategy. 

But don’t fear! There’s a new method that’s outperforming all other channels - SMS. Well, to be precise, all types of text messaging including SMS, MMS and RCS.  Cart abandonment text messages are delivered at a 98% rate, read immediately, and recover customers at an astonishing rate of 10%-50%.

Sending a simple text message, however, is minor league. If you want to make it to the show, you need to engage your customers with Conversational Cart Recovery.

What is Conversational Cart Recovery? 

Conversational Cart Recovery leverages text messaging with dialog pathways to recover customers who abandon an online shopping cart. This is a modern strategy and an improvement over simple SMS/MMS text messaging to combat shopping cart recovery. When using A.I. powered Conversational Cart Recovery, the goals are to:

  1. Establish a relationship with each consumer
  2. Understand why they abandoned their cart
  3. Close the sale, and only offer a discount if necessary

In simple and out-dated cart recovery methods, discounts are offered no matter the reason for abandonment. This hurts the merchant’s margin as well as devalues their products. In many scenarios, a shopper who abandons their cart plans to purchase later at full price, so why offer an automatic discount?

Conversational Cart Recovery-1

You don't want your abandoned shopping cart revenue ending up in the trash can! As the image above illustrates, opening a conversation with your shoppers helps to build a relationship, and offer solutions that fit their unique needs. This leads to more recovered sales and higher profit margins. Other methods do not meet the shopper halfway and are much less effective at recovering carts because:

  • Email - Rarely arrives and isn't read immediately
  • Popups - Too annoying, are often blocked, or exited immediately
  • Single Template Text - Not personal and offers discount when you may not need one
  • Retargeting - This comes across creepy to your shopper and erodes trust
  • ChatBots - Too annoying, shopper leaves and you have no further opportunity to engage

It’s also incredibly important to understand why carts are abandoned. This allows you to make changes and improve their shopping cart abandonment rate. Email and simple SMS miss out on the most important piece of retail sales... "Listening to your customers." Conversational Cart Recovery allows merchants to hear from their customers, listen to their concerns, and make improvements to their online store and shopping experience. This is a stark contrast to one-way conversations that traditionally happen via email or old SMS formats.

Finally, using a dedicated Phone Number to send text messages allows the merchant to build a personal and long term relationship with customers. A few weeks post-purchase the merchant could engage in conversational text messaging to boost positive product reviews. For example: 

“Did you like the product?” 

A simple Yes or No could drive an A.I. powered conversational pathway toward more reviews, or proactive customer support for unhappy customers.

How is using SMS, MMS or RCS Better Than Email When Recovering Abandoned Shopping Carts? 

Short Message Service (SMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), and Rich Communication Services (RCS) are all far superior to email when it comes to cart recovery. At MessageBuy, we recommend pictures / videos (MMS) but only when appropriate in the Conversational Cart Recovery process. 

Email has become a stale channel for cart recovery. For starters, over 20% of promotional emails don’t even make it to the inbox because of new filtering. Second, consumers aren’t checking email constantly and have likely moved on from your product long before they read the email. Last and most importantly, email doesn’t create a conversation or build a relationship. It’s a simple one-way “billboard” type of communication. Modern and sophisticated online merchants want to engage with their consumers and have two-way conversations in real-time. Text messaging, therefore, is the best way for online merchants to have those conversations and build relationships with their consumers.

Personalized Text Messages Work, and Keep Customers Coming Back

The key is to have a conversation with the consumer, and that only comes with personalization. If you want to know the best and #1 performing text message to recover abandoned carts, we are happy to provide the answer in another post. But for now, consider the difference between these two text messages:

A: “Hi Emily, It’s Sean from Sean’s Pet Shop, you left something in your cart.” 

B: “Sean’s Pet Shop: You left something in your cart, buy it now at a 10% discount.”

Which one do you think performs better? If you said A, then you are a modern merchant and understand the value of personalization and Conversational Cart Recovery. If you use names instead of generic messages, the customers feel you are chatting with them instead of at them. In fact, in a 2020 survey, more than 50% of customers said they are more likely to purchase a product if the text messages are personalized. 

Why Do Shoppers Abandon Their Shopping Cart?
The most common reasons that customers leave their carts are: 

  • Extra costs are too high (shipping, taxes, hidden costs, etc)
  • Too long or complicated check out process 
  • The customer didn’t trust the website
  • The website crashed or had errors 
  • Delivery was too slow for the customer

Knowing that your customer was turned off by higher shipping vs the website crashing changes how you may modify your website and business model. You don't need to offer a discount every time. It is key to pinpoint the WHY so merchants can better help shoppers, improve their website, and maintain a profit margin.

Free Shipping?

Although free shipping is one of the most costly ways for your company to optimize your eCommerce conversion rates, it is one of the most important and effective ways to win back business. Baymard shows that 50% of customers who abandoned items in an online shopping cart did so due to extra costs at checkout, such as shipping. If you offer free shipping or a discount, chances are you’ll be able to get your customer back. 

This Sounds Complicated

It can be, but our goal at MessageBuy is to make Conversational Cart Recovery an easy 3-minute setup process. The text message exchange is fully automated and does not require any human interaction from merchants. There are other software providers and options that get complicated, including various workflow tools that will make your head spin. If you use Shopify or Magento, you can go live within 3 minutes of downloading our app from their respective app store listings. Download our app from the app store and start using MessageBuy today. And then sit back, and watch your abandoned carts roll back in!