How to Reduce Cart Abandonment with Text Marketing

By Jake Meador | May 9, 2021


If you’ve worked in ecommerce for any length of time you’ve likely run into the problem of cart abandonment–which refers to when people put items in their online shopping cart and then never actually complete their purchase.


man in despair


To bring home how big a problem this is, just consider the average cart abandonment rate in various industries. 




What is a cart abandonment rate?

Cart abandonment rate tells us what percentage of initiated purchases (people putting an item in their cart) actually become completed purchases (people purchasing the item). 


Cart Abandonment Rate

# of Completed Purchases / # of Initiated Purchases x 100 = Cart Abandonment Rate %


If you had 10 people put items in their cart on your website and only two completed their purchase, your cart abandonment rate would be 80%.


Depending on your industry, your cart abandonment rate probably falls somewhere between 64 and 84%! The national average, as of March 2021, was 69%.


When you see the numbers laid out like that, it paints a stark and alarming picture. Imagine if ⅔ of the people who walked into a brick and mortar store walked out without buying anything! 


money burning


Or imagine if ⅔ of the people who brought items to your checkout stand then changed their mind and didn’t buy? This is functionally what is happening when we see such high cart abandonment rates.


What causes cart abandonment?

There are three main reasons why people do not complete a purchase after putting items in their cart.


Unexpected Costs

The first is unexpected costs. Perhaps they had forgotten to include sales tax when making their purchase or, more likely, they weren’t factoring in shipping costs. Whatever the reason, the customer got to the end of the purchasing process, saw a price that was higher than they had expected to pay, and abandoned their cart. According to one study, this issue accounts for 55% of all cart abandonment.


Purchase Friction

The second reason is that the purchase process is too difficult. This is known as purchase friction or buying friction. In 21% of cases of cart abandonment, shoppers left because the purchase process was complicated or confusing. Rather than trying to figure out the process for themselves, the shopper left their cart and, presumably, went to try another site with a simpler purchase process.


Lack of Trust

The third reason is trust. In 17% of cart abandonment cases, customers leave because they do not trust the company they’re buying from.


How can Text Marketing help lower cart abandonment rates?

Mobile Text Alerts offers text marketing software for both small and enterprise level customers. We have seen customers have great success addressing cart abandonment by using text marketing (or SMS marketing) to remind people to complete their purchase.


Why does SMS work so well?

Ultimately the reasons given above for abandoning a cart aren’t black or white things. People have varying degrees of trust, varying degrees of tolerance for checkout processes, and so on. So while you should absolutely do all you can to make an easy purchase process and build trust with customers, there are also plenty of other ways to try and nudge people toward completing that purchase.


Most businesses rely on three methods:

  • Retargeting Ads

  • Email

  • SMS

We believe SMS is generally going to be your most powerful method, though there is still a place for retargeting and email.


Why SMS is Best

Simple: Engagement. SMS open rates are around 98%. 


Marketing and advertising email open rates, in contrast, are about 17%. Retargeting ads, meanwhile, sometimes work but also can cost you a lot of money. In fact, clickthrough rates on retargeting ads generally hover around 0.7%. That’s better than average for display ads, but it’s still incredibly low. And if you apply it to your abandoned cart audience, a 0.7% CTR simply isn’t good enough. If you send a text message, your customer will see it because everybody reads their texts.


Ian Sells, cofounder of RebateKey, explains it well:


“Right now SMS abandon cart messages are working insanely well. When a user leaves a cart page and then gets a text message with a code to complete the checkout before stock runs out, the urgency and the nearly 100% open rate really shines.”


There are a few other reasons SMS is effective.


Why Text Marketing is Effective

Text marketing messages can be whatever you need them to be to incentivize people to complete the sale. If that’s a simple reminder message to nudge them back, you can do that. But you can also do other things with your messages as well. 


Reduce Sticker Shock

Let’s talk a bit more about price and sticker shock. If you have a major problem with people bouncing off your site and abandoning their cart due to unexpected costs, one simple way to win them back is offer some sort of modest discount code to bring the price down to what they’re expecting.


So if you are already sending a text marketing message to the customer, why not include a note in the message about a discount code they can use to get free shipping or to get 10% off the cost of the item?


Build Confidence

Likewise, you can use your text marketing message to build confidence with customers through simple verbal nudges. Remind people that they can return to your site to complete their purchase “using our secure checkout system.” It’s a simple technique, obviously, but these small queues can sometimes be all that people need to reassure them when making a purchase.


Engage in 2-Way Conversations at Scale

Text marketing allows for much simpler two-way communication with customers. This can be especially helpful with larger purchases where there are likely to be more fears for the customer and perhaps a greater need for reassurance.


Amy Hage of Strategy Maven has seen this strategy work for her clients:


For larger purchases we utilize SMS to converse with people and ask open-ended (questions) to find out what their hesitation is and to offer options, such as payment plans.


Integrate Text Marketing with Your Marketing Suite

Thanks to a partnership with Zapier, Mobile Text Alerts is able to integrate with thousands of popular applications, including most common applications and softwares used in ecommerce. You can sync your Mobile Text Alerts account with Shopify, Mailchimp, Salesforce, Hubspot, and many more.


What does this mean? Here’s an example: If you wanted to start using texting to send a quick reminder message 24 hours after someone abandoned their cart on purchases below a certain amount, you would simply connect the software you use for your shopping cart to Mobile Text Alerts via Zapier. With those two softwares “talking” to each other, you can identify your potential customers who abandon their cart and communicate that information to the Mobile Text Alerts app, which will then send a text message to them.


There are many other possible uses for texting that are built on the integrations Mobile Text Alerts offers. If you’d like to learn more about how integrations work, you can read this support article or schedule a time to talk to one of our text marketing experts.


What else can be done to reduce cart abandonment rates?

Ultimately all of the above reasons can be addressed with a few relatively straightforward responses.


Be Transparent with Your Customers

First, your ecommerce website should have a general bias toward transparency with your customers. This means that information about both pricing and your company should be easy to find for your online shoppers. If shoppers feel relatively confident that you are not hiding anything and if they know what the price will be on the final checkout page before they arrive on that page, they will be more likely to buy from you.



Keep it Simple

Second, the purchase process should be kept fairly simple. If customers create an account to purchase, then your site can store payment information and shipping information and your purchase process can be reduced down to just one or two clicks. However, if you have trouble encouraging customers to create accounts (or if your user base perhaps is more reluctant or less able to create an account) you should still try to keep the guest purchase process as simple as possible.


Alan Spurgeon of Hedgehog Digital explains the problem well, saying:


“This sounds remarkably obvious, but it's incredible how many sites want you to go through an elaborate or complicated procedure just to give them your money. Nobody likes completing forms, so make them as frictionless as possible. Avoid asking any questions that are not required to complete the checkout process.”


Build Trust

Third, you can introduce elements to your website that help your customers develop trust and understand the purchase process. 

If your site is secure (and it should be) and you process payment through a trusted online payment platform you can include small buttons that tell customers that.

You can also add a progress bar to the purchase process to tell customers how much they have left to do to complete a purchase. 

Finally, you can simply try to make your website load a bit faster. 


According to Chris Campbell from The Charming Bench Company, simply speeding up their website had a dramatic impact on their customer retention and cart abandonment rates:


One thing I found surprisingly effective was reducing our website's load time. We moved our site to a server that had better Time to First Byte rates, and we cut down on superfluous plugins that slowed our load time. These were really easy steps to take that improved our customer retention.”



If you are tired of seeing ⅔ or more of your sales fall through simply because customers abandon their carts, then try text marketing today and see for yourself how it can help slash cart abandonment rates and grow sales. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial and start right now. We won’t even ask you for your credit card when you sign up. The only way you’ll get charged is if you decide to upgrade your account after trying it first. 



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