How to get customers to return to a Shopify abandoned cart

The vast majority of customers add items to their cart, leave, and never return. Here are 4 ways you can entice customers to return to a Shopify abandoned cart.

Lizzie Davey
eCommerce Writer

It’s both a blessing and a curse that consumers today have lots of choice. Everyone wants to be able to pick and choose what they buy and who they buy from but, for merchants, it’s been a slippery slope to staggeringly high abandoned cart rates.

If shoppers can’t find exactly what they want from a store, there are plenty of other places for them to go and find it. This has led to an average cart abandonment rate of 69.82%. Only 30% of shoppers actually make it all the way to checkout. The rest leave their items gathering dust in a virtual shopping cart while they chase the next shiny thing. 

Attracting back customers who have already shown an interest in what you sell is an easy way to convert more shoppers and drive up sales–but it’s also beneficial for the shopper too, as Shopify Plus so eloquently puts it:

Crisis averted for everyone! | Source

Why do customers abandon carts?

There’s no singular reason why shoppers abandon their carts. They might go in search of a better deal or balk at the high shipping costs whacked on right at the last minute. The reason will also vary from customer to customer–one customer might be completely against creating an account to buy (so they run), while another might be totally okay with it. 

Usually, the reason a customer chooses to cut and run falls into one of these categories:

Hidden costs at checkout: whether it’s high shipping fees tacked on at the end or a tax that shoppers weren’t expecting, extra fees can be hugely off-putting.

Complex buying process: simplicity is key. The less friction you throw at a shopper, the more likely they are to make it all the way to checkout. Avoid lengthy forms and multiple-page checkouts for best results (for reference, the average checkout flow is 5.2 steps long and has 11.8 form fields). 

Browsing mindset: some shoppers simply aren’t ready to get their wallets out right away. Many are just “window shopping” to see what’s out there, and will add items to their cart only to disappear and check them against similar products in other stores. Alternatively, they might get distracted and forget about their cart altogether. 

Limited payment methods: most shoppers have a preferred way they like to pay. If a store doesn’t give them that option, there’s a good chance they’ll hotfoot it to the nearest competitor who does provide their preferred payment method. 

Lack of trust: credibility is everything today. If a shopper has even the smallest doubts about buying from you, there’s a very big chance they won’t. This is often due to a lack of social proof or hesitation to hand over their credit card information to an unknown brand. 

How to reduce the number of customers who abandon their cart on Shopify 

Knowing the primary reasons why customers tend to abandon carts can help you put measures in place to reduce the percentage and sell more products. Here are 4 key ways you can get interested shoppers to come back and take the plunge. 

1. Send an abandoned cart text message

The average open rate for an SMS message is 98%. That means almost every single person you send a text to will open it – it’s no surprise, really, when you consider that most people are glued to their phones 24/7. 

Sending an abandoned cart text message sidesteps busy inboxes, avoids the frustration of a Shopify exit popup, and catches shoppers in real-time. Plus, texts can be sent as a single auto-reminder or set up as part of a wider workflow that combines SMS with other channels for best results. 

Research suggests you should send an abandoned cart email within an hour of the cart being abandoned (and ideally when the shopper is still at their computer), but what about text messages? Shoppers will often browse on the go, when they’re on the bus, having a coffee break, or even on the toilet, before closing their apps and carrying on with daily life. 

Even so, it’s good practice and most effective to follow up an abandoned cart within two hours, regardless of how you’re following up. This gives consumers very little time to forget about your product, but also enough space so they don’t see you as pushy and overbearing. 

You don’t have to stop there. Send 1 or 2 more follow-up emails to remind customers about their cart, but spread them out so you’re not bombarding  shoppers. 

Want some abandoned cart text message examples? 

Make like Dr. Squatch Soap Co does and put an expiration date on a cart to instill a sense of urgency.

Then, use casual language in your abandoned cart text messages. 


WinkyLux uses visual cues (emojis) to connect with its customers and showcase its colourful brand personality over text. 

SMS is a fairly intimate form of contact so, if you can, personalise the messages. It’ll make customers feel special and begin to establish a relationship. 


Blueprint’s Abandoned Carts workflow makes it easy to personalise text messages and create abandoned cart notifications to go out on autopilot a certain amount of time after a shopper has cut and run. 

Fun fact: personalised SMS abandoned carts receive on average a 19% better conversion rate than a blanket message. 

By personalising each message to the customer's name and also to the Customer Representative (or persona of the brand), you break through the clutter and noise of the traditionally faceless email abandoned cart strategy and stand out to the end consumer. This communicates to a customer that you care about their experience, that you’re doing everything you can to help, and that they’re talking to a human and not a robot. 

Jims Shoes makes their abandoned cart texts casual and friendly in tone. They start with a simple reminder and ask a question before encouraging the shopper to reach out if they have any questions.

2. Send an abandoned cart email

Abandoned cart emails are a go-to way of re-engaging shoppers by landing in their inbox reminding them about their cart. Similar to text messages, this kind of contact keeps your brand front-of-mind, plus the additional space you have in an email gives you room to be creative. 

The click-through rates on these types of emails are far superior to regular marketing messages. In fact, 40% of cart abandonment emails are opened, and, once opened, 50% of users click through. 

You can send one-off cart abandonment emails to lure back shoppers or bake them into a workflow that goes out on autopilot when a customer fails to make it all the way to checkout. The best abandoned cart emails for Shopify are sent at the right time with the right message. 

Pretty Little Thing sends out their abandoned cart email within 30 minutes of a customer leaving the site. They use this time to remind shoppers about the items they’ve left in their cart and create a little dose of FOMO by encouraging recipients to “not miss out”. 


Go-To Skincare uses their abandoned cart emails to get creative with their copy. They showcase their bold personality through puns and casual language and reiterate their returns policy to ease any hesitations on-the-fence shoppers might have. 


There are a number of plug-and-play Shopify abandoned cart email templates that will aid abandoned cart recovery on Shopify. Simply add your brand colours and your own unique message and you’re good to go. If you’re wondering how to edit abandoned cart emails in Shopify to fit your brand, check out these examples for inspiration. 

3. Create buy now incentives 

Hesitant shoppers are less hesitant when they feel like they’re getting a good deal. Instead of simply reminding them about the items left in their cart, you can offer an incentive, like a discount, a free gift, or free shipping to make the purchasing decision a little easier.

You can do this via text message or email, as long as you’re adding value to the customer’s experience and still ensuring it’s easy enough for them to checkout. 

Josh Kohlbach, CEO of Advanced Coupons, offers a simple abandoned cart email series: 


Incentivising the abandoned cart process encourages shoppers to come back and, if you add a time limit on the discount, creates a sense of urgency. 

This skincare brand sends an abandoned cart reminder along with a 10% discount to re-engage shoppers.  

Alternatively, you can run with a two-step approach like Freedom Company. Start by messaging the customer about their abandoned cart before offering to send them a discount. This encourages the customer to engage with a response, and you can then share a discount code with them. 

4. Ask why the customer has abandoned their cart

Finally, engage lost customers by simply asking them why they left. Maybe they couldn’t find their size. Perhaps there were too many form fields and they got overwhelmed. Maybe they just simply forgot. You’ll never know unless you ask.

Take this opportunity to start a conversation with shoppers and find out why they’ve left items in their cart. This will give you a unique insight into individual shoppers’ journeys and help you identify patterns that you can address later. 

Vessi opens up a dialogue with shoppers to dig into why they left. It encourages them to answer a question and then follows that up with the information they need to build trust and credibility. 

Blueprint’s two-way conversation feature lets you set up automated messages to start a dialogue with customers. 

Invest in 1:1 communication with a personal touch to uncover any customer questions. This can go a long way in figuring out how to solve the problem and guiding the shopper towards purchase. 

Additionally to this, you enable a tight feedback loop to update and adjust based on their experience and optimise for your next customers coming through your flow.

Misfits Health put this strategy into play, generating consistent abandoned cart conversions of 9.2% (which blew the average 2% out of the water). 

The benefits of using SMS marketing for abandoned carts

SMS messages reach customers where they’re already hanging out: in their text messages. This dramatically improves open rates and makes it a very personal way to connect with shoppers. 

To recap, here are the benefits of using SMS marketing for abandoned carts:

  • Increase open rates: text messages have an average open rate of 98% 
  • Open up dialogue: SMS form a personal way to start conversations with customers and find out why they’ve abandoned their cart
  • Instill urgency: providing time-limited discounts and offers to customers via text message creates a sense of urgency and drives sales
  • Recover lost revenue: the staggeringly high open rates mean you reach more customers and can recover more lost revenue than via email
  • Build trust: share resources and answer customer questions to remove buying hesitation and tackle objections 
  • Get straight to the point: avoid agonising over abandoned cart email subject lines by sending a few lines of simple text

Getting customers to return to an abandoned cart on Shopify should be a top priority for merchants. Encouraging lost shoppers to come back and purchase products they’ve already shown an interest in is a surefire way to increase revenue, convert more customers, and drive more sales.

Blueprint’s automated abandoned cart SMS feature and one-to-one conversations can help reduce the number of shoppers who leave without buying. Get started here. 

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Are you all CAC and no win back?

Start building sticky customers today with:

Customer feedback

Flexible subscription management

Intelligent replenishments & cross-sells

"The results have been staggering. Blueprint has massively increased our LTV."
Donald Mendenhall
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