One of the more common problems for mobile apps is cart abandonment. We’ve all been there: selected our flight, added that pair of shoes to the basket, or finally decided to upgrade to a premium account. And then…we close the app because we have something more pressing to do, or are interrupted, or tell ourselves we should think a bit more about it before we commit to a purchase. And then we forget about it and a sale is lost forever—unless the brand does something about it.

This is where cart abandonment campaigns come in. By targeting those users who have specifically made it to the checkout before falling off the app, these campaigns can improve mobile revenue by up to 20%. And with 68% of shoppers abandoning their carts at checkout, the audience (and opportunity) for a targeted, and above all, personally relevant cart abandonment campaign is huge. Mobile marketing solutions with hyper-relevant targeting and triggering capabilities will help you use the appropriate channel to hook those users back into your app, and gain that lost revenue.

Here is how to run a perfect cart abandonment campaign.

Get Your Cart Abandonment Rate

Calculate your cart abandonment rate with the following:

1 - (# of shoppers completing orders/ # of shoppers adding items to their cart)


So for example, if 2,000 shoppers are completing orders, and 10,000 shoppers are adding items, your cart abandonment rate is 0.8, or 80%. Review this each day to understand how it fluctuates. This will show you how your cart abandonment rate changes over time, by day, or even by time of day. This is also the number you can expect to improve on with your successful cart abandonment campaigns.

A good mobile marketing platform will allow you to build a funnel, or create a segment to track your recent purchases versus your recent cart losses.

Reduce Payment Friction

The next step for a successful cart abandonment campaign is to reduce friction, and create a seamless payment experience. Marketing campaigns help, but don’t presume it’s a silver bullet to simply remind your user about their abandoned purchase. Go through your payment flow and identify how many points of engagement are required for a purchase. Eliminate friction by using Apple Pay, Google Pay, or even payment on delivery options if feasible. 

And don’t rely on instinct to figure out the best method for payment either. Data is king, so use your mobile marketing platform to A/B test payment options to identify what is the most successful purchase flow for your app. 

If you see a noticeable drop in shoppers going through your payment flow, like at the address or credit card entry, consider ways you can retrieve this information in advance, through account creation, email newsletter sign-up, etc.

Target Specific Audiences, at the Right Time, in the Right Place

One of the most important aspects of a cart abandonment campaign is targeting shoppers who match the right conditions, at the right time, and on the right channel. But there are dos and don’ts with every campaign, let’s start with the Don’ts. 

  • Don’t target shoppers who bought the item—It goes without saying that it’s critical that you filter out users who have already completed their purchase. If your mobile marketing solution cannot include or exclude shoppers in real time, then be sure to delay your campaign until you get the full picture of the shopper’s purchase funnel.
  • Don’t deploy your campaign if the shopper has removed the item from the cart—Similar to not targeting shoppers who have completed their purchase, you shouldn't target people who don’t have anything in their cart. At Swrve, we often see 50% of items are removed from the cart before checkout, so include a cart count in your targeting. If it’s empty, don’t send.
  • Don’t send notifications too frequently—Limit the number of notifications by setting cool downs or sending only once per day. Bugging your shopper too much is a quick way to get your app uninstalled.
  • Don’t retarget on the wrong platform—This goes double for any app that’s not tracking carts across all its platforms. Many clients are tempted to send emails when a shopper has left something in their cart on the mobile app. Emails typically see engagement rates of less than 1%, making other channels like push notifications a much better option for these types of campaigns. Plus, you’re keeping the shopper on the platform they engaged with in the first place.

Now for the Dos.

  • Target shoppers quickly—In a typical e-commerce environment, send a notification within 2 hours of the action being made. This allows the shopper enough time where a possible interruption activity is over and you have a chance of regaining their attention. Targeting the next day can be beneficial as well, where a shopper has the opportunity to consider the purchase. But don’t wait longer than this, as more than a day and the shopper has probably forgotten all about your brand, and their potential purchase. 
  • Use a personal touch—Personalization goes beyond interacting on a first name basis. Show the shopper what they forgot about—this could be an image of the item they almost purchased, or reminding them of the last item they added to their cart.
  • Use deep linking—When the shopper clicks into the app from a push notification, they should go directly back to the cart. Some apps go one step further and direct the shopper right back into the purchase flow.

Bonus Points

Cart Abandonment Versus Purchase Lost

Abandoning items in the cart is an indicator of interest, but if a shopper goes all the way to the end of the purchase funnel, you may want to treat these shoppers differently. If the shopper created an account, added credit card details, and got to the order confirmation page and left, this shopper has shown serious interest, but was likely price-conscious. Consider voucher codes or offering alternatives for shoppers who have reached this stage.

Push Notification Opt-in

If you want to hit the highest number of shoppers possible in your cart abandonment campaigns, you need to ensure your users are opting into push notifications beforehand. If the number of shoppers who have agreed to notifications is low, your audiences will be low no matter what. See how to optimize your app’s opt-in rate here

For more information on cart abandonment campaigns, talk to one of our experts here.