Generating more than $4.9 trillion in sales every year, e-commerce is a thriving industry. Yet to succeed, businesses globally must overcome a sizeable hurdle: shopping cart abandonment. Recent research reveals that more than 69% of transactions are abandoned without completion.

This equates to an estimated $4.6 trillion in lost sales each year. The good news is that, according to Business Insider, approximately $2.75 trillion of this is recoverable through meaningful remarketing strategies and improved app practices.

Here we discuss the main reasons for cart abandonment and how mobile apps can retarget and nudge users towards completing their purchases using recovery push notifications.

Why Do Customers Abandon Their Shopping Carts?

It’s hard work enticing users to download your e-commerce app, so when they express even further interest by adding something to their shopping cart, you want to do everything you can to maximize the chances of conversion.

But what happens when the user lapses and fails to complete the transaction? Which is most of the time, by the way.

Your first goal is to determine why your customers failed to complete the purchase. You know they are somewhat interested, given they added the item to their cart. So, it will be easier to convert these users than those who have just started browsing your app.

Essentially, the cart shopper is indirectly telling you what they are interested in and is letting you know something is holding them back. It’s your job to find out what that is.

Price and Unexpected Costs

Nobody likes paying for shipping on top of the items they wish to purchase, particularly if those costs have not been disclosed early on. Any kind of hidden fee like this is an unpleasant surprise for customers. Research shows that more than 60% of customers at least consider abandoning their order because shipping isn’t free.

To rule out shipping costs as a reason for cart abandonment, make it known early on what the customer can expect to pay for shipping. Consider offering free shipping wherever possible, for example, when a customer spends over a certain amount, is a member of your rewards program, or lives within a certain radius. In most cases, the added long-term value of gaining more customers will outweigh the shipping costs you have to cover.

Poor or Complicated Process

Optimize your checkout process to be as efficient and short as possible without any unnecessary extra steps. A lengthy process requiring excessive information is an easy way to turn customers away.

Customers today are wary of how businesses use their information, so asking for details unrelated to their purchase could cause them to refrain from ordering—for example, insisting users create an account to complete their purchase or subscribe to the company newsletter. These additional steps only create roadblocks for the user who has one goal—completing their order.

As for the information you do need to collect to fulfill the customer’s order, ensure you clearly state that it will be used only for this purpose.

Security Concerns

Customers are not just wary about handing over personal information. They are also concerned about overall site security and can be reluctant to purchase from an app or website they feel is not secure. Make sure it’s clear in your messaging during the payment stage in particular that customers’ details are safe and secure.

Once you have found the root cause of why users are abandoning their carts, you can start working towards getting them back to your app to complete their purchase.

Abandoned Cart Recovery Push Notifications

So what notifications can you create to encourage potential buyers to complete their transactions?

Promotional Offer

Target audience: the passive shopper

Sometimes users want the products they add to their shopping cart, but not enough to complete the purchase at that moment. Maybe the price is too high, they don’t urgently need the item, or they are saving it in their basket to purchase later. Or perhaps the user is searching other stores for the same product at a lower price and might return if your price is right.

In these scenarios, a push notification that includes an incentive such as a discount or promo code can be powerful in enticing an unsure buyer to complete a purchase.

The example below combines a discount with clever copy relating to the cart product to increase the chances of grabbing users’ attention.

Combine this with another tactic such as urgency and a clear CTA to maximize reengagement and encourage the buyer to swiftly take action. Time-sensitive promotions like the one below can convert users faster and tend to see higher success rates.

Offering a percentage discount on price elastic products can also be highly effective.

According to Statista, 49% of customers abandon their cart due to high shipping costs, so it makes sense to offer free shipping if it means converting those customers—if it’s still profitable, of course.

Add a free delivery campaign to your abandoned cart strategy and analyze the results and ROI to determine its effectiveness.

Cost incentives like these are a great way to capture price-sensitive buyers, which most of those leaving items in their cart likely are.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Target audience: the wishlist shopper

Many of us are guilty of using shopping carts as wish lists, so we don’t forget what we wanted later on. This is particularly common in the retail space. Again, we like the products we add but have no real urgency or, in some cases, intention of purchasing. And if the cart doesn’t expire, we leave the products there and come back later (or in many cases, forget) at our convenience. 

Here is where a limited-time price incentive or notification about stock running low on a particular item can encourage a user to make a move. The key is to create urgency and a sense of FOMO around the transaction.

Alert your customers that the item they are interested in is either low in stock or being held in their cart for only a brief time.

If feasible, add a promo code or price incentive to sweeten the deal.

Send a Reminder

Target audience: the forgetful shopper

Although not as common a reason for abandoning a shopping cart, interruption and distraction do happen while shopping online and can be easily solved by subtly reminding users they have something in their cart.

The lighthearted wording in Jet’s push notification below acknowledges that sometimes you just get distracted and forget to finish checking out. They nicely position their reminder as a friendly nudge.

Sending a simple reminder to let customers know they forgot something in their cart may be enough to get them to return and complete the transaction. If not, you can follow up with an urgency or promotional incentive notification. This way, you can be sure you’re not distributing discounts unnecessarily and fully protect your profit margins. 

While it is more likely, it’s important not to instantly assume the abandonment is a matter of price but may simply be an unintentional interruption while making a purchase. Many customers can have high purchase intent and leave the website, hoping to remember to return later and buy the product. 

This subset of users needs a gentle reminder of what they loved on your website to persuade them to complete their purchase.

Align Purchase Intent

How will the product improve the customer’s life? Consider the benefits of a particular product and use that to help close the sale.

After all, most customers shop for items to solve a particular pain point. Whether that’s needing a better wardrobe or getting a better night’s sleep, reminding them that your product will help them achieve that is a great way to convince them to return to your app and finish their purchase.

Ask for Feedback and Offer Help

If you are seeing a higher frequency of cart abandonments, you might want to ask customers for feedback to get to the root of the problem. As price isn’t the only reason a customer leaves without purchasing, presenting a brief survey can help identify patterns that you can then use to improve your process, user experience and ultimately, conversion rate.

Use customer responses as an opportunity to offer support and guide them through the rest of the checkout process.

Get Personal

More and more people are beginning to despise generic messages and demand personalization at every stage of the buyer’s journey. For that reason, personalization is vital for engaging users and grabbing their attention amongst the noise of every other marketing communication. 

Abandoned cart emails and notifications are a dime a dozen these days, with most simply listing the items left in the cart—boring, generic, and easily ignored. Instead of a basic reminder of a product in a cart, call out the specifics. Add the name of the customer and the product they were interested in purchasing. After all, that same user may have abandoned carts on multiple apps, so personalizing your messaging will help them quickly make the association with your brand.

Be as specific to where the user was in the checkout process as possible. By matching your notifications to where their decision went from a ‘Yes’ to a ‘No,’ you’ll be able to sway them seamlessly back into the funnel.

You want to create lifetime customers, so some work should go into personalizing notifications. Go a step further with contextualization and tell the user how “those red shoes would pair perfectly with that black dress you bought last month,” or refer to the user’s unique account details like the below example.

Data shows that customers engage with personalized messages at a 4–7x higher rate than generic, non-personalized messages, so if and when you can personalize, you should.

Timing your Cart Abandonment Push Notification

Sending notifications at the optimal time can be the difference between converting a user or annoying them. Sending an alert as soon as the customer leaves the app can be counterproductive and irk most users. While if you are too late, the customer may have made a purchase elsewhere or changed their mind. So, finding the right balance is crucial.

According to our research, you should give customers at least 30 minutes after they abandon their cart to return and complete the purchase. If they don’t convert within that time, you can launch your first recovery notification.

Final Thoughts

Push notifications are a remarkably effective sales recovery channel. Using push, you can easily reclaim many of your abandoned carts by offering a discount, creating a sense of urgency, instilling FOMO, and providing support.

However, mobile users are inundated with marketing messaging and notifications every single day. So to break through the noise, let the customer data you collect, particularly the data that helps you understand why a user abandons their cart, guide your campaigns.

Bring Notifications to Life

With Swrve’s push notification campaigns, you can deep-link directly to the cart at the exact point a user abandoned, removing friction and maximizing the likelihood of a conversion.

Build High Converting Campaigns

Swrve’s campaign builder is a simple drag and drop interface that’s easy for marketers to use.

Schedule your personalized demo to learn how Swrve can power your mobile marketing to deliver sophisticated messaging campaigns immediately without needing designers, developers, and everyone in between.

We help companies like Emirates, Dominos, Blizzard, and Warner Bros create rich mobile experiences—from conversion-focused campaigns to optimizing app features and UI.