Guide to Abandoned Cart Automations

   Tip: Select any of the images or GIFs in this article for a closer look.
   Important: Abandoned cart text messages can only be sent to individuals who have compliantly and explicitly opted in to your store's SMS program. Learn more about growing your subscriber list here.

We've designed this guide to introduce you to abandoned cart automations, highlight strategies for abandoned cart targeting and messaging, and help you understand automation performance.

We recommend that you review this guide before you proceed with creating your abandoned cart automations.


Abandoned cart messages target subscribers who've added one or more items to their shopping cart but have not completed their purchase.  

While research shows that nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned, the good news is you can recover these sales.

Using targeted abandoned cart SMS automations, you can automatically send customers a reminder of their cart, offer an incentive, and link them directly back to their cart to complete their purchase. With SMS messages having an open rate as high as 98%, brands have experienced significant success in converting these abandoned carts into sales.

Before we dive into how to create an abandoned cart automation, let's cover some foundational knowledge that will help you craft automations that are both highly effective and unique to your subscriber base and brand.

How Abandoned Cart Automations Work

Abandoned cart automations are designed to remind a subscriber that they forgot to complete their purchase.

When Shopify detects an abandoned cart, it notifies Postscript. This triggers the abandoned cart automation you designed. The subscriber then receives that message on their phone and is prompted to complete their checkout.

Here's a visual of the abandoned cart experience with Postscript:

Abandoned Cart Basics

When you create an abandoned cart automation you need, at minimum, three important pieces of information.

  1. Name. Give your abandoned cart a name that helps you identify it from your other automations.
  2. Automation Trigger. Select Checkout Started as your automation trigger. This tells Postscript to send this automation to any customer who starts the checkout process.
  3. Cancellation Trigger. Select Order Created as your cancellation trigger. This tells Postscript when to take a customer out of this automation. Essentially, this says, "If a customer starts the checkout process but then creates an order, don't send them the abandoned cart message."

What about the "Once Per Subscriber" toggle? Since you likely want customers to receive an abandoned cart message any time they start the checkout process and don't complete their purchase, you'll want to leave this toggle turned off. 

What about Trigger and User Filters? You can create highly targeted, more advanced abandoned cart automations using these filter categories. We talk about advanced abandoned cart automations more in-depth below.

What to Include in Your Abandoned Cart Message

You can completely customize your abandoned cart message to reflect the voice and personality of your brand and the expectations of your subscriber base.

Before we get into specific strategies, let's talk about compliance. Per carrier regulations:

Abandoned cart automations can only contain one message, and this message must be sent within 48 hours of a customer abandoning their cart.

We cover how to set the timing of your message when you create your abandoned cart automation; however, it's important to also know you can only send one message as this can affect your message strategy.

With an abandoned cart message, you can:

  1. Include a dynamic product photo. Postscript will feature a photo of the most expensive item in the subscriber's cart.
  2. Add personalization with message tags. Add dynamic tags such as {first_name} so that the sent message populates with the subscriber's first name. It's a simple and effective way to build rapport and trust with your customers.
  3. Create a sense of urgency. Use your message copy to create a sense of urgency around the cart. Popular examples include This offer expires at midnight! or These products are going fast—get yours before they're gone!
  4. Offer an incentive. Whether you choose to include an incentive depends on your brand. You can choose to offer a percentage off, a fixed amount discount, and/or free shipping and returns.
  5. Link directly to a subscriber's cart. Add a dynamic abandoned cart link that will allow the subscriber to click right back into their shopping cart from your text message.

Understanding Abandoned Cart Metrics

Metrics, or data, help you understand whether the messages you send are achieving the goals you've set.

For example, with an abandoned cart automation, your goal might be to see high conversion rates. This would mean a large number of subscribers who receive the abandoned cart message are clicking their abandoned cart link and completing their purchase.

Since a subscriber action, like abandoning a cart, triggers an automation, you will need to wait until enough messages send before you view performance metrics. Allowing time ensures you have enough data to make inferences about how a specific automation is performing.

Below are a few recommendations, but the ultimate number you're looking for will depend on your total number of subscribers.

  • Smaller shops: 250 messages or 30 days.
  • Mid-sized shops: 600 messages or 30 days.
  • Large shops: 1,000 messages or 30 days.

View Your Abandoned Cart Metrics

You can view the performance for your abandoned cart automations on your Automations page. 

Top Row Bottom Row
  • Sent. View the total number of times Postscript has sent a specific abandoned cart automation.
  • Clicked. View the number of times a subscriber has clicked the link included in the abandoned cart message.
  • Ordered. View the number of customers who have completed their purchase due to the abandoned cart automation.
  • Earned. View the total revenue earned due to the abandoned cart automation.

Testing Different Abandoned Cart Automations

A/B testing is a powerful and effective tool that takes the guesswork out of how your messages will be well received. By testing multiple options, you gather useful engagement data that will help you make informed decisions.

Here's how it works:

  1. Create two (or more) different abandoned cart automation messages.
  2. Send these messages to different groups of subscribers.
  3. Compare your results. You can see which message has a higher click-through rate (CTR, conversion, or higher earning per message (EPM)). That message is your more effective automation.
  4. Use that automation for the rest of your subscriber base.

Here's an example A/B test:

At a glance, we can see the Abandoned Cart Test Group 1 performed better. The unsubscribe rate is low and the click-through rate, conversion rate, and earnings per message are higher than that of Abandoned Cart Test Group 2.

Let's look at it from the customer perspective: Your subscribers are more engaged and/or respond better to the message you created for Group 1.

Armed with that knowledge, you can take a look at the message and see what unique strategies you used:

  • Did you include a dynamic product photo, image, or GIF?
  • What type of offer did you include? Was it a percent or amount off, or a free shipping offer?
  • Did you personalize the message with the subscriber's name or a link to their abandoned cart?
  • Did your message reflect the voice and personality of your brand?
  • How soon did you send the message?

You can apply these learnings to future abandoned cart automations (or automations in general) that you build for your subscriber list. 

Target Specific Shoppers with Customized Abandoned Cart Automations

We spoke above about a standard automation needing two things: an automation and a cancellation trigger. With just these two, you can create an abandoned cart automation that will send to any subscriber who abandons their cart.

Yet, what if you want to target different kinds of shoppers? What if you want to offer a large discount to customers who abandoned a cart worth over $100? Or offer free shipping to customers with more than five items in their cart?

That's where Trigger Filter and User Filter come in handy. With these filters, you can fine-tune who receives a specific abandoned cart automation and customize the message for this group of subscribers.

We've created a library of articles and quick videos that walk you through how to create more advanced abandoned cart automations using trigger and user filters.

High-Value Product-Specific Discount-Applied Number of Items

Create a High-Value Abandoned Cart Automation. Learn how to create an abandoned cart automation that targets customers who've abandoned a cart that totals over a specific amount you define.

Extra Resources

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