How to Build an Abandoned Cart Campaign in 5 Steps
Every brand that sells online knows this struggle: a carefully nurtured lead makes it all the way to the “place order” button… and then clicks away before completing the transaction. But don’t abandon hope when a customer abandons a cart! A timely, relevant follow-up message can transform those almost-there engagements into actual conversions.
With Customer.io’s powerful visual workflow builder, you can easily create an effective, hyper-personalized abandoned cart campaign that runs on auto-pilot. Once you’ve got that down, you can repurpose the same logic to move leads through every stage of your sales funnel. Here’s how it works.
How to build the campaign
To get started, you’ll need to create two events:
checkout_completed. These will determine when someone enters and exits the campaign. Both will need an unique identifying attribute like
With your events created, the build itself is quick and easy:
- Step 1. Create a new event-triggered campaign
- Step 2. Choose the
checkout_startedevent as the trigger; customers will enter the campaign when they begin the checkout process
- Step 3. Add a Wait Until step after the trigger and set the timeframe for when you want a customer to get a message if they don’t complete checkout
- Step 4. Create your logic with two branches. If the customer actually checks out (which is the
checkout_completedevent with the same
checkout_idas the triggering event) within the timeframe you set, they’ll exit the campaign, receiving no messages. If they don’t, they’ll get a message reminding them to check out
- Step 5. Create your message to bring abandoned customers back into the checkout process
What to do if your events don’t have a unique identifier
No problem; you can apply the same logic using only the events themselves. For most cases, this will work as flawlessly as if you had an unique identifier.
There might be some situations where multiple checkouts could be started, and that will require some tweaking in your trigger settings to adapt how often a campaign should be triggered.
Tips for a winning campaign
- Set the right delay. You can set any Wait Until delay you choose. Time your message quickly enough that the customer hasn’t lost interest, but not so fast that they feel hounded. A good starting point is the average length of time between
checkout_completedevents for your customers.
- Personalize your content. Tap into what customers have indicated they want with tailored message content. For consumer goods, you might include pictures of the products in the person’s cart. If you have a SaaS product, you could reiterate the features included in the pricing tier the customer selected. In the case of event registration, a countdown timer may be just the ticket.
- Choose the right channel. Customer.io allows you to send email, SMS, push, and in-app messages (and combine them all within one campaign). Determine the channel that resonates best for your particular audience. You might consider adding more than one message to your campaign, leveraging different channels, if it works for your brand.
- Overcome friction points. Something made the customer decide not to complete checkout, but what? Identify potential obstacles to conversion and use your message to help solve them. That might be a link to chat with a customer success rep, a set of FAQs relevant to what’s in the cart, a how-to video, or some five-star reviews.
- Sweeten the deal. When a customer abandons a cart, they’re not necessarily saying “no”; they may just be saying “not yet.” A special offer, discount, or freebie can convince them the time is right to complete the purchase after all.
- Test, test, test. You can easily add A/B testing directly into your campaign and run ongoing tests on different variables to see what performs best. Try these A/B testing tips and tricks to get the most out of your experiments.
Learn once, reuse over and over
You can repurpose this campaign throughout your sales funnel. It works wherever you need to monitor whether a person will take the next step naturally and give them a nudge when needed—and it can be a game-changer anywhere customers tend to stall or exit altogether.
For instance, a T-shirt printing business could use it to offer one-to-one support to customers who start custom design projects but don’t finish them within 72 hours. Or a fintech app could use it to remind new subscribers about the benefits of connecting their bank account if they haven’t done so after 24 hours. A mobile app could use this approach to prod people to start using the app if they’ve downloaded it but not opened it yet. There are endless possibilities.
I like to describe abandoned cart campaigns and other simple, high-impact workflows as building blocks. Individually, they are easy to master, and they deliver immediate value. After you start putting them into place, you can combine multiple blocks to build powerful workflows that deliver an incredibly individualized customer experience at scale.