The Right Timing For Cart Recovery SMS and Emails

80% of the people that start the checkout process end up abandoning. You’re probably already using email and maybe even SMS as a cart recovery tactic, but I can almost guarantee that...

Jon Tucker
CEO HelpFlow
The Right Timing For Cart Recovery SMS and Emails

A large portion, about 80%, of shoppers who begin the checkout process don’t complete it. While you may already be using email or SMS for cart recovery timing, there’s a good chance that there’s room to improve your results in this area.

Most people set up email and SMS cart recovery sequences in a pretty haphazard way, without a clear understanding of which channel is best for which scenarios and how to have them work together in sync to maximize recovery results. And this is not just something that doesn’t work if you do it wrong. You can end up annoying potential customers and causing them never to come back by being too aggressive with cart recovery efforts.

With that said, you should definitely be using email and SMS, and if you get the timing of each channel right, the results can be insane.

At, we provide 24/7 live chat and customer service teams. We focus on cart recovery as a key way to drive sales. We’ve dialed in how to make each channel work in sync to maximize results: onsite recovery efforts, SMS, and email.

Cart Recovery Timing: Optimizing Strategies to Rescue Abandoned Carts

Cart Recovery Timing optimizing

One of the best ways to save someone who abandons your purchase process is to save them before they even leave. By the time they leave, you’re fighting an uphill battle trying to get them back and focus on purchasing on your site.

By using Google Analytics to analyze people that have abandoned, you can figure out the pattern of actions that visitors take before they end up abandoning. For example, # of pages, scrolling patterns, etc

By using Google Analytics to analyze people that have abandoned, you can figure out the pattern of actions that visitors take before they end up abandoning. For example, # of pages, scrolling patterns, etc.

Understanding customer behavior prior to cart abandonment allows you to anticipate potential drop-offs. Engaging customers through live chat just before the critical moment can help with cart recovery timing. This proactive approach often saves sales that might otherwise be lost.

When to Send SMS’s and What to Say

Cart Recovery Timing sms

You should not be using SMS the same way you use email. Simply broadcasting out messages and not being available for a conversational back-and-forth response. SMS is best used quickly after the event and happens, such as in the first 30 minutes.

By sending out an informal text such as “Hi Jane. I noticed you didn’t finish buying the coffee mug. Are there any questions I can help out with?” You are creating a personal touch with the brand and sparking up a conversation. You’ll learn from these conversations why people are abandoning them so you can fix it in your purchase flow while also conversationally saving a ton of sales.

The key thing to remember here is not simply sending a reminder in a broadcast format that people don’t engage with. This will cause them to be less reactive to future text messages and unlikely to complete this purchase.

By the way, if you need help responding to incoming texts in 10 seconds or less, let us know. It’s part of what we do for tons of stores (i.e., our agents can respond.)

Cart Recovery Email Sequences

For email, most brands send a variation of a reminder, a reminder with a discount, and then a final Hail Mary discount over a period of about 5 days. This will produce a few sales, but it doesn’t get to the root of why people abandon in the first place.

People abandon for two reasons. First, they have questions that weren’t addressed that stopped their purchase. Second, they have second thoughts about the product, or your brand is right for them.

The best cart recovery sequences we’ve seen are a variation of:

  • Reminder, similar to what you’re probably already doing but with an invite to chat with an agent instantly if they have questions. This massively increases the result of the first email. People don’t abandon cause they forgot what they were doing on your site.
  • Discount offer while still having the opportunity to chat.
  • Value builder, which focuses on why your product is awesome and will solve their problems. This is essentially re-selling the product to them since they didn’t buy in the first place and haven’t reacted to the reminder/discount / offer for help.
  • Final offer, making clear that you’re here to help with any questions you have but that you won’t keep annoying them with follow-ups. After that, add them to your house list for future campaigns.

By using the sequence, you are following up enough with the prospect with a few different angles to engage with them if they are ultimately going to buy. If they don’t, you’re not burning the relationship by being too aggressive.

Incorporating a feature in your emails that allows customers to immediately chat with an agent ensures quick answers to their inquiries. This often leads to increased engagement and purchases, as it provides an instant solution to any issues that may have initially prevented the sale, optimizing your cart recovery timing.


In short, make sure you’re using both SMS and email but structure the campaigns in a way, so they work together to maximize recovery efforts. Also, focus each one on sparking up conversations with people as that gives you the opportunity to remove whatever objection caused them to abandon in the first place.

And of course, make sure you respond to the incoming chats you’ll get in your checkout process, SMS, and cart recover emails quickly to avoid the dreaded feeling of “ugh! no one is even here to help me” feeling in buyers.

We can help as we run 24/7 live chat and customer service teams managing chat, email, SMS, and other channels for our 100 stores. Learn more at

Your Store Needs a 24/7 Live Chat Team

HelpFlow can drive sales by having our team of human agents available on live chat 24/7 to predict and save abandons before they happen, proactively reach out and engage with visitors via SMS and email after they abandon, and by answering visitor questions live on your website to convert visitors.

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