Use Push Notifications to Re-engage Customers Who Abandon Your Mobile Shopping Cart

Customers abandon shopping carts with items in them for a wide variety of reasons.

What can a business do to draw them back and encourage them to proceed with check out for their purchase?

A well-timed push notification can be an effective way to remind your mobile apps visitors that they have forgotten items.
A well-timed push notification can be an effective way to remind your mobile apps visitors that they have forgotten items. How do you grab users’ attention and brings them back?

By delivering well written content that takes into account the customers themselves at a proper time.

There are three key parts to get right with this strategy. Make sure you discuss these items with your iPhone application developer or Android application developer before starting your mobile application development project so they can plan ahead to best serve your needs.


Your message needs to not only grab the user’s attention but also give them a reason to come back and re-engage with your mobile app.

Typically the two factors that make the push notifications effective are sound copy and personalization.

Consider the effect a message like  “You left an item in your shopping cart” as compared to “Hi Jan, the Stone Band Ring you selected is still in your shopping cart. Would you like to checkout now?” Clearly one is more inviting and likely to encourage action.

Don’t forget to utilize A/B testing with multiple messages to see which message works best for your user base. While the first message you write may sound great it might not be the right message for your audience.


Personalization involves so much more than just including a users name in a push notification. With data you can determine the interests and preferences customers have. Customers often choose to opt-in to data programs to allow businesses to deliver content that reflects their interests and a business should not ignore the ability to improve their app by using data.

Relevant messages get results and with data you can make sure you are sending push notifications that fall within the interests of users. Send pushes to customers who have items in their cart that fall within the usual types of items they purchase. If you have a customer that regularly buys books but has a post card in their shopping cart, this probably isn’t the best time to send them a push. First of all, this items falls outside of their usual purchase patterns and it is also a low value item. Developing a set of perimeters to send out push notifications based on customer preferences and appropriate scenarios.

Consider sending pushes to clients with multiple items in their cart or higher value items. You want to send out push notifications that seem significant and not like spam to users.


The timing of a push notification can have a huge effect on how it is received.

There is no hard and fast rule. Experiment with different time frames to determine what works best for your consumers.  Send out your message too soon and you seem eager, but wait to long and the customer may have lost interest in the item.  Try sending out a notification 24 hours after the cart was abandoned and experiment from there.

Push notifications sent at appropriate times will be most effective and easiest for customers to open, while apps send in the middle of the night with leave a bad impression. Timing is important as users are more likely to act on messages received at convenient times, such as at lunch time or after work.


When customers abandon items in the cart on your app don’t feel like that sale been lost. With an effective push notification strategy these customers can be encouraged back to complete their purchases.

Photo: Jorge Quinteros (Flikr)

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Kimber Johnson

Kimber Johnson

Managing Director at Vanity Point
Kimber Johnson is the Managing Director of Vanity Point, Kimber has worked within the web development, graphics design, mobile application development, marketing and advertising fields for over 17 years.

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