Create an abandoned cart recovery journey

An abandoned cart is when a customer visits your online store, places an item or items in their virtual cart, but never completes the checkout process.

This can cost your business valuable revenue. Abandoned cart recovery strategies encourage customers to return and complete their purchases.

In this article, you'll learn how to create an abandoned cart recovery journey.

Before you start

Here's what you need to know before you start:

  • You'll need to have Shopify installed as a connector.

  • You'll also need to have one of the following channels installed, so you can send abandoned cart recovery messages to your customers:

Step one: Create an abandoned cart recovery message template

Start by creating an abandoned cart recovery message template for either WhatsApp or SMS.

This message template will be sent later, by the journey that we'll set up in step two.

1. Go to the message template builder

  1. Create a message template by clicking Content > Message templates in the sidebar.

  2. From here, create and design a WhatsApp message template from scratch by clicking Create new message project and selecting WhatsApp as the platform.

  3. Under 'Interaction', select WhatsApp approved. You can learn more about this interaction type in our guide.

  4. Under 'WhatsApp Business Account', check the box next to the account you want to link this template to.

  5. Under 'Category', select Marketing.

  6. Select your message type. We'd recommend starting with Text to keep it simple.

  7. Name your template, then click Get started now.

WhatsApp Business Accounts

  • If you have more than one WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) installed in Bird, you'll need to select one of them during the message template setup process.

  • In step six, you'll need to choose the WhatsApp number that you want to send your message from. This number must be connected to the WABA that you selected in step one.

Here's an example of the type of abandoned cart WhatsApp message you could create:

2. Add a checkout variable

To get your customers back to their shopping cart as soon as possible, you'll need to provide them with a link.

To do this, add a variable to your WhatsApp template. You'll populate this later, when you set up your abandoned cart journey.

  1. Click the Settings icon at the top of your screen.

  2. In the panel on the right-hand side of your screen, click the Variables tab.

  3. Click Add new variable.

  4. In the 'Name' field, enter checkout_url.

  5. [Optional] Add a description for this variable.

  6. In the 'Example values per locale' section, enter

  7. Click Save variable.

  8. Go back to the message editor.

  9. In the main text body, type two curly brackets {{ where you want the cart URL to appear, then select your newly created checkout_url. Your message should look like this in the Editor and the Preview:

  10. Click Publish to set your WhatsApp message template live.

You'll need to wait for WhatsApp to approve your message template before you can use it in your abandoned cart recovery flow.

Step two: Find the Abandoned cart recovery journey template

Now that you've created your recovery message, it's time to set up your journey. This is where the automation happens!

We've set up abandoned cart recovery journey templates for WhatsApp and SMS.

Choose the correct journey template for the channel you're using.

  1. In the sidebar, click Journeys.

  2. Click Create journey.

  3. Click the Abandoned cart recovery journey template that you want to use (SMS or WhatsApp).

  4. Give your journey a name.

  5. Click Create Journey.

Step three: Configure the 'Checkout abandoned' journey trigger

Shopify classes a checkout as 'abandoned' if it remains incomplete for more than ten minutes after the customer has provided their email information.

The journey is automatically set up to run when a 'Checkout abandoned' event is received from your Shopify store.

If you have multiple Shopify stores installed in Bird, you may need to click the trigger and use the 'Connector instance' dropdown to select the specific store that you want to use to trigger this journey.

Want to set up abandoned cart reminders for every Shopify store you own? You'll need to set up a new journey for each of your stores.

Step four: Decide how long to wait before sending the recovery message

By default, the journey will wait for 2 hours after it receives the 'Checkout abandoned' before sending a recovery message to the customer.

This is a good starting point, but you can customize the wait time if you want to. You can even choose to send the reminder at a specific time of day.

For example, if your store sells lower-value products that don't require much of a consideration time, a shorter wait time may work for you. Likewise, if your products are higher-value, and your customers take longer to consider making a purchase, you may want to give them some more time before sending a recovery message.

Don't rush your customers

How many times have you placed an item in your online shopping cart, only to be distracted by the doorbell ringing? If your customers get a reminder message every time they leave their cart for longer than ten minutes, you'll risk annoying them.

Don't wait until they completely forget

On the flip side, you don't want to wait until your customers have completely forgotten why they even needed a new frying pan. If you wait too long, they might go to a competitor instead, and you'll miss out on valuable revenue.

Step five: Check how unsubscribed contacts are handled

The abandoned cart journey uses a conditional to automatically filter out contacts who have unsubscribed from receiving marketing messages from you on the selected channel.

For example:

  • If you're using the WhatsApp journey template, the journey will check that the recipients are subscribed to WhatsApp.

  • If you're using the SMS journey template, the journey will check that the recipients are subscribed to SMS.

Unsubscribed contacts will automatically be removed from the journey and won't be sent your recovery message.

You don't need to change anything here, but let's have a look at how the conditions are set up:

For a WhatsApp abandoned cart journey, the condition will check:

  • That the contact has a phone number

  • That the contact's WhatsApp subscription status is TRUE

Step six: Add your recovery message template to your journey

Remember the recovery message template you made in step one? Now's the time to add it to your journey, and populate the checkout_url.

  1. Select the 'Send a message' step.

  2. Choose the WhatsApp channel you want to send your recovery message from. If you have multiple channels/channel instances installed, you might have to scroll a little to find the right one.

  3. From the 'Template' dropdown, select the template that you made in step 1.

  4. In the 'Template variables' section, click the curly brackets ({{}}).

  5. Select the Shopify event, then click Checkout URL.

  6. In the 'Default' field, which is used as a fallback, enter the URL of your Shopify store.

  7. Click Save.

Step seven: Publish your abandoned cart recovery journey

Ready to set everything live? Click Publish in the top right hand corner to set your journey live.

Success! You've just published your abandoned cart recovery journey. Now, customers who abandon their Shopify carts will receive a cart recovery message, reminding them to return to their cart.

Last updated