Setting up an abandoned cart reminder

The abandoned cart reminder is the little nudge sometimes needed to close the deal fully and can therefore become a reliable source of extra revenue for your company to run in the background while you focus on your targeted messages.

If you want to read more about the strategy behind this automation, you can have a look at our blogpost on the topic. This is the technical guide so let's go through the steps needed to set up this automation:

  1. Tracking the Basket adds
  2. Creating the message content
  3. Set up dynamic module that will show the products customer didn't buy (Customer Success Custobarians will take care of this for you.)
  4. Segmenting the target audience
  5. Testing

Tracking the Basket adds

The first step of course is to track the actual basket adds so we can see and use those in Custobar. To do that, use our tracking script or the Events API to push a BASKET_ADD event each time a product is added to the cart. This should be done everywhere a product can be added to a shopping cart (such as listing page, product detail page, etc). The Event should also carry the product ID as well as the customer ID if they are identified. If customers are browsing anonymously, the Custobar tracking cookie should help identify some of the customers. In this case the customer ID can be omitted.

Basket add event

The product ID is crucial for the content of the message, so please make sure it matches the IDs as used in Custobar so the matching can be done smoothly.

Creating the message content

The next step is to set up the content of the email. It is based on two types of elements: the content set manually, which you will write and configure just like any newsletter, and the dynamic module. Dynamic module part will be covered in next section, part three. In this section, it's time to be creative and think of the copy and visual elements for your abandoned shopping cart email. Below you can see how one of our clients Finnish Design Shop has done it.

Message content

Setting up the dynamic module

There's an example abandoned basket email module in all Custobar environments, and you can start with that. Here's how to take the abandoned basket email module into use.

Dynamic modules will automatically review the BASKET_ADD events and using the product IDs in the events, they will also retrieve the product images, title, description, price and url from the product data in Custobar.

This means the core of the message will be tailored to each recipients to show the products they have in their cart, and that core can be dressed up with the content relevant to your branding and communication style.

Segmenting the target audience

The last step is to make the audience. The campaign will be an automated email so it can run continuously in the background, so we need to define some rules for people to be contacted, and some repeat criteria so those messages do not become too intrusive over time.

The goal here is to target Customers who added products in their cart, but did NOT buy anything.

In order to give ourselves a generous time-window and avoid having some Events or Sales fall through the cracks, the best practice is to use a minimum of 12h increments. This will prevent the message going out just as the customer is making the purchase, which could be a frustrating experience.

We also want to have a Sale window wider than the Event one so we do not send the reminder to someone right after their purchase.

So here is an example of audience that has the minimum filters in place:


If you are wondering how you can set up the Has an event and Bought a product searches, take a look at these screenshots below.

Audience has an event

Bought event

When activating the campaign, we can add some repeat rules, for example a 3 months cap prevents sending the reminder more than once per quarter, even if the customer returns to the site and matches the audience filter again. Of course this is an example and the actual repeat rule should reflect your approach. Some businesses benefit from a more aggressive messaging rhythm, so just tweak it as you need.


The repeat rule does not mean Custobar will send the same message after the time has passed. It is an extra layer of control to ensure the frequency of the reminders suits your strategy. To get a new message, the customer must satisfy the audience filter, meaning they need to have a new BASKET_ADD event, and enough time must have passed since last message in order to receive a new reminder.

Testing the automation

Testing the abandoned cart automation, like other automations relying on dynamic content, can only be done in production. This means the preview feature or a test email will not display the dynamic content. Testing in production can be a risky proposition, also we ask you to be extra careful to avoid sending hundreds of broken messages to your customers.

In order to test the automation, we recommend adding an extra filter to the audience to ensure only the tester can trigger the message sending and receive the email. If you use multiple test profiles, using the operator "starts with" allows you to restrict the sending to more than one profile at a time, like in the example below:

Restricted audience

The test profiles and can both be used in this setup while real customers will not be bothered during the testing phase.

Then all you have to do is add items to your own shopping cart and wait for incoming reminders. Of course the test profile you use should be identified, either by logging in on the webstore, or by having the Custobar tracking cookie enabled (the easiest way is to open a newsletter sent from Custobar and click one of the links).

Please note: In order to facilitate testing, you might prefer to shorten the segmenting window, for example to 12min instead of 12h, and you will need to adjust the repeat rules to be able to receive more tests over a short period of time. Once the testing is successful, do remember to change those back to the original window and repeat rule times.