Automate Abandoned Cart Reminders

When you sync users’ cart data with Sailthru, you can easily automate abandoned-cart reminder messages using Lifecycle Optimizer.

What is Cart Abandonment Messaging?

Customers frequently add products to their cart and leave your site without purchasing. This leaves valuable revenue potential untapped! Following up with the user with a personalized, timely reminder of their added items, potentially with discounts or other incentives, can drive purchase volume.

How it Works

Sailthru detects when a known user — based on their existing cookie or new login — has added items to their cart. Sailthru waits a standard 30 minutes from the user’s last pageview before considering the session “inactive”. At that time, the user enters your Abandoned Cart flow. 

Sailthru Lifecycle Optimizer Abandoned Cart Reminder Automation Process

After any additional wait time you choose to add to the flow, Lifecycle Optimizer takes action, sending a message to the user about their abandoned cart. That message can contain the specific cart items, enticing the user to resume their session and make a purchase.

Note: If you’re already sending Abandoned Cart emails using the Sailthru API without Lifecycle Optimizer, see the information in the FAQ below on the differences between these methods and how to migrate to the recommended Lifecycle Optimizer-powered method that is described on this page.


To enable Abandoned Cart messaging with Lifecycle Optimizer, you’ll need:

  1. The latest Sailthru JavaScript tag on your site.
  2. The Sailthru API, configured to sync users’ cart data each time it is updated. This requires a one-time setup by your developer using the Purchase API or addToCart script.
    • When using the Purchase API, the “incomplete” parameter must be used to identify items added to a cart but not purchased
  3. An abandoned-cart template that can reference the abandoned items.
  4. The sailthru_hid cookie set from a previous user email click or signup. This allows Sailthru to track user activity.


Once the above requirements are met:

  1. In Lifecycle Optimizer, create a New Flow.
  2. Click the default Entry and select Abandoned Cart. The default steps for an abandoned cart flow are displayed, though you can add/remove and customize steps as needed.
  3. Select a Wait before sending a message. Marketers often wait 4-6 hours after the session has ended.
  4. As an Action, select your Abandoned Cart template.

Reminder: See the FAQ below before activating this flow if you are currently using the “reminder template” to send abandoned cart emails through the API.

Basic Abandon Cart Flow

When you select “Abandoned Cart” from the Entry menu, Lifecycle Optimizer will automatically populate a best-practice template. The default steps will appear instantly, as long as you have not previously added other steps prior to selecting the entry.

default abandoned cart flow

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this work with mobile app activity/inactivity?

Currently, the session timeout is only identified using our on-site JavaScript. Stay tuned for details on updated SDK functionality to handle native application sessions!

How is this better than the previous API-only implementation of abandon cart?

For Sailthru’s standard commerce implementation, there’s NO additional development needed to use Lifecycle Optimizer’s Abandon Cart Entry.

Standard implementation includes the use of our latest on-site JavaScript tag, and the use of either the Purchase API or the on-site tag “add to cart” function. Just like Lifecycle Optimizer, all three methods are included free with any Sailthru account.

Additionally, this method takes into account your user’s realtime browsing activity rather than setting a fixed amount of time to wait after the last cart addition in order to consider the cart abandoned.

Can I switch to the Lifecycle Optimizer Abandon Cart functionality from my existing server-side use of the Purchase API?

Yes! The Purchase API is still needed to send Sailthru the items added to a cart, but you no longer need to hard-code a template name and wait time. If you’re using this server-side integration, you should remove those parameters (reminder_template and reminder_time) before activating an Abandoned Cart flow to prevent users from receiving multiple messages for the same abandoned cart. Developers should continue using the “incomplete” parameter when sending non-purchased items to represent that they have been added to a cart. For more information on preparing either Abandoned Cart method, see Abandoned Shopping Carts in the Transactionals section.