AWS Messaging & Targeting Blog

Solving abandoned cart scenarios using Amazon Pinpoint event-triggered journeys

In this post, we will walk through building an abandoned shopping cart user journey in Amazon Pinpoint. Journeys are multi-step user engagements with channels sends (SMS, email or push) based on conditional logic with a goal to drive a high value action. This journey will enable customers to identify users who added a product to their shopping cart but have not purchased, and follow up with them via email to encourage them to complete the transaction. Though the example will be specific to this use case, the steps used can be adapted to fit similar user journeys.

Abandoned Shopping Cart Journey

The Baynard Institute states the average cart abandonment rate is 69.57%, which means over half of users add a product to cart but do not check out. Any improvement in this metric has a direct impact on revenue, and is easily measurable. This makes it a no brainer for marketers to support through campaigns. Previously, customers did not have a way to immediately react to a cart abandonment or other important events within a journey. This meant customers would need to create a segment of users who abandoned their cart and do a daily send. By this time, the user might have purchased an item somewhere else, or lost interest in the product or service.

Solution Overview

The solution that we will build relies on Amazon Pinpoint’s events API to report two application events: AddToCartEvent, CartPurchasedEvent. These events should be reported to Amazon Pinpoint from your electronic shopping cart system. The integration with the online shopping cart system is out of scope for this article. Please refer to the Amazon Pinpoint developer guide for more information.

Architecture Diagram

When a user of your e-commerce shopping cart adds items to their shopping cart, you can report the AddToCartEvent to Amazon Pinpoint. At a later time, when the user completes their purchase, you can report the CartPurchasedEvent. If the CartPurchasedEvent does not get reported to Amazon Pinpoint within an hour of receiving the AddToCartEvent, then you can trigger our abandon shopping cart email to encourage the user to return and complete their purchase.

Using these events, you are able to use Amazon Pinpoint’s journey feature to orchestrate our user experience. You will use the first event, AddToCartEvent, to trigger your journey. After an hour wait, you will then use the second event, CartPurchasedEvent, to filter out users who have completed the purchase. The remaining users will receive your abandon shopping cart email message urging them to return to their cart and complete their order.

Step 1: Create Add to Cart and Purchase custom events

The first step in setting up this solution is to create and report the two custom events. There are multiple ways to report events in your application. For demonstration purposes, we have included two example event calls in the proceeding code chunk using the AWS SDK for Python (Boto3) from inside an AWS Lambda Function.

It is important to note that the Amazon Pinpoint events API can also be used to update endpoints at the same time that the event gets registered. In the proceeding example, the first API call will update the endpoint’s attribute Cart with the contents of the shopping cart. In the second example, the API call update the endpoint’s attribute Purchased with the flag Yes.

Sample Event: Item Hat was added to cart with a price of $29.95

import boto3

client = boto3.client('pinpoint')
app_id = '[PINPOINT_PROJECT_ID]'
endpoint_id = '[ENDPOINT_ID]'
address = '[EMAIL_ADDRESS]'

def lambda_handler(event, context):
    
    client.put_events(
        ApplicationId = applicationId,
        EventsRequest={
            'BatchItem': {
                endpoint_id: {
                    'Endpoint': {
                        'ChannelType': 'EMAIL',
                        'Address': address,
                        'Attributes': {
                            'Cart': ['Hat'],
                            'Purchased': ['No']
                        }
                    },
                    'Events':{
                        'cart-event-2': {
                            'Attributes':{
                                'AddedToCart': 'Hat'
                            },
                            'EventType': 'AddToCartEvent',
                            'Metrics': 29.95,
                            'Timestamp': datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(time.time()).isoformat()
                        }
                    }
                }
            } 
        }
    )

Sample Event: Cart purchased

import boto3

client = boto3.client('pinpoint')
app_id = '[PINPOINT_PROJECT_ID]'
endpoint_id = '[ENDPOINT_ID]'
address = '[EMAIL_ADDRESS]'

def lambda_handler(event, context):
    
    client.put_events(
        ApplicationId = applicationId,
        EventsRequest={
            'BatchItem': {
                endpoint_id: {
                    'Endpoint': {
                        'ChannelType': 'EMAIL',
                        'Address': address,
                        'Attributes': {
                            'Cart': ['Hat'],
                            'Purchased': ['Yes']
                        }
                    },
                    'Events':{
                        'cart-event-2': {
                            'Attributes':{
                                'Purchased': 'Yes'
                            },
                            'EventType': 'CartPurchasedEvent',
                            'Timestamp': datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(time.time()).isoformat()
                        }
                    }
                }
            } 
        }
    )

Note: Both events above must be reported to Amazon Pinpoint in order to complete the remaining steps in this post.

Step 2: Create a “Made a Purchase” Dynamic Segment

The second step in our solution is to create a dynamic segment to filter out users who have made a purchase. To do this, you will look for users with the endpoint attribute of Purchased to be the value Yes.

  1. Navigate to your project in the Amazon Pinpoint Console, then Segments.
  2. Choose Create a segment.
  3. Select Build a segment.
  4. Provide the name Made a Purchase into the name field.
  5. Configure Segment Group 1 to add segment filters.
    1. Under the Add filters to refine your segment choose Filter by endpoint.
    2. For the Choose an endpoint attribute dropdown choose Purchased
    3. Ensure Is is chosen in the middle dropdown.
    4. In the Choose values dropdown choose Yes.
  6. Click Create Segment to create your first dynamic segment. Note, a pop-up will appear highlighting that this segment targets multiple endpoint channels. Select I Understand.

Step 3: Create our Abandon Cart Journey

The last step is to design out the journey itself.

  1. Navigate to your project in the Amazon Pinpoint Console, then Journeys.
  2. Choose Create journey to create a new journey.
  3. Give the Journey the name Abandon Cart by replacing the Untitled text.
  4. Define a Journey entry criteria
    1. Choose Set entry condition to expand the Journey entry activity.
    2. Choose Add participants when they perform an activity and choose AddToCartEvent in the Events field.
    3. Choose Save
  5. Create a branch to target users who did not make a purchase
    1. Choose Add activity directly under the Journey entry activity
    2. Under Choose a journey activity choose Yes/no split.
    3. Under Select a condition type choose Segment.
    4. Under Segments choose the Made a Purchase dynamic segment created earlier.
    5. Under Condition evaluation choose Evaluate after and then choose 1 hours.
    6. Choose Save
  6. Add an email activity to send our abandon cart message
    1. Choose Add activity directly under the No split path.
    2. Under Choose a journey activity choose Send email.
    3. Choose Choose an email template and select your messaging template and choose Choose template.
    4. Choose Save.

At this point, your journey should look like the screenshot below. You can now choose Review to walkthrough steps to publish your journey.

Next Steps

You can continue to iterate on this experience using the journeys tool to create a custom user-experience for your users without any code changes.

  • Filter the journey entry event to only high dollar cart items by adding Event metrics filters in the Journey entry criteria.
  • Test out different channels by sending message to users over SMS instead of email.
  • Add additional splits to send messages on users’ preferred channels.
  • Add a second wait of 24 hours and send a final reminder with a 10% off coupon code.
  • Add random splits to do A/B testing of different messages and channels.

Cleanup

To stop and remove the journey in order to not incur further charges, please follow the steps below.

  1. Navigate to your project in the Amazon Pinpoint Console, then Journeys.
  2. Select the Abandon Cart journey.
  3. Choose Stop journey then choose Stop journey again in the Stop journey confirmation.
  4. To fully delete the journey choose Delete from the Actions menu.

Conclusion

Cart abandonment is a major issue that has a direct impact on revenue. This solution allows customers to recognize a user has abandoned a critical flow and allows a marketer to re-engage them through a messaging channel before it is too late. Different components of the user journey can also be A/B tested and targeted with different user segments to drive the highest return from different user cohorts. Once set up, the journey can be always-on and independently drive incremental revenue for a business.

Log into the Amazon Pinpoint Console to get started creating your own abandon shopping cart journey.