Abandoned Cart and Sweepstakes SMS Compliance for the US

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Sweepstakes and abandoned cart flows are great ways for brands to obtain more subscribers and convert them into customers. However, certain carriers enforce a strict limit on how many SMS messages a brand can send for a sweepstakes or abandoned cart. If you plan to use SMS for one or both of these purposes, there are a few things you may need to do to qualify.

This information is not legal advice. Klaviyo recommends that you consult with your legal counsel to make sure that you comply with applicable laws in connection with your marketing activities.

This article runs through best practices for using SMS in abandoned cart flows or as part of a sweepstakes in the US. 

SMS Compliance for Abandoned Carts

Consent/Opt-In Requirements

There are two main requirements for consent in connection with abandoned cart messages: 

  • A recipient must explicitly agree to receive abandoned cart reminders
  • The list they are sent to must have double opt-in enabled

For the first, as a part of the SMS opt-in process on your website, mention in the call-to-action that your SMS program includes abandoned cart reminders. Typically, this mention is part of the disclosure text written on a signup form.

Every SMS subscriber must also go through the double opt-in process if you want to send them abandoned cart messages. 

Flow Restrictions

An SMS abandoned cart flow has two key restrictions:

  • The flow is limited to one SMS message per each abandoned cart
  • The message must be sent within 48 hours of the triggering event

Further, you cannot complete the transaction on behalf of the customer, collect payment information via text, or accept purchase via a keyword confirmation from the customer. The customer must complete the transaction themselves on your online store.

Required Disclosures 

If you plan to send abandoned cart reminders through your short code SMS program, it needs to be specified within your mobile program terms of service. The language below is an example of such a disclosure. 

“If you have opted in, the Service provides alerts, information, promotions, specials, and other marketing offers (e.g., cart reminders) from <Company Name>.”

You must also address your abandoned cart program in your privacy policy. Privacy policies must explicitly state how information is captured by the website to determine when a customer cart has been abandoned (website cookies, plugins, etc). The language below is an example. 

“The <website> uses cookies to help keep track of items you put into your shopping cart including when you have abandoned your cart and this information is used to determine when to send cart reminder messages via SMS.”

SMS Compliance for Sweepstakes/Contests

Carriers have specific requirements for sweepstakes/contests where consumers enter, win, or otherwise participate. While these requirements are primarily for short codes, they are still good to have in place for other SMS sending numbers.

Sweepstakes rules must include:

  • Having a “No Purchase Necessary” method of participation within the contest
  • Not offering carrier-specific prizes 
  • Defining the contest period
  • Listing all states where participation in the sweepstakes is available 
  • Listing the approximate retail value (ARV) of the prizes

If you plan to run sweepstakes programs on a short code, you must provide additional information by: 

  • Publishing the sweepstakes rules on your website
  • Linking to the sweepstakes rules in the signup form, call-to-action, or other opt-in method (website, point-of-sale signage, etc)
  • Attaching a physical copy in an email or via the application of the sweepstakes rules

It is also a good idea to complete the Sprint Sweepstakes Legal Intake Form.

Additional Resources

See the US short code checklist

Find resources on creating flows: 

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