Remarketing to customers is one of the benefits that email delivers once you begin to use the channel for more than sending yet another untargeted discount or free-shipping offer.
The emails you send in a remarketing program are highly personalized messages, which generate significantly higher response and conversion rates than broadcast emails.
With a branded sender line and a subject line that reflects the actions your recipient took on your site, a retargeting email stands out in an increasingly crowded inbox.
Remarketing requires an upgraded email program that integrates clickstream data generated by your email subscribers' activity on your Web site: which pages or products they view, whether they buy the items they put in their carts or leave without completing a purchase.
It's worth the effort, though. An effective remarketing program helps you retain customers and boost your bottom line. A 2005 JupiterResearch study found email messages that leverage clickstream data can return nine times the revenue and 32 times the net profit of a standard broadcast email campaign.
Recovering Abandoned Shopping Carts through Remarketing
Abandoned shopping carts represent a huge remarketing opportunity. A survey by U.K. marketing technology agency Amaze and the University of Glasgow found that 87% of British online shoppers actually abandon their carts before paying.
Cart reminders can also give you a competitive edge, because seven in 10 marketers never follow up with lost shoppers, according to a 2009 survey by Web analytics provider SeeWhy.
Shoppers abandon their carts for many reasons. Some get interrupted, find a better deal elsewhere, or just aren't ready to buy yet. Others get to the end of the process only to find they don't qualify for the discounts or shipping incentives that brought them to the site.
Still, about 75% said they would go back to complete the purchase and in essence use the shopping cart as a wish list, according to the Amaze/University of Glasgow study. So, it pays to try to redeem as many of those product-laden carts as possible.
Creating an Effective Cart-Abandonment Email
Test every aspect of your email message to find the content and design approach that will work best with your customers. Consider these factors:
A 2008 Forrester study of a financial services provider measuring loan-application abandonment found the response rate hit a high of 89% on messages sent immediately after abandonment but fell to below 20% three days later.
Incentives and discounts clearly will increase conversion rates, but test different types and levels of offers against no incentives to find the optimum balance of revenue and margins. Also, many consumers are waking up to cart abandonment offers and are seeking these additional discounts. Consider holding back discounts to those customers who show signs of abandonment discount abuse.
Drive customer service, too. Include customer-support contact information (email links, live support or phone numbers) to allow shoppers to report technical problems with the sites or issues they had with the product or your checkout process.
As with any transactional email, make sure your marketing team owns them and designs them to reflect email best practices (branding, rendering, usability, great content and deliverability).
An effective remarketing program, implemented using best email and Web best practices, could help you recover up to 25% to 50% of your abandoned shopping carts. It's another opportunity to demonstrate your email program's value to your customers and your company's bottom line.
What about your own remarketing experience? Please share your experiences -- good or bad -- in the comments area below.