When you want to purchase a product, whether you’re shopping online or offline, your behavior is pretty similar and follows specific steps: first you identify the product and brand, then locate some shops that have that product in stock, then compare the prices and finally make the purchase decision.
Your webshop’s visitors follow the same steps, so if they aren’t happy with the prices that your store offers, or with the shipping conditions, or if they trust another e-commerce website more than they trust yours, they’re likely to leave your online shop without buying anything.
This can happen before or after they added a product in their shopping cart, and statistics show the cart abandonment rate is quite high for a lot of niches. In some cases you can prevent cart abandonment by offering your website’s visitors a discount if they buy the product immediately, or by coming up with other offers that are hard to decline.
Still, there’s no guarantee that those visitors who abandoned their shopping cart in the first place will end up buying something in the same session. So the odds of them turning into unprofitable visitors for your e-commerce business are quite high. Moreover, there’s always the risk of losing those potential buyers for good, if your offer, products or services didn’t convince them the first time.
[Image source: invespcro.com]
Does this mean that a visitor that leaves your e-commerce website without buying anything is forever lost, no matter how much you invest in advertising and marketing solutions? No, definitely not, and in today’s article we’ll talk about one of the online marketing solutions you can implement for bringing users back on your website and convincing them to buy: remarketing.
What is remarketing?
Remarketing or retargeting defines the online advertising technique through which you can bring back visitors to your online shop by using cookies that anonymously follow users all over the web and serve them specific ads meant to remind them of your webshop and products. Through remarketing, you can easily display ads with the abandoned products or you can send personalized emails to users who have added products in their carts and then abandoned them.
Retargeting solutions vary greatly but they have some things in common, most of them working with cookies. The piece of code is placed in the visitor’s browser and follows him or her without interfering with the user’s online activity, so this technique is less intrusive and disturbing than pop-ups for example. The cookie that is dropped in the browser whenever a user visits your website notifies the retargeting software and then a specific advertisement is displayed, based on the navigation history of the user.
A good remarketing tool takes into consideration the way a visitor interacts with your website, and allows you to display the ads even on social media, so you can stalk your visitors and persuade them without having to send spam e-mails and without paying for ads that will never be seen or clicked. Generally, the ROI of remarketing campaigns is higher than the return on investment for conventional paid advertisements.
How does the remarketing process work?
HubSpot’s Beginner’s guide to retargeting ads explains how this technique works. Pixel-based remarketing redisplays your content to anonymous site visitors in a timely manner, and is behavior-based and specific to particular pages of your website. This means that visitors who browsed through certain category or pages can be retargeted with some ads, and those who visualized other pages will be served other remarketing ads.
The second type of retargeting, the list-based remarketing, enables you to display your ads to visitors who have already given you their contact data and have been added to a remarketing list. In this case, the list of visitors will have to be uploaded into your remarketing platform and only then your leads will be served the retargeting ads.
The remarketing process usually has three steps: first, the user visits your website and leaves with or without buying, the a browser cookie is added by the retargeting software and follows him, prompting the remarketing ads, and then the visitor who sees the advertisements returns on your website and makes a purchase.
[Image source: drivenlocal.com]
If these ads are displayed at the right moment, remarketed visitors are 70% more likely to convert. Still, to get the most of your retargeting campaigns, you should always segment your audience, and we’ll talk immediately about visitors segmentation for e-commerce. But before doing that, it’s worth mentioning that there are more channels and strategies that can be used for remarketing: e-mail, social media, search and site retargeting.
Site retargeting is the most popular of these techniques, and also the simplest one; it basically means that your remarketing tool displays an ad after a visitor leaves your website, with or without adding something in the cart. The chances for that visitor to return to your webshop and finalize the purchase are quite high, as he already knows the brand and website, and has already expressed the intention of buying something from you if he abandoned the shopping cart.
Then, social media remarketing means that your ads are displayed on social networks. If a visitor browses through your e-commerce pages and then leaves without taking any profitable action, you can retarget them when they go to Facebook or another social media platform; this means they’ll instantly see your ads for the products they just looked at on your website, and you can offer them exclusive deals through these remarketing ads to push the sales.
Search remarketing serves the advertisements to users who use specific keywords or phrases, so they show interest in specific products or services. In some cases this technique can work too, but a lot of these users search just for information and aren’t always ready to buy, so it’s wise to either use keywords and phrases with commercial intent, or to opt for the first two types of remarketing to make the most of your budget.
Finally, e-mail remarketing refers to delivering ads in your visitors’ inbox. Depending on the email client your visitors use, they can see contextual ads or highly targeted remarketing ads. Again, this can be a solution, but it’s not always the best one, as it’s really hard to stand out and convince your visitors to offer them your attention via e-mail, when there are so many spam messages sent daily.
What segments of your audience should you retarget?
Retargeting requires segmentation in order to be effective. Instead of displaying remarketing ads to everyone who visits your website, with no clear focus and purpose, you can focus on cart abandoners for example and start from there.
These visitors are ideal for retargeting, as they already showed interest in your products and expressed their intention to buy; for them, it may be enough to see a subtle reminder, such as an ad on social media or a remarketing banner while browsing on other websites, in order to make the purchase decision. People who already gave you their e-mail address are also a good target for this advertising technique, and those who attended offline events and gave you their contacts can be a nice group to remarket too.
[Image source: support.google.com]
Still, don’t forget that people should be remarketed differently based on their behavior and on how they interacted with your website. Clearly, one segment that should be targeted is cart abandoners, but those who have spent a lot of time on product pages, even if they didn’t add anything in their cart, are also suitable for remarketing. Then, visitors who have browsed through multiple product pages and compared products, and those who reached on your website’s landing pages after clicking on paid ads, are good targets for remarketing campaigns also.
Previous customers can be retargeted as well, if your purpose is to increase the average order value or to implement a loyalty program and attract more subscribers for it. Customers with canceled orders should be on your list too, as although they’ve changed their mind, they still wanted to purchase from you. So it’s always smart to investigate and see why they wanted to cancel the order, then try to address those issues in the remarketing ads.
Inactive customers who haven’t made a purchase in the past few months can also be retargeted, as they’re already in your remarketing database, and they may only need a reminder or an incentive to make a purchase decision. Visitors who subscribe to your newsletter and then show some interest in buying products from your e-commerce store should also be added to your remarketing list.
An aspect to keep in mind is that you may need to segment these lists even more based on location, age, sex and amount spent on your website. So within each remarketing segment you can have multiple segments, and it’s up to you to decide how much you want to narrow down these lists. Sometimes it’s more practical to retarget based on gender or location, and other times it’s smarter to remarket visitors based on their next step in the buyer’s journey.
As a general rule, try to offer only as much as you need to for convincing customers to buy. If a customer can be convinced with a $5 discount, there’s no point in offering him a $20 discount; also, there’s no point in offering free products to first time visitors if you can remarket them differently.
That’s pretty much it; when you choose your remarketing solution, make sure it also provides analytics, as you’ll need to known which retargeting campaigns and techniques work and which aren’t effective. Then, based on the available data, you can adjust the campaigns to improve your remarketing ROI.
As a bonus here you can find 16 Actionable eCommerce Marketing Strategies To Win More Sales in 2017, from some of the top eCommerce experts from eBay, SmartMail, TrustPilot etc.
Hope you’ll find this article useful. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to post them below!