Keep Your Brand in Front of Browsers This Holiday Season

The following post is written by Rachel Peters, a Listrak marketing research intern. Rachel's observations are based on a research study the team is conducting on approximately 200 various mid-market retailers across a number of verticals.   

Holiday strategy planning is upon us! A crucial time of year for retailers, every site visitor offers a connection and conversion opportunity. Many retailers, however, are not fully taking advantage of the opportunity.

Browse abandonment campaigns play an important role in leveraging site traffic. Listrak’s Director of Product Strategy Andrew Rotteveel recently published an article containing research on the significant impacts that browse abandonment campaigns have on average order value, incremental revenue and customer acquisition.

In a recent in-house research project we found that only about half of the mid-market retailers we are studying are utilizing a modal pop-up for email acquisition on-site. Without obtaining an email address to identify and connect with the customer, retailers are missing the opportunity to optimize proven, revenue-driving email campaigns..


Even visitors who do not go so far as to place an item in a shopping cart are still providing retailers with valuable clues about what they are interested in. This is where browse abandonment campaigns come in. Sending personalized messages (like the ones below) to the browser keeps your product in the forefront of their minds, driving traffic (and money) back to your site.



Our research also found that fewer than 8% of retailers have browse abandonment campaigns in place. Looking at the chart below, which is based on Listrak clients who have both shopping cart and abandonment and browse abandonment campaigns, you can see how much revenue these retailers are missing out on: 

As you strive to keep your brand in front of shoppers this holiday season, consider the impact a browse abandonment campaign would have to your bottom line this year and for many years to come as you continue to interact with your browsing customers.

Want to learn more about browse abandonment best practices? Sign up for our webinar here, and be on the lookout for the complete research report packed with insights on modals mobile and more…oh my!


Four Best Practices for Browse Abandonment

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

The NRF reported that overall holiday sales increased 3% to $626.1 billion last year and non-store holiday sales grew 9% to $105 billion. Even though about 83% of holiday revenue still comes from brick-and-mortar retail locations, there is no mistaking that digital sales from eCommerce sites and mobile devices are continuing to gain market share.

To break it down further, comScore reported that customers spent $56 billion online from desktop computers from Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 2015 – a 6% increase from 2014. During that same time period $12.7 billion in holiday sales came from smartphones and tablets – a 59% increase from 2014. Mobile accounted for 18% of all online commerce, compared to 13% in 2014.


Online and mobile holiday sales are expected to grow at a similar pace this year. Remember, customers don’t care what channel they’re in – they expect a seamless experience as they move from your store to their mobile devices to your site. Consumers have become the Point-of-Sale so you need to be available where, when and how they shop.

Easy Cross-Device Identification
If you use your email data, it is easy to identify shoppers as they interact across multiple devices. For example – a customer who downloads your app on her mobile device and creates an account while shopping in-store later opens the eReceipt you sent on her tablet and she browses your site. You now know that the phone and tablet belong to the same shopper.

The next day, she opens a browse abandonment email on her laptop at home, clicks through and makes an additional purchase. You can now tie the data from that computer to her account.


Seven days later, she opens a post purchase loyalty message on her work computer. You now have a 360-degree view of that shopper – tying all of her activities on the different devices to a single account.

This is particularly important for the 2016 holiday shopping season as digital shopping continues to grow. In 2015, 54% of traffic to retail eCommerce sites came from mobile devices and the ability to identify customers whether they are on their desktop, laptop or mobile device and use the data effectively will help provide the seamless shopping experience customers expect. 

Emails Cross-Channel Impact
Some important stats from the 2015 holiday season:
  • Retail email volume rose 36.4% on the peak holiday shopping days and 25% overall during the holiday season. 
  • 90% of retail email campaigns during the 2015 holiday season included an offer, with free shipping being the most common offer. 
  • Email drove 22.1% of all online transactions during the 2015 holiday season. Direct mail was close behind at 19.4%. 
  • Email also drives in-store sales. Digital interactions influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores and shoppers that are active in multiple channels are three times as valuable as shoppers who only shop in a single channel. 
  • Over half of all emails were opened on mobile devices during the holiday season, per Litmus. Mobile received 39% of unique clicks, with 9% from tablets and 61% from desktops.


It is evident that email drives site traffic and conversions. But some campaigns work better than others. This holiday season, stand out in the overcrowded inbox by personalizing your messages based on each shopper’s browse behavior and purchase history.

Browse Abandonment Compared to Shopping Cart Abandonment

Browse abandonment campaigns have a number of advantages over shopping cart abandonment messages:
  • Expanded reach – you can automatically send timely and relevant messages to a larger audience 
  • New revenue stream – average 7.8% conversion rate and average 2% higher AOV than all other email campaigns 
  • Customer acquisition - 63% of conversions are from first-time buyers 
If you’re already running a shopping cart abandonment campaign, you can expect those messages to make up about 64% of the revenue from your remarketing campaigns with browse abandonment making up 36% of the total remarketing revenue. Browse abandonment can bring in 8% of total email revenue while shopping cart abandonment accounts for 14% of total revenue. Adding browse abandonment messages will give you a nice revenue boost.



Best Practices for Browse Abandonment
If you currently aren’t running a browse abandonment campaign, now is the time to add it into your email mix. If you’re already running a shopping cart abandonment campaign, adding browse abandonment is quick and easy and we’ve seen retailers move from implementation to ROI within 30 days.

It’s important to note that if you feel like these campaigns aren’t for you, it’s time to take another look. While the first versions of these messages were unexpected and came across as a little creepy, many updates and optimizations have been made over the years. Customers now not only expect to receive these messages; they actually use them as shopping tools – which is evident from the statistics above.

When you’re ready to get started, follow these best practices to get the highest return on investment.

Get the Timing Right
The timing of your browse abandonment messages – especially if you only send one – will make or break the campaign. The image below shows the cadence of a browse abandonment series compared to the same retailer’s cart abandonment series. The first browse message is sent one hour after abandonment, with a second message going out one day later and the final message going out three days after that if no action is taken by the customer. The cart abandonment messages go out two hours after abandonment, two days later, five days later and then two weeks later they make a final attempt.



Choose Content Carefully
Think about the content and what message you want customers to read. You can be direct, like Crayola and Bentley, or a little more subtle like Carbon 38.


Also, another question that we hear a lot is whether or not to include prices in these messages. You can see that Crayola and Carbon 38 to have prices but Bentley does not. The goal of these messages is to get customers back to your site to shop. You don’t want them to make purchase decisions in the inbox. If the price gets them to click, then use it. But if not, don’t.

One of the greatest things about browse abandonment campaigns is that you can highlight full price merchandise and you don’t have to offer any discounts. The goal of these messages is to get shoppers back onsite shopping and to help them discover new products. Save your discounts for other messages – they aren’t needed here.

With that in mind, consider whether or not you want to include prices in these messages. If the price will help encourage shoppers to return to your site to continue shopping, add them along with images of the browsed merchandise. For higher priced items, it could be best to leave them out of the message. Test to find what works for your shoppers.

Also consider adding product ratings and reviews to show shoppers what other customers thought about the merchandise. Shoppers tend to trust other customers more than retailers and the addition of ratings and reviews can help increase clicks and conversions.

Recommend Additional Products
Browse abandonment messages are great for product discovery so deliver a great shopping experience by including personal product recommendations. Show merchandise that is in the same category, sub-category and price point as the merchandise that was browsed onsite.

A best practice is to only show six to eight additional products. Again, the goal is to get shoppers interested enough to return to your site. You don’t want them to make decisions in the inbox or show them so many products that they see everything without having to return to your site.


Send a Series
Just like a shopping cart abandonment series, browse abandonment works better when you send more than one email.

We like the nurture approach that giggle uses. Standard browse abandonment messages are sent to shoppers the same day as the customer was shopping onsite, with additional messages going out three and six days later if no action is taken. However, giggle enhances these campaigns with emails that look like traditional promotional messages on days two, three and five. These messages feature the browsed item but it looks like it could be a coincidence rather than intentional.

Showing shoppers the items they viewed online and using a combination of a direct and indirect remarketing approach works.


 
Questions? Let us know in the comments.

How to Personalize Every Email: It’s Easier than You Might Think

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

Retail marketers have tons of customer data. They know what products shoppers are viewing onsite, their sizes and styles, their favorite colors. They know when emails are opened, what device they’re on, what engages them. So why are they still sending the same email to everyone on their lists?

Data Rich, Insights Poor

Even though you have a ton of data, many marketers still struggle to gain any actionable insights from it. And understanding what your customers want is the only way to deliver the personal communications they expect.

You have unprecedented access to your customers. They are constantly connected, which gives you more opportunities to reach them. But you can’t abuse that access. Customers need to feel like they are in control. They don’t want to be “marketed to”. Instead, they want to connect with brands and engage in personal experiences. And you can deliver these personal experiences by using your data strategically.

If you aren’t using your customer data to inform product recommendations, you end up recommending the same products to everyone, and you could end up with something like this:



This email didn't help me discover new products. It didn't entice me to visit the website to shop. It is confusing. I’m not sure how a rocking chair, printer, motor oil and mattress can be recommended just for me and it is rather insulting that this retailer would label these products like they were chosen for me specifically when they have nothing to do with anything I have previously browsed or purchased from this company.

Don’t Fake It – Automate It

Shoppers are savvy. They can spot a fake from a mile away. Stop guessing and hand-curating your product recommendations and save yourself the time and effort by automating the process. Listrak’s Recommender automates the creation of targeted and personalized content and recommended products based on each shopper’s online behavior and purchase history. Personal messaging goes way beyond the last click, but the last click is an extremely important and telling part of the conversation. That’s why your product recommendations have to be based on both purchase and browse history.


“We were seeking a solution that would not only help customers discover new products but would give us control over what products were being recommended. With Listrak, we could quickly tweak the business rules and view what products would be displayed to each customer in advance. We were confident that we were promoting the right products to the right shoppers.”
~ Marketing director for a popular luxury retailer

Personalized messages come in many forms but the inclusion of product recommendations based on browse and purchase history will turn any message into highly targeted, one to one message. We’ve seen retailers increase their overall email revenue nearly 10% by including personalized recommendations. Here’s how you can personalize every message you send.

One to Many
Broadcast messages are still the bread and butter of most email programs. Retailers continue to blast the same message out to everyone on their lists for the simple fact that they make money. But, simply by using your customer data, you can not only personalize these messages to each subscriber, but you can also automate the creation of the message, saving valuable time and resources.

A Recurring Automated Campaign is very similar to a broadcast message as it is sent to the entire list at a pre-determined time, such as every Saturday at 9:00 am. The difference is that instead of the messages being designed and coded, a template is used and images are automatically populated based on each shopper’s browse and purchase history, or other business rules like new merchandise or top selling products in the same categories that were previously browsed or purchased. This allows retailers to reach their entire audience with targeted and relevant messages. This level of personalization enhances the shopping experience while allowing retailers to retain the benefits of broadcast messages. It is important to note that while these messages have about the same performance metrics as broadcast messages for opens, conversion rates and revenue per email, the unsubscribe rate is typically much lower because of the increased level of personalization.

We’ve seen personal product recommendations account for 70% of the revenue generated from these campaigns.



One to Few
Recurring Automated Messages can be even more targeted by layering on segmentation and customer profiling data. Instead of sending the emails to everyone, try sending them to shoppers that have visited your site but haven’t purchased within the past 30 days. Or to shoppers who are actively engaging in your emails by opening and clicking but haven’t purchased in 60 days. Or to customers who purchased merchandise in specific product categories. You have the data – and by setting up a few filters you can easily create highly personalized messages.

The more targeted your audience, the more relevant your campaigns will be.



One to One
Let’s face it, triggered messages, such as welcome, browse abandonment and post purchase loyalty, while personal to some degree as shoppers only receive them when certain actions are taken, can feel like auto-responses. Especially to shoppers who engage and shop often.

Personalize these messages by including product recommendations based on purchase and browse history. Below are two examples of browse abandonment messages. The one on the left is direct and can effectively re-engage shoppers but it isn’t personal at all. The first time a shopper abandons the site and receives this, that shopper could respond to the request to fill out the survey and explain why they didn’t make a purchase. However, that doesn’t get the shopper back onsite shopping – it just reminds them what they didn’t like in the first place. Also, if the shopper returns to the site a few weeks later to browse again, it would be a mistake to resend this message – especially if the survey was already filled out once.

The example on the right, on the other hand, is personalized to each individual site shopper. The first message highlights the item that was browsed and shows additional merchandise in the same category. The second part of the series takes a different approach by recommending products the shopper will love and includes the browsed merchandise but doesn’t call it out specifically. It looks like it could be a coincidence – but it’s not. If a shopper returns to the site in several weeks to browse again, the browse abandonment message received will look completely different as it will contain new product images.



We’ve seen the addition of personalized product recommendations lead to a nearly 30% increase in revenue when added to a Welcome Series while Browse Abandonment campaigns can account for as much as 10% of total email revenue when done well. If you’re already running a cart abandonment series, adding browse abandonment will greatly impact your bottom line as you can expect 64% of total revenue from your abandonment messages to come from the shopping cart remarketing campaign and 36% to come from browse abandonment.

Best Practices for Recommendations

Ready to add personal product recommendations to your emails? Here are some tips to keep in mind: 
  • Ensure that recommended products haven’t been previously purchased or recommended to customers within a certain timeframe. This will help customers discover new merchandise. 
  • Set parameters regarding inventory considerations, such as a certain number of products in stock, so you don’t accidently recommend merchandise that will sell out quickly. 
  • Keep product recommendations around the same price point as the merchandise that was browsed onsite. And don’t recommend sale merchandise to someone who was browsing full priced items. 
  • In Recurring Automated Campaigns, recommend full price merchandise and leave your sale items and promotions to your broadcast messages. 
  • Test to find out the right number of products to recommend in each type of message. Recurring Automated Campaigns can support a large number of images while Browse Abandonment typically do better with six or fewer. 

Questions? Let us know in the comments.