As an online business owner, we know what you want - customers come to your site, add products to the cart, and head straight to checkout with a 100% conversion rate.
But we all know that doesn’t happen in reality.
Most brands tackle cart abandonment through email campaigns and other tactics, but only a few look into browse abandonment.
Understanding Browse Abandonment In Simple Words
Simply put, browse abandonment takes place when a customer visits the site but does not add anything to the cart. Why is it important to look into this, you ask? Because most of your traffic exists long before the shopping cart.
Most people come to your site, browse, and leave the site. This is a huge pool of potential customers that you should be looking at. The value of these customers can be more than you imagine.
These may not be the most interested and ready-to-buy visitors at the moment but the right browse abandonment strategy can make them interested in buying your product.
Before we do a deep dive into browse abandonment, how it works, and how to create a kickass browse abandonment campaign, let’s look into some of the reasons why customers browse your site and leave.
Why Do Customers Leave Without Buying?
Here, we’ve covered a few unconventional reasons — other than site speed, content, CTAs, and mobile responsiveness.
The Outdated Search Engine
Customers often use the search option on the top to find what they want.
If your search engine cannot handle typos, hyphens, commas, or spelling mistakes, customers will have to try hard to find the product — which can be annoying.
Many e-commerce websites require customers to find products by exact jargons, which contradicts users’ experience of finding something easily.
So, how can you make the experience better?
- Use an open text field box
- Use auto-complete and search suggestions
- Auto-correct spellings
Look at this example of Macy’s:
When you type in your requirement, it offers to autocomplete suggestions making it easy for customers to look for a product.
If you enter a typo, the site corrects on its own. In this case, correcting “glpves” to “gloves”.
They also consider other matching keywords for your query. For instance, a quick search for ‘top’ also brings up ‘t-shirt, ‘blouses’, and ‘tanks’.
Your Design is On Either Extremes
94% of people say their first impression of a brand is based on how the website looks.
If your website has overcrowded pages, unclear navigation, low-resolution images, and heavy text — the customers will find it hard to stay on the website.
On the other hand, if your website is too simplistic with inadequate product information, broken links, missing contact information, etc., that can be a problem too.
Here are a few key tips to build an ideal website that helps create a great website user experience:
- Accessibility: Make sure your site is responsive on all devices.
- Simplicity: Keep your website simple and easy to understand.
- Navigation: The navigation should be a breeze so you can easily transition from one page to another.
- Consistency: Make sure there is a uniform look and feel of the website.
Check out the site design of XWP below:
The website is clean, crisp, and has all the information you need.
Look at their About Us page:
And their Work page:
Auto-playing Banners: Fancy but not User friendly
You see those carousels on the homepage that change by themselves?
Don’t include them.
The problem is they change at a high speed and do not give the visitors enough time to absorb the information. By forcing customers to read quickly, they induce a sense of anxiety that can make customers leave the site.
Here are a few quick tips on having the right kind of carousels on the homepage:
- Choose a maximum of 4 features. Have a manual carousel that gives visitors the autonomy to move it the way they want to.
- Personalize these banners as per your customers’ data.
- You can also use a single master image that conveys information about your brand in one image.
- Use geo-targeting to have carousels relating to discounts, promotions, and offers.
Customers Don’t Trust You Yet
When a visitor lands on your website for the first time, they rely on visual cues and their gut feeling to decide if they want to continue exploring.
Having trust badges, such as McAfee and Norton security certificates, assures customers that your website is safe and credible.
From homepage to category pages and product pages, you need to place trust seals and badges everywhere to keep customers from bouncing off.
You should also look into social proof elements such as testimonials, customer reviews, case studies, logos, etc. to build a community of customers who trust you and are comfortable buying from you.
The One Type Fits All Website
Your customer has shown a latent desire towards a product on your website.
Why not send them personalized browse abandonment emails promoting the products they were interested in?
If you have an app, consider sending them notifications to remind them about the products they were exploring.
92% of customers look forward to personalized product recommendations to nudge them to make a purchase.
Personalized recommendations go a long way in telling customers that you care for them and in getting them back on the site and close the sale.
The Blueprint of A Revenue Driving Browse Abandonment Email Campaign
Who’s my target audience?
We know that the primary audience for such email campaigns are those who display an interest in the products or the site but do not add anything to the cart.
You can take it one step further and target those who don’t know much about your brand, who’ve purchased from you just once, and who have viewed products several times on the site.
This way you can target a larger pool of people and convince them to come back on the site and take action.
What should I focus on?
Typically, there are four types of browse abandonment:
Shoppers come to your homepage and then bounce off.
Here are a few things you can take care of while creating an email campaign for these visitors:
- Place primary focus on images or videos
- Display top-selling products
- Have a clean and minimalistic design
- Have a clear and converting CTAs
Some of the best subject lines that you can write to someone who has left you on the homepage:
“Stick around this time!”
“We saw you checking us out”
“Take a closer look”
A user arrives at a category page but never reaches the product page.
Check out this example of Amazon:
Here are our golden tips to follow while creating an email campaign for these visitors:
- Showcase the specific top-selling products within the category viewed by them
- Keep minimum text with a bold CTA
- Let images speak for themselves
Some subject lines to try out:
“Check out our latest collection in (the category)”
“Selling fast! View our (category) selection”
Look at this example by Amazon and their subject line:
Users click on specific products but never make it to the cart.
Some tips that you can follow here while creating email campaigns:
- Showcase the product viewed by the customer and keep it in the center;
- Don’t include the product price that may deter people from coming to the site
- Cross-sell and upsell, but smartly
Look at some highly converting subject lines here:
“We saw you checking (the product) out..”
“Take another look”
“Hurry, before the item is sold out”
Here’s some inspiration from Timberland’s campaign:
Site Search Abandonment
Users search for a term, product, category, etc., but do not click on any of the results.
Here are some tips to remember while creating a kickass campaign:
- Recommend products related to the keyword or based on website top-sellers
- Keep a straightforward call to action
Some winning subject lines that you can try:
Were you looking for (search term)?
Couldn’t find (search term)?
When Should I Send These Emails? And How Frequently?
People’s interests dwindle over time. You may want to capture their attention before they either forget about the product or start looking at your competitors.
But you can’t forget they’ve just browsed the product. That means they’re still higher up in the funnel than someone who has added an item to the cart.
Do not send them more than one browse abandonment email at a time. Shoot an email within 48 hours after they have visited your site. Even if they have browsed three categories, send only one email rather than sending three different emails for each category.
Establish a set of standard practices and triggers for your messaging. You don’t want to spam customers but you also don’t want to miss their purchase window. Aim to strike a balance between both.
Some Crucial Do’s and Don'ts to Keep in Mind
Remind customers about the products they left behind
There are multiple reasons why a customer leaves your site after browsing. You need to put the bait in front of their eyes again so they get reminded of the product. Use an image that the customer viewed so they know what exactly you’re talking about. Make it your centerpiece in your email strategy so it triggers a buying impulse immediately.
Upsell and cross-sell
Sometimes a customer might be browsing a product but may not be interested to buy it. In that case, you can provide them alternatives as per their shopping behavior and preferences. By displaying other items, you can take the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell other products from various categories, which might lead a customer to take action.
Take appropriate action depending on how many times customers viewed a product
You can set triggers and precedents depending on the number of times a customer has seen your product. For example: if they have browsed a product five times, you can trigger a browse abandonment email campaign right after that offering them discounts on the viewed product. This will compel them to check out the product again and purchase it this time around.
Keep track of their last purchase
You don’t want to come across as spammy after a customer recently purchased from you. Give them sometime before releasing a browse abandonment email — but make sure that this time it’s not without an offer or incentive. Customers are more likely to come back when there is an incentive involved.
Understand and implement shopper psychology
A lot of sales depends on how you can psychologically (and ethically) persuade customers to purchase from you. Some of the well-known psychological techniques include FOMO and scarcity that leads customers to take action faster. If customers are on the fence to buy a product and they see a product will be sold out soon, they’re likely to take action quickly.
Keep the communication interactive
In your marketing emails, make sure to include the contact of your support team. This allows customers to get an answer to their query in case there’s anything that’s holding them back from making the purchase. At the bottom, make sure to highlight your email address and contact number, so the customers can reach you whenever they want to.
Share reviews and testimonials
Sometimes knowing from other customers about your products can give the final nudge to the first-time buyers to purchase.
Including reviews and testimonials in your emails can build a sense of trust among new visitors and can compel them to purchase from you.
You can also include reviews of the products they visited so the users feel more secure about buying a specific product from you.
Don’t creep them out
Too much personalization may creep your potential audience. When you’re sending out an email, don’t include anything more than their name. Keep your messaging simple and subtle. The real personalization should be in the form of segmentation with different target audiences as mentioned above.
Don’t bombard them with emails
There could be different kinds of email strategies where your customers could be looped in. Whether it’s for cart abandonment, newsletter, post-purchase, etc., you may be targeting the same visitors in these brackets too.
In that case, you must know how many emails to send out per browse session. If a customer has visited twenty products, it won’t be ideal to send them multiple browse abandonment emails, which can annoy customers and they might unsubscribe from your email.
Don’t focus only on viewed products
While a customer has expressed an interest in a few products, you shouldn’t limit your email strategy to just those few. Offer them matching or related products based on their shopping behavior and preferences (in case of visitors who have viewed many products but never made it to the cart) to reroute them back to the website.
How to Measure the Success of My Browse Abandonment Campaigns?
Now that you’ve figured different types of browse abandonment, some do’s and don’t, and have set up your browse abandonment campaigns workflows.
The next thing you want to know is how well your campaigns are performing.
Here are nine email marketing metrics that can help you understand the performance of your campaigns. Some of these metrics need to be monitored weekly so you can tell ahead of time if the campaign is working or not.
Open rate is nothing but the percentage of the users who opened your email. This is the most important metric in email marketing because this tells you if your emails are getting opened or not.
How to calculate: Total opened emails/ Total sent emails
The click-through rate is the percentage of users who clicked the link in the email. This may be leading to your product page or homepage, as per your campaign workflow.
How to calculate: Total number of clicks/ Number of emails delivered
The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of users who have unsubscribed to your emails.
How to calculate: Total number of unsubscribers/ Number of emails delivered
This is the number of users who have marked your email as spam.
How to calculate: Total number of complaints/Total number of emails delivered
This is the ideal stage you want to reach with your visitors. Conversion rate is the percentage of users who finally bought your product.
How to calculate: Total number of conversions/ Number of emails delivered
Bounce rate is the percentage of emails sent which weren’t delivered to your recipient’s inbox.
How to calculate: Total number of bounces/ Number of emails sent
Your forward or share rate is the percentage of users who forwarded your email to friends or shared the email by clicking the link inside the email.
How to calculate: Total number of forwards/ Number of emails delivered
Your campaign ROI is the return on the investment for your email campaigns.
How to calculate: ($ Sales - $ Invested) / $ Invested
List growth rate
The list rate growth is the percentage at which your email list has grown over time.
How to calculate: New Subscribers - New Unsubscribers + Email/Spam Complaints / Number of Subscribers x 100
What Kind of A/B Tests Should I Run?
When it comes to email strategy, A/B tests come in handy to know what’s working and what’s not.
Here are some areas you should focus upon:
This is one of the most crucial aspects of a message — which is also subjective as any other aspect of content.
What you think can work might not work in reality, so it’s important to A/B test your subject lines, as they determine the open rate for your emails.
If you have the ability, run several subject lines at the same time to see what is working and what is not.
Tone & Phrasing Matters
If you have been sending browse abandonment emails with generic open statements such as, “Don’t forget about your recent visit”, and not seeing any results, then you should change the tone and phrasing of the sentence.
Saying something like:
- Was it something we did?
- You’ve got great taste.
- We saw you checking us out.
- Don’t break up with us already!
….may catch people’s attention and lead them to click on the email.
A recent study from Litmus showed the subject lines with emoji can increase the open rate to 10-15%.
But you also need to make sure they work for the brand.
So, in case you decide to use the emojis in your subject line, we suggest doing an A/B test with a subject line with emojis vs a subject line without emojis. This will help you understand if your audience is liking the emoji play and whether you should use them further in your subject lines.
Master the art of personalization
You may want to tread the waters carefully here.
Too much personalization can come across as creepy and stalker-ish. So, as the best practice, make sure the browse abandonment emails only have the first name of the user. This will make the message personalized without being intruding.
Mix up your product recommendations
While you’re sending browse abandonment emails to users for the products they browsed, you should also include more recommendations that match their browsing patterns.
In other cases, you can mix it up and show them some of your bestsellers, products that are trending at your store, or any other personalized items that you would like to promote.
You never know what a customer might like from the recommendations you show them and hop back on the site.
Keep your content scannable
People read from their minds — not eyes.
Your content needs to be scannable, conversational, and packed in an easy-to-digest format, so a customer quickly knows what you’re trying to say.
Run an A/B test between a short and sweet email and one that is packed with text, images, and product recommendations. This will help you to understand what works best with your audience.
Experiment with CTAs
A good CTA is essentially what converts an user.
CTA is not only limited to text, but also the placement in the email, size, button style, color, etc.— to ultimately decide if there will be a conversion.
When you’re running an A/B test, focus on one or two variables instead of all of them together. This will give you a clear picture of what is working and what you should tweak or eliminate.
Browse abandonment campaigns can make your sales fly once you learn how to master and create the best campaigns that can make your customers take action and purchase from your store.
All the best!