Meme White Sad OwlThis week we’ve been looking a lot into basket abandonment and remarketing solutions.

There are a wide range of remarketing options available for eCommerce websites, including cascade emails and pop-up chat windows. According to, “less than 10% of the top 100 UK e-commerce sites (as defined by Hitwise) currently do basket abandonment emails”, but from personal experience, there are a number of larger brands who do, and while some get annoying, others are actually quite useful. It’s all about targeting the right market…

With remarketing, you have 2 options; prevent the user from leaving the site in the first place; or try and get them back to the site once they’ve left. Chat windows, although not widely adopted by many of the larger brands, are designed to “pop up” when a user, who has already entered the checkout process, attempts to leave the site. Some offer a certain level of discount for purchasing straight away, while others allow users to type a question in case they have not been able to find what they’re looking for, almost like a digital shop assistant. For example, the user is on a fashion site and can’t find what they’re looking for so they click the ‘x’ to close the window. Before it closes, a chat window pops up and the ‘representative’ of the company asks if the user is looking for anything in particular; the user then types “where can I find socks?” and the ‘representative’ replies with a link to that specific page.

The only downside to these pop up chat windows is that some people do find them irritating which may put them off returning to the site in future. Also, you don’t want to get into the habit of offering discounts too freely otherwise customers will start to expect it every time they’re shopping on your site.

The same can be said for remarketing emails. We’ve all had them; you’ve been browsing on a website and have put something in your basket to “um and ah” over while you decide if you should pay your rent or buy this new pair of shoes. Seeing reason, and not wanting to face the prospect of eviction; you’ve closed the window. You then find an email from said shoe retailer reminding you to buy the shoes; when you click on the link provided in the email, it automatically rebuilds your basket. If you ignore the first email, some companies use a cascade email system in which you will then receive a second email a few days later, again reminding you to buy the shoes, but this time you can have a 10% discount. If you’ve really got strong willpower and still don’t buy the shoes (even with the discount!) then you may even receive a third email offering more discount. The danger with these email systems is that you can fall into the trap of offering too much discount and, unless they’re in a hurry or you’ve already got a promotion on, customers may just wait for their discount email to make a purchase.

If you do decide to use remarketing emails, they are often the most unobtrusive form of remarketing which allows the customer to opt out if they want. Keep emails short and sweet; a customer is unlikely to click back to the site if they have to trawl through a load of copy to find the link. It’s also a good idea to do some testing with these emails; try out some different designs and layouts for the email to see which gets the best opening and click through rates. You can also try testing the best time of day to send the email; when they get opened and when people are most likely to click through. This testing does take time but it is well worth it as it can help maximise your return on investment.

The best thing you can do to minimize basket abandonment is try to find out why it’s happening in the first place. This can often be due to an overcomplicated checkout process and you’ll need to look at conversion rate optimisation in order to help improve the user’s experience when entering the checkout process. Just making a few small tweaks to minimize leakage can make a big difference.

Polaris are a leading ethical SEO, PPC and Affiliate Marketing agency based in London, offering digital marketing services to businesses throughout Kent, London and Essex. For further information on any of our services, contact us today on 0203 475 6799.

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