In this post, we look at browse abandonment, how it affects ecommerce sites, and what you can do about it. When a visitor lands on your website, views an ecommerce product page or category pages, but leaves without adding any items to their cart, this is what we call browse abandonment.
It’s a significant challenge for ecommerce websites with the latest stats from Smart Insights – showing that the average ‘add to cart’ rate online is under 10%.
Browse abandonment happens when customers view product and category pages on a website without going on to add items to their shopping carts. Our stats show that an average of 14.5% of sessions on retailer’s sites result in items being added to baskets, but there are plenty of sessions where people view products.
This is where browse abandonment emails can help. With knowledge of which products customers have viewed – and therefore shown an interest in – retailers can send emails which tempt customers back to product pages.
Browse abandonment emails have an 80.9% higher open rate and 50.5% higher click through rate than traditional emails, while currently 28.04% of all browsers that open these emails will click through and return to the site.
According to the SaleCycle 2023 Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report we can see global add-to-cart rates are more than double the global conversion rates across all devices. This suggests users are happy to add items to their cart and browse no matter what device, which presents a great opportunity for marketers to send browse abandonment emails to these customers.
The amount of online traffic to ecommerce sites is increasing exponentially due to the growth of digital necessity and online transactions.
When examining the year-over-year (YoY) shift between February 2020 and 2021, a notable surge of 39% is evident in organic traffic.
Despite witnessing periodic reductions in recent months, there remains a net growth of 23% in organic traffic when comparing 2020 with 2022. This implies that the organic traffic for eCommerce continues to surpass pre-pandemic levels.
This increased digital foot-fall presents an opportunity for ecommerce to invest in browse and shopping cart abandonment tools to scoop up uncompleted checkouts.
To give this some ‘real life’ context, browse abandoners are often compared to ‘window shoppers’. They’ve found the store they like, made their way in to look around at the things that catch their interest… but then left without picking anything up. Both offline and online, this behavior is often just a natural part of the purchasing journey. This is an opportunity for marketers as, by browsing products, shoppers are showing an interest, and they may just need a nudge to persuade them to buy.
What Are Browse Abandonment Emails?
Browse abandonment emails are simply, automated messages sent to your potential customers who never added an item to their shopping cart but who have already given you their email address – either via subscription or already a former buyer. Sending a browse abandonment email or abandoned cart SMS can be a very powerful tool to capitalise on their buyer’s intent.
Although you can’t be sure of their reason for abandonment you can attribute intent to the fact they are on your website and looking at your product pages. As a retailer there needs to be a plan in place to lure these potential customers back to your website at a lower cost per acquisition, this is where browse abandonment emails can help.
Browse Abandonment Email Examples
Sending automated emails allows you to remind them of the products they have left behind. The automated emails mean that your marketing campaigns can work for you. Because browse abandonment emails work with your subscribers these campaigns can include customer data to upsell and cross-sell products already within their data-set.
Browse abandonment emails are an ideal solution for those in the middle of their customer journey. In a very simple real world example, it’s like stopping a shopper at the exit and reminding them of the item they were looking at, it’s a powerful tool to use. But let’s have a look at a specific browse abandonment email example:
Marketers can use on-site messages to drive urgency – showing there are a limited number of seats available on a particular flight – or add an element of positive reinforcement to show how popular a particular product is.
These kinds of messages can be incredibly effective in moving customers further down the purchasing funnel and ultimately reducing browse abandonment.
For those visitors who do leave the website without adding anything to their cart, many ecommerce websites will use browse reminder emails to tempt them back.
According to SaleCycle data, around 48% of website visitors will view a product but just 3% will add that item to their cart. But browse reminders can close that gap, because they are backed by the knowledge of the visitor’s browsing activity, emails can be sent to remind customers of the items they were viewing.
How Browse Abandonment Emails Work
A visitor browses your site for a period of time (this can be predetermined). They view two or more pages, including a product, but leave without adding any items to their cart. If we have a subscribed email address, we send a browse abandonment email.
Embedded links in the email return visitors to the point where they were viewing products so they can quickly continue their journey.
This can deliver some impressive results:
Performance of browse emails can be improved by segmenting and changing the message and tone of voice for different customer groups, tailoring content by on-site behavior, and highlighting key sales drivers like next day or free delivery. We can also use review scores to reassure buyers about the products they were viewing.
Browse abandonment can be a frustrating habit for ecommerce marketers to deal with, but unlike the offline world, there’s plenty that can be done to help tackle it.
6 Browse Abandonment Email Features To Increase Conversion Rate
We’ve compiled a list of 6 features to include in your browse abandonment emails to make them more effective.
Segmentation can also be used to send more relevant emails. For example, retailers can segment by gender, the value of items viewed, and new vs existing customers (as in the example below).
These kind of messages can be incredibly effective in moving customers further down the purchasing funnel and ultimately reducing browse abandonment.
Smart Use of Data
Effective browse abandonment emails make use of data on customer behaviour to deliver relevance.
Here, Jimmy Choo’s browse abandonment emails use customer browsing data to show which products they viewed on their last visit. Data is also used in related product recommendations, with products selected based on propensity to purchase.
Show Related Product Recommendations
Showing the products customers viewed before leaving the site is a must, but suggesting alternatives can also work well.
Recommendations can be personalised based on browse history, either in the same category or price range as viewed products, or perhaps the most purchased items from the selection browsed.
Add Consumer Reviews
Highlighting user reviews in browse abandonment emails can give further incentive to return to the site and complete a purchase. According to Spiegel about 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. It’s another tool in your CRO arsenal to use to increase your conversion rate.
Test and Improve
As with any email, browse abandonment messaging should be tested and improved constantly. Everything, including timing, subject lines, images and calls to action should be tested to find the most effective blend.
According to Experian, personalised emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates. Using customer data, everything from subject lines to content and products can be tailored to individual customers.
Browse abandonment emails can work best when your industry is going through its busiest retail months online, such as the lead up to black friday sales. In specific industries like fashion, the fashion ecommerce retail trends can be a powerful indicator on increased online traffic to your website so with more browsing comes more opportunities to automate messages and browse abandonment emails to your customers.
The browse abandonment emails should be optimised with different features to increase your conversion rate and recover the potential sale. At the very least, reminding the customer of their product can result in the customer returning at a later date or remembering your brand for the future.
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Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.