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What Is Browse Abandonment?


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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 product 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%.

To give it 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.

For 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 kind 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 cart, many ecommerce websites will use browse reminder emails to tempt them back.

Backed by the knowledge of the visitor’s browsing activity, emails can be sent to remind customers of the items they were viewing.
How it works:

  • 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 sakes 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.

Browse Abandonment Emails

Get in touch and we’ll show you how browse abandonment emails could work for you.


The 2021 Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report

The latest data on ecommerce trends and online customer behaviour

2021 Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report

Graham Charlton

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.