If you have an eCommerce or transactional website which sells online you will no doubt be using email marketing to drive sales. One email technique which you probably aren’t taking advantage of is Browse Abandonment Emails. A lot of case studies have shown great success with this form of email, such as Silverpop’s client SmartPak Equine who generated a 37.6% open rate, 7.4% click-through rate and 44 cents revenue per email sent (compared to $4.80 RPES for their cart abandonment emails).
Browse Abandonment Emails are triggered/automated emails which are targeted towards users on a website who view products but then fail to add the item to their cart. These emails are different than Abandoned Cart Emails which target buyers later in the cycle and are triggered when a user adds an item to their cart then fails to check-out.
There are many reasons why a potential customer abandons while looking at products on a site including running out of time, attending to other tasks, running into technical problems, having unanswered questions/concerns or simply moving onto other sites to compare. All of these reasons risk the potential customer forgetting about your product and not coming back to complete the sale.
Browse Abandonment works on visitors to your website who have registered as a customer in the past or who have joined your email marketing list. When these known visitors then browse your site a tracking code connects up their email address and behaviour on the website, allowing the browse abandonment email to be sent. Only being able to target a small portion of your website audience is not ideal however with email being a low cost marketing channel the ROI can still make it well worth implementing, particularly if you get repeat purchasers.
Users that have browsed items but not added them to their cart are at an earlier stage of the buying cycle and these users are often looking for information and reassurance which will help them make a decision that the product is right for them. Informative emails which remind them of the products they viewed (with other suggestions), gives detailed information and gives the opportunity to get any concerns answered work the best for Browse Abandonment emails. Its good to send more than one email to the user, with a series of 3-5 emails over a set period of time usually working well with the final email possibly offering a discount (however this runs the risk of people learning of the discount and waiting for it to be emailed).
Browse Abandonment emails should be sent soon after the user has finished browsing – the longer you wait, the more likely it is they will have found the product at another website or changed their mind. The timing of the follow up emails should be tested, to start with I would recommend spacing them out 24 hours apart from when they first started browsing your website (for more about timing check out my article here).
Even with the high ROI of these campaigns its important you don’t overdo with too much personalisation, these people are past customers or are on your email newsletter already so preserving that relationship should be first, helping them second and achieving the sale the third priority. Unless you have a very talented IT team setting up a Browse Abandonment campaign can be hard work so as a first step I would recommend you contact your email provider to see if they have experience. Alternatively, approach a provider such as FreshRelevance.com who lead the way in email recovery programs.
Let me know in the comments how your email campaign goes!