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7 Tactics to bring your eCommerce remarketing into 2021

This is a guest post by Colton Bradshaw, head of marketing at CartStack. CartStack’s multi-channel abandoned cart and customer recovery software helps online retailers drive new sales, without driving new traffic. Integration with any platform takes minutes, automations are pre-built, and new users recover their first $1000 in otherwise-lost revenue free of charge!

“New year, new remarketing tactics!” You hear it every year, and every year you read the same remarketing tactics as the last. But this year is different.

eCommerce changed in 2020, with online selling booming and competition exploding. But more importantly, your customers changed in 2020, too, making many of your eCommerce remarketing tactics old news.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve and convert customers before your competitors (or marketplaces) this year, you must optimize your remarketing tactics for the new type of online shopper that’s dominating the market.

Recap: What is eCommerce remarketing?

“eCommerce remarketing” covers a wide array of tactics and strategies all aimed at recovering customers lost through cart or browse abandonment. Let’s split this down further.

Cart abandonment is when someone visits your website, adds products to their shopping cart, and leaves your website before finalizing the checkout process and buying your products.

Tip: Some of the top reasons for cart abandonment include lack of free and fast shipping, so get those down on your website.

Browse abandonment is when someone visits your website and leaves before adding any products to their basket or making it anywhere near the checkout. This is also known as “Discovery Failure”.

eCommerce remarketing targets both of these customers using the “four Rs”:

  • Reminding them about their visit to your website. 
  • Re-engaging their interest in your products. 
  • Returning them to your website. 
  • Recovering their purchase. 

The shift from cart abandonment recovery to customer recovery

But wait, isn’t this called cart abandonment recovery? Yes, and no.

The cart abandonment model

A basic cart abandonment model targets customers at the end of the consideration stage of their purchasing journey:

This means customers must add a product to their cart and make it to the checkout page before you have the information to contact them following abandonment. This is great if the customer makes it that far, but many don’t.

A basic cart abandonment recovery campaign does little to:

  • Create leads out of the customers at the beginning of the awareness stage.
  • Prevent abandonment from happening at any point in the customer journey.
  • Recover customers that abandon during the awareness or early consideration stages.
  • Discover the reasons behind abandonment.

Therefore, a basic cart abandonment campaign isn’t recovering the most customers possible, which isn’t what you want for a challenging year ahead.

The customer recovery model

A customer recovery model overcomes these limitations by targeting customers throughout the purchasing funnel, turning them into:

  • Cold leads: active website visitors who you nurture to the checkout page, doing everything you can to prevent abandonment using on-site retention campaigns. 
  • Warm leads: browse abandoners who you warm up gently and recover back to your website using soft recovery tactics. 
  • Hot leads: cart abandoners who you target quickly and recover back to your website with direct recovery tactics. 

7 eCommerce remarketing tactics for 2021

To help you implement this customer recovery strategy into your eCommerce business, we’ve narrowed down the top seven eCommerce remarketing tactics for 2021.

1. Start remarketing at the beginning of the customer journey

Leaving remarketing until the stage of abandonment is too late. You’ve already missed your opportunity to target your cold leads.

Start remarketing at the beginning of the customer journey, using visitor retention tools such as…

1) Conversion nudges

Conversion nudges are timed offers or boxes of information that appear while a customer is actively browsing your website. Typically, these contain something that overcomes the common reasons for abandonment, such as information about your fast delivery speeds, a discount coupon, or a reminder of your payment options. These don’t require an opt-in for the shopper to access your offer.

2) Delayed offers

Delayed offers are like conversion nudges, but they require an email address or telephone number opt-inr. This is great for getting contact information early in the customer journey, if you have an offer that you’d like to present to all visitors, regardless of purchase intent. E-books, sweepstakes, promo codes, & rewards program signups are all great uses for delayed offers.

3) Real-time lead capture

Real-time lead capture records information as customers type onto your website (e.g., on live chat, exit intent tools, contact page inquiries), creating a contactable lead. This is essential for recovering customers who abandoned before creating a customer account.

2. React immediately to dips in attention

As soon as a customer shows their intention to leave your website, you must ramp up your remarketing efforts to stop them from doing so.

Two effective ways to prevent abandonment in the process are exit-intent offers and abandoned tab notifications.

Exit-intent offers

An exit-intent offer appears as a customer’s cursor heads towards the exit or back button, presenting information or an incentive that convinces them to stay on your website. It might be the offer of free shipping or the promise of a money-back guarantee.

Abandoned tab notifications

Abandoned tab notifications work when a customer opens a new tab in their browser. It attracts the customer’s attention to your website by sounding a chime and changing your tab’s favicon and headline. It’s a great way to remind customers you’re still there.

3. Target browse abandoners

When someone abandons your website, you want to get them back, regardless of what stage in the customer journey they left. We call this a full-funnel attack, and it starts with your browse abandoners.

You can target browse abandonment using the same channels as cart abandonment (which we’ll cover next).

But in doing so, it’s essential to be mindful that browse abandoners are earlier on in the customer journey. They haven’t developed the same trust, confidence, and familiarity with your brand as cart abandoners have.

Therefore your browse abandonment emails and campaigns should:

  • Be softer in approach, offering help and guidance rather than hard-sell tactics.
  • Provide information to develop trust, such as reviews, promises, and values.
  • Spark customer curiosity by showing them the different products you sell.

4. Target customers on multiple channels, including abandoned cart SMS and abandoned cart push notifications

Your customers have a variety of devices, from mobile phones and smartwatches to tablets and laptops. Therefore, a multi-channel approach to customer recovery is key. Channels can include…

1) SMS

Abandon cart SMS campaigns use a website visitor’s telephone number to send them short, impactful, and persuasive text messages that encourage them back to their shopping cart. Text messages are also a great way to target customers who prefer shopping on their mobile phones.

2) Web Push Notifications

Abandoned cart web push notifications appear directly in a visitor’s web browser, regardless of what websites they visit after yours. They’re perfect for reminding a customer about your products when they’re in the ideal position to recommence their shopping journey – i.e., on their computer.

3) Emails

Ok, cart and browse abandonment emails aren’t new, but they should definitely feature in your customer recovery strategy. These can be rich with information and personalized images,  that encourages customers to return to your website and complete their purchase, including:

  • Intelligent product recommendations – based on the products viewed or added to cart.
  • Persuasive information – such as fast shipping speeds, user-generated content, and product comparisons.
  • Psychological tactics – such as loss aversion, risk aversion, and immediate gratification.

4) Social

Retargeting lost visitors on their preferred social media platform has quickly become a required tactic for recovering lost customers. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram & TikTok are an invaluable source of inexpensive conversions for many online sellers and can be a great way to drive customers directly to your website, and away from marketplaces — Creating more brand loyalty and leaving more revenue in your pocket.

5. Reintroduce manual outreach for high-value customers

The humble telephone call isn’t dead, even if your competitors have abandoned it as a communication channel.

Telephone calls allow you to add a personal touch to your customer journey – something that surprises and delights customers, especially those making high-value purchases.

If you have a sales team, real-time abandonment notifications can alert them of abandoned carts with values over a certain threshold immediately, so they can ring the customer and quickly overcome any purchase barriers.

6. Use out of stock products to your advantage

An out of stock product doesn’t have to mean automatic abandonment. By adding “Back In-Stock Notifications” to your out-of-stock product pages, customers can sign up to receive an email or text message notification as soon as your restock arrives.

When you combine in-stock notifications with fast shipping speeds of 1-day and 2-day delivery, you encourage loyal customers to wait rather than head to your competitors.

Tip: See how Vasanti uses 2-day delivery in their emails to bring would-be customers back to make a purchase.

7. Promote your 2-day and next-day deliveries

Speaking of 2-day and next-day delivery, these are especially important in your eCommerce remarketing strategy.

Shipping speed and cost are two significant factors behind abandonment, making them quick wins for recovering customers.

Use fast shipping speeds to incentivize customers to convert the first or second time on your website – delivering the value of speed alongside the value of buying direct.


eCommerce remarketing isn’t a new concept. You’ve likely been running abandoned cart campaigns for years. But running a full-funnel remarketing campaign is new, and it’s something many of your competitors aren’t doing.

By putting these remarketing tactics into place now, you can secure customers and increase conversions for the long-term.

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