Guide: Multi-Channel Browse Abandonment to Drive Conversions

Browse abandonment emails increase conversions.

Basic cart abandonment solutions are only triggered when shoppers make it to the checkout form. But the truth is, most potential customers never make it that far.

Browse abandonment emails solve this. This guide covers browse abandonment best practices, and specific strategies that recover customers further up your funnel. We also include specific examples and screenshots.

Let’s get started!

First, What Is Browse Abandonment?

Browse abandonment describes an internet shopping session where the visitor views product pages but does not make a purchase.

Unlike abandoned shopping carts, in browse abandonment sessions shoppers never add items to their cart. Typically, these customers are early in the customer lifecycle.

Browse abandonment emails, and more broadly multi-channel strategies, are designed to recover these shoppers, and continue the shopping session ultimately ending in a purchase.

Lifecycle Marketing Example

Original Customer Lifecycle Outline by Infusionsoft 

Browse Abandonment Campaigns to Increase Conversions

Successful browse abandonment campaigns follow a formula. 

First, you need technology that is able to see and recognize shoppers.

Next, you track their on-site behavior.  This includes which product pages they engage with, and what categories they are interested in. 

Lastly, browse abandonment campaigns use the gathered information to create personal engagements. Browse abandonment campaigns are one tool eCommerce stores use in content personalization to increase conversion rates. 

The Key to Successful Browse Abandonment Campaigns

Permission is the key to successful browse abandonment campaigns.

When a customer leaves your eCommerce site, it is because something else took priority. If you don’t have permission to followup, they may never come back.

So, the first step in designing a browse abandonment campaign is obtaining the permission to reengage them.

What Level of Permission do you have with Visitors?

Luckily, there are various levels of permission. And some are incredibly easy to obtain. This is why expanding your thinking beyond browse abandonment emails to a more comprehensive multi-channel strategy is helpful.

Below are a few channels you can use in your browse abandonment strategy:

  • Social Retargeting: (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  • Triggered Emails
  • Chat Platforms: Such as WeChat and Facebook Messenger
  • Search Retargeting: Such as Google AdWords

Some channels, like social and search retargeting do not require permission beyond a visitor coming to your site.

However, the most powerful channels such as chat and email require an opt-in from your shoppers.

The Case For Browse Abandonment Emails

There are a number of email marketing statistics that show just how effective email is. 

Here is a short list of recent stats.

In our last study on email marketing statistics, we found that one type of browse abandonment emails (email my cart) had the highest conversion rates of any campaign type.

This includes cart abandonment.

High conversion rates translate to high revenue. Browse Abandonment emails accounted for 3 of the top 4 revenue generating email types. 

We can see that the further down the funnel customers get, the more revenue browse abandonment campaigns generate. 

Email My Cart browse abandonment emails are the closest to purchase. They are triggered after someone has added a  product to their cart, and account for 44.74% of all revenue generated.

Meanwhile, Browse Abandonment emails and Visit Summary are sent after a customer has shopped around various product pages or categories, but hasn't chosen to add an item to their cart. Respectively, they account fo4 16.76% and 7.10% of all revenue generated via email.

The Challenge with Permission Based Email (and two solutions)

While email is clearly effective, it can be difficult to implement. 

This is because unlike social and search retargeting, you need a level of permission from shoppers to communicate with them via email. You need to obtain their email address. 

There are two main solutions. First, create effective email capture strategies. And second, recognize would-be anonymous shoppers who you already have collected emails for. 

Gain Permission Like Ashley Furniture and Fashion Nova

To showcase a few strategies for gaining permission to send email, I visited a number of top performing eCommerce stores. 

Ashley Furniture and Email Browse Abandonment

To gain permission to send follow-up emails, Ashley Homestore uses a variety of tactics.

Immediately after landing on the site, first-time visitors are greeted with a pop-up. In exchange for your email information, visitors can "spin to win" a variety of discounts or surprise. 

The bonus discount not only gives first time customers an additional reason to complete their first purchase, it also gives Ashely Homestore the ability to retarget them if they abandon their cart anyway.

Once the shopper has identified themselves, a new pop-up shows up letting them know that the discount was sent to the email provided. 

As the shopper goes through the site, they are also offered a 10% off coupon along with news on the latest offers and events. The opt-in message bar is present along the footer of every page.

Again, the focus is to gain permission to follow-up via email. 

​Fashion Nova Gaining Permission for FB Messenger for Browse Abandonment

There are a lot of similarities between Fashion Nova's and Ashley Homestore's approach to gaining permission.

They both use a spin game, with a variety of potential discounts. The game is loaded immediately after a new visitor hits a site, and only is offered for new visitors they do not have emails for. 

To claim the prize, you are required to submit your email. However, Fashion Nova also makes use of FB Messenger. 

After opting in, I checked out a few items, and added one to my cart. Fashion Nova than sent me a 3 part browse abandonment campaign over messenger to try and get me to complete my order. 

Below you can see the first message. It uses urgency coupled with an added bonus to try and motivate me to complete my order. However, what I want to pull out is the importance of gaining permission to send me this message in the first place.

It is extremely powerful to be notified via messenger about the shopping session I just left. The question is, are you gaining similar permission to contact shoppers? Or are you letting them leave without offering added benefits?

How You can Improve Your Browse Abandonment  Campaigns

While these are two powerful examples, there are a few improvements that can be made.

Both examples only focused on welcome messages. Additionally, they were fairly one dimension - using price as the only incentive to gain traction and permission to followup. 

With Barilliance, you have the power to be much more personalized in your engagements.

For shoppers who haven't entered any items in their cart, we recommend "Save My Visit" opt-in messages.  This type of offer acknowledges that shoppers browse, and gives them convenience to to keep track of their shopping session. 

In 2017, we found Visit Summary campaigns accounted for 7.1% of revenue generated by all triggered emails.

As customers go further down the funnel, this messaging should be changed. At the point where customers add items to their cart, they should be offered a convenient "Email My Cart" opt-in campaign. 

For Barilliance customers, these campaigns generate 44.47% of all revenue generated by triggered emails. The reason is simple: most shoppers never make it to the checkout page. But, they do add items to their cart, and they do value convenience. 

While new customers are a vital customer segment, it is even more important to serve returning customers.

Returning to both Ashley and Fashion Nova, I was not presented with additional offers to save my visit or email my cart. We've found both of these campaigns highly effective for returning visitors, especially when paired with personalized recommendations.  

Browse Abandonment Email Best Practices

Best Practice #1: Personalize email body with product injection

All email communication should be personal and relevant. 

You want to include the exact products that your shoppers were considering. There are a number of ways you can do this. 

The email subject line can include the product name. You can place the exact product images, and leverage dynamic content to make specific headers and email bodies depending on which products were viewed.

Best Practice #2: Use Personalized Email Recommendations

Personalized product recommendations supercharge email conversions. 

Typically, we see a 289% lift in conversions when you personalize recommendations (compared to non-personalized recommendations). With browse abandonment emails, you can base these recommendations on which categories and products customers spent the most time one. 

Best Practice #3: U​tilize urgency in copy and images

Urgency works. 

If there is no true urgency in your product, you can create a sense of urgency by letting customers know that their cart is about to expire , or provide a limited time coupon (this is what Fashion Nova does). 

Exit-Intent Popup Examples

Finally, I want to showcase a few other examples of exit-intent/browse abandonment popups. 

Exit-Intent Popup Example #1: Doyoueven

Pictured above is Doyoueven's browse abandonment popup form. 

They do a great job with copy. The "10% Off!" is bold, sized up, and colored. And, they use some great urgency language in "better hurry", "time is running out", "now" and "yet!". 

Next Steps...

How well do you gain permission to followup with anonymous shoppers?

We've created a great guide on advanced tactics to gain email contact information here. While the guide was written for email, the same tactics can be used to gain permission for any channel, including FB Messenger.

Lastly, if you would like to see how an advanced triggered email system can benefit your store, request a demo here.