Online retail offers consumers a lot of benefits: easier accessibility, expanded choice, and better value for money. But the fact that you’ve got an online retail outlet doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to generate purchases or to get customers coming back to you again and again.
This is where remarketing comes in. In this post, we’ll discuss strategies that drive sales by bringing consumers back to your online store, time after time. We’ll cover topics including audience segmentation, shopping cart and landing page optimization, cross-selling and upselling, and incentive strategies.
We’ll also identify those all-important customer pain points, which you can use to sway their behavior and turn them into loyal brand advocates.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with remarketing, and perhaps have only just heard of the term, we’ll give you a quick overview of exactly what it is and why it matters so much to online businesses.
There are lots of things you can do to encourage customers to make return visits to your site. These might include using an excellent order management software or having a highly efficient inventory return process.
Such things feed through into better customer service, making it easier for customers to get what they want sooner. But sometimes it might be as simple as advertising a product to a potential customer more than once, to prod them into purchasing.
In these situations, it’s always important to put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Ordinarily, you’d no doubt be wary of bombarding customers and trying to sell them the same item repeatedly. But with remarketing, you can provide them with a subtle reminder and a little nudge to get them to take advantage of the great deals available.
Remarketing allows you to provide people who’ve previously visited your site with further encouragement to take advantage of great deals on products they’ll love. It can drive more sales and revenue, and foster long-term loyalties with customers. These are the cornerstone of success for any business, online, or offline. This is what makes it one of the most effective customer engagement strategies.
What Is Remarketing?
Firstly, we need to explain in a little more detail exactly what remarketing is.
In short, remarketing involves displaying product ads to users who’ve already visited your online shop or browsed one of its pages. So basically, the ad pops up in various different places as you continue to browse the web because it recognizes that you’ve already visited that website or the product page.
Let’s look at an example. Say you’ve had your eye on a particular pair of boots and taken a look at them on an online retail outlet. You might have then decided to pass on them for the time being. Then, you keep seeing the product in question appear in all sorts of different corners of the internet as if it’s following you around. It’s not a coincidence or a conspiracy: it’s simple remarketing.
It works by creating cookies on a user’s computer that track their activity. As a result, targeted ads will start to appear drawing on this data and providing users with products they might have looked at previously or that they otherwise might be interested in.
Of course, there are lots of other ways retailers can reach out to customers after the fact. Post-purchase emails are a commonplace way of providing consumers with information about sales and discounts, new product launches, and so on. Post-purchase surveys, likewise, are very effective at obtaining customers’ opinions, which can then be used to make changes where necessary.
Nevertheless, remarketing can allow retailers to nudge consumers into making purchases whether or not they’ve previously made one. It can be an effective way of getting previous customers to return and buy again, and it can also encourage people who’ve previously shown an interest in an item without buying to go back and do so.
Top 6 Remarketing Techniques to Boost Sales
So, now we’ve cleared up what exactly remarketing is, which remarketing techniques are most effective at boosting sales and revenue? Here are our top six:
#1: Tackling cart abandonment
If you’re new to the online retail game, you’ll soon realize that cart abandonment is a major problem. In fact, you’d be amazed just how many people abandon their virtual shopping carts before completing any transaction. According to one survey, the average cart abandonment rate is just below 70%.
You can, however, use remarketing to significantly reduce cart abandonment rates. Use Google Analytics to track page visits. This will give you a better idea of how many users get as far as the checkout without then reaching the purchase completion page. In addition, you can use it to monitor which products shoppers put in their carts, allowing you to then devise remarketing campaigns promoting these.
For example, you could offer them a little discount to encourage them to go back and complete the purchase, or simply a gentle reminder that their product is still there and waiting for them.
#2: Audience segmentation
In retail, it’s always important to understand the different aspects of your customer base.
This is where customer segmentation can come in particularly handy. No two customers are the same, which is why a granular approach to targeting can be so important. You need to ensure that customers are being targeted with ads that are likely to be of interest to them, otherwise, they’ll serve no purpose.
Different users have different levels of purchase intent. Some may simply bounce off your site instantly, others may peruse multiple pages. Some prospects could view just one product page, others might go so far as to put items in their cart before abandoning them. Understanding this helps you know which segments to target, and how. Those who leave your site almost instantaneously aren’t a priority, whereas those who begin a purchase without completing it clearly are.
#3: Target existing customers
As we’ve already alluded to, if your business is going to prosper over the long term, it needs to get consumers coming back repeatedly. You need to think, then, about how you’re going to turn your first-time customers into repeat customers. Acquiring new customers is obviously important, but it’s expensive – it costs more to win new ones than to keep existing ones returning.
There are a number of ways in which you might bring existing customers back again in the future. These might include:
- Rebuying – encouraging customers to buy products they’ve bought in the past,
- Reinviting – enticing past customers back to your business,
- or cross-selling – inviting customers to buy products related to other purchases,
- Loyalty campaigns offering unique discounts and offers can also be very effective.
#4: Use remarketing traffic to drive email signups
We’ve already pointed out the importance of post-purchase emails in engaging with customers.
Email marketing is proven to deliver results. Of course, you don’t want to hammer consumers with emails, but provided there are good incentives to sign up (offers you won’t get anywhere else, information on new product launches, or insightful content), people will usually feel that it’s worth their time.
You can use your remarketing traffic to encourage more people to join your email list. If you use the right keywords, you can use Google Ads to promote your email content and incentivize people to sign up. You can then create more granular lists promoting content that’s tailored to their specific needs, thus generating more conversions and value.
#5: Target visitors to your shipping and returns policy page
People will visit your site’s shipping and returns page looking for different kinds of information. That may be the relevant shipping tax by state, for example. But if someone goes to the trouble of reading your shipping and returns policies, the chances are they’re pretty serious about making a purchase, whatever that purchase might be.
This is why it makes sense to target these people in particular. They might be looking for reassurance about the reliability of your shipping when they can expect their items to arrive, or wondering whether free shipping is available. Try targeting them with an ad emphasizing your commitment to shipping reliability (perhaps you offer a guarantee in this area) or free shipping, where applicable.
#6: Offer generous incentives
We’ve already touched on this, but it’s worth elaborating on. Given the importance of turning first-time customers into regular customers, what incentives are you going to offer them? Consumers love discounts and little bonuses. If you can offer them this kind of incentive, you’ll find that many of them leap at the chance to take advantage.
You could offer savings on products they’ve bought before or which they’ve added to their wish list (an obvious expression of future intent). Alternatively, you could plug your loyalty program to them or send reminders about products they regularly purchase. If consumers have been confronted with out of stock product pages in the recent past, you could also use remarketing to target them with ads letting them know the item is back available.
It’s worth emphasizing here that remarketing really is proven to be effective. Research from Criteo, for example, found that people who were retargeted were 43% more likely to convert than they otherwise would be. A 2015 report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, meanwhile, revealed that 91% of firms that had used remarketing found it to be at least as effective as other ads, SEO, or email.
The key point to bear in mind about remarketing is that it allows you to provide ads that are finely targeted according to the recipient. Based on things like previous purchases, preferences, and interests of individual users.
It’s the exact opposite of taking a scattershot approach – it’s precisely aimed at consumers who might be interested. This works for them as well as for you. It saves them unnecessary time and hassle, and provides them with genuinely useful pointers.
Of course, remarketing is just one way you can provide your customers with what they’re looking for at minimum inconvenience to them. Another highly effective way of making life easier for your customers is to tap into the power of inventory visibility to improve your customer experience.
There are, of course, many other remarketing techniques you could use besides the ones we’ve listed here. Hopefully, this quick listicle has made it clear that remarketing can increase your sales and maximize your conversions. It’s up to you to determine your objectives and devise a remarketing strategy that helps you meet them. Good luck!
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About the author
Nick Shaw has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, the number one retail-focused digital operations platform which encompasses sales and order management software, accounting, logistics, CRM, and more, since July 2019 and is responsible for EMEA Sales, Global Marketing, and Alliances. Before joining Brightpearl, Nick was GM and Vice President of the EMEA Consumer business at Symantec and was responsible for a $500m revenue business. Nick has written for sites such as Bigcommerce and Hubspot. Here is Nick Shaw’s LinkedIn.