From talk to reality: Successful remarketing techniques

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Marketers all read about it and talk about it, but how do they really make abandoned cart/basket and abandoned check out e-mail programs a reality? This advanced marketing technique offers high-revenue opportunities, but implementation can be daunting. Still, there are ways to make it easier, and the gains far outweigh any potential pains. Below are a number of questions to answer when implementing a successful remarketing campaign.

Who gets an abandoned basket e-mail? There are larger decisions to make than simply sending an e-mail to anyone who abandons a basket. Frequent shoppers, first-time visitors, brand champions and charge offs - should they all get an abandoned basket e-mail? By leveraging cross channel marketing and transactional data, marketers can send abandonment e-mails targeted based on the value of the customer.

When should the customer get an abandoned basket e-mail? It's not as simple as it sounds. Some marketers send an e-mail 30 minutes after a sale is lost, while others wait three days, or a week or never send an e-mail - not recommended. Tracking response rates will show marketers when their optimal timing is, but marketers should also optimize send times by customer segments.

What is the correct message to send? Remarketing can walk a fine line between building customer relationships, and being annoying. Using appropriate messaging is critical to abandoned cart success. Individual strategies will vary wildly depending on the merchant's market, and this is another area where testing can be very helpful. Some popular messaging themes include cutesy with a subject line such as, "Oops, you left something in your basket" or helpful with subject lines such as, "Mike, May we help you." For a personal subject line, "Mike, you are an MVP," "Mike, we've missed you" or "Mike, a special welcome to companysite.com." A system message such as, "Mike, Your shopping basket is about to expire," would work better than just "Your recent order."

Which product offers get sent? One of the most important aspects of the remarketing approach is determining which products to feature. Many merchants are very subtle in their product targeting. This may include not putting products that were in the shopping cart, but rather similar items from the category the customer was most engaged with, or related items driven by cross-sell logic.

How do the pieces fit together? Top tier analytics platforms offer the ability to move data from their solution into an e-mail service provider - allowing remarketing to flourish. But these high-end services also come at a premium price.

The good news is that basic remarketing can be achieved without a significant Web analytics investment. An eCommerce platform can be easily modified to create a file of people who abandon a basket. The system recognizes a customer visiting a Web site, notes a conversion event was started (cart or checkout) and verifies if the sale occurred. Individuals who did not complete a purchase become the targets for remarketing e-mails. The results and flexibility of an integrated analytics solution will be superior to this home grown approach, but this gives you a low-cost starting point.

Merchants can take these methods and turn their talk into reality, creating more revenue, from more customers, more frequently.

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