Case study: Yankee Candle rolls out effort to thwart abandoned carts

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Yankee Candle Co.
Yankee Candle Co.

Yankee Candle Company, a designer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of scented candles, wanted to convert abandoned shopping carts on its e-commerce website into sales. Website Publicity, a search engine marketing agency that has worked with Yankee Candle for the past five years, recommended a beta remarketing program offered by Google, to target the ideal segment of consumers.

STRATEGY: Through the program, called Remarketing on the Google Display Network, customers who placed items in their shopping carts, but did not purchase them, began seeing Yankee Candle Company ads on sites within Google's advertising network. Using Google's tracking codes to tag visitors, Yankee Candle compiled a list of 41,000 people in a two-month period who did not buy the items that they placed in their shopping carts.

“We're constantly looking at key metrics on the site,” says Todd Soucy, e-commerce marketing manager at Yankee Candle Company. “And one of the factors that they always look at is the shopping cart abandonment rate. So we continuously strive to improve that number week after week. That basically is lost business in retail,” Soucy says.

The remarketing ads, activated by browser cookies stored on the user's computer, begin running two days after someone places an item in his or her shopping cart. They continue to display to the user for the next 60 days.

Consumers are showed both text and image ads that include discount offers — such as “$10 off the next Yankee Candle Company purchase of $25 or more.”

“What works well with this remarketing program is not really to have just an ad that is branding, but actually to present an offer, a reason for them to come back,” says Holly Sanderson, a paid search specialist with Website Publicity.

RESULTS: The initiative, which began in April 2010 and is ongoing, has resulted in an ROI of greater than 400%, said Gail Kenney, director of client services at Website Publicity. In addition, 10% of those who abandoned their shopping carts are now returning to the site.

Before the campaign, Yankee Candle had already been e-mailing customers who abandoned their shopping carts, but the company had no way to contact its unregistered visitors. In addition to remarketing ads, Yankee Candle continues to send e-mails to encourage users to complete their purchase.

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