Woodworking supply retailer's strategic retargeting campaign a model of success

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Woodcraft's abandonment cart retargeting campaign used data to increase conversion rates
Woodcraft's abandonment cart retargeting campaign used data to increase conversion rates

Client: Woodcraft
Vendor: Smarter Remarketer
Objective: To measure the exact dollar amount being left in abandoned shopping carts and boost conversion rates through a highly targeted remarketing email campaign

If marketers realized precisely how much money they were leaving on the table — or, to be more specific, in the abandoned shopping cart — they'd be horrified. Nancy Miller, VP of Internet development and strategic projects at woodworking tool retailer Woodcraft, certainly was.

The problem, Miller says, is that many retailers view abandonment rates in terms of percentages and not in terms of actual dollars, which is why she turned to Smarter Remarketer, an automated email marketing platform that helps retailers track how people behave on a website, the depth of their interaction and what drove them there in the first place.

“When you look at the hard numbers, there could be hundreds of thousands of dollars being left in a cart,” says Angel Morales, cofounder and chief innovation officer at Smarter Remarketer. “And when you make a move to recover that, you see an immediate impact not only in sales numbers, but also in customer lifetime value.”

Miller, who has a database background, knew that the Woodcraft website was getting heavy traffic; however, items in online shopping carts didn't translate into sales. Miller realized that improving sales required increasing engagement with Woodcraft's already existing, and loyal, fan base.

“Some people in the company were pushing us to use [Google] AdWords or some kind of online advertising,” Miller says. “But before trying to drive more customers to the site, I wanted to make sure we were converting the people who are already there.”

STRATEGY: After using a combination of consumer data gleaned from Google Analytics and Smarter Remarketer, Miller and her team set about crafting a simple and sensitive targeted email campaign with cart abandoners in the crosshairs.

The emails, designed as what Millers calls “gentle reminders,” displayed an image of a shopping cart filled with the actual item or items the consumer almost purchased on woodcraft.com. They were then given an option to either go back to the abandoned shopping cart to complete their transaction or return to a specific product listing.

The retargeted messages, created expressly to recover incomplete shopping transactions, did not muddy the waters with discounts or other distractions like special offers.

Frequency and timing were also considerations. After experimenting with both, Woodcraft settled on an effective stratagem: sending an abandonment email to the same person no more than every 10 days.

The kind of granular data needed to embark on this kind of campaign would not have been possible without the information provided by Smarter Remarketer, Miller says.

“It's about getting to the product-level abandonment, and I couldn't get that kind of information from other analytics reports,” she says.

RESULTS: Woodcraft's retargeting campaign drove conversion rates 618% higher — with a per-visit value of 675% higher — than its direct email promotions combined, and ROI increased 66% over the retailer's recent non-branded paid keyword campaign.

Morales attributes much of the campaign's success to the intelligent use of good data. If data isn't both easy-to-use and easily accessible to the marketer, then it's as good as useless, he says. “We want to see why people abandon their carts at checkout. Maybe, it's because of the payment methods available, and then we make sure to treat those people uniquely,” Morales explains. “With data, you've got to be smart — it's great to have huge reams of data available to you, but if it's not usable, it doesn't matter.”

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