How to Reclaim Abandoned Carts with Retargeting Ads

During the first quarter of 2021, shopping abandoned their carts at a rate of 88 percent. Of course, taking steps to reduce your cart abandonment rate is critical, but don’t give up on shoppers who bounced without making a purchase. Recover those abandoned carts with retargeting ads.

Since eCommerce is such a growing industry, top researchers around the country are studying the issues that plague digital retailers. Here, we’ll cover the results from their studies on abandoned cart recovery ads and other ways you can win back those shoppers.

(And if you’re interested in tackling site abandonment at large (and not just cart abandonment) check out How to Reduce Site Abandonment and Increase Revenue with Retargeting.)

How to Run an Abandoned Cart Retargeting Ad Campaign

While cart abandoners aren’t likely to be your favorite type of shopper, they’re better than someone who has never heard of your store. They’ve been to your website, and while they were there, they provided you with some valuable information.

You know the sort of products they’re interested in, and now they’re in your retargeting audience. They’re high-intent leads.

Now you just need to identify the proper channels to reach them, and you’re ready to recover some carts.

Three Elements of Abandoned Cart Retargeting Success

A comprehensive abandoned cart recovery campaign will retarget shoppers through channels like email, direct mail, and dynamic display advertising to remind shoppers to come back and complete their purchases.

But haphazard, blanket retargeting campaigns that follow them around the web as soon as they abandon their cart won’t work. You have to be in the right places at the right times in the right way.

The Right Time

What do you think happens when companies serve retargeting ads to shoppers between thirty minutes to an hour after the shopper abandons the cart? That sounds like a company at the top of their abandoned cart recovery game, doesn’t it?

But a recent study found that shoppers perceive ads delivered during that time frame to be annoying. When a shopper is retargeted that quickly, they are actually less likely to make a purchase.

The study found that the best time to deliver retargeting ads is one to three days after a shopper abandons the cart.

The Right Places

You can use any marketing channel in your abandoned cart recovery efforts as long as it fits your budget and your audience is there. We recommend prioritizing email because it’s the most cost-effective way to reach people, and almost everyone uses it.

But, if you have the resources to do so, an omnichannel approach is best. An omnichannel marketing strategy will deliver a consistent message through multiple consumer touchpoints across different channels.

This approach has been shown to build consumer trust, improve consumer loyalty, and increase conversion rates.

Display and direct mail are two good options for supplementing your abandoned cart recovery emails.

The Right Way

Should your abandoned cart retargeting campaigns rely on dynamic display ads that change depending on the user? This is a popular approach used by many successful eCommerce stores. Most of us have had the experience of being followed around by ads from Amazon that changed based on the product pages we visited.

The alternative, which seems like it would be less effective, is to run static ads that are the same for everyone in the audience. While common sense suggests that a more personalized ad would perform better, research indicates that isn’t the case.

This research found that dynamic ads can be effective, but only when used at the right time. Here time doesn’t refer to the time it’s been since the shopper abandoned their cart. According to this study, the timing is based on the specificity of the shopper’s preferences.

The study tested a static ad against a dynamic ad to see which was more effective based on how specifically they were thinking about the purchase. In other words, are they thinking it would be nice to go on a vacation? Or are they planning a trip to Vegas?

Static ads outperformed generic ads until shoppers began to narrow their preferences. Based on these findings, your abandoned cart recovery ads should be more effective if you segment your audience based on their website behavior. Deliver high-level messaging to shoppers who aren’t sure what they want (e.g., shoppers who put a large number of different items in their cart without looking at reviews).

Shoppers with defined preferences (e.g., shoppers who put multiple similar items in their cart and spent time reading reviews) are more likely to respond to dynamic display ads.

Second Time’s a Charm

Abandoned carts are the bane of the eCommerce industry, but now you’re armed with new abandoned cart recovery tricks. Test these tips against your current approach and see what gets the sale the second time around.