One of the foundations of marketing is that every interaction holds the potential to convert a casual browser into a loyal customer. Brands spend considerable time and money meticulously crafting engaging product pages, optimising websites for discoverability, and investing heavily in campaigns to attract visitors. But what happens when a visitor browses your website with genuine interest, maybe even adds an item to their cart, and then simply… vanishes?

A staggering 98% of website visitors leave without a trace. This ‘silent majority’ represents a vast pool of potential customers, yet for most e-commerce brands, they remain frustratingly out of reach. While convention might suggest amping up efforts to attract new visitors, it completely overlooks a much simpler solution – retargeting these high-intent visitors with strategic campaigns. 

But this is also where many brands hit a roadblock. 

Personalised Experiences and Abandoned Shoppers

Meet Riley, a fitness enthusiast scrolling through Instagram during their lunch break. Stumbling on an engaging ad for "New Heights", an innovative and stylish brand of athletic wear, Riley is immediately intrigued. After checking out New Heights’ social media page, they decide to click through to the brands website, taking a good 20 minutes to browse running shoes, comparing features, and even adding a pair of sleek new running sneakers to their cart. 

But before they know it, their lunch break is over and the afternoon meeting rush hits. Riley quickly stuffs their phone back into their bag and hurries back to work, making a mental note to buy the shoes later. Unfortunately, later never comes, and Riley (like the vast majority of website visitors), remains an anonymous statistic.

This is a scenario that e-commerce businesses are all too familiar with. Brands invest heavily in attracting and engaging website visitors, only to see a large portion disappear without converting. Limited third-party cookie tracking also means that even traditional retargeting tools like Klaviyo and Facebook Ads, which typically reach about 10-50% of abandoned carts, have limited effectiveness.

It’s more than just a loss for brands, it’s also a loss for consumers who have spent considerable time deciding on products or services that bring them genuine value, only to be forgotten by the demands of the day.

Retargeting gives brands an opportunity to communicate with these high-intent audiences that have already visited their website, even if they haven’t logged in or registered their details. When done thoughtfully, it can be a valuable tool for reminding customers about the products they were interested in, providing them with relevant information, and ultimately, building a stronger relationship.

Research by HubSpot and AdBlock Plus highlights what marketing pros have known for ages — people don’t really hate advertising, they hate being frustrated by it. 83% of respondents agreed that not all ads are bad, with 77% saying they just wanted to filter out the really obnoxious ones (you know the ones!). This is practical and addressable feedback that has led to innovative retargeting campaigns using a combination of relevant, insightful messaging and consent-based audience tools. Let’s take a look at how Shopify brand, Nakie, did this.

Nakie: Planting Trees and Growing Revenue with Retargeting

Known for its sustainable outdoor apparel made from recycled plastic bottles, Nakie’s marketing and awareness campaigns were immensely successful in driving organic traffic to their website — but like most e-commerce brands, they struggled to effectively convert this traffic, with recovered shoppers accounting for only 9% of their revenue.

Recognising the potential of retargeting, Nakie was keen to trial a new email strategy that would build on their existing subscriber list with high-intent shoppers, before peak retail periods on Christmas and Boxing Day. Having already experienced the limitations of third-party cookies, Nakie ‍decided that Instant Audiences could help support their new approach to shopper acquisition and conversion.

With the system up and running within days, Nakie observed immediate increases in both identified emails and abandoned cart revenue. The long-term campaign results were even more impressive:

23.7x ROI: A significant return on investment, demonstrating the effectiveness of the retargeting campaign.

47.48% Open Rate: Nearly half of all recipients opened the retargeting emails, highlighting the high level of engagement. (the average open rate across all industries is 38.49%)

2.85% Conversion Rate: Almost 3% of email recipients converted into paying customers, a testament to the well-crafted email content (the average conversion rate for Shopify stores is 1.4%).

4.74% Click Rate: A significant number of recipients clicked through the email, indicating their interest in the offered products.

Not only did they successfully grow their email list in time for the holiday season, but also saw an increase in revenue from abandoned checkout and item-add to cart flows in Klaviyo. This translated to over 30% ($113,00) of their business from email revenue and an incredible 105% year-on-year increase in abandoned cart revenue.

The gains weren’t just financial however. Nakie's commitment to planting 4 mangrove trees per item sold has resulted in the planting of 2,900 trees in just one quarter thanks to the success of their well-crafted retargeting campaign — and their customers absolutely love it!

Practical Tips to Boosting Your Email Conversion Rates

Feeling inspired? Here are our key takeaways from running successful email retargeting campaigns with brands like Nakie and what you can do to boost your email conversion rates:

Don’t neglect your existing audience: If you already have an existing subscriber base on Klaviyo, retargeting them is often just as effective, if not more so, than acquiring new ones. They're already familiar with your brand and have shown previous interest in your products.

Add offers and drive urgency:  A compelling email offer can significantly increase conversion rates — this could be a discount code, free shipping incentive, or a limited-time promotion.  Highlight the offer prominently in your email subject line and throughout the email content. Additionally, consider using elements like countdown timers to create a sense of urgency and encourage immediate action.

Design matters:  Invest time and resources in creating visually appealing and user-friendly email designs that align with your brand identity.  People are more likely to engage with emails that are aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate.  Remember to optimise emails for mobile devices, since a significant portion of emails are opened on smartphones.

Campaign cohesion:  For maximum impact, ensure your email design and content seamlessly integrate with the current marketing campaign you're running.  For example, if you're running a Mother's Day promotion, your retargeting emails should visually reflect the theme and highlight relevant gift ideas for moms.

Go beyond abandoned carts: Retargeting isn't limited to those who've added items to their cart but haven't checked out.  Consider sending targeted emails to website visitors who haven't filled out a form but have shown clear purchase intent through their browsing activities.  This could be someone who visited multiple product pages in a short period, lingered on specific product details, or even initiated a live chat session but didn't convert.  By sending them a relevant email based on their browsing behaviour, you’re letting them know you're aware of their interest and can provide them with targeted information, potentially nudging them further down the conversion funnel.

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