According to one popular saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” In ecommerce terms, this means you can make it as simple as possible for consumers to convert—but they have to tap the “Confirm Purchase” button for themselves. All online retailers can do is hope customers will do so of their own volition based on factors like branding, on-site navigation, price and shipping options.
The fact of the matter is many visitors to your website will make standalone purchases with no real intention to return. This means earning repeat sales from them will require a bit of persuasion. In cases like these, re-engaging dormant ecommerce customers is key to driving sales and securing customer loyalty.
The Case for Re-Engagement Marketing in Ecommerce
Although customer acquisition is very important, marketers must also consider retention, which focuses more on the continued relationship between buyers and sellers. As it stands, many marketing budgets prioritize acquisition over retention. However, this strategy misses out on some key benefits. As Econsultancy cites, the likelihood of selling to a new, potential customer is between five and 20 percent. But the probability of selling to an existing customer hovers much higher, between 60 and 70 percent.
Put simply, people who have made a purchase from your ecommerce store—or even added items to their shopping carts without buying—are more likely to buy from you than new visitors with no associations. This makes marketing to this subset of your online audience through re-engagement both cost-effective and worthwhile.
Explore These Re-Engagement Strategies
There are a number of re-engagement strategies to consider here.
The first is serving retargeting ads to people who’d previously considered buying a product but did not follow through. The hope is that these “dormant” customers simply need a push to re-enter the funnel where they left it. Here’s how it looks in action: If you sell your furniture online through Shopify, you’d serve paid ads to those website visitors who added furniture items to their shopping carts without finishing the transaction or viewed certain products without buying. After all, you only get paid if people actually buy a chair; not if they simply think about ordering it.
According to marketing expert Neil Patel, here’s what a retargeting campaign can do for a retailer:
- Remind a potential product about something they were eying
- Promote complementary products and upsells to previous buyers
- Advertise discounts on products shoppers were previously considering
- Target people across devices to keep your brand top of mind
Email marketing offers another means to re-engage dormant audience members, like those who have not recently opened an email or clicked a link inside. This is a sign you’ll need to take a savvier approach to enticing these people to click. Your regularly scheduled promotions alone are falling short. Sending these people a special offer or incentive is a great way to grab attention. The more personalized your emails are, the more effective they’ll be. You can even go so far as to email helpful reminders to people regarding specific products they viewed, with subject lines like “Hi, [Name]. Take another look at [Product] before it sells out!”
Sometimes securing an ecommerce sale from a prior website visitor or customer is simply a matter of reminding them your store exists. Paid advertising and email marketing are two strategies merchants can apply toward re-engaging dormant ecommerce customers.