2016 was the year of personalization, as marketers moved towards true one-to-one messaging. Marketers have always had mountains of customer data at their fingertips, however, the ability to use it remained out of reach, especially as consumer behavior became more complex. That all changed as new technology was introduced to automate message personalization and many retailers jumped on board, serving up product recommendations on-site, in emails and in display ads.
Researchers at Listrak recently studied over 400 retailers to determine what cross-channel strategies and tactics are being used to engage customers and uncovered some key trends:
Trend One: In cart abandonment messages, organizations are recommending products based on all browse behavior
Customers abandon carts for many reasons. They do price comparisons before they’re ready to buy; they’re not satisfied with shipping rates or dates; they get distracted mid-checkout; or, if websites aren’t optimized for mobile shopping, they add items while shopping on mobile devices intending to complete the purchase later on a PC.
Cart abandonment messages are commonplace, and many shoppers use them as a way to remind themselves of a product they intend to purchase. The goal of these messages is to persuade the shopper to buy the item they abandoned. There is a high level of intent, lending insight into what types of products the customer is most interested in at any given moment.
By basing recommendations on all browse behavior, retailers are able to target the customer’s interests in a personalized way, reminding them of products they looked at but may not have added to the cart. These recovery campaigns capture lost sales and add revenue directly to an online retailer’s bottom line.
Trend Two: Retailers are starting to send browse abandonment messages
Browse abandonment messages are a great way to use the customer information you collect. Unlike cart abandonment messages, the goal of browse abandonment campaigns is to drive customers back to your site to shop again, not to ensure they purchase the browsed item upon receiving the email.
That’s what makes personal product recommendations so powerful in these messages. The product recommendations help shoppers discover items that match their exact requirements but they might have missed during the shopping session.
The concept behind browse abandonment messages isn’t new; but with the addition of personal product recommendations, the messages are certainly improved. When done correctly, these messages are a digital version of a personal shopper, as they help shoppers find the merchandise they are most interested in efficiently and effectively.
Historically, retailers have been slow to adopt these messages, but we saw a major shift in 2016 as more organizations implemented technology to automate these campaigns.
Trend Three: Display ads showing browsed products are becoming common place
Programmatic advertising, the automated creation of display ads, accounts for 67% of total digital display ad spending in the U.S. Because it does not require email addresses or mobile numbers, it allows retailers to retarget consumers in varying phases of the customer journey, including the non-subscriber and non-purchaser.
Programmatic ads deliver efficient and relevant personal ads, reinforcing brand elements and aiding in purchase decisions to drive incremental revenue and ROAS. These display ads are designed to drive site visitors back to your site by reminding them of things they already looked at and showing them product recommendations based on their browse history.
Digital marketing messages that are truly personalized to each site visitor’s browse behavior have become mainstream as more and more retailers continue to adopt the technology to automate these strategies and tactics. Customers expect this level of personalization from every brand.
If you are still only recommending top sellers or merchandise based on purchases – but not browse behavior – now is the time to update your campaigns.
If you are already sending a cart abandonment series, adding a browse abandonment series will boost revenue greatly. A browse abandonment series opens up a lot of opportunities for you to reach shoppers with relevant messages in a way that you couldn’t before – you know what products they viewed, so use it to your advantage.
For site visitors who didn’t subscribe, or if you are just looking to engage customers at another touchpoint, adding programmatic advertising to your campaign arsenal will add incremental revenue and enhance the shopping experience.
The content above is excerpted from the Listrak research report and look book, Digital Marketing Trends and Tactics: Using Customer Browse Data to Inform Cross-Channel Message. For more information, tips and examples, download the full report.