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Conversion Rate Optimization: How to Re-target and Re-engage Lost Conversions

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This is the third post in our #SellMore series titled Conversion Rate Optimization. Thus far, we’ve explained why conversion rate is important for ecommerce success as well as how to uncover and optimize your conversion funnel. This week, we’ll be helping you re-target those customers who fell out of your conversion funnel, all in an effort to re-engage and attempt to finalize the sale.

Even the best conversion funnel doesn’t lure everyone in perfectly. Some shoppers will resist purchasing from your brand no matter what, while others will fall through the cracks and crevices of your conversion funnel, despite your best efforts to guide them along.

This is often a strange concept for those who are new to selling online. Remember, though, a “conversion funnel” is meant “to guide or channel” potential shoppers. It is never as easy as dumping tons of traffic onto your website and having each customer convert. Often, online shoppers do not convert for reasons beyond your control. Some shoppers are just browsing, some are on a time crunch, some remembered they have a Netflix series they need to catch up on –– the list goes on.

Your site is competing with a wide variety of other online interests for your shoppers. Your goal isn’t to convert every single visitor every single time. Instead, it is to stay top of mind for your audience, eventually pulling each and every one of them through your conversion funnel time and time again. This produces loyal customers with high AOV as well as high lifetime value.

There are three main ways you can re-engage those potential shoppers who left your site for one reason or another. Below, we’ve outlined each of your options and how to optimize the tactics to win back as many customers as possible and ultimately increase revenue for your business.

Abandoned Cart Emails

As we know, 7 out of 10 online shoppers abandon their carts, which simply means they put an item (or many) into their cart and leave without purchasing. To break this down even further, this action is a lot like just putting your finger in the brownie pan. You get a taste and a sample of the experience without committing entirely.

Cart abandonment has a large impact on your online store’s overall conversion rate. What’s interesting is 75% of those who abandon cart on your site intend to return later and purchase. Because of that intent, shoppers who abandon cart are excellent leads to nurture. They are already moving through your conversion funnel and likely already positively engaged with your brand. All they need is a simple reminder about the products they’ve left behind.

Be sure to set up an Abandoned Cart Saver email to catch those lost sales. This email is an automated email set up to utilize the shopper’s account information (if they were logged in on your site) to send them a personalized email listing out the products they left in the cart. Many abandoned cart saver programs can convert up to 15% of those who receive the email, meaning additional income for your brand that would have otherwise been lost.

“I’ve seen a 53% increase in my business in the past two years,” said Dunia Debk, owner of This and That for Kids. “The Abandoned Cart Saver has brought back over 1,778 orders for me out of 3,355 abandoned ones. My business wouldn’t be nearly as successful without it as my shoppers tend to browse and research before the commit to buy.”

Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices


Over half of the top 500 internet retailers that use abandoned cart saver emails are sending more than one message to disappearing shoppers. Sending a second abandoned cart email yields an average of a 54% lift in revenue versus sending just one message. We’d highly recommend you automate a series of two to three cart reminder emails.

Send your first email within an hour while you are still on your shopper’s mind. Since 72% of website visitors who purchase do so within 24 hours from their first visit, send a second email the next day. Then wait a few days to send a third email.


While your email marketing content should be your own and reflect your brand, there are some basic elements that you should include as part of each email in your abandoned cart series:

  • Photo of each item left in their cart
  • Features or benefits of the products
  • Prominent CTAs in multiple locations with a direct link back to the cart
  • Contact information in case they have questions


Each email in your abandoned cart saver series should have a little different twist on messaging. Here’s how to use each email to tackle the various obstacles preventing a sale.

  • Email One –– for the silent questioners: Don’t be pushy, just offer help. Often people don’t purchase because they have unanswered questions about the product, returns policy or checking out. Ask them what you can help them with and make sure you provide a clear way for them to get answers to their questions.
  • Email Two –– for the procrastinators: Create urgency. Present a window of opportunity to purchase. Whether the price may increase or the product may go out of stock, give them a good reason to come back NOW! Try to hold off on a discount or offer until the last email in the series, though. You don’t want to condition your customers to expect a price cut before they’ll buy.
  • Email Three –– for the bargain hunter: Unleash the offer. For those who truly can’t justify the cost of shipping or need to feel like they’re getting a deal, this email is where you can incentivize them with a discount or free shipping. Be sure your offer is for a limited time only.

Re-targeting Ads

There are four main type of ads used to re-target customers:

  • Site: These are ads that are served to people who have visited your online store.
  • Creative: These are ads served to people who have already been exposed to your ads –– regardless of whether or not they clicked on them.
  • Search: These are ads served to people based on their search behavior.
  • Social: These are ads served to people based on their social media behavior and interests.

All of these ad types are powerful and, better yet, easily trackable. AdWords allows you to a) keep track of who visits your site from these ads, b) segment visitors based on the pages that they’ve visited while they were there for maximum effectiveness and c) display targeted ads based on their visit and interests.

The trick to increasing your re-targeted ad CTR –– click-thru rate –– is to be sure to reintroduce your lost customer back to the same area within your conversion funnel. Below, we’ve outlined a few ways you can re-target potential customers after they leave your site in order to encourage them to finish the conversion funnel process. The below recommendations are based on which page they exited your online store:

  • Product Page: The potential customer here could be researching different products in that product category –– and researching them all over the web. Consider showing them them ads that showcase the benefits of your product versus the competing solutions they might be evaluating.
  • Pricing Page: The potential customer here could be price snooping and seeking more cost-justification information. Show them ads that include ROI calculations, examples of benefits and your money-back guarantee.
  • Testimonial Page: The potential customer here is likely interested in user engagement, so show them testimonials from satisfied users in order to provide social recommendation proof that can close the sale for your site.
  • Shopping Cart Page –– but abandoned the process: This is your most valuable segment to target. This group was within one click of becoming your customer. Showcase the benefits of becoming a customer with your brand, ideally social proof and testimonials from existing customers.

So you’re aware, you can show different ads to each of these groups by creating a different ad group for each of the tag categories. Start by creating tags for your most popular pages, and create at least two ads per ad group, so that you can start testing the different messaging options you think might work. This is called A/B testing. Although it’s not absolutely necessary, you might be surprised at how different ads perform and which ones earn the highest CTRs. From there, as you track the results, gradually expand by adding more tags to other key pages, and setting up ad groups to match.

Re-targeting Ads Best Practices

  • Copy: End all ads with a strong call to action. Make it short and direct, like “Shop our Mother’s Day collection!”
  • Promotions: Consider promotional offers for your retargeting base. Your customers are more likely to click on an ad that offers them 10% off.
  • Personalization: Set up dynamic creatives, and retarget your visitors with personalized product recommendations based on their actual behavior on your site. The video below will walk you through exactly how to do so.

How to Create AdWord Tags for Your Online Store

The first time you create an AdWord tag and add it to your site, it can be a bit intimidating. Trust us, though, you’ll quickly get the hang out of it. Plus, Google has spelled out exactly how to do it, step-by-step. Below, their instructions, which you can also find here:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click Campaigns at the top of your screen.
  3. Click the +Campaign drop-down menu and select “Display Network only.”
  4. Select the “Remarketing” radio button.
  5. Enter a campaign name, bid strategy and budget.
  6. Click the Set up remarketing button. You’ll go through a guided two-step process to set up your remarketing tag and create your lists:
    1. AdWords will create the remarketing tag for you. You’ll be able to email the tag to yourself or your webmaster, along with instructions on how to add it to your website. If you use Google Analytics, you’ll see a checkbox to use the tracking code that’s already on your site instead.
    2. AdWords will automatically create an “All Visitors” list to get you started, so you don’t need to create this list yourself. The “All Visitors” list includes everyone who has visited tagged pages on your website. You can later create new lists for your different groups of site visitors, including those who bounced on product pages, abandoned cart or whatever it is that you are trying to re-target. Click Return to campaign.
  7. Click Save and continue.
  8. Enter the ad group name and bid for this ad group.
  9. On the Remarketing lists tab, you’ll find the “All Visitors” list added to your ad group.
  10. Click Save and continue if you want to create your ads, or Skip ad creation if you want to do this later. To increase the range of placements where your ads may appear, add both text and image ads in as many ad sizes as possible to your campaign. The Ad gallery offers an easy way to create ads if you’d like to create new ones or don’t have any.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our next #SellMore post as we dive into understanding your customers’ conversion funnel. If you’re a Bigcommerce client and want to ask specific questions about your business and get answers from our experts, click on the link below. We’d love to help you sell more!

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