Use Remarketing to Solve Shopping Cart Abandonment

Customers abandon their carts all the time, but with remarketing you can encourage them to complete their purchases.
The key to reducing shopping cart abandonment on your website is a smart remarketing strategy. (Photo: David M G/Shutterstock)

Shopping cart abandonment is rampant among online shoppers around the globe. In 2016, the amount of money lost from abandoned carts was $4.6 trillion according to Business Insider Intelligence.

Whether customers get frustrated with the checkout process or get cold feet about the purchase, retailers need to work to retrieve these lost sales before it’s too late. Through remarketing, they can do this.

What is remarketing?


“I have found through email testing that the sooner you send an abandoned cart email, the higher the recovery rate.” -Eric Leuenberger (Photo: Eric Leuenberger)

If a shopper goes to check out but then leaves the website, the retailer can show the person ads on other websites he or she visits reminding them to complete the purchase.

How does it work? When visitors go to your website, their browsers likely have cookies enabled. Retailers who are signed up with Google Adwords can specify which cookie IDs they add to their remarketing advertising lists. Then, when visitors are surfing the web or checking their Gmail, they will see the targeted text or image ads.

You decide what the ads will look like, the language they will use, where they will appear, how long they will run and how often a customer sees them. Once customers complete their purchases, they will be moved onto a different list and no longer see the abandonment remarketing ads.

What language to use

Eric Leuenberger, founder of The Ecommerce Expert, advised using a call to action (CTA) in your remarketing ads.

“Instead of just presenting the user with an ad that says ‘Bill’s Fishing Shop,’ for example, it could say, ‘Oops, you forgot to check out,’” he said. “Or maybe it says, ‘Your order is waiting.’ Then you’ll have a button that says ‘Check out now’ or ‘Complete order.’ That works really well.”

When to show the ads

When Leuenberger is trying to recover abandoned shopping carts, he doesn’t waste any time. “I show the ad as soon as possible, when the cookie is placed,” he said. “I have found through email testing with this that the sooner you send an abandoned cart email, the higher the recovery rate.”

Plus, Leuenberger said that the brand is still on customers’ minds when you show ads immediately. “I do it right after they abandon because the assumption is if they go to another site, your brand is fresh in their heads.”

Where to show the ads


Remarketing ads can be displayed anywhere that allow for Google Ads to be displayed. (Photo:

Though you can choose which sites your ad will display on, Leuenberger lets his ads show on every website that allows Google ads to be displayed. He’ll also show them to Gmail users without even having to collect their email addresses. “We place an email in the inbox that says you forgot to check out,” he said.

How many times to show them

Show the ads too infrequently and your customers may ignore them. Show them too many times and they may think you’re creepy for following them, said Leuenberger. He recommended displaying the ads seven to 10 times to shoppers.

Customers might see your ad only a few times early in the day and forget about finishing their purchases, he noted. But if they surf the web later in the day and see your ad while they have time to purchase, they just may do it.

If the ads don’t work

If you show the ads several times and nothing happens, you’ll have to make a Hail Mary move to get them to the purchasing point.

“This last ditch effort is worth testing,” said Leuenberger. “When they hit the eight to 10 mark, the message changes to, ‘Check out now or within the next 20 minutes and get a certain percentage off your order.’ Then you give them a coupon code at that point. If they haven’t done it by then, the chances are slim that they will.”

Unfortunately, if you use this tactic, customers may take advantage of you, said Leuenberger. They’ll figure out that if they abandon their carts they will eventually receive a code. Then your abandoned carts will actually increase.

To avoid this situation, Leuenberger said you should “offer a coupon code that changes frequently, because otherwise they could come back another day and it’ll still work.”

Even if you recapture only a small percentage of potential sales through remarketing, chances are the investment will pay off.

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