Combatting browse abandonment series - Seven reasons browsers leave without buying

Combatting browse abandonment series - Seven reasons browsers leave without buying Headshot

By Lee Marples, Customer Success Consultant

Your emails engaged them. Your products interested them. But they didn’t buy. They didn’t even cart a product.

Understanding why browsers don’t become buyers is one of the Holy Grails of eCommerce. It’s a riddle with no simple solutions.  

But there are multiple tactics to bring browsers back. From streamlining your website’s navigation to adding browse abandonment emails to your arsenal, eCommerce marketers have plenty of options to consider.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll explore why browse abandonment happens, tactics to combat browse abandonment, email strategies for browse recovery and ways to use browse abandonment data in your website’s personalization efforts. For a deep dive into browse abandonment click here.

Understanding browse abandonment

Many ecommerce retailers are familiar with cart abandonment marketing. With cart abandonment, the shopper has expressed more intent -- they’ve reached the point of carting a product that they are considering buying.

Browse abandonment occurs when a shopper visits your site, looks at your offerings, but leaves without adding anything to their shopping cart or making a purchase.

Our research indicates that 39% of visitors to your site fall into this category.

Understanding the root causes

Since they didn’t reach the point of carting a product, a failed browse session can have more root causes than an abandoned cart. The shopper might have found searching difficult, or the navigation tricky. Generic product descriptions can send them away, as can confusing, non-existent or difficult to find information on shipping, payment, and returns. Or browsers might become distracted by a phone call, the end of their commute, or a fussy toddler.

Even more so than cart abandonment, browse abandonment can never be completely prevented. But there are factors that can reduce it. Here are some strategies to consider:

Pay attention to the shopping experience

We can’t try on or touch products when we shop online. That can put online merchants at a disadvantage compared to a bricks-and-mortar retailer. Product descriptions must be detailed (but not too long). Innovative online retailers are incorporating features like virtual dressing rooms to boost sales.

Navigate your site like a shopper would

Browse your website and compare the experience to your competitors. Does your site load quickly? Is it easy to browse from a mobile device?  Because 40% of online transactions were made from mobile devices in 2017, a mobile-friendly experience is critical.

Be transparent with shipping and payment options

Don’t hide details about delivery options, costs, and return policies. Customers might like what they see but hesitate to cart because they aren’t certain they can get the product delivered on time, or understand the final cost.

Monitor your price competitiveness

Online shopping makes comparing the cost of goods and services very easy. If your prices are higher than your competitors, you must communicate the value of your products and services. Do you offer white glove delivery? Easy returns? Personal shopping assistance? Highlight those special features.

Personalize your messaging

Personalization can be even more critical to reducing browse abandonment than it is for cart abandonment. On your website, use personalization tools to make product suggestions that are relevant to the customer. Add dynamic features, such as countdown timers and shipping cut-off dates to create a sense of urgency. If you sell seasonal items, consider adding real-time weather updates.

Add social proof points

Social proof is very important because it works. Weaving reviews, ratings, and social media posts from customers into your website content builds trust and provides valuable information. Customers become a knowledge base on everything from sizing to the look and feel of an item.

Research backs social proof as a way to engage customers - 76% of consumers say they believe that content generated by average people is more honest than advertising from brands.

Start sending browse abandonment emails

Results from customers that have implemented a browse abandonment email program show a sales lift of 3.3%. The emails are triggered after a customer abandons a shopping session. Under GDPR, browse abandonment messages fall under ‘legitimate interest’ because these specific, personalized emails are based on the actions of a browsing session and sent to a person who has an existing relationship with your brand.

Success with browse abandonment emails

Cart abandonment email campaigns are well-established. Customers are much closer to making a purchase and the reminder emails deliver an 8% sales lift, according to our research with our customers. However, the most effective way to generate more revenue is sending both cart and browse recovery emails as so many of your website visitors don’t even get as far as carting products.

For instance, just one percent of the browse emails that tool retailer TOOLSTOP sent converted, but the high price of the products purchased as a result of the email contributed to turnover that increased by an additional £51k per month.

Hoseasons, a travel company, uses both cart and browse abandonment programs. If a visitor searches the website for a holiday and specifies dates, or a certain type of holiday and doesn’t make a booking, information relevant to their preferences automatically populates a personalized abandonment email which is sent shortly after them leaving the site. Revenues from browse abandonment emails reach 50% of their cart abandonment activity.

Crafting a browse abandonment campaign correctly is critical to making browse recovery efforts work. We’ll explore that in more detail in Part II of our Combatting Browse Abandonment series. In Part III we’ll outline how you can use browse data to enhance your website personalization efforts.


For a deep dive into browsing check out our “Just Browsing” eBook.

keep 'em browsing