Remarketing strategies to acquire and retain new and repeat ecommerce customers

The hardest part of e-commerce sales is cutting through the information overload to get people to your store for the first time -- or a repeat visit. Online and brick and mortar retailers often spend big money trying to get in front of the right people to land customers and sales.

If a customer does buy, the follow-up marketing is pretty affordable and simple: just email them regularly with reminders about special promotions, popular items or informational articles, and you'll stay front of mind to them.

But what about the customers who look around and then leave? Studies have shown that most people who find your site will do exactly that -- about 80-98% of visitors exit your store without buying anything.

After they disappear, how do you bypass life's distractions and get visitors to take another look? Where should you spend your marketing dollars to have the biggest impact? How do you know which sites these visitors might like?


Remarketing gives you the ability to keep promoting your store no matter where your customers roam on the internet. Using cookies, remarketing ads can pop up in the advertising space on almost any page that your visitors will click on later.

AdRoll, Google and Facebook all offer remarketing advertising that kicks in almost immediately after an clicking on an advertiser's site. Newegg is a company that uses remarketing and other behavior tracking very well. Check out the price of a new monitor on Newegg, and soon you'll see Newegg ads for that monitor on Facebook, your favorite news site, and other pages you open.

While remarketing removes a lot of decision-making for you, it's still important to create the right ads that turn "just looking" into "I'll buy it!" and entice customers to make the purchase. Here are a few strategies to fine-tune your remarketing ads for the highest impact.

Remarketing Tips for First-Time Visitors

These potential customers don't need a complete introduction to your store. They have seen your site and are at least vaguely familiar with your brand, but they haven't built a relationship with you.

The best way to lock your business in their heads is to offer them something for free. Free content that establishes you as an expert who's ready to give them good advice is an excellent way to make yourself memorable.

Start by giving visitors a little more information about the item they viewed. If it was a pair of flashy red shoes, then feature an article about the best pants or dresses that pair with the type of shoes they were looking at.

Selling iPhone accessories, not fashion? Then offer your visitors some in-depth tips on the items they shopped for, like finding the best bargains on headphones or instructions on replacing a battery for the iPhone 6.

When previous visitors see your article on the very item they had been researching a few hours ago, they're more likely to click to see how they can make a smarter purchase. And you just nudged them a little closer to buying.

After that first purchase, you can use remarketing to encourage a second or third purchase, either by featuring ads with more free content or accessories that coordinate with their purchase.

Remarketing for Repeat Customers

You can never go wrong with good content marketing, but bringing in repeat customers requires a different approach.

To craft your ads effectively, make sure you are targeting customers who have completed the checkout process. The next stop in in your marketing funnel is to build more trust with them so they will respond to your email campaigns (you're sending those out after the first purchase, right?) and/or make another purchase.

The combination of the remarketing ads and email campaigns should keep your business front and center. You can be more precise about timing those ads at intervals that match up with your customer latency windows. In other words, don't show them the printer they just bought, but a couple of months later (per your data) show them ink cartridges for that printer because they're probably running low.

Advanced Remarketing for the Brave

If you're willing to do a deeper dive into the data, there are a few ways for your ads to precisely target visitors and customers during their internet adventures.

Show them the exact item they viewed on your site, complete with price and basic information. This is a very quick and simple campaign.

Run different campaigns for different customers based on their interactions with your business. Remarketing is so specific that you don't have to settle for sending one ad campaign to your entire list -- you can segment your customers. Choose one ad for new customers, another for your top 10% buyers, and another for past customers.

Make Remarketing work for you

Customer segmentation for ads and email campaigns can work wonders, but if you're new to remarketing, keep your first ads simple. Go after those visitors who came to research an item but didn't make a purchase. Any effort you make toward chipping away that 98% no-purchase rate is money in bank.

Get a snapshot of your customer behavior

The sooner you signup for Repeat Customer Insights, the more comparison points your store will have. Each 1st of a the month a new snapshot is taken and saved to your account for analysis.

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Topics: Customer acquisition Remarketing Repeat customers Customer retention

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