Beyond Cart Abandonment: How to Recover Lost Sales from Window Shoppers

Window shoppers: so much potential, yet so little return. Research by CartStack shows that a worrying 92% of customers are leaving your eCommerce store before even picking up a shopping basket. Browse abandonment (cart abandonment’s overlooked cousin) is a serious concern for your business, but what if it could lead to you converting more of the 90% of customers that cart abandonment emails don’t touch?

With the right tips, tools, and techniques, browse abandonment email campaigns can convert anywhere between 3-7% of window shoppers who haven’t selected a product, created an account or made it to the checkout. And here’s how.

What is a browse abandonment email campaign?

As an eCommerce retailer, you likely know about cart abandonment (someone adding products to their shopping cart but leaving before finalizing the purchase) and cart abandonment email campaigns (post-visit emails that can bring back approximately 15% of shoppers).

But what about the customers who don’t even make it to the cart? This is browse abandonment, also known as discovery failure. A browse abandonment email campaign targets these customers - the ones who come to your eCommerce store, look around and left before ‘adding to basket’.

How to run a successful browse abandonment email campaign

“But how do I email online shoppers who haven’t even made it to the checkout to input their email address?” Browse abandonment email campaigns can certainly be trickier to run than cart abandonment campaigns, but by implementing the following tips and tricks, you’ll be reaching thousands of customers that your other email campaigns simply won’t, in no time.

1. Capturing email addresses as soon as possible

You’re right - no one’s running a successful browse abandonment email campaign without any email addresses, and if your visitor hasn’t made it to the checkout screen, that can be a problem. Luckily, technology now exists that captures data in real time, on every webpage. Shoppers no longer need to hit “submit”, “subscribe” or “sign me up” for you to capture their email address - they just need to type it in somewhere, and you just need to think of ways to encourage them to do so. We like:

Live chat

30% of customers expect live chat when visiting you from their desktop computer and 62% expect it when visiting you on their mobile phone. Customers love the convenience of live chat and are more than willing to enter their email address to get instant support.


Want to receive browse abandonment tips, news, and coupons straight to your inbox? Yes, you do! Invite online shoppers to enter their email address for a FREE newsletter, by including a sign-up link in your website header.

Exit-intent popups or slide-ins

You weren’t thinking of leaving, were you? Yes, exit-intent popups might have a reputation as being annoying, but they work - especially for capturing email addresses. 57% of consumers are willing to enter their email address in exchange for personalized offers. The tricks to getting exit-intent popups right?:

  • Offer discounts, free shipping or low stock warnings;
  • Pick the least intrusive slide-ins or popups;
  • Ensure that they’re easy to exit.

Lead Magnets

We’re not talking about fridge magnets here. Articles, white papers, industry insights, and mega guides are compelling pieces of content that you should offer for free, in exchange for an email address.

Save for later

Sometimes you’re halfway through browsing and all of a sudden GoT is about to start, dinner’s ready, and you haven’t even poured yourself a drink. Rather than letting visitors exit and forget to come back later, add a “send my cart” option to your website to capture email addresses.?

2. Sending browse abandonment emails quickly

Timing is everything when it comes to sending browse abandonment emails - even more so than cart abandonment emails. Window shoppers are less emotionally tied to your eCommerce store - they didn’t even add your products to a basket - so they’re going to forget you pretty quick. Our researchers have narrowed the browse abandonment email success window down to between 20-30 minutes. Before that, they’re open to coming back; after that, they’ve already started an evening of deciding what to watch on Netflix, and your email is going unnoticed.

3. Saying the right thing

What you say in your browse abandonment email can make a huge impact on whether your email gets clicked or deleted. When drafting your content, it’s important to:

Tailor your message

Using your cart abandonment email template isn’t going to work. These visitors will be less engaged, meaning that you’ll need to be a bit softer, using effective email conversion subject lines such as: “Thanks for checking us out - can we help you find something?”

Include images

Visual content increases website conversions. Use website tracking data to see what items your visitor admired for the longest and include these images in your email to re-engage them.

Give information

Your visitor might have left because blue just wasn’t their color. Including product information and variations (such as color, size, and quantity) gives your visitor information that they might have overlooked. It’s also useful to include payment options, but keep the price off - that’s not important for now.

Feature personalized recommendations

Basic personalizations are much less engaging than personalized recommendations. 49% of shoppers buy products they didn’t intend on buying because of personalized recommendations. Take your browse abandonment email personalization beyond “Hello Sandra” and use machine-learning software to include a selection of product recommendations that will entice them back.

Let others do the talking for you

71% of consumers are more comfortable buying a product when they see reviews. Include product reviews and star ratings in your email to demonstrate social proof and encourage FOMO (fear of missing out).

Keep it simple

They came, they looked, and they left. Match this simple sequence of events, with a clear and simple email. Include a few images, obvious links and a tempting call to action (hint: red is the best color for results)

4. Using the right tone

There’s a fine line between an abandonment email campaign being really helpful (you’re right, that shirt would look great on me) and really creepy (I’m just gonna go and slowly close down my laptop and shut the curtains). Tone is incredibly important when it comes to browse abandonment emails; window shoppers haven’t made it through the door, so you’ll need to use encouraging and positive language to get them to. Offer help and support, don’t be pushy and be friendly - who better to sweet talk you into buying something that your BFF.

5. Offering discounts

Price is the biggest reason for website abandonment. The best way to counter-act that? Discounts. Offer discount coupons, free delivery or free gifts in your browse abandonment email to bring shoppers back. Even better, add some scarcity to your email. Remember when Disney didn’t make enough Buzz Lightyear toys, and the world went into mayhem? No, we’re too young to remember that too *cough* but scarcity works.

6. Optimizing for mobile

Average mobile abandonment rates are 85.6% - significantly higher than desktops and significantly more worrying. Mobile commerce is predicted to overtake desktop sales by 2023 - that’s only four years away, yet many eCommerce websites aren’t optimized for mobile. If this is you, change that now. Having a mobile-optimized website will ensure that visitors aren’t abandoning you because they can’t access you on their phone, and it makes re-engaging with you easy.

7. Chill

Sometimes, people just want to browse, and that’s cool. Use session replay & heatmap data to identify browser behaviors that indicate high engagement (for example looking at a product more than once) and low engagement (for example looking at a couple of products and then leaving). Use blogs, reviews, and newsletters to re-connect with your highly engaged visitors, and, if someone doesn’t want to re-engage with you, offer them an easy way to opt-out - you might just not be their cup of tea. 

8. Test

That’s a lot to take in and implement. The key to getting it right? Testing. Use A/B testing methods to find out what works, and what doesn’t. It’s the only way you’ll create a browse abandonment email campaign that works for your customers.

Beyond browse abandonment

Using the above tips will help you to create a successful, engaging and profit-driving browse abandonment email campaign - turning window shoppers into paying customers. And since you’ve put so much effort into acquiring these customers, taking steps to maximize their lifetime value is an important next step. For instance, launching a successful referral program could not only keep your customers & their friends returning for purchases, it can also drive down marketing & lead acquisition costs significantly!

About CartStack

CartStack gives e-commerce businesses the power & leverage needed to recapture 30%+ of lost online sales with conversion-focused emails & tools to help optimize checkout flow & site conversion.

8 Response to "Beyond Cart Abandonment: How to Recover Lost Sales from Window Shoppers"

  1. Comment From Cobi Brent

    Wow, this was a very interesting read.

  2. Comment From Krishna Markson

    This is very informative.

  3. Comment From Jordan Witzgrutser

    Learned a lot in just a few minutes. Amazing!

  4. Comment From Korina Williams

    This is something worth sharing.

  5. Comment From Mary Helens

    Nice article.

  6. Comment From Leon Bruce

    Cool, good tips you have here.

  7. Comment From Johny Parkson

    Great content.

  8. Comment From Kim Lee

    This was worth the read. Very educational

Comments are closed.