Marketing TechnologyEmail & AutomationYou have a cart abandonment strategy. What about browse abandonment?

You have a cart abandonment strategy. What about browse abandonment?

The Internet is filled with best practices around cart abandonment. Browse abandonment, less so, even though the tactic is trickier to pull off.

Countless studies have shown that consumers prefer personalized marketing. Still, there’s a fine line between coming off as a curator and a creep. Few marketing tactics toe that line more than browse abandonment.

The overwhelming majority of online shopping carts are abandoned. SaleCycle found that 48% of their subsequent emails are opened and one-third of those lead to a sale. The consumer expressed interest in an item by placing it in the cart and the retailer simply served a reminder. But viewing an item doesn’t denote quite the same active level of interest. That makes browse abandonment inherently more difficult to pull off.

Cart abandonment vs. browse abandonment

Whether a consumer abandons a shopping cart or browsing session, the core action is fundamentally similar. They saw something they liked, just not enough to actually buy for whatever reason.

We’ve written about cart abandonment best practices before and some of them do cross over. Browse abandonment emails should be just as seamless, for example. If you want to nudge a sale, that purchase should be as quick and easy as possible.

Cart abandonment stats

First, jog their memory. The best abandonment emails include a picture of the product; additionally, mentioning it in the subject line can boosts open rates by 40%. Deep link to the product page and simplify the sign-in process. Surveying 1,800 Americans, Baymard Institute found that 37% of online shopping carts are abandoned because the consumer didn’t want to create an account. Assume browse abandoners hate that, too.

Watch your language

While cart and browse abandonment have similarities, there are also plenty of differences. For one, online window shopping is a more passive action. That means browse abandonment emails have potential to feel a lot more intrusive. To avoid that, watch your wording.

Browse abandonment- Tiffany & Co

Many brands do so by acknowledging the elephant in the room like Tiffany & Co. does. “We noticed you browsing this design” is as straightforward as you can get. Tiffany wonders whether the diamond earrings are on the customer’s mind with a large image that guarantees that if they weren’t, she is now.

With this browse abandonment email, OpenTable positions itself as helpful. Instead of focusing on the fact that the consumer was browsing, OpenTable points out that reservations in New York City can go fast. “Don’t be stuck without a reservation” is worded in such a way that it comes off less like “I’m watching you” and more like “I’m watching out for you.”

Adidas also gets right to the point, albeit in a more playful way. The sportswear giant takes it a step further by trying to solve the problem of why the browsing session was abandoned in the first place.

Consider an alternative

There’s no clear answer, but the sneakers do have more variety than the earrings. Maybe she liked them but was iffy on the peach color. Adidas includes a link to the shoes’ product page and another to customize them, making it clear that’s an option.

Other brands use abandoned browsing sessions as an opportunity to collect data. Seeing what people look at gives marketers a sense of their personal tastes. From there, they can recommend similar items.

Motorcycle retailer RevZilla (full disclosure: an email client of my employer, Sailthru) does this with a variety of comparable, complementary items in a variety of price points. That covers the possibility that the shopper liked something but thinks it’s too expensive.


Cart and browse abandonment are both massive issues for online retailers and while there are some similarities between the two, there aren’t enough to use the same exact strategies.

According to Accenture, a lack of personalization cost businesses a collective $756 billion. At the same time, InMoment found that 75% of consumers find personalization at least a little creepy. Within that group, 30% spread the word when they think brands feel too Big Brother.

Browse abandonment has far more potential to make consumers feel like they’re being watched. Carefully craft your wording to avoid coming off that way. And while you’re at it, consider the countless catalysts for browse abandonment and offer solutions… just not in a creepy way.


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