How to use Abandoned Cart Retargeting

Published Mar 30 2021 Last updated Jun 9 2023 5 minute read

Cart abandonment is one of the problems that's been bothering eCommerce retailers and marketers alike. Luckily, modern technology gives marketing professionals the opportunity to reach out to website or app visitors again, and be visible during the right moments to get to conversion. In this blog post, you will learn all you need to know about remarketing and more specifically, Abandoned cart retargeting. 

The scenario is pretty well-known: A consumer visits an eCommerce store, they add things to their carts, and then, for whatever reason, they just forget it.


The cart abandonment global average of almost 78% says it all. There is an equally high chance a non-engaged customer will harm your marketing metrics and keep you from achieving the KPIs you've set.

But what is it that you can do to minimize that percentage in a fast, highly targeted, and effective way? Let's find out.

Retargeting for eCommerce: there are two sides to it

For consumers to visit your website, marketers use a variety of tools. These marketing tools could be anything from social media ads, optimized landing pages, blog posts that promote your product, email marketing campaigns...You name it.

However, if we're talking about retargeting shopping cart abandoners in eCommerce, you can use one of the following two foolproof techniques:

  • Email reminders
  • Cart abandonment retargeting ads

When it comes to email marketing, things are pretty straightforward: You need to pick out the correct copy, the email templates and visuals that fit your message, follow up on your endeavors, and create marketing messages that will progress and eventually lead up to "An offer they can't refuse" - i.e., a discount code or, perhaps, free shipping.

You can figure this out by checking out your data and your customer segments. These will help you determine what works for your audience and what won't fly with them. To see if your abandoned cart email campaign works as it should you can look at metrics like open rates, click through rates and conversion rates.

But now, let's talk about retargeting ads.

How to make retargeting ads work

Knowing exactly what your audience loves is imperative if you want your retargeting ads to work and help you minimize cart abandonment. And this knowledge can only come when you study your data.


Clean-cut segments

There is no personalization without (hyper)segmentation, and that's a fact every informed marketer knows.

Segmentation is one of the most valuable tactics and one of the tools that most platforms offer. The short version is that you need segmentation to understand the kind of content marketing that can go to your retargeting ads.

The long version is that to create a successful retargeting ad that will entice the user enough and make them feel like they want to complete the purchase they abandoned, you need to see things from your shoppers' perspective. Meaning that you need to understand your customers' journey, the trends they're following, and what keeps them from completing a purchase:




As you can see, the number one problem is the high extra costs, followed by the site requiring an account and so on. This is where your segmentation should begin.

You can segment using a variety of variables:

  • Their cart's value: Modify your retargeting ad according to what your prospects have left behind in their cart. The higher the total, the more elaborate the ad. Create retargeting ads that will seem tailor-made and offer benefits and discounts accordingly.
  • The checkout: Here, things could get a little more complicated. Did your prospects abandon their cart due to extra costs? If so, offer discounts, eliminate the shipping or provide a "10% off!" on the retargeting ad message. If the problem was the online payment method, create a retargeting ad that could be talking about different payment methods or even the gift cards your prospects could use.
  • The customer: Are they first-timers on your website? Are they repeaters? Are they "just checking" as a potential customer? Whatever their deal is, consider creating a specialized discount code. Loyal customers will feel valued and appreciated stumbling upon a retargeting ad that offers a "thank you for purchasing again!" code, while first-timers will feel welcome and loved. That way, you'll nudge them in the right direction and further down the funnel, helping them convert.

Of course, segmentation isn't enough in and of itself. You will need to continue with creating something that your customers will think was especially for them.


A personalized message

Adding personalized content to your content calendar is one of the most useful tricks in the book. Here's what I mean:




Content that is tailor-made to fit your users' needs can make a huge difference when it comes to conversion, and cart abandonment is no exception.

So, this is where personalizing your ads comes into play. The products the user has interacted with before are your biggest allies while personalizing your ad message.

Personalize the ads you are going to create according to the abandoner's previous activity on your website and add the contents of their shopping cart they left behind, like so:


You could offer a discount code or free shipping while you're at it. Show the products the user's picked out and combine them with similar products or ones that would make a fantastic pair for those your prospects have abandoned. Utilize FOMO and remind them that their picks are "Going, going, gone!"

The point is to tailor your ad on a one-on-one basis and entice each user separately, using dynamic ads with personalized content that will correspond with each individual's abandoned cart.


The right platform and frequency

Shopping cart abandoners aren't the only problem when it comes to creating your retargeting ads. You are going to have to make some decisions that have to do with the platforms and the frequency of the ads.

Are you going to need social media advertising services, for example? Use Facebook Ads if your prospects frequent this platform, or perhaps Google Ads remarketing, which gives you the option of both standard and dynamic remarketing, among other things.

After picking out the platform that best suits your needs, go ahead and create what is known as a "burn pixel":



By doing so, you will retarget your audience and remind them of their abandoned cart without boring them by showing the same ad over and over and being pushy - especially if you achieve your goal and help them convert.


Perfect timing, perfect content, perfect testing

The steps I'm going to describe now are true of all digital marketing efforts, not just retargeting ads that can save shopping cart abandonment. They're true of lead generation efforts, landing page creation, email marketing campaigns, and so on.

For every marketing action, some components just have to be perfect. Those are timing, content, and testing methods.

  • Perfect timing

You don't want to be annoying. You don't want your retargeting ads to pop up the moment your prospects abandon their carts. You, also, don't want to wait too long. Showing a retargeting ad too soon or not soon enough could be considered annoying at best and creepy at worst. 

So, study your data, your buyer personas, and what your competitors do, and make sure to find just the right time to show your retargeting ad.

  • Perfect content

Yes, I know that all marketers have overused the phrase "Content is King". However, it's true. The average user is bombarded with marketing messages every day. The point is for your retargeting ads to stand out and catch their eye. This is why you need copy and visuals that will entice and be personalized enough to address the customer's pain points and uncover why they abandoned their cart in the first place.

  • Perfect testing

Of course, I am talking about A/B testing, one of the most significant arrows in a marketer's quiver. Creating retargeting ads for cart abandonment is a continuous process of testing, changing variables, and testing again. So, make sure to create ads that will differ in one key component and pinpoint what works for your audience and what doesn't.

Create retargeting ads that engage  

Next time you see your cart abandonment rates being higher than what you'd like, make sure to create a retargeting ad that will engage your audience and make them rethink their choice.

Use cookies to pin down the users that visited your website, gather data, and create ads that will feel tailor-made and answer all of the customer's pain points.

Retargeting is more fruitful than engaging a "cold lead" after all, and it can be a great way to boost brand awareness and create a loyal customer base.

About the author

Téa Liarokapi is a content writer working for email marketing software company Moosend and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas-and cats-to play with.

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