As third party cookies have crumbled, marketers have set their sights (and sites) on first-party data. Putting real customer activity to work, especially in marketing, has hardened the DTC playbook of marketing automation. The undisputed leader is the ubiquitous abandoned shopping cart campaign. Those abandonment messages are massively productive, with revenue per send valued at more than 26 times what a standard promotional message provides. But, that’s counter-balanced by a small population; known abandoners account for less than 1% of site visitors. Merely chasing abandoners is far too limiting of a first-party strategy.
The most impactful group of shoppers to target may in fact be those you don’t know at all. To make the most of this first-party focus, you need to get into the unknown: the anonymous repeat visitors.
You don’t know most of your visitors. 75% of all your site visitors are anonymous. All told, this group makes up 82% of all visits. By a landslide, the number of unknown shoppers carries site traffic. But don’t let that discourage you. A closer look reveals that there is some very encouraging news — you know more about the unknown than you might think.
Not all anonymous shoppers are the same. You are probably already analyzing acquisition sources on your buyers to optimize your traffic mix. More directly though, you can look at the shopper’s specific engagement with you to learn more. Engagement history helps us further segment our anonymous shoppers into two groups – those making a single visit, and those making multiple visits to your site:
One-time anonymous: 63% of site visitors who account for 52% of all of your visits
Returning anonymous: 11% of site visitors who account for 30% of all of your visits
The returning anonymous shopper group jumps off the page. These are shoppers who have visited multiple times and are clearly consuming a lot of your content. In fact, this group accounts for 33% of product detail page views. These shoppers are making an effort to get to know your brand. Now, it’s time to get to know them.
The advantage with returning shoppers: you can recognize them when they visit you.
The problem with returning shoppers: you can recognize them (only) when they visit you.
So, to turn this recognition into a relationship with the shopper, you need to give them a reason to identify themselves to you. You need their permission, and a chance to reach them. Besides your standard welcome modal that collects email and SMS, here are three tactics to collect an email address or mobile number and reach out to your shoppers.
Fitters and finders are having a moment (thanks to the likes of jebbit and Octane AI, who are arming brands and retailers with a means to launch these guided selling tools). and are a great way to introduce new-to-you shoppers to your brand. Taking a guided selling approach assists shoppers to find what they are looking for and provides you with some explicit preference data, which has come to be known as zero party data), and a way to reach out to shoppers. Some great examples include Mizzen+Main’s Shirt Finder, Maggie Sottero’s Wedding Dress Quiz, and Helix Sleep’s Mattress Quiz.
Save this search: shoppers who search on your site know what they are looking for. These are surgical shoppers. Beyond the current site visit, provide shoppers with a reminder of recent searches, or an easy way to re-run results by saving their search and sending it to their email address.
Personalize! Leading with personalization is a terrific way to encourage customers to subscribe. When considering your returning anonymous shoppers, you have the benefit of browse history. Use the browse history to share personalized product recommendations and make the case for why the shopper should identify themselves.
Start with Relevance
Once the hard work is done and you know your shopper, it’s time to prove that you were listening and that you care: be relevant. Your first outreach is a canvas for showing your shopper that you know her. Put the data to work; products viewed, categories explored, site searches, use all of that activity data to engage your shopper. The first outreach should include product recommendations, recently viewed items, or better yet, both. By putting their prior browsing data to work, you show that you do in fact know your shoppers and set a good example for why the shopper will be thrilled to hear from you again, and again.
If you really want to know your customers, get into the unknown: your returning anonymous shoppers. By getting to know these consumers, you are covering far more of your shoppers than you were by just reacting to abandonment events, and creating a relationship built on relevance.
For more customer-centric shopping metrics, see the Customer Lifecycle Benchmark.