E-Commerce Retargeting: Examples, Tactics, and Best Practices


February 9, 2024
E-Commerce Retargeting: Examples, Tactics, and Best Practices

Picture this: a potential buyer explores sofas on your online store. They browse the products you offer and choose to take some time before reaching a decision. In the following days, they find targeted ads on their browser. They are reminding them of the plush sofa they left in their cart on your e-commerce store. To sweeten the deal, you send them an exclusive 20% discount. Throughout the day, the ads persistently communicate that the cozy sofa is still available for them. Additionally, you present an irresistible offer of free shipping on their entire order.

With this enticing proposition, they decide to revisit your site and complete their purchase. This is an example of effective e-commerce retargeting, a marketing strategy designed to attract customers who have previously demonstrated interest in your brand.

In this article, we will learn about e-commerce retargeting, its strategies, and best practices for your online business.

Let's jump right in!

What is E-commerce Retargeting?

E-commerce retargeting is an advertising strategy that allows businesses to reach out to individuals who have previously interacted with their website, regardless of whether they made a purchase. Platforms leverage this technique to entice users back to their sites, showcasing products or promotions tailored to the specific interests of individual customers.

Retargeting serves as a bridge between businesses and their potential customers. This proactive approach ensures that users receive targeted content, reinforcing brand visibility and increasing the likelihood of converting potential customers into satisfied buyers.

Key Concepts of E-commerce Retargeting

E-commerce retargeting hinges on several key concepts for successful campaigns. Understanding and effectively implementing these principles can significantly enhance the impact of your retargeting efforts:

  • Audience Segmentation: By categorizing users according to their browsing history, product views, or cart activity, you can create retargeting messages that resonate with specific user groups,
  • Timing: Strategic timing aligns your retargeting efforts with the user's decision-making process, and
  • Analytics and Measurement: Data-driven insights allow you to refine your strategies, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions. All this will enhance the effectiveness of future retargeting efforts.

By incorporating these key concepts into your e-commerce retargeting strategy, you will craft campaigns that are personalized and targeted as well as data-driven and optimized for success.

Benefits of E-commerce Retargeting

E-commerce retargeting offers several benefits that can significantly impact the success of your online business. Here are the top three advantages:

Increased Conversion Rates

Retargeting enables you to re-engage users who have previously shown interest in your products or visited your website. By reminding them of abandoned carts or showcasing relevant products, you increase the likelihood of converting potential customers into actual buyers.

Enhanced Brand Recall and Awareness

Consistent exposure through retargeting reinforces your brand in the minds of potential customers. Even if they didn't make a purchase during their initial visit, continued visibility increases brand recall. This heightened awareness can influence their decision making when they are ready to make a purchase.

Improved Cost Efficiency

Targeting users who have already shown interest in your products proves to be a cost-effective strategy when compared to reaching out to those unfamiliar with your business. With retargeting, you focus your resources on an audience that knows you, increasing the efficiency of your marketing investments.

Incorporating e-commerce retargeting into your marketing strategy can yield these benefits. They will ultimately contribute to increased sales, brand loyalty, and a more efficient use of your advertising budget.

Top 4 E-commerce Retargeting Strategies

# 1 Email Retargeting

In the realm of e-commerce retargeting, personalized email campaigns have proven to be a highly effective strategy. They are particularly useful when directed at users who have abandoned their shopping carts or displayed interest in specific products.

Personalized retargeting email campaigns utilize user behavior data to customize communication and boost the likelihood of recovering potential lost sales. There are a few things to pay attention to when crafting an email retargeting campaign:

  • Choosing the right tools: Effective tools, such as Klaviyo, streamline the process and provide insightful analytics, ensuring that the campaign is well-executed.
  • Writing compelling subject lines: It is of great importance that the customer’s first interaction with your offer is compelling and intriguing. A well-designed subject line will entice users to open the email and will set the tone for positive engagement.
  • Relevant product recommendations: By leveraging insights from the user's browsing or shopping history, businesses can showcase items that align with the individual's preferences upping the chances of a purchase.
  • Strategic timing for maximum impact: Sending emails at opportune moments, such as shortly after cart abandonment, ensures that the user's interest is still fresh.

# 2 Cross-Selling

Cross-selling involves recommending complementary or related products to customers based on their browsing or purchase history. This strategy enhances the shopping experience by providing customers with relevant suggestions that align with their preferences. By enticing customers to explore additional offerings, cross-selling increases the average order value, contributing to more profit.

To learn more about cross-selling, how it can boost your sales, and how to implement it into your business strategy, read our article on the topic:

6 Cross-Selling Proven Methods That Will Maximize Your Sales

# 3 Social Media Retargeting

Retargeting ads on popular social media platforms re-engage users who have interacted with your website. Leveraging the visual appeal and precise targeting options of these platforms enhances the effectiveness of retargeting.

When using social media for your retargeting strategy:

  • Prioritize effective audience segmentation based on user behavior, demographics, and interests,
  • Craft visually appealing ad creatives that align with the aesthetics of the chosen social media platform, and
  • Strike a balance in ad frequency to avoid overwhelming users.

# 4 Cart Abandonment Retargeting

This approach aims to re-engage potential customers by sending targeted reminders. The effectiveness is notably better when good deals, such as discounts or free shipping, are offered, encouraging users to revisit their abandoned carts and ultimately complete their purchases.

Before you launch your cart abandonment retargeting campaign, be sure to craft compelling ad creatives powered by high-quality images, clear call-to-action, and persuasive copy. Also, you should ensure your retargeting ads are optimized for mobile devices for a mobile-friendly experience.

E-commerce Retargeting Examples

For a better understanding of e-commerce retargeting best strategies, we will go over a few examples of how they would be applied in real situations.

Email Retargeting Example

Imagine a scenario where a user, let's call her Sarah, visits an online fashion retailer and adds a dress and a pair of shoes to her shopping cart but leaves the website without completing the purchase.

Then, the e-commerce store implements a personalized email retargeting strategy. Shortly after her departure, Sarah receives an email with a subject line like "Your Favorites Await! Complete Your Look with an Exclusive Offer." The email features images of the dress and shoes, along with a personalized message expressing the store's appreciation for her interest.

To entice Sarah to finalize her purchase, the email includes a limited-time discount code offering 15% off her entire order and free shipping. This serves as a compelling invitation for Sarah to return to the website and complete her purchase, effectively leveraging personalized email retargeting.

Cross-Selling Example

After purchasing a laptop from an online electronics store, a customer named Alex becomes the target of a cross-selling campaign. The store strategically retargets him with ads suggesting complementary laptop accessories, such as laptop bags and wireless mice that cater to Alex's needs and preferences.

As a result, Alex is encouraged to explore additional offerings that enhance his laptop usage. The ads successfully demonstrate the effectiveness of cross-selling by providing Alex with valuable accessory recommendations that align with his recent purchase.

Social Media Retargeting Example

An e-commerce brand effectively retargets users on social media platforms by deploying visually appealing ads showcasing specific product recommendations. The strategic use of engaging visuals and personalized suggestions captures users' attention and encourages them to revisit the brand's website, demonstrating the power of visually-driven retargeting in enhancing user engagement and conversion rates.

Cart Abandonment Retargeting Example

In a successful campaign, an e-commerce site runs a flash sale exclusively for users who abandoned their carts. Through targeted email and retargeting ads, these users receive time-sensitive promotions, enticing them with discounts or exclusive offers. The flash sale creates a sense of urgency, effectively motivating users to return and complete their purchases, and showcasing the impact of strategic promotions in cart recovery efforts.

Measuring Success and Optimizing Campaigns

As with all other marketing efforts, the success of e-commerce retargeting relies on the ability to measure performance and optimize strategies. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates and conversion rates offer insights, while analytics reveal user behavior patterns.

A/B testing refines creatives and messaging, mobile optimization caters to diverse users, and repeated improvements maintain relevance. Privacy compliance, customer feedback, and continuous learning contribute to an adaptive retargeting approach, ensuring sustained effectiveness in a dynamic market.


What is the difference between retargeting and display ads?

Retargeting focuses on re-engaging users who have already interacted with your website, showing them personalized ads based on their previous actions. Display ads, on the other hand, are broader and target a wider audience, often using general demographics or interests.

How can e-commerce businesses use retargeting and remarketing to improve conversions?

E-commerce businesses use retargeting and remarketing to boost conversions by re-engaging users who have shown interest. Personalized ads and incentives target these users increasing the likelihood of converting potential customers.

Does retargeting really work?

Yes, retargeting can be highly effective in re-engaging users who have shown interest, addressing cart abandonment, and improving overall conversion rates in e-commerce.

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