Visitors to e-commerce sites end up in four buckets:

  • Purchasers
  • Bouncers
  • Cart abandoners
  • Undecideds

Purchasers, well, purchase.

Bouncers arrive and leave immediately. Maybe they landed on your site by mistake. Maybe they instantly disliked what they saw and decided to leave. Who knows? In any event, it is likely to be a waste of time and effort to go after them.

Cart abandoners liked what they saw, looked at stuff, added items to their cart, but didn’t buy. Maybe they got called away. Maybe they ran into a problem at checkout. There could be many reasons. Whatever the reason, this much is clear: these customers are engaged with you, are in the market for your product, are deep in the funnel.  Naturally, retailers go after them with cart-abandonment triggered emails. And this effort pays off – according to the Email Marketing Institute’s North American Email Trends and Benchmarks report, triggered emails have 70% higher open rates and over double the click through rates of batch-and-blast emails.

That brings us to the most interesting segment of all: everyone else, the Undecideds.

They are neither here nor there. They don’t leave immediately, they don’t buy, they don’t even add to cart. And they represent a huge conversion opportunity for email marketers.

How can we convert the Undecideds? By collecting the Hanselian breadcrumbs they leave as they interact with your site and by using this data to hyper-personalize triggered emails.

Let’s look at the breadcrumbs of an Undecided visitor.

  • She comes in via a Google search for “cashmere sweaters”.
  • Clicks on the “Sweaters” link on the left nav. Dwells for 40 seconds on the category page.
  • Clicks through to the product detail page for a light blue cashmere sweater (price-tier: Good). Dwells for 77 seconds.
  • Clicks through to the product detail page for a light pink cashmere sweater (price-tier: Better). Dwells for 10 seconds.
  • Clicks through again to the light blue cashmere sweater.  Dwells for 2 minutes. Clicks the “see more reviews” link at the bottom of the page.
  • Clicks on the “Fresh Reductions” link on the top nav.
  • Clicks through to the Sweaters category within “Fresh Reductions”. Dwells for 1 minute.
  • Clicks on the “Sale” link on the top nav.
  • Clicks through to the product detail page for a light blue non-cashmere sweater (price-tier: Good) that’s on sale at 30% off. Dwells for 40 seconds.
  • Leaves site.

She hasn’t carted anything but she has left a lot of breadcrumbs! If she is a returning customer, we may know even more. Maybe the last 3 of 4 items she bought were on clearance.

What can we do with this data? A couple of obvious options:

  • Email her individualized recommendations for cashmere sweaters either in the good price-tier or on clearance. The email doesn’t have to be complicated. No offer. Just a simple 3×3 product grid can do the trick.
  • She appears to be price-sensitive. Trigger an email featuring the light blue cashmere sweater (and similar products chosen specifically for her) along with a single-use 20% off coupon.

We can do a lot more but even these simple options are better than doing nothing. If she clicks through and makes a purchase, great! Even if she doesn’t buy, we get more breadcrumbs, we understand her needs better, and our hyper-personalization gets smarter and more relevant for her the next time around.

Imagine if you could automatically gather up these breadcrumbs, connect the dots, and trigger a hyper-personalized email within a specified duration after every Undecided visit! The impact would be tremendous!

The technology for doing this exists today! Give it a try –  there’s nothing to lose.