Learn Remarketing in Five Minutes


Is ReMarketing the Secret Weapon of the Online Retailer?

Summary: Remarketing is an ideal way to entice consumers back to a brand to ensure a sale. I explore the best bits to help you make an informed decision about if it’s right for your marketing campaign.

Ecommerce marketing is a term that confuses many, originally launched by Google, some people believe that it still relates only to services Google offer. In fact it has now become more widespread and everyone is talking about remarketing, the biggest brands are giving it a go and it’s bringing in incredible ROI results.

How it Works

Remarketing is an invaluable strategy for bringing customers back to an abandoned cart, increasing consumer loyalty, gaining referrals and recommendations and making your eCommerce site the only one they’ll use for a certain product or service. Working across a whole range of mediums it speaks to your demographic in a way that seems completely bespoke, adding a personalised touch.

Consider this:

Statistics were revealed earlier this year that claimed over 70% of shoppers abandon their baskets before whipping out their card. This isn’t the interesting part, as a retailer you already understand this, it’s a big problem and one many have tried to solve even before remarketing.

The interesting part is the reason behind the abandonment.

The survey * interviewed thousands of shoppers and discovered that people adore the convenience of shopping online but when they get to the checkout they miss the human interaction. It’s simple psychology.

Basically a shopper adores your products, fills their basket and then has a little time to think. They aren’t greeted with a smile as they hand over the card, they don’t leave carrying a bag full of their new purchases and they don’t receive any thanks for spending their hard earned cash. It’s all quite generic, it’s all very impersonal and it really is a bit boring.

Shoppers no longer window shop, they skip up and down your virtual aisles filling their baskets with virtual items, virtually checking out but not completely!

We are after all a nation of “want it, have it, need it, give it to me,” and the hypocrisy around online shopping shows this. We want convenience, we want items delivered direct, we want to order from our living room but we do reminisce about the corner shop where we were greeted with a smile as the bell on the door tinkled even if we only had ten pence to spend.

 It’s Not Impossible to Conquer Abandonment

It seems like a problem that’s insurmountable, yet remarketing makes sure you can conquer it. Remarketing brings your customers back from the brink with a range of techniques that build on the information you have. This delivers offers, promotions, greetings and recommendations that seem bespoke to your customer. Bingo, you’ve made them feel special, you’ve shown that you’ve noticed their presence and now you’re letting them know that you value the money and time they spend in your online store. You’ve basically given a hug across the internet and welcomed them in with a smile that shows you care. And it works!

ReMarketing vs. ReTargeting What’s the Difference?

This is where it becomes complicated so let’s make it simple.

ReMarketing uses information from customers that you have connected with via your website. For instance those that have an account, have signed up to a newsletter or have left their details at one time. By doing this they can use techniques that speak directly to the consumer as if personally such as emails and offers that will be effective based on their buyer behaviour.

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ReTargeting focuses on the consumer you’ve not yet connected with, the first timer who’s been tempted to your site but not stayed long enough to complete a purchase. This is done mainly through banner advertisements on third party sites so as the customer clicks around the web, they see a banner (usually displaying items that caught their eye in the first place) wherever they go.

Both take a lot of planning, a little bit of genius and a lot of code!

The Big Benefits of ReMarketing

 As ReMarketing targets customers that have already spent money with you, the success rate is higher. Shoppers usually have an account already so only a few clicks are needed to complete a purchase.

Remarketing not only increases sales, it increases engagement which leads to increased customer loyalty. You will be well aware that loyalty is the buzz word of the ecommerce big brands right now.

In fact giants such as Waitrose place so much emphasis on loyalty that much of their campaign is targeted towards this as they understand the value of a returning customer, while keeping the consumer happy so a reputation is maintained.

I recently asked the CEO of BrandStreet, Kevin Robinson, if he thought consumer loyalty was important for the future, he told me, “We focus on the user journey throughout the APP as the first thing we do is gain the permission of the user. This immediately puts us on the right footing as when our brands connect in real time with the user, it is expected and so there’s a warm welcome. Loyalty is important, customers have choice now and they don’t take kindly to their busy lives being interrupted by messages they have no interest in. If a customer receives a message that benefits them at the right time, from a brand they trust, they will shop again.”

 This is exactly what remarketing does.

Key ReMarketing Strategies

 Remarketing allows you to use one or a variety of techniques to bring your buyers back. It’s more personalised and more focused ensuring it brings better results.

Here are some of the main strategies adopted by major retailers to ensure that customer returns, you will have noticed some yourself.

Follow Up Emails from Abandoned Carts

 There are many reasons a shopper abandons a cart and a personal email can be just the job to tempt them back to shop.

If they abandoned the cart as they felt the service was too impersonal, you can ensure the email includes their name and items they love so they feel as if you’re speaking directly to them.

If a cart was abandoned due to an interruption or through forgetfulness, the email will cheerily tempt them back so they can finish what they started.

There are tools to use to make sure the emails target the right people with the message that brings them back, such as a plug in for a Magento framework  or a custom built solution that sends automatic reminder emails that are tailored to the individual.

ReMarketing Adverts

 Remarketing adverts can be viewed with suspicion. They can scare the paranoid as they do seem to be like Big Brother watching over the internet usage of a shopper. In fact it’s a complex code made simple to use by Google Adwords remarketing. Use this tool and you’ll see that the shopper who left before saying goodbye suddenly find that the products they were tempted to buy are floating around the screen everywhere they go.

It’s clever, it’s effective, it certainly increases brand recognition and it does work. The aim is to put those adverts in front of the shopper’s eyes when they are in the frame of mind to buy. Quite simply, if you show someone a message long enough, they’ll eventually respond if only to make you go away!

It doesn’t have the personal feel of an email but it still shows you care.


Vouchers are the currency of the internet right now and the reason voucher sites are flourishing. In these tough economic times everyone loves a bargain and offering a personal one can ensure you get that sale.

Basically the more personal you can make your offer the better. For instance there’s little point offering 2 for 1 on nose hair trimmers if your shopper was a Miss World wannabe. Similarly, a voucher that offers money off lingerie could be quite insulting to a pensioner. This is why it is crucial to understand the customer, their age, location, and even their lifestyle. When it’s done correctly it’s an incredible tool that’s highly powerful. You will gain a loyal customer, they will tell their friends about the bargain they were offered on your site and your reputation will be enhanced.


 This follows the same principles as vouchers, offer items that customers think they are receiving as a reward for shopping with you, items that others don’t have access to, or can’t buy at the price you’re offering. This makes the shopper feel special and part of a secret club where they are thanked personally for their presence in your online store. To generate the best exclusive offers you need solid analytics in order to fully understand your demographic.


 It is proven that recommendations are the most powerful way to sell a product online, as eCommerce is notoriously impersonal, shoppers will research recommendations of others before deciding to buy. Consumers place high importance in the opinions of those that have tried the product before and so a good recommendation can make the different between a sale and a fail.

You can target your shoppers by placing the recommendations for products they’ve showed interest in in front of their faces, via email or adverts, if they see that others champion the product you’ll remove any doubts they had that stopped them from buying.

A Clever Combination

 The bonus of remarketing is that it encompasses so many different strategies that you don’t have to settle for one. Clever combinations can double your selling power and bring you a better return. For example, if you combine the follow up email from abandoned carts with a voucher that offers 15% off if only they’ll checkout today, you have a powerful message that’s difficult to resist.

Calls to Action

 As with any marketing campaign you must never forget the reason behind it. It’s amazing how many will follow up with an email or voucher yet leave crucial information out.

Ensure your remarketing has clear calls to action, links that take the consumer directly to where they want to be and information that persuades them to check out this time.

There’s no denying the effectiveness of reMarketing, especially when campaigns are custom built. It’s an incredible way to boost sales, increase exposure, raise reputations and potentially make your brand a household name. We help many eCommerce websites make the most of their remarketing ensuring they get an incredible return for their investment boosting profits in the short and long term.

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What communicators can learn from Wikipedia


When I reported for a major newspaper we’ll call The Daily Planet, I once dropped by the newsroom library just as a researcher was irritably emailing an editor to complain that a staff writer had cited Wikipedia.

Look! she said. Again! Wikipedia’s not a source.

Editors would agree. Like any good newsroom, The Daily Planet had a policy against sourcing information to Wikipedia, which can be about as reliable as writing, “According to some guy I overhead on the train.”

Yet a database search reveals that the phrase “according to Wikipedia” has sneaked into that newspaper paper 12 times since 2005. Other major news organizations have slipped up as recently as this week. Plus, even when reporters aren’t citing Wikipedia, they often draw their first impressions of your organization there.

What is it about Wikipedia that appeals to information-seekers—and what can you learn from it? Think from the perspective of a frantically Googling reporter who has never heard of your organization, doesn’t know what you produce and has 20 minutes to crank out a brief about a fire at your plant.

Here are some lessons from the site:

1. Wikipedia summarizes essential information.

Yes, you put a lot of thought that “about us” section and its multiple sub-pages, making sure we know about your organization’s commitment to sustainability and niceness. But did you write it with the assumption that everybody knows who you are and what you produce?

I won’t name and shame, but consider a real corporation that goes by an abbreviation. I’ll dub it XYZ Co.

Click on the website’s “about” tab, and you will find this message: “[XYZ] is a critical link that connects consumers with the global marketplace. For more than 160 years, [XYZ] has played a vital role in building and sustaining this nation’s economy.”

Great. So, is it a bank? A shipping company? A telecom with a history dating to the days of the telegraph? True, there are photos of trains and a drop-down subsection on “our railroad,” but reporters need the information in words.

Under “our railroad,” by the way, there are no figures beyond a brief history. The “financial information” drop-down refers to “Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K” but doesn’t mention annual revenue.

By contrast, Wikipedia’s first 116 words reveal that XYZ is one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America and that it has 48,000 employees, more than 8,000 locomotives and 32,500 miles of track in 28 states.

2. Wikipedia doesn’t make reporters click around to different pages.

In fairness, XYZ links to a helpful fact sheet from the right-hand margin of the “about” page, but that is easily overlooked in a list of links.

Likewise, consider the website of Backless Gown Hospital Corp. (not its real name). A reporter on deadline goes to the home page. There it is—the “about” link! The drop-down offers further options. Let’s click through to “About [Backless Gown].” This page offers information on the year in review and how the hospital gives back to the community, but no summary of the organization.

Wait! There’s a newsroom link. Although that leads to some interesting-looking headlines on topics such as the connection between maternal weight and infant death, I’m not finding general information on the hospital.

Back to the drop-down. “Facts and stats”? Scrolling down the page, I find the information I was looking for, but compare the opening of this page with Wikipedia:

  • Company website: “[Backless Gown], a world-renowned health care provider and insurer based in [hometown], is inventing new models of accountable, cost-effective, patient-centered care.”
  • Wikipedia. “[Backless Gown] is a $ 10 billion integrated global nonprofit health enterprise that has more than 62,000 employees, 21 hospitals with more than 5,100 licensed beds, 400 clinical locations including outpatient sites and doctors’ offices, a 2.3 million-member health insurance division, as well as commercial and international ventures.”

3. Wikipedia gets updated.

Unreliable though it may be, the Wikipedia page for any major organization gets a lot of scrutiny—not only from fans and critics, but from communicators themselves. I know of one chief executive who would phone communicators at home and ask them to change the Wikipedia entry when an error cropped up (a practice Wikipedia frowns on). Clearly, some executives and PR pros watch what the website says about them.

Are you prepared for a crisis? Learn how to build a world-class crisis communications playbook in this free guide.

By contrast, how often does the CEO check your own “about us” page? As a reporter I once had to correct outdated information I got from an organization’s own “about us” page. Yes, you’re right—I should have called to double-check. Still, this raises the question of why the company thinks journalists should consider its website more reliable than Wikipedia.

4. Wikipedia makes it easy to find further experts.

Even knowing that Wikipedia is unreliable, reporters often use it to dig deeper into a topic.

If a Wikipedia contributor offers an interesting fact, you can click on the footnote and check out the source, whether it’s a newspaper article or academic study. This often leads reporters to industry experts or people with advanced degrees in a given subject area.

How easy is it for a reporter seeking expert sources to find them on your website?

Now, don’t even get me started about that “contact us” form.