Email marketing

Turn window shoppers into buyers: 18 browse abandonment email tips and examples

Emily Riedy, June 2nd 2022
Image shows people working

Just imagine—a potential customer spends part of their day looking at your products, but then moves on without making a purchase.

That’s precisely why email automations for browse abandonment are such a useful gadget in your email marketing toolbox.

They can help remind your subscribers of their early interest and potentially bring them back to your online store.

Keep reading to discover:

What are browse abandonment emails?

Browse abandonment emails are an email automation, set up in your email marketing software, that re-engage your visitor when they leave the page.

These promotional emails lead visitors back to your ecommerce website and increase your conversion rate by reminding your subscribers to take a second look.

They’re also a form of remarketing, which uses your owned channels to communicate with people who have subscribed to and engaged with your brand’s content.

Browse abandonment emails are triggered when a shopper takes a specific action on your ecommerce site (in this case, viewing a product page)—which makes them a highly personalized means of communication.

Email automations that will help set up browse abandonment emails that scale with your brand

Image shows a browse abandonment trigger setup in Klaviyo.
Learn more about how to set up a browse abandonment automation in Klaviyo.

Why do brands need a browse abandonment automation?

Think about the last time you looked at products online.

Maybe you were exploring a new brand that was recommended to you by a friend, or you were shopping for the perfect gift for a wedding. Perhaps your favorite jewelry brand just launched a new collection and you were scoping out the latest pieces.

Whatever the reason behind your search, you probably didn’t buy a product on your first go-around. And you wouldn’t be alone.

53% of shoppers say they always do research before making a purchase to ensure they’re making the best choice, according to a study conducted by Google.

But the more products you see online, the easier it is to lose track of all your choices. That’s precisely where browse abandonment emails enter the chat.

Imagine you sell handmade home goods, like blankets, throw pillows, and specialty candles. If a shopper visited your website, looked at a few of your blankets, and then left your site, you could send a follow-up browse abandonment email campaign with content relevant to the blankets they viewed—and increase the likelihood of potentially bringing them back to your online store.

Browse abandonment emails vs. cart abandonment emails

Browse abandonment and cart abandonment emails can understandably get mixed up, especially given that the stopping of a particular action triggers both automated emails to send.

Learn what is an abandoned cart email

There’s one major distinction that sets browse abandonment emails apart from cart abandonment emails: placing an item in a cart.

If a shopper receives a cart abandonment email, that means they expressed significant interest in an item or a handful of items. They placed those products in their online cart, which indicates that there was a purchase intent, even if that intent was fleeting.

To receive a browse abandonment email, all your subscriber has to do is view a page or product on your website, which doesn’t demonstrate quite the same level of intent to make a purchase as adding an item to a shopping cart. Nonetheless, you know if they viewed a certain page that the product caught their eye.

So why opt to implement a browse abandonment automation over an abandoned cart automation? Typically, stores and products that have longer buyers’ journeys are good candidates.

Here are a few reasons you may see more success with a browse abandonment email:

  • High number of SKUs: If your website only offers a select number of items, it’s easier to make a decision and move more quickly through the buyer’s journey. However, if your website features a large number of SKUs and product categories, you may want to consider a browse abandonment automation over an abandoned cart automation––though some brands use both.
  • High AOV: If your website sells high-ticket items, there’s likely to be a longer research period before someone considers purchasing. A browse abandonment email might be your best bet for re-engaging shoppers and convincing them that the product is worth the price tag.
  • Products that require education: If your hero product is an item most people have never heard of, you may want to use a browse abandonment email as an educational tool in order to give hesitant shoppers more information on what the product does and what problems it solves.

Customer lifecycle that is important to ecommerce

Regardless of their differences, both email automations play an essential role in your email marketing strategy and can engage your subscribers––both potential customers and existing customers alike––at different stages of their buying journey.

Pro tip:
Some marketers will even tell you that it doesn’t have to be either/or—if you properly filter out shoppers from receiving both an abandoned cart and browse abandonment in the same session, you can use browse abandonment emails to reach customers who don’t make it to checkout, and use abandoned cart emails to target those that do.

The goal of browse abandonment emails

Browse abandonment emails are not always the first email automation marketers set up.

Typically, abandoned cart emails or welcome emails are the first email automations marketers build out.

That’s because, in terms of revenue per recipient (RPR) generated by email automations, cart abandonment and welcome emails see some of the highest returns.

Welcome email examples that help grow your email list

According to Klaviyo data, browse abandonment emails come in third place for the highest RPR.

Image shows a chart indicating that browse abandonment emails come in third place for the highest RPR.
Source: Klaviyo’s email marketing benchmarks by industry report

The portion of your audience who receive browse abandonment emails consists of shoppers who are in the early stages of making a purchase.

They haven’t committed to any one brand or any one product yet, so browse abandonment emails can serve as the timely message that helps keep your brand top of mind.

The goal of browse abandonment emails is two-fold:

It reminds a shopper of a particular product or products they viewed, and it drives them back to your website.

This is because the action or behavior of simply viewing a product doesn’t give you enough context behind a site visitor’s intent—whether they were considering buying the product they viewed or not.

So it’s important to strike a balance between those two objectives in your browse abandonment series.

Klaviyo’s browse abandonment email template will get you started with pre-built dynamic content blocks.

Image shows how Klaviyo's browse abandonment email template will get you started.

Here are a few other things to try:

  • Consider adding an easily accessible navigation bar that directs your subscribers back to your homepage, a category page, or another area of your site.
  • Beneath the image of the viewed product, try including alternative products that might also spark your shopper’s interest.
  • Include trending products, bestsellers, or personalized product recommendations for repeat buyers, or you could choose to only display products from a particular category (the same category as the viewed product, for instance) in order to cross-sell.

If you can find creative ways to re-engage your audience through browse abandonment emails, shoppers are more likely to return to your online store and spend their dollars with your brand.

Browse abandonment email benchmarks from Q122

Still not convinced of the power of browse abandonment emails?

Discover browse abandonment benchmarks by industry to understand what you can expect from performance across open rate, click rate, conversion rate, and revenue per recipient for browse abandonment emails.

Image shows a table that shows you what you can expect from performance across open rate, click rate, conversion rate, and revenue rate per recipient for browse abandonment emails

5 audience segments to target with browse abandonment emails

Regardless of how effective browse abandonment emails can be, it’s important to remember that shoppers are people, and people differ from one another—they have different interests, behaviors, and preferences.

So sending variations of your browse abandonment emails that cater to these inherent differences can help improve just how effective your email series is.

Here are 5 audience segments you can target—and tips on how you can tailor your browse abandonment messages to resonate with each one:

1. Capture shoppers who’ve never made a purchase

There are several ways you can incentivize new subscribers to make their first purchase, which can include offering them something of value. This may come in the form of a coupon code or discount, like $10 off their first purchase.

To do this, filter your browse abandonment emails based on whether a shopper has purchased, and then send your non-purchasers an incentive.

Since browse abandonment emails are part of the early stages of a customer’s journey, it could be worthwhile to include an expiration date on the discount to create a sense of urgency.

2. Re-engage one-time purchasers

For customers who have only purchased from your brand once, pay attention to the recency of their purchase.

For example, if a customer just placed an order from your store, hold off on sending them browse abandonment emails for a month or two. But if a customer who views a product on your site hasn’t made a purchase in a while, you may want to incentivize them to purchase again.

Like with non-purchasers, you can try to offer a coupon code or discount, or highlight newly released products that are similar to their original purchase.

3. Motivate loyal customers

Customers who purchase from you frequently probably don’t need to receive a plethora of browse abandonment emails—they already have an established track record of placing orders.

Keep your browse abandonment email series to a minimum with these customers, since they likely don’t need as much convincing.

These customers also present an excellent opportunity to experiment with the content of your emails—try testing out various levels of personalization, such as including their accumulated loyalty points, in order to build brand loyalty.

4. Shoppers who’ve viewed a particular product

If you’re aiming to increase sales on a particular product rather than your entire suite of products, sending browse abandonment emails to those who have viewed this product could be an effective means of promotion.

For example, if you just released a new product and want to build customer interest, you can try sending browse abandonment emails to all shoppers who viewed a related product on your site––as a email campaign rather than an email automation.

Why is this a campaign and not an automation?
In Klaviyo, email campaign timing is determined by the marketer, not by a consumer’s behavior. In this case, instead of running this browse abandonment email as an automation, you’d create a list of all those who browse, but did not buy a related product on your site. Then, you’d create a campaign to send to that list when the new product is live.

Similarly, if you’re having a sale and trying to clear out a portion of your inventory, you can use browse abandonment emails as a tool to drive awareness about the sale––if your subscriber viewed an item that was part of it.

Strategies and tips that help build brand loyalty

5. Shoppers who show repeated interest in the same product

The number of times a website visitor views the same product is valuable information to have. If a shopper views the same product 5 times, for example, this indicates a higher level of interest than if they simply viewed it once.

And if someone is highly interested in a product, then sending a browse abandonment email with a sense of urgency—saying either there are only a few items left or the discount you’re offering on that item is about to expire—might tempt them to return to your online store and place an order.

To create this list, start with a potential purchaser list in Klaviyo. Then, filter down to those who saw the product you want to send a campaign about.

Image shows a potential purchaser list in Klaviyo.

6 browse abandonment email examples to get you started

Knowing who to send your browse abandonment emails to is one thing, but knowing what content to include in your emails is another matter entirely.

To help you envision creative ways to design your own emails, here are 6 unique examples of persuasive browse abandonment emails:

1. Charlotte Stone Shoes uses a humorous browse abandonment subject line

Subject line: We noticed you noticing us…

Image shows a browse abandonment email.
Image shows a browse abandonment email.

From the subject line to the call to action (CTA), Charlotte Stone nails the browse abandonment email game.

I genuinely smiled when I read their subject line in my inbox. It’s flirty, fun, and it feels approachable.

The copy in the email compliments the reader and commends them on their great taste in shoes. And the CTA drives shoppers right back to the product page, so they can seamlessly pick up where they left off.

Brand pro tip:
Charlotte Stone closes out their browse abandonment email with other related product recommendations for the reader, providing multiple opportunities for them to return to their site.
Image shows a browse abandonment email.
Image shows a browse abandonment email.
Image shows a browse abandonment email.

Neptune Blanket’s browse abandonment email goes a step beyond just showing subscribers product images and the name of the product they were checking out.

They also explain the technology behind their memory foam pillow and provide specifics on the quality of materials, features of the product, and the comfort customers could experience if they were to buy.

Brand pro tip:
The more product information you share with your audience upfront, the easier you make their decision to make a purchase later down the line.

3. cadence uses their browse abandonment email to highlight a new product line.

Subject line: introducing the ocean collection 🔵 🔵 🔵

Image shows a browse abandonment email.

The brand cadence opts for a slightly different take on their browse abandonment email automation. Instead of including an image of the product the website visitor viewed, cadence uses their browse abandonment email as an opportunity to highlight a new product line.

Brand pro tip:
The new line is still relevant to the shopper’s experience, so sharing a new collection is a creative way to re-engage subscribers’ interest. Maybe they didn’t add the item to the cart before because it didn’t come in the color they wanted, but hues of blue could be just what they were looking for.

4. Girlfriend Collective used their browse abandonment email to give a discount

Subject line: Take another look + 30% off

Image shows a browse abandonment email.
Image shows a browse abandonment email.

The focus of your browse abandonment email doesn’t necessarily need to be on a specific product—an enticing discount can be just as effective in rekindling interest in your brand and bringing shoppers back to your store.

Activewear brand Girlfriend Collective understands the power of hefty savings and places a 30% discount in the header section of their browse abandonment email, so it’s hard to miss.

Brand pro tip:
In the lower section of the email, Girlfriend Collective displays product recommendations that are similar to the initial product of interest—and which readers might want to apply the discount to.

5. Credo Beauty relies on urgency and scarcity in their email

Subject line: Get it before it’s gone

Image shows a browse abandonment email.
Image shows a browse abandonment email.
Image shows a browse abandonment email.

Remember earlier when I mentioned targeting your browse abandonment emails towards loyal customers?

Credo Beauty expertly applies this tactic in their own email automation. They include the customer’s available points, which they can use toward their purchase, and promote their “Beauty with Benefits” program.

Brand pro tip:
In another clever move, the clean beauty brand includes resources for personalized help at the bottom of the email. If unanswered questions are holding subscribers back from making a purchase, then the simple CTA to “chat with an expert” removes that roadblock.

6. Sivana has a browse abandonment email that touts limited availability

Subject line: Your item is going fast!

Image shows a browse abandonment email.

Sivana plays into the fear of missing out on an item. Their browse abandonment email touts that the specific product has limited availability.

Brand pro tip:
This email creates a sense of urgency for the reader. If they don’t return to the site and make a purchase, then they might not have an opportunity to do so in the future. As Ben Franklin advised hundreds of years ago, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

12 browse abandonment tips from email experts

We asked 12 industry-leading experts to share their best tips on implementing a browse abandonment email automation that’s sure to turn window shoppers into buyers.

1. Ben Zettler, digital marketing and ecommerce consultant, Ben Zettler Digital

“Differentiate the messaging of your browse abandonment emails from your core abandoned cart or abandoned checkout flow.

When done right, your browse abandonment flow can have just as much impact on your overall revenue as abandoned cart or checkout, particularly if you tend to have a high repeat purchase rate.

But use it as an opportunity to share more information about the products you sell in addition to just putting what products a user was browsing back in front of them.”

2. Hannah Spicer, director, Hannah Spicer Consulting

“Talk about your unique selling points and drive them back to your top-selling categories. Split the flow path by existing customers (where you should focus on new arrivals) vs. leads (where you should focus on bestsellers).”

3. Christopher Maroney-Petitt, owner, Ecom Growers

“Have at least 3 emails and 1 SMS message in this flow, and keep it simple. Most traffic through this flow will originate from your campaign efforts, so there isn’t a huge need to educate on the brand here—you just want to remind people what they were looking at.”

4. Alexa Engelhart, VP of client strategy, Power Digital Marketing

“Think about what the user did not see on the PDP––your product detail page––that caused them to hesitate and not add to cart. This could be more information on ingredients, fit guides, use cases, etc.

Add this content to your browse abandonment emails to overcome any potential objections and remove those hesitations.”

5. Brandon Matis, owner, Luxor Marketing

“Don’t be creepy with copywriting that makes it seem like you’re spying on customers. Instead, use copy that is helpful or valuable to what they’re interested in.”

6. Morgan Mulloy, associate director of retention marketing, Avex Designs

“Provide resources to answer questions before shoppers have them. For example, if you are in the fashion industry, highlight a resource helping find their perfect size.

Also, be sure to show similar options—just because someone doesn’t convert on the original item doesn’t mean that you can’t encourage them to convert on another.”

7. Abby Siciliano, email expert and director business development, Tinuti

“Understand the different scenarios that are best to send a browse abandonment email and ensure the content differs from an abandoned cart email. Content should help to pull the subscriber through the funnel closer to conversion.”

8. Ashley Ismailovski, CRO operations manager, SmartSites

“Remember the browse abandonment segment has the lowest buying intent among your database. They have not added items to their cart or initiated checkout. Maybe they are still shopping around for the best price, doing some research on the product, or just window shopping for the time being.

In any case, what the user needs here is a strong value proposition that helps convey why they should return to the site and make a purchase.

Hitting this segment with a discount code right off the bat may not be as effective as a link to a style quiz that helps match them to the perfect top for the event they have coming up next month, or an FAQ page that talks about your free returns and exchanges policy.

Adding trust factors like this, along with social proof like reviews and user-generated content, is the most effective way to move a user from browse abandonment to purchase.”

9. Darin Lynch, founder and CEO, Irish Titan

“Use personalization to enhance the email. It’s critical to understand what your shopper is looking for and follow with a suite of products that work in tandem together. They’ve already looked through your site and know your brand well—give them a reason to return.”

10. Cassie Benjamin, email/SMS channel manager, Tadpull

“Test user-generated content in your browse recovery emails. User-generated content can be anything from a customer review or images of your customer interacting with, using, or wearing your product.

Sometimes customers truly say it best and their insight into why a prospective customer should buy a product can influence a purchase decision. Just remember to always make sure you have permission to use your customer’s content.”

11. Eli Mitchell, director of partnerships, Lexer

“To improve browse abandonment emails or text messages, identify your hero products.

Hero products are those associated with high-value customer segments, showing strong repeat purchases tendencies.

Include those identified products throughout the customer lifecycle, and make them a cornerstone in your browse abandonment strategy.”

12. Brittany Rycroft, director of marketing, GhostRetail

“One of the top reasons shoppers abandon their purchase is because they simply can’t find what they’re looking for. If they get stuck in their shopping journey, offering live 1:1 video shopping support can be a great way to get them back on track.

Your live shopping associate can do the heavy lifting of helping them find what they need, while your customer feels well attended to.”

Use browse abandonment emails to turn casual shoppers into intentional buyers

For many folks, window shopping online is a low-pressure activity they can do on their own schedule. But for marketers trying to bring in sales, browsing with no follow-up action is less than ideal.

Browse abandonment emails are a valuable tool you can use to help your subscribers, website visitors, and existing customers find their way back to your brand. They’re a friendly little nudge to coax your audience back to your online store.

Purchasing involves committing to a decision, whereas browsing is a much more laid-back activity. Because not all consumers can make such a definitive commitment the first time around, it’s crucial to nurture your audience with valuable and relevant content at every stage of their buying journey—even the early ones.

If you take care to personalize your browse abandonment emails and cultivate an enjoyable customer experience, you can begin to translate the action of perusing into purchasing.

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Emily Riedy
Emily Riedy
Content strategist
Emily Riedy is a content strategist at Klaviyo. She creates and optimizes content to help online businesses own their growth. Before joining Klaviyo, Emily worked at a digital marketing agency where she created content to help small business owners and marketers grow their online advertising presence. When she’s not writing, Emily enjoys making tacos, running, and sipping on orange wine.