Imagine you run an up-and-coming sporting apparel store on the fringes of a small city’s commercial district. Your customer traffic is good, thanks to hard work and smart merchandising. And on a slow day, when you see someone eying a product closely before ultimately putting it down and leaving the store, your first thought is “I wish I could run after her and entice her with a better sales pitch.
It’s the 21st century, and as commerce shifts increasingly to an online presence, that wish is easier to fulfill. Meet the concept of “remarketing”—a useful benefit developed to exploit the connectedness of the digital era. Think of remarketing as the functional equivalent of sending that in-store customer a post card at home to lure her back in. Think of it as a way to plant promotional signs around every shop she visits.
This strategy is also referred to as “re-targeting” in some circles. The difference is subtle, and lies in the way you approach past visitors. This piece does a great job of explaining the specific variations of each. Both provide invaluable second and third chances to gain purchasers without having to extend any personal efforts.
It works. It really works.
It sounds like a stretch, but in fact remarketing is a mainstay of online commerce, and it’s here to stay. It relies on computer settings called “cookies” that most consumers choose not to disable. These tracking codes monitor website visits, and are beneficial both to computer users and businesses interested in their attention.
If potential customers have perused your site, they leave a virtual calling card with you. You then can discreetly follow them around the web and treat them to display or banner ads reminding them of your offerings as they are reading news sites, enjoying fun videos, and the like.
If shoppers have gone as far as to create an account on your site and have placed items in a shopping cart before virtually abandoning ship, you can generate reminder e-mails that may bring them back.
Why should you work remarketing into your business plan? The answer is simple: website visitors were interested in what you have to offer. Assume they are still interested, and you may make a sale. Even better, you might recruit a regular customer.
Still skeptical? Take a look at a chart produced by aspedia.net that shows the statistical benefits of remarketing:
Personalize the concept and think of how many times you have given only cursory thought to a purchase, possibly while browsing at work. Hours later, at home, you’re treated to a visual reminder through a banner ad. How likely are you to revisit that site and think more seriously about acting on it?
Now extrapolate that to the myriad shoppers out there who may want what you have.
Too much of a good thing
As with everything, there are potential drawbacks to using remarketing strategies. A small percentage of consumers report becoming annoyed over the idea of being “followed” around the Internet. There’s not much you can do to counter that, but understand that it’s a minority of shoppers, and that most are on board with being recruited as customers.
Also, be mindful of the wording you use if you opt to send reminder e-mails. Copy that is too aggressive sounds desperate, while vague mentions might be confusing. Pay extra attention to any original wording you’re using to bring happy customers on board.
The biggest takeaway with respect to remarketing is the fact that it’s now a conventional and highly effective strategy for bringing in business. There are plenty of vendors and platforms that take care of the heavy lifting for you, including Amazon.com and Google. Jump in with a comprehensive search of your own, and harness the virtually unlimited power of online commerce.