Why You Need a Retargeting System for Your Ecommerce Page

If you have done research on marketing for ecommerce, chances are that you have run into the term retargeting. Say that a person went to your website, browsed some products, and failed to make a complete checkout. If you don’t make any further efforts to win the customer back, that lead is probably gone for good. Retargeting exists to give you a chance to get that lead back and successfully convert him or her. In a study conducted earlier this year, Criteo found that using retargeted ads for your site can raise your conversion rate by nearly 70 percent. This marketing technique is also great at further exposing your product lines. Retargeting is pretty powerful stuff that can help your bottom line in the long run. Here’s how retargeting can boost your ecommerce presence.

How Retargeting Works

Most standard retargeting systems work using Internet cookies, which are little pieces of data that store your online browsing habits, passwords, and other miscellaneous details. If you head to a site that employs retargeting, the retargeting program will put a cookie into your web browser folder and track what you do. So going back to the abandoned cart example, if you put some items into a cart and don’t make a proper checkout, the cookie will take note.

From there, everything is turned over to advertising networks. If you enter a website that is a part of the retargeting service’s ad channel, you will see ads that are designed to bring you back to the ecommerce store you visited. A lot of retargeting companies boast about having high click rates for ads since these ads target the right people with the right ads at the right time. Retargeting services can also extend beyond traditional website advertisement networks. Out there are retargeting systems specifically for social media sites, search engines, and mobile browsing. Lastly, you typically have the option of creating the ads that will be used. Don’t worry though if you don’t have a professional in-house designer. Most retargeting services offer templates you can pick and choose, as well as a simple what you see is what you get editor.

Securing a Checkout from the Consumer

One of the main ways retargeting can benefit you is by lowering the rate at which online shopping carts are abandoned on your site. It’s a given that if someone browses your site for a good while and adds items to a shopping cart, that person is a lead with good conversion potential. But, for some reason whatsoever, the checkout ultimately does not occur. Retargeting comes into play by reminding the person about your brand during online browsing sessions. Ideally, that person might see a retargeted ad on Facebook or a popular website, remember the shopping experience, and go back to your site to complete the checkout. Additionally, for the consumers who are less enthusiastic about your brand and more on the fence, you can create ads that can nudge them into conversion territory. For instance, you can create a display ad that contains a temporary code for free shipping or a discount. Saving money is always a great reason to shop.

Highlighting Similar Products That Are Available

Another way to use retargeting is to create display ads that show other great products on your site. Let’s say that a person completed a purchase for an iPad from your ecommerce store. The retargeting cookie knows this and can configure ad impressions based on this little piece of data. As a result, you can setup ads and/or specials that highlight items that complement an iPad. So in this case, you might want to advertise 3rd party accessories, such as a protective case, headphones, covers, and other related goodies. You can even go a bit further by analyzing data on purchasing trends and creating ads based on that. For instance, if you notice a trend of people purchasing item A and item B together, there’s definitely some sort of synergy there. For the people who bought just one of the two, you can send item B ads to people who purchased item A, and vice versa. These are just small ways to help boost your sales with calculated advertisements. Lastly, you can simply use retargeted ads to announce new products. Again, people who see retargeted ads have an affinity for your brand, and using them to reach people most likely to convert is a great way to kick off a launch.

Brand Building

Retargeted ads are another way to improve how your customers perceive your brand. Let’s go back to the customer who is sitting on the fence when it comes to using your services. Convincing this customer that your store is the best in its industry can turn the customer into a conversion. To do this, you can advertise customer testimonials, take quotes from the media, link to blog posts that feature your ecommerce store, and announce new ways you can make the consumer’s life easier (new shipping options, new return policy, etc.). Credibility is a big thing and can help set your store apart from others.

Making the Most of Repeat Customers

If you sell products that constantly need to be replenished or have goods that come out with new editions annually, you can use retargeting to remind consumers to head to your store. Say that a customer buys some specialty food from you. The retargeting program takes note of this purchase, logs it into its database, and can start to display ads showing the ordered product to the purchaser a week after the transaction. You would wait just a week since that would be an estimate on how long the food would last. For products with annual upgrades, you can send out ads to people who have bought past editions when the next version comes out. There’s a good chance that they will be interested in the latest iteration or sequel, so these are great leads.


As you can see, retargeting is a great way to advertise to leads who have shown interest in your products and brand. You can easily remind people to complete a conversion, expose them to different product lines, and help build your online presence. There are a number of things you have to be careful with, though. For one, make sure your retargeting efforts are timely. You don’t want to expose someone to retargeted ads after that person went to your site a month ago. Keep your retargeting efforts live for two to three weeks max. After that, it’s just wasted money. Additionally, you should not set your impression rates high since that can annoy the customer, which in turn damages your brand and reputation. Lastly, you should make use of all the ad templates that are available since they are professionally designed to win people over. It’s tempting to design ads on your own, but leave it to the experts.

There are many of retargeting services out there, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to put in the research to find the right system for you.

Published by

Joseph Yi

Since he was a freshman in college, Joseph has worked in several internet startup companies and has developed campaigns and digital strategies for Fortune 500 companies and brands including the Los Angeles Lakers, Manchester City FC, the Oakland Raiders, Sephora, and Whole Foods.

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