e-Commerce Retargeting: WordPress Plugin to Track Shopper Activity

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shopping-cart-behavior“Approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year, and about 63% of that is potentially recoverable by savvy online retailers”.

– Business Insider Intelligence

It’s hard work- getting customers to visit your e-store. You have to gain visibility through paid advertising, or target keywords to increase search engine rankings. And mind you! These methods won’t guarantee customers.

They’ll only get you visitors.

The bad news is several visitors might leave your store without making a purchase- the number approximately being 67%. But the good news is that you can recover more than 50% through effective retargeting.


What is Retargeting? How does it Help You?

I’ll explain retargeting using an example.

A week ago I was checking out Vend. It’s a point of sale system. I checked out their tour, blog and pricing. I was merely researching the system for an article I was writing. Once I had the information I needed, I simply left their website. A few days after that, I noticed Vend POS ads, on other sites, I was browsing. The ads were in many places. They made me think about Vend, and I ended up checking out their website again for additional information.

Vend used retargeting to get me back on their site!

For any business, a visitor is a potential customer. Now, I had no intention of making a purchase. But the strategy could surely work on an unsure shopper.

Retargeting is a method or a marketing practice wherein you attract visitors- who abandon their shopping cart, or browse products and leave without making a purchase.

Retargeting not only helps you get shoppers back on your site, it helps you build your brand and acquire your competitor’s shoppers as well.

So how does retargeting exactly work?

Essentially the process is tracking a shopper’s activity, from the time a shopper lands on your website. You track the pages browsed, or the products seen. If the shopper leaves your site without making a purchase, you target him/her with offers or ads.

The fact is 70% of your shoppers will leave your store without making a purchase, and ignoring retargeting can be a big e-commerce mistake you can make.


How should a Retargeting WordPress Plugin work?

There are services like AdRoll or Facebook exchange which can help you target unsure shoppers. While they work well, a client of ours asked us if we could build a retargeting plugin on WordPress. Surely the requirements were a bit different. But the idea got us thinking.

How would a Retargeting Plugin Work?

To begin, we had the following requirements to work with:

  1. Registered shoppers needed to be retargeted using email marketing
  2. Offers had to be sent dynamically on the basis of browsing activity
  3. There had to be settings provided to create a custom email template


Emails for Retargeting

Email marketing to target shoppers is a bit different as compared to banner ad targeting. Vend used banner ad targeting. Banner ad retargeting can be used to target visitors using their IP address or a browser cookie. On the other hand email retargeting can be used only for registered customers and logged in shoppers.

Did you know – 54% of shoppers will purchase abandoned products, if they are offered at a lower price?!

Email retargeting involves sending across offer emails to shoppers such as:

  • Free shipping offers
  • Send discounts
  • Send special offers such as coupons


Email Retargeting WordPress Plugin Settings

When we delved a bit into email retargeting, we deduced the plugin would have the following settings:

  • As the client stated, the plugin had to provide an option to create an email template. This would’ve worked well if there wasn’t an email marketing service being used. However since the client was using an marketing service, we suggested an integration with the service to handle emails being sent.
  • There had to be an option to add discount coupon ids which would be randomly sent based on user activity.
  • The plugin needed to provide additional options such as products or product categories which had to be skipped

Email Retargeting WordPress Plugin Behavior

Instead of using cookies, the plugin would track a logged in shoppers behavior and log the user id and products viewed in the database. This would help us track shopper behavior across browsers.

We decided on several rules based on cart abandonment stats, which the plugin would employ. For example:

  • If a shopper abandoned the cart at the final step of checkout, a free shipping offer would be sent to the user.
  • If a shopper abandoned the cart without proceeding to checkout, a discount for items in the cart would be sent to the user, using a coupon set by the store owner
  • If a shopper spent an x amount of time browsing a certain product or category, a discount offer for the product (or category) would be sent to the shopper.
  • The plugin would also set follow-up emails if required, or delete saved data after a set amount of time.

This offer email would be sent within 24 hours of cart abandonment or the shopper leaving the website.

Did you know – The click through rates for emails sent within 24 hours of a shopper leaving the website is 40%?!


Now, before I conclude, I’d like to mention that we did not end up building the plugin because the client’s budget fell through. However, the effort we spent investigating and studying email retargeting helped us plan out steps we could automate, to simplify the process for any user.

Final Thoughts

As an e-commerce store owner, smart retargeting can surely help you gain back shoppers, and increase sales. If you do not have a strategy planned, it’s not too late to employ one. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the e-commerce retargeting plugin we planned out would be something you’d like on your website? Or are you using a better solution? Do let me know your thoughts and comments on this, and we could discuss the same, using the comment section below.



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