4 Inspiring Ecommerce Win-back Campaigns

by Irek Klimczak last updated on

Our job as online marketers is to build relationships with our target audience and be there whenever they are ready to buy. But sometimes, our customers lose interest and become less engaged with our brand. As a professional, you’ll have to step in and re-engage them. And I wrote this article to help you prepare.

For the sake of this article, I’m going to divide win-back campaigns into two categories: short-term – designed for a quick win, and long-term – designed to reach a major business objective. Whichever you choose to implement first, they will definitely improve your ecommerce campaigns’ performance.

Short-term win-back campaigns

To run effective win-back campaigns, we need to understand the reasons for the lack of engagement. Let’s go through some of the most common reasons why our customers might lapse, and try to come up with possible solutions.

1. Abandoned cart

Possible reasons:

Two-thirds of online shoppers fall short of completing their online purchases. There are a few reasons for that, but probably the most common one is very simple – they’re not ready to buy when they add products to the cart. They’re researching, choosing products they like and adding them to the cart to:

  1. easily get back to them when they’re ready to buy
  2. check the total cost

If you want to find out more reasons why people are abandoning shopping carts, read this article.

Possible solution:

Remind cart abandoners about the products they’ve chosen. It’s a good idea to plan a marketing automation workflow with several messages addressing different possible objections. Take a look at the following email cycle from American Giant, where the company changes the header of the email:

American Giant ecommerce win-back campaign, first email in the cycle, abandoned cart solution, the chosen product is still available header

The first email in the cycle says that the chosen product is still available (addressing the fear of loss).

American Giant win-back campaign lifetime warranty email

The second email talks about lifetime warranty.

American Giant win-back eccomerce campaign reminder email

The third message is a reminder in case the customer is still looking for the right product.

To influence your customer’s decision, you can reinforce your value proposition with:

  • social proof (opinion of a satisfied customer)
  • free return policy
  • social responsibility
  • etc.

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2. Re-engagement

Possible reasons:

It’s natural that some contacts will become less active with time, some will no longer engage in your communication, and some will even stop visiting your website. Some of the reasons could be:

  • change of interest
  • change of needs
  • change of email address
  • purchase behavior (some people buy only during sales and clearances or on certain occasions)
  • etc.

Possible solution:

The key is to discover the reasons for the engagement drop. You need to know if a customer lost interest in the content of your emails, or is no longer interested in your product or service and is not your target audience anymore.

Use marketing automation features like scoring and tagging to track subscriber activity and automatically segment your contact list. Then create separate marketing automation workflows for each segment using different psychological triggers that will increase your ecommerce sales.

Useful tip: Figure out how much time must elapse before considering a subscriber inactive. Remember that people go on vacation or my take a break and go offline for some time 🙂

Let’s create a possible communication pattern for contacts who haven’t opened our email in a period long enough to notice a lack of engagement. The following workflow consists of three emails:

  1. one where customers can adjust their content and frequency preferences,
  2. one with a win-back offer and an incentive,
  3. a goodbye email asking if they would like to remain on the list or be removed.
A re-engagement workflow based on a template available in GetResponse
A re-engagement workflow based on a template available in GetResponse



Long-term win-back campaign

One of the long-term business objectives is loyalty. Your goal is to make sure that customers are satisfied with the overall experience and come back for more. Satisfied customers are also likely to recommend your products and services to others, so they become your brand advocates and a source of revenue. So how do you make sure your customers are satisfied? First of all, you stay in touch.

3. Customer success

Possible threats:

Sometimes your customers are not using your product or service fully. As a result, after some time they are no longer sure if your solution matches their needs. They may go back to the evaluation stage and search for competitive solutions on the market.

Possible solution:

Keep in touch with your contacts. You need to know if your content satisfies their information needs and if your product or service solves their problems. You can send out surveys and monitor customer satisfaction along the customer journey. The goal is to make sure that your customers know how to use your product to satisfy their needs.

The following workflow sends customers an email with a survey link. The survey aims to determine the number of product features a customer is using.

Marketing automation workflow with a survey link GetResponse
Marketing automation workflow with a survey link

Based on the result, an appropriate tag is applied:

0-3 features = light

4-7 features = regular

8-10 features = heavy

Workflow personalizing communication based on tags GetResponse
Workflow personalizing communication based on tags

Based on the applied tag, you can run further personalized communication helping people discover and use more features of the product.

4. Customer retention

The key to retention is relevance. Your contacts stay engaged as long as they find your content interesting and valuable. The same goes for customers. They remain loyal to your brand as long as your products satisfy their needs. Makes sense, right?

That’s why it’s crucial to collect meaningful information about customers and use it to create valuable communication cycles. Use the power of marketing automation to identify different types of customers, like:

  • impulsive customers – who can make a buying decision in an instant (perhaps with the right incentive)
  • discount customers – who see value in your product but won’t pay the full price
  • loyal customers – who visit your website and buy regularly

Segments based on purchase behavior will help you address the different needs of your customers and maximize the email marketing ROI.

Provide an incentive

A/B test different incentives to find out what resonates with your customers. I’m not saying that you should use an incentive in each campaign, but every now and then it might be a good idea to offer an additional reason to buy.

There are a lot of additional triggers you can use:

  • discounts (dollars/percentage)
  • gifts
  • free shipping
  • etc.

The trick is to use them at the right moment to satisfy both the customer and your business needs.

A segment from EMU Australia newsletter pointing to incentives
A segment from EMU Australia newsletter pointing to incentives
Discount Strategy Quick Cheat Sheet

Bonus guide

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It’s time to say goodbye

It’s a perfect heading for the final paragraph, but I would also like to use it as a final thought. Plan your win-back campaigns carefully based on what your contacts perceive as valuable. Make sure that both the content and the offer satisfy their needs and solve their problems.

But when you find out that someone is simply not interested, don’t hesitate to say goodbye. Keeping your contact list clean is a must for effective online marketing. So, goodbye and good luck with your win-back campaigns!

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