4 Steps To Creating A Successful Customer Recovery Email Campaign

By: Saima Alibhai

In this article we provide a four-step game plan for implementing an effective browse recovery strategy. We’ll suggest ways to create customer recovery emails that shoppers will find engaging and helpful, and that ultimately deliver more sales.

Related Read: 7 Email Marketing Tips To Stand Out During Peak Season

Average ecommerce conversion rates range from 2 to 5%. This means that at least 95% of shoppers may be leaving your website without making a purchase.

There are a number of triggers for online retail browse abandonment. Common factors include uncertainty, indecision, sticker shock or an interruption in the customer’s browse – like when the train arrives at the station or lunch hour ends. Some shoppers are just adding items to a growing wish list or prefer to complete their purchase in a store where they can take further advice.

So, how can you bring shoppers back that have browsed your website and left without making the purchase?

The answer is to plan and implement a customer recovery email campaign - a marketing tactic already used with success by many retailers. Brands sending recovery emails are seeing conversion rates of up to 20% and a ROI ranging from 10x to 60x.

Step 1: Track event data

The first step is collecting browsing history. Track all product views, demographics, products and season. Tracking data is absolutely critical, and without doing it properly you’ll never send all of the emails you should send, which will keep you from seeing the best possible results.

Some online retailers stop here because they worry that tracking browse activity and sending messages to shoppers after a browse session will be invasive, but the fact is, consumers want personalised experiences.

Oracle Retail 2025 revealed that 56% of consumers now recognise that sharing personal information can improve their shopping experience, and MindTree found that 76% of online shoppers believe personalised promotions would encourage them to purchase relevant products they’ve never purchased before.

Step 2: Configure rules and settings

Now that you’re collecting meaningful browsing data, it’s time to create a campaign designed to move your visitors through the buying lifecycle. Configure a set of rules in your email programme that will trigger timely and appropriate messages.

Time is of the essence and segmentation is key. You should send emails shortly after abandonment. Identify the shoppers you are targeting and messages you send by item price or product type. This can be effective when you’re sending a coupon offer. By filtering out low-value items you can avoid the kind of discounting that sinks profits.

Finally, set up each rule so it doesn’t overlap with others and prevent them from sending the appropriate emails during the campaign. Send frequently to ensure shoppers moving through the buying lifecycle receive the entire campaign of messages.

Step 3: Design your emails

When executing a campaign, it’s best practice to A/B test everything: the subject header, the messaging in the body of your email, send timings, the offered incentives.

Yet, even with perfectly timed sends and effective design, a poorly segmented message will impact your results. A customer making a higher end purchase is going to respond differently to the price-conscious customer. Personalisation enables you to offer a relevant incentive or messaging that reflects the type of purchase your customer has been browsing, which will improve both your open rate and the CTR.

Personalised, relevant content means your visitors know why they are receiving the message and that it isn’t just another basic marketing message. You are tracking their browsing history for a reason so use that data to improve their experience with your brand.

In creating effective messages, remind shoppers about what they were browsing. Display product images, user reviews, and other related content. Give them a clear call to action, such as a button or links to return to those products and help shoppers find what they’re looking for.

By pairing browse recovery messages with product recommendations, incentives and offers, your email campaigns are more likely to be appreciated by users who shop or browse your site.

Step 4: Observe and optimise

Once you’ve completed the first three steps, it’s time to give yourself a little praise. You’re tracking data, sending out meaningful messages to shoppers and improving their experience with your brand. However, this doesn't mean you can relax.

Consistently successful campaigns are the result of observation and optimisations. As you review your campaign, you need to consider the following questions.

Are your overall open, click or conversion rates lower than expected? You may need to rethink your subject lines, messaging and content to make sure the emails deliver clear and engaging content.

Perhaps revenue is lower than you had expected despite positive open, click and conversion rates. In this instance, it’s likely your campaign is doing well, but you aren’t sending enough emails. You need to look at the data you collect from visitors so you can add more shoppers to your targeted browse recovery campaigns.

If the metrics for a particular rule are significantly lower than others, your settings may be overlapping with the settings for another rule. Or the settings for allowing another message to send could be too narrow. You should adjust them to identify visitors earlier in the buying lifecycle, sending additional emails as the shopper becomes more engaged.

Finally, if your unsubscribe rates are higher than usual, you could be sending emails too frequently and you may be leaving contacts with a bad impression. In this instance, use the same rule but set it for a less frequent sending cadence and revise message content to provide more value to visitors in their shopping journeys.

Online retail shoppers abandon websites for a variety of reasons, and a well thought out customer recovery email campaign can help save some of that revenue. So how will you engage the 95% of visitors who leave your website without making a purchase?


By: Saima Alibhai - Managing Principal Consultant EMEA at Oracle + Bronto

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