Browse Abandonment Emails: How to Turn Window Shoppers Into Customers

Mike Arsenault
July 19, 2021
minute read

We’ve long known the benefits of running a cart abandonment campaign and the ROI it can bring. In this post we’re going to cover another ‘abandonment’ triggered campaign eCommerce companies can use to augment their cart abandonment efforts.

What are browse abandonment emails?

Browse abandonment emails re-engage customers who:

  1. Were looking at different products and categories on your site but didn’t add anything to their cart just yet
  2. Looked at specific products on your site multiple times
  3. Looked at a variety of different products within a specific category

Browse vs. cart abandonment emails

Cart abandonment emails work so well because they target people that couldn’t get any closer to buying. These are customers that have the highest level of purchase intent when compared to other site visitors.

While browse abandonment campaigns may have a lower conversion rate than cart abandonment campaigns, they do have a much larger pool of people that you’re able to target and send these types of emails.


Browse abandonment best practices

The mindset of a browse abandoner is that they are on your site, ‘window shopping’ from their mobile and/or desktop device.

Because they haven’t added anything to cart, they’re not 100% sure what they’re after, or they just haven’t come across the right product yet.

Whatever the reason is, prospects at this stage are still searching for what they want to buy and we need to help them discover the right product and nudge towards the checkout page.

You can do this in three ways:

  1. Dynamically insert products they previously looked at on your website into your browse abandonment emails
  1. Use recommendations to suggest other top selling items from the same category they were browsing online to help them find a product they’ll want to buy
  1. Use recommendations  to suggest items that are frequently purchased together so the can get more value and excitement by purchasing products that work well together

Which products to focus browse abandonment campaigns on

Focusing your browse abandonment campaigns on:

  1. Top selling categories
  2. High margin categories
  3. Products on sale

… is a great place to start.

If you’re a supplement company selling B-vitamins (B1, B6 or B12), proteins (Whey, soy, grass fed etc) and fish oils (Krill oil, cod liver oil, normal fish oil) for example…

If someone comes to your site looking at B-Vitamins, rather than sending them campaigns with Vitamin C, K and D, we can drill down into the category they were browsing and show them other specific B-vitamins (B1, B6 or B12) they may be interested in purchasing.

We don’t necessarily want to start showing them Vitamin K supplements in our browse abandonment campaigns unless they have shown an interest in that specific vitamin.

When to trigger a browse abandonment campaign

Knowing when to trigger a browse abandonment campaign is key.

There are a few things we don’t want to do. If someone has visited a category once, and then never visited it again, we don’t want to send them a browse abandonment campaign because they’re not showing a lot of interest.

Our goal here is to find people who are showing the highest levels of interest in a specific product or category of products and only deliver browse abandonment emails to them.

Here are different ways we can trigger browse abandonment campaigns inside Rejoiner:

  • Visited 1 product in a specific category 3+ times
  • Visited 3 different products in the same category 3+ times

The ability to segment your browse abandonment audience based on this criteria is critical.

Campaign timing

Similar to a cart abandonment campaign, a browse abandonment campaign will be a series of 2-6 emails, depending on your industry and type of customer.

To begin with, most companies can start with a 2 step campaign that triggers at:

1st Email – 30 mins post browse abandon
2nd Email – 1 day post browse abandon

Browse abandonment email examples

The content in our browse abandon emails have two main goals:

  1. Reminding people about the category they were browsing on our site, and to get them back into ‘buying-mode’
  2. Make it easy for a customer to find the most popular products on your site (across your entire product catalogue) that they may want to add to their cart

With these two goals in mind, our emails will look like the following:

  • Email 1 sent at 30 mins: Shows items the browse abandoner was looking at (the two products at the top of the email) combined with recommendations of other items in the same category (the three products at the bottom of the email).
  • Email 2 sent at 1 day: Shows recommendations of top selling items from across the entire product catalogue

Browse abandonment subject lines

We’ve previously written about how to optimize your subject lines to increase open rate.

With browse abandonment campaigns the idea is to remind people of the category they were last looking at.

In this MarketingSherpa case study, the team at Paul Fredrick segmented subject lines within five product segments to make the browse abandon campaign relevant and correlate to what customers were browsing so they could increase click-through rate back to the site.

Here are the examples of the subject lines they went with for each category:

  • A Solid Investment — Shop Suits & Sport Coats
  • The Finishing Touches — Shop Accessories
  • A Style For Every Need — Shop Dress Shirts
  • Summer Pants — Fit For Every Occasion

Again, the goal is to create context for the reader of the email as you try to get them back into a ‘buying-mode’ mindset.

When to suppress

Suppression is another important factor with browse abandonment campaigns. If people are browsing 10 different product categories we don’t want their inbox to fill up with 10 different emails within 30 minutes for obvious reasons.

With Rejoiner we can use suppression to:

  • Control how often someone receives a specific browse abandonment campaign
  • Block them from receive too many campaigns so their inbox doesn’t get overloaded
  • Suppress windows of behaviors (ie. conversions)
  • Stop sending browse abandonment campaigns to people who engaged (opened, clicked) a previous campaign

Suppression Examples

  1. Don’t send a browse abandonment email campaign to anyone who has opened a previous browse abandonment campaign in the last 60 days
  2. Don’t sent a browse abandonment campaign to anyone who has purchased in the last 30 days


Browse abandonment is worth a look if you'd like to turn ‘window shoppers’ into customers.

Schedule a free strategy session to implement browse abandonment for your brand.

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Mike Arsenault

Founder & CEO

For the last 10 years, Mike has worked with brands like Moosejaw, Hydroflask, Peak Design, Triumph, Hearst & Guthy Renker to provide the strategy & technology with which they use email to drive revenue growth. He's also the Founder of Rejoiner, a SaaS marketing platform built for ecommerce businesses.

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