Don’t Lose Your Customer Because Your Retargeting is Bad

Retargeting is a great way to stay top of your customer’s mind. Hopefully your retargeting efforts will get your customer to click and return to your site, and make that purchase.

But bad retargeting restrains the relationship you have with your customer. Imagine being a bricks-and-mortar shopkeeper and running outside because you see someone on the street who was in your store looking at flash drives, and telling him to come back because you still have them in stock.

Then imagine taking that customer by the hand, leading him to those flash drives, and the customer saying they aren’t the size he needs. Or worse, you bring him back to the store, and you don’t have the flash drives that you told him you still had in stock.

Embarrassing? Yes. A deal-breaker? Very possibly. And while it’s not likely a bricks-and-mortar example like the above scenario, it is something that happens all too frequently in the ecommerce world.

Let’s use Lids as an example. I’m a frequent Lids shopper. I buy a lot of clearance items from them. Through my purchase history, Lids knows I buy size L and XL shirts, and size S or S/M hats. Lids also knows I occasionally buy New York Giants and New York Yankees apparel for my son, since I also shop for children’s sizes.

But Lids’ retargeting does not reflect my buying preferences. Here’s an example of an ad that showed up on this morning:


I did browse Lids and had previously looked at most of the items (or similar items) in this particular banner, and previously bought one item in a Lids store, so the ad did pique my interest.

But as you can see here, two items I clicked on in the Lids ad were out of stock, and a third was only available in a size S – which is my hat size, but far from being my shirt size:

brandon-marshall-out-of-stockred-white-and-blue-sunglasses robinson-cano-out-of-stock







So what can Lids – and a countless number of other omnichannel merchants – do to ensure its retargeting efforts and budget doesn’t go to waste?

  • Make sure your inventory management system is speaking with your affiliate marketing program. If those two worlds are aligned as one, these false-hope customer scenarios won’t take place.
  • Set realistic safety levels to ensure that even if an item you’re retargeting is out of stock in your distribution centers, it’s not mistakenly seen as an item that’s still available to be shipped from store.
  • Add your customer’s preferences and shopping history as a layer to your affiliate ad program. This will ensure that your customer isn’t being served up items that are not the preferred size.

Tim Parry is Multichannel Merchant’s Managing Editor, and a frequent buyer of team apparel sold at clearance prices.

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