How eCommerce Remarketing Has Changed for Good in 2021

January 5, 2021

What a year! From the pandemic and presidential election to Amazon canceling inbounds and PPE becoming the most sought-after product, 2020 was certainly unexpected. 

However, the eCommerce industry didn’t just survive the year, it excelled. 

Monthly website traffic jumped 5.93 billion between January and June 2020, Cyber Monday was record-breaking with a $10.8 billion spent, and the shift away from physical stores to online retail advanced by roughly five years

Selling online has become easier, busier, and more competitive at the same time, which will lead to some interesting changes in the year ahead. 

What are these changes, and how do they impact your remarketing strategy in 2021? It’s an excellent question and one that we’re answering in this week’s blog. 

Why will eCommerce look different in 2021?

As a whole, the eCommerce industry faired very well out of 2020; however, that doesn’t mean it escaped unscathed and unchanged. 

There were many challenges and surprises along the way, changing the scene for eCommerce in 2021. These included:

1. Changing buyer behavior

The average consumer became not only more confident buying online (because they had to), but also happy shopping online. How does these differ?

Well, rather than heading to Amazon and buying the first product matching their needs, online shoppers are now adept at comparing sellers, opening price comparison tabs, buying directly from brands, and investing a little more time into finding the best value for their money.

2. Increased online competition

More people began selling online, thanks to the increase in online shoppers and the closure of physical stores. 

Plus, with the introduction of Instagram and Facebook Shops back in May, there are now more places to sell online – making it more challenging to obtain and retain customer attention. 

3. New purchase motivators

We’ve also witnessed a shift in purchase motivators, which you might have read about in our blog on the impact of 2020 on abandoned cart and customer recovery strategies

Product price no longer features in the top ten reasons for cart abandonment. Instead, shoppers in 2021 will be motivated by fast shipping speeds, free delivery, payment options, product availability, money-back guarantees, and outstanding customer service. 

4. Supply chain volatility

Supply chains were hit hard at the beginning of 2020 and, unfortunately, we’re not entirely out of the woods yet.

2021 will no doubt face supply chain ripple effects from the pandemic, presidential election, and Brexit. This could lead to further stock-outs and back-orders as sellers struggle to obtain products and stockpile inventory to protect against future problems. 

What Are The Key Challenges and Solutions For Your Remarketing Strategy in 2021?

These changes present challenges for your remarketing strategy in 2021 – making it harder to attract, retain, and convert online shoppers. 

Harder, but not impossible. 

You can easily overcome the following challenges of 2021 with a little determination, work, and the following solutions:

1. Customers have a lot of options, so begin remarketing as soon as possible

The increase in online sellers and sales channels means you’re probably not the only person selling your products, which means your customers can easily buy elsewhere. 

To stop them from doing so, you must begin remarketing as soon as a customer lands on your website; otherwise, it could be too late. 

Use a variety of on-site tools to create additional touchpoints that increase the chances of customers converting on their first visit, or keep you at the top of their mind when researching your competition. Tools such as:

  • Conversion nudges: pop-ups that provide customers with information to sweeten the deal and push them towards the checkout, such as a discount code or information on your payment options. 
  • Delayed pop-ups: pop-ups that offer customers something of value for their email address, such as a buying guide, newsletter, or exclusive offer. 
  • Real-time lead capture: a plugin that records a customer’s contact information as they type it onto your website, to use should they later abandon. 

2. Life will be even more distracting so reengage customers as soon as their attention dips

2021 will be a hugely distracting year as people grapple with the new “normal,” stay on high alert for future disruptions, and wade their way through the ever-increasing volume of online sellers and information. 

Avoid distraction-related abandonment by treating a dip in attention in the same way as abandonment and remarketing customers before they leave your website. You can do this using tools such as:

  • Abandoned tab notifications: sounding an alert and changing the wording and favicon of your website’s tab anytime a visitor opens a new tab. 
  • Exit-intent pop-up: generating a pop-up of attention-grabbing information when a visitor’s cursor heads towards the exit button.

3. mCommerce is growing, so include mobile in your remarketing strategy

More than half (53.9%) of all retail eCommerce is expected to be generated via mCommerce in 2021, meaning that mobile should feature heavily in your remarketing strategy. 

This doesn’t mean using your mobile phone to achieve the four Rs (remind, re-engage, return, and recover). It means using multiple communication channels so customers can choose to re-engage with your brand on the channel that best suits them and their device. 

The four main channels your remarketing strategy should use in 2021, are:


Abandoned cart and browse abandonment emails are staple channels of any remarketing strategy, generating conversion returns as high as 15%. 

Abandoned cart SMS

Abandoned cart text messages make it simple and easy for customers to recommence their shopping journey on their mobile phone wherever they are and whatever they’re doing. 

Abandoned push notifications

Targeted in-browser abandoned cart push notifications grab a customer’s attention even if they’re not actively on your website, and use eCommerce persuasion principals to generate immediate sales. 

Telephone calls

Telephone calls win over traditional shoppers, and you can quickly implement them into your remarketing workflow. Use real-time abandonment alerts to inform your sales teams when abandonment meeting set criteria (e.g. over $200) occurs, so they can pick up the phone. 

4. You’ll experience more stock-outs than usual, use them to your advantage

Supply chain volatility coupled with online spending growth could equal stock-outs in 2021, which could be bad news for your online business. 

An out of stock product almost guarantees website abandonment. However, you can use stock-outs to your advantage by implementing in-stock notifications to your out of stock product pages. 

An in-stock notification allows customers to subscribe to restocking alerts so you can email them the moment new inventory lands on your website. This enables you to:

  • Build hype: creating anticipation that produces endorphins and makes shopping with you pleasurable. 
  • Generate social proof: subtly showcasing your products’ popularity, and the need to create a waiting list. 
  • Providing positive action: allowing shoppers to take a positive step towards obtaining a product without going to your competitors. 
  • Recovering customers: providing customers with a quick route to purchase as soon as the product is back in stock. 

Learn more about in-stock notifications best practices for recovering lost sales

5. Cart and browse abandonment might increase, but that doesn’t mean you can’t increase conversions at the same time

Cart and browse abandonment will almost definitely increase in 2021, thanks to stock-outs, buyer behavior, increased competition, and economic recessions. 

But this isn’t a bad thing. 

Cart and browse abandonment isn’t a problem – how you handle them could be. 

We advocate adopting a full-funnel approach to recovering abandoned website visitors – targeting all visitors across the customer journey; hot, warm, and cold. You can read more about how to do this in our guide to XX. 

6. Your budget will be stretched so use it wisely

Selling online will become more expensive in 2021, as you grapple with fast shipping costs, import taxes, and sales channel fees. 

However, that doesn’t mean you cannot or should not invest in your remarketing strategy. Instead, use your budget wisely by choosing a customer recovery tool that:

  • Generates ROI by recovering lost sales and driving direct visits to your eCommerce website
  • Combines communication channels such as email and SMS with tools such as real-time abandonment alerts, session replays, and pop-ups. 
  • Connects with your existing marketing tools using an integrator such as Zapier

Happy new year

In 2021, eCommerce will no longer be a game of waiting for customers to abandon their cart before sending them an email and watching them return. 

Online sellers and shoppers have leveled up, and you must level up your remarketing strategy to win. 

We hope that this guide to remarketing in 2021, along with our other eCommerce blogs of the year, will help you become a bigger and better seller in the year ahead. 

If you’d like to try any of the tactics or tools mentioned, sign up for a free trial, and start 2021 as you mean to go on.

Happy new year, and happy selling!