Window Surfers

Out on the high street, if someone’s looking through a shop’s windows but doesn’t step in to buy anything, it’s called ‘window shopping’. The same thing happens online. Online shoppers often surf through products but don’t go to checkout. They digitally mirror high-street window shopper behavior – you can call them “window surfers”. Converting shoppers that are just browsing can be tricky.

A common tactic for converting browsing shoppers both in-store and online is to use banners. They’re used in brick-and-mortar shop windows to advertise new products, sales, and promotions with the aim of enticing window shoppers. The same concept is employed in online stores for window surfers.

In brick-and-mortar shops, an additional conversion tactic is found: shop employees or clerks can be employed and trained to engage and encourage customers who are just browsing to purchase. Digital marketers may want to employ the digital equivalent for online stores, such as browser notifications which incentivize a purchase or follow-up emails for customers who have clicked, looked, and left. However, online marketers encounter two main difficulties.

You can call shoppers who surf but don’t go to checkout “window surfers”.

The first hurdle is identifying the window surfers, as real-time data tracking needs to be employed. What data is kept track of in real-time depends on the company definition of a window surfer, as examples, window surfers can be defined as customers who have stayed on the site for upwards of ten minutes without purchasing an item, or customers who have viewed the same product multiple times in a single session. In any case, customer behavior, such as the items they’ve clicked on or the time they’ve spent on the site, must be tracked.

Secondly, if the real-time data is recorded, it needs to be actionable in real-time as well. Window surfers, once identified, need to be messaged at the appropriate times: either before they leave the page in order to incentivize the purchases that they’re hesitant to make, or after a suitable time period to remind them of products that they were recently looking at. Engagement solutions, such as those for browser push notifications or email solutions, require a real-time synchronization with data solutions to enable automated, dynamic messaging.

What’s needed is a customer data solution that has real-time data capability, as well as synchronization with customer engagement solutions.

Converting Surfers With a CDP

A CDP’s data gathering abilities enable identification of window surfing customers by tracking on-site behavior in real-time, and can share that information with other solutions instantly.

New window surfer conversion strategies become possible. Potential customers that have window surfed and that have given permission to be emailed can be sent an email hours after they’ve left the shop page, encouraging purchases of items they’ve recently been browsing through. Meanwhile, customers that haven’t given email permissions can be targeted through their temporary cookies with relevant browser notifications.

Window surfer campaigns do not have to be limited to a single channel or to a single engagement. CDPs orchestrate engagement solutions, enabling consistent cross-channel journeys. As a simple example, if a customer has not engaged with a browser notification, a follow-up email can be sent the next day.

Check out our other use cases for more inspiration:

Hey, Wake Up! Reactivating Dormant Customers with a CDP
Saving the Sale: Converting Cart Abandoners with a CDP