June 17, 2014
Case Study

Email Marketing: Browse abandonment campaign drives more than $300,000 in additional sales for menswear site

SUMMARY: Noticing a large portion of customers browsing the website, but not adding a product to their cart, menswear website Paul Fredrick decided to reach out and guide consumers to that next step.

By reaching out to customers at this critical point in the funnel, Paul Fredrick was able to experience more than $300,000 in additional sales since launching the campaign in May 2013.
by Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content


Starting out as a direct mail dress shirt company out of Fleetwood, Penn., Paul Fredrick has expanded in more than 25 years to offer numerous menswear options as an e-commerce company. A large part of the company's success is that Paul Fredrick's offers speak true value for its customers, according to Shana Kelly, CRM Manager, Email, Paul Fredrick.

"What sets us apart from other menswear companies is our attention to detail that the buyers put into each and every garment; it's truly remarkable. It's definitely classic wardrobe choices with a fashionable twist," Kelly said.

The team noticed through Web analytics research that a large amount of customers were browsing the site, but leaving without adding products to their carts.

The cart abandonment program in place at the time would pick up anyone leaving products in their cart, but "with this large amount of customers that were simply browsing the site and not adding to their bag, we weren't targeting them any differently even though they were giving us an action that differentiated them from the rest of the email file," Kelly said.

The team knew they had an opportunity to target customers who were not yet ready to put a product in their cart, and get them back to the site.
Kelly said the overall goal was to "give them a little guidance and truly make them feel comfortable with the purchase. … How do we get these customers and treat them a little differently since they're showing us a different action?"


Paul Fredrick set up the new browse abandonment campaign to go out to five product segments, each with relevant copy and creative images.

The team worked to ensure that relevance was a top priority for both elements within this campaign, and in the email program as a whole. For instance, a customer could only qualify for the browse abandon campaign every 30 days, and creative images were kept up to date.

Step #1. Outline browse abandon campaign

First and foremost, Kelly said, the team needed to ensure that their idea was technically achievable with their email service provider, as well as with Paul Fredrick's Web usability and IT teams.

By reaching out to these different teams, the marketers were able to integrate data that was already available and send that directly to their ESP.

"We weren't fully optimizing that data in the email program before implementing this campaign," Kelly said.

Internally, her team had to sit down and determine the number of segments they wanted to have based on the main categories of the site.

The team took the five segments they believed to be the main categories customers were browsing the most.

"We knew starting out it would be very difficult for us to target every single category on our site, due to the vast options the customer has with our navigation and refinements," she said.

There were five segments the team wanted to reach out to:

"We're mainly a dress shirt company, so the majority of the audience gets the dress shirt segment," she explained, adding that some segments "combine categories to add cross-sell potential to products that are easily combinable or similar."

One of the conditions incorporated in this campaign was that a customer could only qualify once every 30 days, which Kelly said was done for a couple of reasons.

"The customer may be a really frequent browser, which you do see with email. So, we didn't want this customer to potentially see the same campaign numerous times," she said.

Subject line relevance

The team also segmented subject lines within the five segments to make the browse abandon campaign relevant and correlate to what customers were browsing.

"I think a lot of companies go after a hard sell with their browse abandon campaign of, 'Hey, we know you were here, here's exactly what you were looking at, come back and check it out,'" she said.

Kelly added that her team decided to take a different approach by being as relevant as possible in the subject line with more general content that still related to what the customer was viewing.

They did this by incorporating the category into both the creative and subject line, and then insinuating the words with "quality" and "fit for every occasion."

Examples of the subject lines used are:
  • 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

Step #2. Execute creative aspects

For every single email campaign, Kelly and her team draw up a detailed concept they then work on with the creative team.

"We list out the objectives of the campaign, the promotion details, pretty much any detail in the email that would affect the overall success. We really have a good process here through concept documents to communicate to our creative team what we're trying to do," she said.

The emails differed in copy, but all featured a “15% off your $200 order” banner and an image from that particular clothing segment with short copy and a call-to-action that stated, "Shop [targeted category]."

After setting up the technical side, she said, proofing the creative was a top priority, including looking at what comparable brands were emailing, as well as testing out the creative on different devices.

"We sent test campaigns to numerous domains to test how the creative was looking, and proofed for numerous days before we decided that we were finally ready to push it live," she said.

The team also ensured that the image in the template could easily be switched out every 30 days so the customer would see something different if they qualified more than once a season.

Every time the team changed the images in the emails, they made sure to go through the proofing process again, and conduct test sends to ensure the integrity of the images.

The format put together by Kelly's team and the creative team "allowed us to go into our content library every 30 days and switch out the main image so that it would refresh the creative and show something different to the customer throughout the season," she said.

Step #3. Keep relevance a key priority

"One of the most important things to us was developing a suppression," Kelly said.

The browse abandonment campaigns were given top priority as the most relevant to consumer behavior. Avoiding multiple messages with conflicting creative elements was key to the campaign, and anyone who was eligible for the browse abandonment campaign was suppressed from a promotional email send.

"We made sure that they were getting the most relevant creative with the browse abandon, and we were making sure that we weren't diluting that with any other message," she said.

In order to keep the sends as relevant as possible, the team also focused on sending the browse abandonment messages out as soon as possible after a customer abandoned the site.

Currently, the team set up the sends to go out the morning after the browse abandon, since they are unable to do real-time messaging.

"That was also important [to ask] with our limitations — what was the earliest we could send it out and get that out there to reinstate, 'Hey you were on the site, why don't you come back and check out the category?'"

Testing promotions

When they first went live with the campaign, the team did an A/B split test to determine whether they needed to include an offer in the send at all.

For the test, 50% of the recipients saw the promotional banner with a shipping offer, and the other 50% received the email without any offer.

"We thought the shipping offer would be appealing because potentially the shipping cost is what was deterring them," she said about the decision to include that promotion.

Seeing a slight success when testing the shipping discount, the team decided to go further and display a higher tiered offer with 15% off of a $200 purchase. It was already being offered in the catalog, and the strategy of giving the customer a deal in conjunction with the Paul Fredrick catalog is a strategy that had worked consistently throughout the season, she said.

"Based on the results and the increases in sales and average orders that particular offer was giving us, we rolled that [higher tiered offer] out," she said.

Offer testing was an important part of this campaign, Kelly added, saying that an increase in average order value could have potentially been because "customers were adding things to their cart to get that 15% off. We definitely saw success with that."


"When we're looking at our transactional and recurring sales due to this campaign, we're seeing an 18% increase year over year," Kelly said, adding that they are on track currently to see higher results for the spring than they did during the holiday season.

"That's really encouraging to see. As an online retailer, holiday is definitely our biggest season. So, to see the results continue to grow into spring right now is extremely exciting," she said.

The results this campaign has garnered for Paul Fredrick are:
  • More than $300,000 in additional sales since launching May 1, 2013

  • A 38% average open rate

  • A 46% average unique clickthrough rate

The browse abandon campaign has the highest clickthrough rate of any email campaign in the program right now, Kelly added, which "really shows its effectiveness."

"I think, especially nowadays, customers are really looking for messages that are targeted to them and personalized to their needs. It's starting to become more of a conversation rather than just a promotional message," she said.

A challenge the team faced with this campaign was to use the information customers were giving them and developing targeted messaging that will make sense to them.

In the future, the objective for the team will be "to look at all of our current campaigns and think of specific ways we can make them even more relevant for the email customer. It's taught us the importance of testing and optimizing and always having the customer experience first in mind," she concluded.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, Paul Fredrick earned a win in the MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2014 — Deliver & Automate category. Interested in seeing more presentations like this one at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015? Tickets are now available.

Creative Samples

  1. Dress shirts send

  2. Accessories send

  3. Pants send

  4. Suits and sport coats send

  5. Sweaters and sport shirts send


Paul Fredrick

Related Resources

E-commerce: 2 tactics to increase relevance in your email sends

Email Marketing: Segmentation, triggered sends generate twice the revenue with half as many email sends for furniture company

E-commerce: What is Internet-based retargeting, and how can marketers use it?

Shopping Cart Recovery: Triggered emails recapture 29% of abandoned carts

E-commerce: Edible Arrangements' countdown ad lifts same-day orders 8%

E-commerce: Moving beyond shopping cart abandonment nets 65% more checkout conversions

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