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D2C CRO tactics: How to build your email lists and rescue sales

This is a guest post from Michael Wadsworth. Michael is a partner marketing associate at Justuno and passionate about technology solutions across the e-commerce landscape, helping partners leverage the Justuno platform to its full potential, and creating a great online experience for everyone involved.

Everyone wants to sell more of their products, and oftentimes a brand’s first instinct is to send more emails, post more on social media, or spend more on paid ads. Yet, for every 92 dollars spent towards getting more traffic and exposure to your brand’s website, only 1 dollar is spent converting them. What’s the use of spending $10,000, $50,000, or more to get users to a site if they aren’t going to stick around?

Enter conversion rate optimization (CRO). CRO is all about getting more of your website visitors to convert on a desired action – whether that’s lead generation, sales, improving AOV, or increasing bottom-line revenue. Optimizing your conversion path on-site will not only improve KPIs like those, but it’s also one of the easiest (and often cheapest) ways to get more profit from existing marketing campaigns.

In this article, we’ll go over the what, why, and how of the top two strategies that DTC brands need to implement today: building contact lists through Lead Capture and rescuing sales with Exit Offer & Cart Abandonment promotions.

Let’s dive in.

List Building with Lead Capture: What, Why, and How


Lead capture is one of, if not the, easiest, fastest, and most effective way to drive more conversions and bottom-line revenue, especially for DTC brands. This is our foremost recommendation to any new Justuno customer (or any e-commerce merchant).

At their core, lead capture promotions are simply on-site messages that ask for a visitor’s information. This can be their name, company, email address, phone number, product preferences, or anything you want to learn from your customer. Most often, these ask for an email address in exchange for a discount, $ off their next purchase, or free downloadable content.


Why? Well, having a strong subscriber base helps drive more revenue for your brand, whether they’ve already bought from you or only window-shopped. With the average U.S. website new visitor conversion rate landing at 2.63% in 2020, brands are losing out on a huge amount of potential revenue and information.

For example, if a site’s monthly traffic is 100,000 and only 3% of those visitors convert, that’s only 3,000 new contacts a month. By implementing a lead capture strategy with, let’s say, a 10% conversion rate, that boosts that number up to 13,000 new contacts every month.

That’s 10,000 more consumers you can reach with your product newsletters, brand announcements, sales, and more. Plus, that’s 10,000 more customers you can learn from and thereby optimize all other aspects of your marketing. What products are they most interested in? Are they spreading the word about your brand? What demographic is a product most popular with?

By collecting information from new website visitors, the majority of which will leave never to be seen again, brands can dramatically improve their revenue and information database.


Most often, lead capture promotions ask for an email address in exchange for a discount or $ off their next purchase. However, there are a variety of ways to create creative, compelling promotions that get the information you want while improving the customer’s on-site experience.

Let’s take a look at some examples below.

Example 1: Lead capture for a discount

This is a relatively generic lead capture, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. A nice image, on-brand copy, and offering that 15% discount will drive more same session conversions and still get the email address of those that didn’t convert. These provide ample opportunity to segment your visitors and send a follow-up email reminding them about the 15% discount alongside some best selling products. Just because they didn’t convert then doesn’t mean they won’t later.

Example 2: Lead capture with gamification

This is a great example of using gamification to engage new visitors, provide value, and get that email. Shopping should be fun, and adding a gamified promotion to your site does exactly that. Once visitors spin the wheel, all they need to do is enter their email (or any other desired information) to get their prize. Using gamified promotions is a great way to create excitement and show off brand voice.

Example 3: Capturing leads with a value add

This last example is a perfect example of smooth design, on-brand messaging, and a great value addition to a visitor. With 15% off and a free recipe eBook, this kind of promotion will drive substantial conversions. If you wanted to take this further, ask what products or category of products they’re interested in and send them content tailored to their choice. Sending personalized content to new contacts is far more effective at creating long-term engagement and driving sales.

Rescuing Sales: Exit Intent & Cart Abandonment

What & Why

The second most important strategy to implement on a site is rescuing sales and abandoned carts. Nearly 70% of users abandon their online carts, never to return. That’s why it’s crucial for e-commerce brands to have a strategy in place exclusively for driving that number down and your revenue up.

Consumers can abandon their cart for a variety of reasons: lack of trust in a brand, cost of shipping, looking at similar products from a competitor, or distracting cute puppy videos.

Exit intent and cart abandoner promotions are intelligent on-site experiences that appear when a user is behaving in a way that looks like they’re going to leave the site (thereby also abandoning their cart), such as moving their mouse towards another tab or the “X” to close out.


Some of the most common exit intent and cart abandonment promotions are those that offer an ungated (info submission isn’t required) discount or free shipping as a last chance opportunity to keep the customer. However, even simply asking for their email address can work too – maybe they aren’t interested in buying today but might be another day. Getting that email on their way out gives an opportunity to re-engage a visitor vs. losing them forever. You’ll need to A/B test your exit offers to find out what incentive resonates most with your target audience.

Below we’ll take you through a traditional exit intent offer and a cart abandonment-specific and why they work.

Example 1: Traditional Exit Intent

This is a perfect example of a clean, sleek, and simple promotion that practically every brand can implement. The offer is simple: 15% off their next order. By providing the coupon code clearly without requiring anything in return, visitors are more likely to go back and purchase.

Plus, it’s easy to exit out of – nothing annoys website users more than an obtrusive pop-up that they can’t get out of. If the offer provided still doesn’t drive a conversion, don’t try to hold onto them longer and give a negative final impression of your brand.

Example 2: Cart Abandonment and Shipping Costs

This is a perfect example of a cart abandonment promotion. Let’s break it down.

With shipping costs being the #1 reason behind abandoned carts, offering free shipping can be the difference between a purchase and never seeing them again. For example, if offering free shipping means the difference between a sale and a site exit, eating that shipping cost will still net you profit (depending on your vertical and products, of course).

If your brand has thin-margins and offering free shipping makes you break even or even lose $, consider the opportunity cost. If the customer is satisfied with the product, they might return to purchase again, tell their friends, or otherwise spread the good word about your company. Plus, you’ll get their contact information once they checkout, allowing you to re-engage them with (personalized) emails and more.

Tip: Calculate your fulfillment fees with Deliverr and access nationwide, flat-rate, all-inclusive, and transparent pricing.

Another great solution for this issue is shipping thresholds. Set a certain amount slightly above your average order value where you can afford shipping and offer free shipping at that level or above. Promote this using a banner on your site that automatically updates when things are added to a shoppers cart, showing them how much they have left to go.

Additionally, shopping online can be an anxious experience for some because, unlike a retail store, they can’t feel or experience the product until it arrives. If it doesn’t meet their expectations, they’ll have to return it. By offering “30 Days Risk Free”, you’re helping the trust between brand and consumer that’s vital to all e-commerce businesses.

Tying the D2C CRO strings together

Remember, conversion rate optimization is all about creating a better website experience for users, thereby improving conversions across the board. Although there are a large number of specific strategies to improve a website, integrating a lead capture and exit intent promotion is one of the fastest and most effective ways to improve a brand’s bottom line while creating a better relationship between brand and consumer.

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