Online retailers are struggling to unearth the reasons why shoppers abandon their sites without converting.

Econsultancy recent Reducing Customer Struggle report reveals that a staggering 73% of the companies surveyed admit that they are unaware of the abandonment reasons 

“I’m just browsing” is reported as one of the major abandonment reasons. This reason accounts for anywhere between 37% to 57% of the total online shoppers who left without buying. 

To address the 'just browsing' shoppers, some ecommerce sites offer shoppers the option to save their wish list for a later time.

Alas, in order to save their wish list, shoppers are asked to register, supply their email address and choose a password. As registration is in itself a barrier, many shoppers choose not to register and disregard the wish list offer.

The ones who do register often forget their passwords when they return, resulting in the creation of multiple wish lists and annoyances for the customer.

The new ‘my favorites’ trend

In an attempt to improve the overall online customer experience, a new trend is emerging among ecommerce sites which are now offering a 'favorites' feature that does not require the customer to register at all.

I recently noticed this feature on various fashion sites. Take for example,  

It chooses to symbolize this feature with a heart symbol. To highlight this feature, customers are alerted about this option with a visible message on the homepage.


On the category page, the heart symbol appears once the mouse is rolled over the product image.

The heart appears alongside the 'add to bag' throughout the shopping session, and shoppers are not required to register or produce details at any stage of the process.

Another good use of the heart symbol can be found on

The favorites feature is also implemented in different ways. In the case of, shoppers are given the option to create their wish list, but they need to be proactive and press on the + icon on the right side of each product page, in order to include the product on the wish list.

The number of items on the wish list is shown on the top of the pink ribbon.  

To view the list (during the current or future visits), shoppers simply  need to press on the number which displays how many items are on the list.

Interestingly, when Wanimo recently revised the site, this feature was removed, but was reactivated as customers demanded to bring it back!

The logic behind a registration-free wish list

The marketers of the above sampled websites, are hoping that in the short term, just by offering this option, they will be able to learn more about their online shopper's behavior and estimate the percentage of the 'just browsing' visitors among their site’s overall abandoners.  

In the long term, the assumption is that the shoppers will appreciate the opportunity to return to the site and complete the purchase.

Upon their return, they will be able to view their favorite items/wish list without the need to register and enter a password.

Although the above logic is valid, there is no guarantee that shoppers will revisit the site to complete the purchase, and by not capturing the occasional shopper's contact details, those sites are missing out on the opportunity to remarket to these shoppers based on their wish list.

The middle way: a visit summary email

In an effort not to impose registration on the shoppers, but in the hope of still collecting their email addresses, another interesting trend is emerging in some of the ecommerce sites.

This is the ‘visit summary mail’ feature, a popup message that offers visitors an option to receive the products they viewed in an email, is displayed towards the end of the visitors’ sessions, so that they can keep a record of their visits and complete their purchase at a later stage.

See, for example,

If the shopper accepts the offer and enters an email address, all items viewed during the session are then assembled into one email.

This feature is particularly useful for shoppers who visit the mobile site as it allows them to continue the session later on from their desktop or tablet.

The ‘win-win’ solution?

Including a registration free wish list option and offering the option to receive the list by mail might just be the ‘win-win’ solution for both shoppers and emarketers.

Instead of an upfront request for an email, the request is presented once the shopper is already engaged. Timing is everything, and if the shopper has been compiling a wish list, it is very likely that an offer to receive the list by mail will be viewed as a good service feature, rather than an email-grabbing scheme.

What kind of an online marketer are you?

What do you think is the best way: A wish list with registration that allows you to keep the user’s information, or a wish list without registration that is less intrusive?

Or do you think that a happy middle ground can be achieved with a 'save my visit' feature which is both convenient for the shopper and gives more marketing opportunities for ecommerce sites? 

Ido Ariel

Published 3 April, 2014 by Ido Ariel

Ido Ariel is Founder at Barilliance and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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Comments (8)

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Nice article. A registration free wish list will be more effective when coupled with a well targeted re-marketing campaign. It's easy as a consumer to forget about boutique online shops even if you have saved that information on the site. A little reminder (ala remarketing) can't hurt to try to nudge them back and act on the list.

over 4 years ago

Ido Ariel

Ido Ariel, Founder at Barilliance

Thanks Tim, absolutely! Our customers who use the "visit summary email" and "save my cart" features can also setup personalized remarketing emails that are triggered to shoppers who have not returned to the site.

over 4 years ago



Nice overview of options. Combination of both favorites and e-mail is probably the best.

You also mentioned '' but that url doesn´t lead to the site of from where you took the screenshot.

over 4 years ago


Scott @ Kawntent

Great review! I'd have to say a wishlist without registration would be more preferable. Shopping online is very different from really getting to see the item. There are tons of people who love to go window shopping at malls, what more on the internet? If a shopper is a sure buyer then I'm sure the shopper won't waste time and would purchase the item right away.

over 4 years ago



If you can get their email before they create the wish list, even if they don't buy you can email the list and add some percentage of discount or a free item to make it more attractive. I saw many sites doing that and I believe it works.

over 4 years ago


Brian R.

Thanks for the article! I think the favorites box on the side or the heart symbols for Stella Nova are a great touch for casual shoppers. I always find myself backtracking through sites to see a previous item that I liked, more sites should implement this strategy with the amount of website variety currently available.

over 4 years ago


Arun Sivashankaran

Great post - it's great to hear more new developments towards reducing abandonment. I second the previous comment about no registration and retargeting (but obviously it needs to be tested). Thanks for sharing!

over 4 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

Great post. A couple of issues:

* Registration-free wishlists rely on a cookie, so won't work as well for shoppers with multiple devices.

* Registration to receive a "visit summary" email is easier if it doesn't require a password. My non-technical contacts never remember such passwords anyway and go through "password reset" if they need to logon again. For them, a password is just a clumsy way of demonstrating that you've got access to the email account and can click a link in an email. So I would use standard two-step email-list registration instead.

More about "visit summary" aka "browse abandonment" emails (the difference is if you make them automatic or not):

over 4 years ago

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