Thorntons implements advanced countdown timers, cart and browse abandonment from Fresh Relevance


Starting from a shop in Derbyshire in 1911, Thorntons has been making chocolates, toffee and fudge for over 100 years. In 1998, the British company opened its online store and today, the website sells a wide range of products including seasonal items, hampers, personalised gifts and flowers.  

In order to maximise sales, Thorntons is always on the lookout for ways to increase the percentage of browsers converting to buyers, making life easy for shoppers to find the products they want, highlighting promotions and delivering a quick checkout. However, as with all e-commerce sites, it experiences cart and browse abandonment.

Initially, the company attempted to tackle the issue by proactively reengage with potential customers through re-targeting via paid advertising. eCRM manager at Thorntons, Mike Aspinall explains: “This approach performed well, but we identified a clear benefit in moving our strategy towards email communications.” He adds: “We wanted a way to effectively capture cart and browse abandonment data and use it to communicate directly with shoppers, to persuade them to complete their purchase.”

Thorntons liked the approach of real-time marketing company, Fresh Relevance, and together they developed a series of triggered emails that are live all year round, specifically targeting shoppers who abandon their transactional journey. Aspinall adds: “We use two variations, one focusing on abandoned baskets and the other browse sessions. These are specifically designed to reengage the shopper at their specific point in the journey and convert otherwise lost sales opportunities.”

To capitalise on seasonal periods Thorntons have also introduced Advanced Countdown Timers, as Aspinall notes: “The Countdown Timer from Fresh Relevance adds a sense of urgency to our email communications, which is especially important in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas to ensure customers know the cut-off dates for deliveries.”

“The triggered emails account for approximately 6% of all direct revenue from the email channel and most of this revenue is incremental.” Aspinall adds: “This is a great result, especially as both our email and Countdown Timers require minimal resource to manage after the initial setup.”

Following the success of the project, Thorntons are currently exploring how the company can utilise the wider range of solutions offered by Fresh Relevance. Aspinall concludes: “The Fresh Relevance team has been great to work with, very helpful and willing to assist with any queries we have. We’ve developed a very positive working relationship with them and I’d certainly recommend them to others.”