Retail & eCommerce


86% of Retail Users Are Anonymous—What Does Your Anonymous User Base Look Like?

Mary Kearl By Mary Kearl May 24, 2022

Every day, retail and eCommerce websites and apps are flooded with visitors and shoppers—and, the vast majority of these visitors are so-called “anonymous users.” Anonymous users are individuals who browse or even make purchases with a given brand's website without using an online account.

You know them—they're the folks that choose to "continue as a guest." More likely than not, you’ve even been one yourself at one time or another. According to a Braze analysis of 2.5 billion active users of over 100 popular retail and eCommerce apps conducted between November 2019 and February 2021, we found that only 14% of users were those who had logged in, while the rest—86%—were anonymous.

At first glance, that large number of anonymous users may sound like a huge marketing challenge. But really, it's the opposite. It's a marketing opportunity that can help brands achieve huge gains.

The Benefits of Engaging Anonymous Users by the Numbers

While anonymous users may not get a lot of attention from retailers today, our research suggests that they could be a potential goldmine when it comes to boosting the impact of your customer engagement program. In fact, Braze research has found that:

  • 96% of unknown retail and eCommerce users receive no marketing outreach, making them an untapped audience segment

  • 12% of eCommerce and retail purchasers are anonymous, dispelling the notion that anonymous users don’t spend money

  • Anonymous users are 58% more likely to make a purchase within their first week of engaging with a brand, as compared to known users

  • Using just one marketing channel to engage anonymous users can lead to a 5.3X rise in likelihood to buy among this segment

  • Anonymous web users are 8.4X more likely to make an account if they interact with messaging within their first month

Get to Know and Engage Your Anonymous Users Better to Drive Business Performance

If you take a look at your customer data, you'll find that there's actually a lot you do know about your anonymous users. You can use these customer insights to guide your customer engagement strategies for your anonymous users.

To help you get started, here are some key pieces of information you likely already know about your so-called unknown customers and how to use them to maximize activation, monetization, and retention.

What you know: Your anonymous users' browsing activity
What you can do: Create a triggered campaign that guides further engagement

What you know: Your anonymous users' location
What you can do: Use this information to personalize your messaging

You likely know what region your users are in, as well as their language, country, and device time zone—yes, even for your anonymous users. And all of these insights can help inform how you craft your marketing outreach and when you deploy your messages.

What you know: Your anonymous users' attribution source
What you can do: Use this information to personalize your messaging

Knowing how your anonymous users have come across your website or app—whether that's via print or digital advertising, a refer-a-friend campaign, or organic search—can help you segment your audience and tailor your messages.

The list of what you know about your anonymous users doesn't stop there. For customers that have implemented the Braze SDK, the following types of data are automatically collected about your users through your implementation:

  • Usage information: Total sessions and sessions over a given period

  • Campaign data: Date a customer last received or clicked on a campaign

  • Device details: General location (if a user has granted access to locations services to the app), language, country, app version, device model, OS version, device resolution, wireless carrier, and device time zone

  • Custom events (as set by your brand): Any event/action a user can perform on your website or app, such as adding an item to a cart or wish list or completing a purchase

  • Event properties: Data associated with the action or event taken, such as the date and time

The ROI for Retail and eCommerce Brands

Taking the steps to get to know your anonymous users better and leveraging these customer insights to boost engagement as described here can lead to a strong return on investment—up to a 1.8X boost in 30-day mobile retention and a 3.2X increase in 30-day web retention. For more insights, check out how Braze helps you personalize every experience for every shopper.


Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl is a writer and digital strategist, who has led email, social media, and content marketing for several brands. She has helped launch six mobile apps and one niche social network and is always up for a good Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime binge recommendation or travel tip

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