The curious case of abandoned carts

The curious case of abandoned carts


STOrai Magazine

STOrai Magazine

12 Nov 2019, 12:30 — 5 min read

Background: There are many factors that lead to customers leaving without completing a purchase. Here’s what you can do about them.


What’s worse than a customer spending no time or money in a store? One that takes time and effort to select merchandise, put it in the cart only to walk out without completing the purchase.

Cart abandonment is one of the topmost challenges retailers face globally. It is a growing concern especially in today’s times when consumers have access to shopping across varied platforms, both online and offline. Several studies have been conducted to understand the reasons behind this trend and rigorous efforts have been made to resolve it with sporadic success.

On one hand…

Although cart abandonment is common across formats and channels, the challenges that online and offline stores face differ, significantly. Reasons for online cart abandonment include high shipping costs or additional taxes, which the shoppers had not expected when they started off. Also, customers feel a threat to their personal information when they are asked to create an account or a login ID. Yet another important factor that online consumers consider before checking out is the return policy. If it is not favourable, they do not think twice before abandoning the cart. Longer delivery time can also be a put off. Finally, payment related issues and technical glitches could force a customer to leave even before making another attempt.

Cart abandonment is one of the topmost challenges retailers face globally. It is a growing concern especially in today’s times when consumers have access to shopping across varied platforms, both online and offline.


On the other hand…

Usually, offline retailers face a high abandonment rate due to long check out time, long queues, and technical glitches. Any reason that makes the customer wait longer than his/her expectation is enough to serve as a trigger to walk out without picking up an item. If any of the above are added on to a low buying intent, the customer is most likely to quit on impulse.

The curious case of abandoned carts
Long checkout lines often lead to abandoned carts

Also read: Customer is the king and the kingmaker


What online retailers can do

Having understood the issues, it is imperative that a quick executable action plan is adopted to plug the concerns.

1. While embarking on email recovery initiatives, one way to motivate online customers to return is not just to remind what they left behind in the cart but also to incentivise them by offering a special discount on existing or a future purchase. This, of course, can be decided depending on the value of the cart.

2. In fact, the above can be done as soon as the customer chooses to exit. A notification on special discount can be offered if they continue depending on the value of the cart or previous shopping history.

3. Another way is to avoid making customers feel stranded in case of technical glitches. Having a chatbot to assist with product information or any required shopping aid can be useful for shoppers to complete the process. This adds on to a personalised experience.

4. To retain customers, it’s important to keep the buyers’ trust. The foremost way to do so is to display shipping costs, taxes and any other charges that they will be charged upfront, ensuring that there are no hidden costs. Transparency goes a long way in earning loyalty.

5. Adding an option for an express or a faster delivery timeline can also be a great catalyst to completing the checkout procedure. Customers love to receive the items delivered before the standard or assured time.

Also read: 5 proven strategies to boost your ecommerce sales


Article by Anil Menon published in STOrai Magazine. Anil Menon is General Manager—IT Innovation at Tata Starbucks Pvt. Ltd. He is a professional with over 16 years’ experience across retail and technology organisations such as Trent Hypermarket, Cybage Software Future Group, Wadhwan Retail and Zensar Technologies.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.


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