The Last Barrier: the e-commerce cart abandonment


Cart abandonment has proved to be one of the major pitfalls of ecommerce companies in India over their brick-and-mortar counterparts because there is no stigma attached to dropping your basket at the cash counter in online retail. In a physical store, though there is no one stopping us from dropping the shopping cart at the cash counter but the associated embarrassment or stigma is enough to prevent us from doing that.

In case of window-shopping, abandonment rate is not necessarily an indicator of success/failures of an ecommerce website. The aim may be to just browse through, compare and check out different offerings of various sites. There is very high probability that such customers are going to abandon the basket. Then, it becomes very essential to develop proper metrics for analyzing the behavior and predict personalized offers / deals to attract those customers, through retargeting platforms like Google & Adroll.

Firstly, there has to be an acknowledgement of the fact that a particular basket has been dropped. Generally as an online retailer, we might be tempted to consider an abandoned basket as a case of delayed purchase. That may be a highly optimistic assumption that disregards this fact- there could have been a cheaper deal he/she may have got from a competitor. But it is not the case every time. There has been a fair number of conversions if the visitor has returned to buy the product within a short period. So, we need to consider a timeframe to allow the time for comparison of parameters but post that period, we may take certain steps to push our product.

Retargeting in combination with Email and Sms marketing to retarget the cart droppers via incremental offers & deals can make huge difference; but look out for dupers who deliberately drop the basket to get deals; may go for a cap provision like at max 2 deals every 3 months.

Reasons for Cart Abandonment

Lets look at some of the most prominent reasons that may result in high number of basket abandonments, especially from an Indian context:

  • Hidden charges like high shipping costs: One-off such incident on a website for the visitor himself/his friend for the matter, creates suspicion every single time he plans to purchase a product on the website. The costs of having hidden charges is much more than its worth. This could also be in the form of Cash on Delivery charges.
  • Concerns about payment security: Indian market is a nascet ecommerce market; so it is something that would take time to develop as far as the entire market is concerned. But as an ecommerce player, few steps like providing details like guaranteed delivery date, expedited delivery services and greater variety of payment channels. The website can also focus on more visibility to security logos and authentications for payment transaction. In a growing market like India, Cash-on-delivery seems to be a great way to draw buyers towards online purchases, though it may hit the bottom line.
  • Forced registration: Having long, multiple-page registration forms is one of the biggest culprits responsible for abandonment of the basket. Instead, we recommend single page checkout for our clients, followed by the secure payment gateway.
  • Technical problems like slow website response / mobile incompatibility: If any ecommerce company has not heeded required attention on this aspect of this website, no matter how good is the look-and-feel of the website, it still does not make sense if the visitor is going to require ages to complete the process. Quick website response and mobile & tablet responsive websites are a must in the age of iPad and smartphone. Though the % of transactions via mobile/tablet is perhaps less than 5% but increasingly consumers are using tablets to complete their transactions.

Last but not the least, retarget the abandoners quickly as they are more likely to buy than first timers. But there is a need to not overdo it. Analyze the consumers purchase profile to trace any attempts of deliberate abandonment due to the probability of getting a better offer next time.

You can also read our Ecommerce Case Study.

More to follow in the coming days on Retargetting and techniques for digital advertising in India.

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5 thoughts on “The Last Barrier: the e-commerce cart abandonment

  • Thanks for the tips on cart abandonment. We run an ecommerce company in bangalore and could use your help. We have emailed our details to you. Lets discuss how you can add value.

  • Furthermore, brands need to appreciate just how immediate their responses can be when they use their online platforms well. Akin to a conversation, brands can reply to users who have abandoned in a matter of minutes turning the mail into an entry point for a conversation. The cart abandonment rate might not boast of purchases but it most certainly boasts of opportunities.

  • All these innovations and products are what exist in the market right now. With testing and development brands will be able to respond to their cart abandonment rate in even better, more efficient and more effective ways. For the time being, they will have to content themselves with customized templates and scheduling models that exponentially increase conversions.

  • Thanks for the tips on cart abandonment. We run an ecommerce company in bangalore and could use your help. We have emailed our details to you. Lets discuss how you can add value.

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