The pandemic spurred e-commerce adoption as consumers shifted to access all kinds of essential services online. The convenience and flexibility offered by online transactions, a rising internet base, smartphone penetration and conducive market conditions will continue to drive e-commerce in India.
Last year, the e-commerce market was pegged at $84 billion in India, which is expected to reach $350 billion by 2030. Globally, e-commerce sales were estimated at around $4.9 trillion in 2021, which may reach $7.4 trillion by 2025.
The snag: cart abandonment
The phenomenon of shoppers browsing online stores but abandoning the cart without concluding the transaction (via payment) is cart abandonment. And in India, as it is worldwide, cart abandonment is a perennial and crippling problem for e-commerce players. India’s average cart abandonment rate is around 51%, according to India Marketers. Universally, the average e-commerce cart abandonment rate is about 75%.
Worse, these numbers soar during the holiday and festive seasons when the war for customer attention reaches a frenzy. For e-commerce entities, losing more than half of the customers due to abandoned carts only inflates customer acquisition costs (CAC through advertising and marketing).
The good news: you can tackle cart abandonment by understanding why customers leave their goods without concluding a purchase. It is possible to mitigate this issue and stem potential revenue losses with the proper countermeasures.
Here are some reasons for this peculiar behaviour and ways to counteract cart abandonment:
Unexpected/high shipping costs: Hidden or unexpected delivery charges are why visitors junk their purchases. Hidden tax costs can similarly lead to abandonment.
Tip: Make sure all costs are mentioned upfront.
The need to create an account: Nearly 1/4th of customers abandon carts when asked to create an account.
Having spent considerable time navigating the online store, selecting items and then waiting for the cart to load, your customer’s patience is running thin. Having to create an account to complete the transaction is sure to break the journey. Instead of having to create the account, visitors prefer abandoning the cart. After all, online shoppers expect convenience and not complex procedures.
Tip: Provide the option of guest checkouts and bypass the need to create a regular customer account.
Designed for big screens: A website designed for viewing on mobile phones could easily be scaled up to view on a tablet, laptop or PC. But if the design is for large screens, it can’t be easily minimised to view on smaller screens. This will lead to a drop in clarity and distortion.
Remember, over 50% of online shoppers transact through their smartphones. If shoppers need to zoom in and out to view a product properly, constantly, it can mar their shopping experience.
Tip: Make your layout mobile-first or at least mobile-friendly to enable better customer conversion.
Cumbersome checkout process: About 1/5th of users can abandon carts if the checkout process is prolonged. Therefore, minimum time and limited steps can translate into higher conversions. Consumers prefer spending extra time browsing and buying and less on checkout procedures.
Tip: Have a more straightforward checkout process, enabling seamless and frictionless shopping and purchase experience.
Merely browsing to buy later: These days, it’s common for a potential buyer to do comparison shopping, check for the best available deals and then decide where to buy. So, even if goods are stocked in the cart, they may be quickly abandoned for a better deal offered on another site.
Nevertheless, once these customers have satisfied viewing various brands and products, they will likely return later and complete the purchase.
Tip: You cannot stop such behaviour, but you can engage them better with an enjoyable browsing experience that nudges them to return and complete the purchase process later.
Payment security concerns: During the checkout process, if a customer finds something is amiss on the site, including outdated layouts, shoddy images, design flaws, absence of a padlock icon or SSL certificate, etc., the cart could be abandoned immediately without a second thought.
Tip: Ensure all safety measures are in place, along with up-to-date designs to prevent unwanted security concerns.
Lack of express shipping: This may sound paradoxical because data indicates shoppers dislike high shipping charges. But there are instances when big-ticket items or gifts for specific occasions must be delivered on time. In such situations, visitors will abandon the purchase for a site that promises express deliveries if an online order cannot be delivered the next day. Users are willing to pay a premium for express shipping since the cost is not a constraint.
Tip: Provide express shipping (even if at cost) for the demanding buyer. Such an option can drive higher sales.
Unsatisfactory return policy: Online shoppers always ascertain whether a return policy is available before they proceed to checkout. Even if this policy is provided, stringent time limits or allied constraints should not be imposed.
Tip: Have a return policy without costs involved, which will likely encourage greater conversions.
Lack of customer support: Online shoppers expect speedy service and convenience. Many visitors, especially first-timers, need help when checking items or during checkout.
Tip: Have customer-friendly features, including live chats, bots, FAQs and other forms of customer support that clarify doubts or resolve checkout issues. This will make them feel more assured and likely to complete the purchase.
Absence of a personalised shopping experience: Customers who visit a site more than once are pleased when an item they considered the last time suddenly shows up when they revisit. It saves time browsing through an entire catalogue repeatedly, more so if they have forgotten what grabbed their attention earlier. Or a personalised thank-you note despatched along with the product can make them feel special.
Tip: GenZ and millennial consumers expect personalisation from their favourite brands. Personalisation boosts the chances of converting visitors into recurring and loyal customers.
Ultimately, e-commerce players must ensure that their entire purchase process is swift yet secure. Such a hassle-free, frictionless consumer experience will enhance the trust quotient. Culminate the customer journey with a seamless checkout experience to promote greater sales conversions while minimising cart abandonment rates.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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