09-06-2015 00:00:00
Retaining a customer is as good as earning one. But if customers are "invisible" then how will you convince them to buy your product? Confused? We are talking about the customers visiting ecommerce sites to buy merchandise.
Unlike brick-and-mortar retail model, where shoppers enter stores, physically fill the items in baskets or trolleys and proceed towards checkout points or POS counters, online shopping model doesn't have an eye to trace down customers at each and every level, though technological advancement has given the webmaster to trace customer's navigation pattern, pages of visit, cart details, etc. But it is impossible to convince every online customer to PROCEED to payment gateways.
In brick and mortar stores, even if some problem arise which prevents sale conversion, the staff at the sale counters or customer support personnel can interfere and address the issue immediately to retain the customer. However, in the ecommerce channels, the shopping and checkout process are entirely self-driven with little chance for physical intervention.
According to a latest study, between 60 and 80 per cent of online shopping carts are left abandoned by shoppers before reaching the payment gateways. This implies that sites are popular to attract the customers to the website but are failing to make them buy their products. According to the study, customer came to the website, chosen items and added them in a shopping cart but never paid for it as they simply quit the site for various reasons.
This is similar to the shoppers at super and hyper markets with bagful of merchandise waiting in a queue to pay at Point of Sale counters, but leaving the bag in a corner and going away before reaching the cash counter. Recently, to address this issue at 'Shoppers Stop', the company asked customers to leave their shopping bags with their address if they don't want to wait in the queue. The company arranged free door delivery and collected the money for the merchandise by instantly providing bills through mobile POS hand-held devices.
Why shoppers leave cart?
In E-Commerce sites, people leave the cart for various reasons with the most common one being lack of transparency in final price and consumers leave once they find discrepancies in the amount mentioned in the initial stage and at final payment gateway. For example, delivery charges or shipping cost are not mentioned by some sites until checkout and sudden increase in merchandise value upsets customers. Sometimes customers give up checkout process due to lack of clarity or unwanted hassle. People may also leave as they do not want to create an account just to make a purchase.
Shopping cart recovery
As the number of online shoppers who abandon their carts midway is staggering, for retailers it makes sense to retain these customers rather than attracting new ones. Thanks to advancement in technology, most of the ecommerce platforms these days have customized shopping cart recovery tools.
Business houses make effort to contact the customers after a particular time and try to woo them with attractive offers like free home delivery, discounts on the total merchandise or coupons for future purchases. Retailers also choose to get in touch with customers personally to find out what went wrong to effect corrective measures. Some sites also make their shopping carts device independent, so that customers can initiate an order on a desktop and can complete the buying process on a tablet or smartphone and vice versa.
Live cart tracking
For customers who find it difficult to get going in an e-commerce platform, there is no one to guide them to physically fill their cart with selected merchandise and proceed them to checkouts. Though such option is available in brick-and-mortar model, it has its own limitations. To bridge the gap, technologists have found a way -- Live Cart Tracking.
Live cart tracking feature in ecommerce platforms facilitates smooth shopping. It can also reduce the possibility of "bag dropping" or "cart abandoning" and empowers retailers to solve customers' problems efficiently and quickly by guiding them in every step of online shopping. It also enhances customer experience and helps retain them for future returns.
Technology can take care of improving online conversions and reducing cart abandonment, but to optimize customer retention, thoughtful methodology governing the usage of these powerful tools is required. Otherwise, retailers would find themselves in chasing new customers, all the time. As the saying goes, a customer retained is a customer gained, and modern shoppers must be retained at every touchpoint!
-K Ramanathan

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