Abandoned shopping carts give retailers valuable information about customers

The master’s thesis by Annika Liivamägi, a graduate of Service Design and Management in the University of Tartu Pärnu College, explains that customers who leave the online shop before completing their purchase are not necessarily a problem for the retailer but may involve a positive opportunity instead.

The spread of e-commerce offers competition to traditional shopping in several product categories and this is why retailers are increasingly more interested in knowing how to attract people to their online shop and encourage them to buy there. As people may stop the purchasing process at any moment during online shopping and only a small percentage of customers actually complete the purchase and pay for the goods, Liivamägi looked into people’s shopping behaviour on the internet.

“People love to add things they like into the shopping cart, but before completing the purchase, they often decide to gather additional information about the goods and so they leave the purchase unfinished,” said Liivamägi, whose paper focused on e-commerce environments specialising in alcohol sales. “However, there is no reason to worry about such uncompleted purchases, because firstly, many people return later to review their shopping cart and may still pay for the goods, and secondly, an abandoned shopping cart gives the company lots of information about the customers’ needs,” believes Liivamägi, in whose opinion a skilful use of the obtained information enables the retailer to actually increase sales.

Estonians prefer to buy products and services of longer useful life online, because in these cases they perceive fewer risks. “Alcohol, for example, which is often bought online in Australia, America, England and elsewhere, remains a niche product in Estonia and, like food, Estonians prefer to buy alcohol in a regular store. Alcohol is so widely available here that people just do not feel the need to buy wine, for example, on the internet. However, they use the internet to search for additional information about goods and services. Therefore, entrepreneurs can turn the situation to their own benefit and offer in their online shop also informative and interesting product descriptions, which would encourage the customer to complete the purchase either online or in the physical shop of the company,” said Liivamägi.

Results of Liivamägi’s master’s thesis reveal that retailers should focus more on the information left behind by customers who abandon the shopping cart. Using this information, it is possible to attract potential buyers back to the store and by offering them suitable content, motivate the customers to buy.
 

Additional information:
Annika Liivamägi, author of the master’s thesis, annika.liivamagi@gmail.com
Andres Kuusik, UT Head of Chair of Marketing, 516 0918, andres.kuusik@ut.ee
 

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