MUMBAI: Indian e-commerce retailers are leaving billions in potential sales unconverted, with more than half of all customers abandoning their cart before purchase according to new research.

A report from Octane Research, reported in Digit India, showed the rate of cart abandonment for online shopping in India stands at 51%, with half of all respondents saying shipping costs added at the end of the shopping process were a purchase deal-breaker and the top reason for cart abandonment.

With the recent Diwali season spurring massive online shopping traffic, a high rate of abandonment can see brands losing billions in potential sales if they don't attempt to re-engage shoppers. The study estimated the revenue opportunity loss for Indian ecommerce platforms added up to $10bn per year.

Online shopping cart abandonment was looked at from the view of both e-commerce marketers and consumers and effectiveness of cart abandonment programs across more than 115 e-commerce portals was evaluated.

Home Furnishing and Gifting were found to have the highest rate of deployment of cart abandonment programs (CAP) in India.

While 34% of Indian e-commerce websites have a program in place to re-engage shoppers who abandoned their cart, two thirds do not have any reminder system to earn back the lost revenue.

The study also found that email-based campaigns are the most successful for reengagement in India, preferred by marketers and consumers alike. Price is used as a major incentive to re-engage customers, with 69% of India retailers offering discounts, special offers or coupons to draw in consumers.

This finding reflects new data by SaleCycle which revealed that 'cart abandonment' emails alerting customers to half-finished online shopping are more effective at converting sales.

The research, reported in eMarketer, shows that 'reminder' emails about abandoned online shopping carts have a 40.5% open rate, more than twice the open rate for regular retail emails. 

Click rates for cart abandonment emails were also significantly higher, and the click-to-purchase rate reached 28.7% vs. 2.5% reported by Experian.

Data sourced from Digit India, eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff