How To Recover Abandoned Carts With Ease?

Abhinav Girdhar
By Abhinav Girdhar | Last Updated on March 5th, 2024 7:35 am

App Builder Appy Pie, January 20: No matter which level you are at in the lifecycle of your ecommerce app, the issue of abandoned carts looms heavy on your head. For an average online store, the cart abandonment rate is somewhere around 70%, but this shouldn’t scare you as it is quite possible to recover these abandoned carts in an effective and cost efficient manner. While we have talked earlier about preventing or reducing the abandonment of shopping carts, here we shall focus on recovering them. More than 85% of the abandonment happens on the mobile devices, hence mobile optimization and testing should be on a rather high priority for an online store owner. In this post, we shall talk about what an abandoned cart is, why should we recover it, and what are the most effective tips and tricks to do so.

What is an abandoned cart?

While shopping online, it is a common phenomenon for the customers to add an object to their cart, but not complete the purchase and there are a number of reasons for that to happen. They may only be browsing through, researching the product across different stores, or just getting an idea of shipping and other taxes on your store. On the other hand they might have had the intent to buy, but got distracted or went bargain hunting. No matter what the reason be for this abandonment, chances are that the customer was interested in the product that they added to the cart.

What’s the Big Whoop?

If you are wondering, whether it is worth the trouble to recover an abandoned cart, then let us tell you “Yes! It’s totally worth it!” One of the most important and obvious benefits is the increase in revenue and profit for your store. It is always cheaper to get the customer into your proverbial funnel, than acquiring a totally new customer. The second advantage of recovering an abandoned cart is that you can back track to the reason for the abandonments. A conversion due to a discount means that you have priced your products higher than the average customer is ready to pay. When you see that the abandonment is higher in a particular geographical location, chances are it is because of higher shipping rates. There would be many such other observations that you would stumble upon when you work to recover the abandoned carts and they would contribute in getting your revenues up and help you improve your business overall. It is important to remember that if the customer added the product to their cart, it means that they want to buy the product, and might consider buying it, even with a small incentive.

Why do shoppers abandon their carts?

The shopping patterns and behaviours vary wildly depending on the segment that we are looking at, but there are some clear similarities in the habits and preferences which determine where they finally put their money. While they share certain preferences, they also have some common frustrations which they encounter while making a purchase. So what are the reasons that lead to shoppers abandoning their carts and never coming back to complete their purchase.
  1. Hidden Costs Sprung Upon Them
  2. When the consumers encounter any unexpected or hidden costs like extra shipping costs or any other taxes, they are likely to abandon the cart. In fact, 54% of the consumers left because of unexpected or what they considered hidden costs.
  3. Forced To Create A User Account Or Login
  4. An ecommerce consumer is looking for convenience, they want to shop quickly and are looking for instant gratification. In such a scenario when an app requires them to create a new user account or login, chances are they are not going to want to do it. 22% of the consumers abandon their carts when forced to create an account or login on the app.
  5. Browsing Or Comparing Products To Buy Later
  6. This is one of those reasons that are impossible to eliminate entirely. It is common among ecommerce consumers to add some items to the cart before conducting a research and comparing items on different apps or within the same app.
  7. Concerned About Secure Payment On The App
  8. It is a digital era indeed, hence the hacks and frauds have gone digital as well. A digital consumer whether they are new or seasoned would always be concerned about the apps that seem to be a little loose on security. This feeling may come from design flaws like outdated layouts or missing images or even the order process.
  9. Confronted A Long & Confusing Checkout Process
  10. Once the consumer has made the decision to buy, they don’t want to wait any longer than is absolutely necessary. If the checkout process is long winding and is confusing for the people trying to complete the process, they might get frustrated enough to abandon the cart.
  11. Unable To Locate A Coupon Code
  12. There are some consumers who simply love hunting for deals. When they can’t find a discount or coupon code on your app, they are going to go and look for it elsewhere. As many as 8% of the consumers abandon their carts when they can’t find a coupon code and wait until one shows up.
  13. Lack Of Express Shipping Options
  14. Like we mentioned earlier, we are all about instant gratification today and especially when a purchase is time bound like festivals, birthdays, anniversaries and the like. Hence if your app is unable to offer timely delivery, consumers will abandon their carts.
  15. Couldn’t Find A Suitable Payment Option
  16. There are certain shopping habits that are developed over time and we tend to stick to them over time. This is especially true when it comes to making online payments. If your consumer is unable to find their preferred mode of payment while making a purchase, chances are they are going to abandon the cart.
  17. Confusing Or Unfavourable Return Policy
  18. The commitment to buy a product without a clear idea of return policies is a tough one to make. 66% of the consumers reportedly would agree to paying more in case they are offered more generous return policies.
  19. Inefficient Customer Support
  20. In a competitive world, good customer service is what sets an app apart from the others. A whopping 83% of the online shoppers need help while making a purchase at one point or another. And a little over 50% of the consumers admitted that they are more likely to complete a purchase if they get live chat support on the app.

Helpful Tips To Recover Abandoned Carts

Whatever the reason for this abandonment be, it is possible to make some kind of a dent in the numbers by simply picking on some small tips and tricks that work beautifully to achieve big results.
1. Targeted Push Notifications
If you have had an app for some time, chances are you are aware of the wonders a well-timed push notification do to any campaign. In the recovery of your abandoned emails too, the push notifications are an important and a popular tool. There is a remarkable recovery rate that has been noticed by employing timed and personalised push notifications. These personalised and targeted push notifications can also offer some lucrative discounts to nudge the customers into coming back and completing the purchase by recovering their carts. This may be sent within minutes of the abandonment but for best results, these notifications needs to be sent within the first 24 hours of the abandonment.
2. Retargeting The Promotion
There are two dangerously wrong reasons or misinterpretations that can stem from a customer abandoning their carts. The first is thinking that the customer did not like the product so they abandoned it, and the second is that they like it so they will remember it and will definitely come back for it. The dangers of the first misinterpretation is that you do not make any effort from your end dismissing the customer entirely. In the second scenario you over-estimate the customer’s interest and hope that since they like it, they will remember it and will buy it later. However, one important thing to remember that for people out of sight goes out of mind real fast! When you retarget ads to these customers, you remind them of a product that they liked to begin with and there is a good chance they will click on it and complete the transaction. Retargeting Ads are a great tool in situations where you do not have their mail addresses and can be combined with pop ups and push notifications to achieve some great results. The tricky thing here is to not wait for too long before sending these out. Delaying this action too long might lead to the customer buying the desired product from a competitor and you losing out on this and future sales with them.
3. Sending The Perfect Email Out
Emails are the most rudimentary and probably one of the most traditional tools in reaching out to customers. A well written email that is titled aptly, is crisp & clear in its intent, and offers just the right stuff to the customer is bound to bring in great results. The email needs to be targeted well, and probe the consumer regarding the reason for abandonment, be timed well, and offer a compelling reason to buy! It is important to know what would lure out the customers and invite them back to your app and complete the purchase. Follow up with one email, the second, and preferably a third to remind the buyer what they left behind on your site. We will elaborate on how to create the perfect email that would help you recover abandoned carts quite easily!
4. Follow Up With A Sale
There would always be times and situations when your customers would not return even after repeated emails and other attempts. So what do you do then? You can’t give up that easily can you? Send them a follow up email whenever any product from their abandoned cart goes on sale and offer it to them as an exclusive deal! More than 50% of the shoppers say that they would buy the products in their cart if they were to be offered at a discounted price. This is essentially your last chance to discover the lost carts. At the end of this campaign, if the customer fails to buy the product, refrain from mailing them again for these products.

Top Tips to Draft Ideal Recovery Email

The emails or the follow up emails that are sent out to the customers are of extreme importance when it comes to your attempts to recover an abandoned cart. Hence it is important that it be perfect. Following are the top tips regarding the recovery emails that you need to send out to your customers and lure them back to complete the purchase.
1. Send out targeted emails.
The first thing to consider while planning to send out a shopping cart recovery email is that the mail should be targeted to the particular user. It should be tailored in a manner that the consumers gets a sense that the mail has been sent out, just for them. It may include pictures of the abandoned products to remind the customer why they loved the product and that they still want it.
2. Probe for the real reasons of abandonment.
Run a variety of offers and figure out the reason why your customers are abandoning their carts. One way to do this is by running split tests with your email service provider you may send identical emails with three different offers which may include offers like free shipping, product discount and free gift. A split test of this kind helps you figure out which kind of email or offer made the most money providing you a direction to pursue in furture for abandoned cart emails.
3. Put forth an offer that is compelling enough for the customer.
Converting the abandoned carts into transactions is of great importance for any ecommerce business. Hence it is only logical that only the best offers be made in the recovery mails that  you send out, whether it is free shipping, or a big discount, or even a tempting free gift or a gift card/voucher. This might be based on the kind of information that you have garnered about your consumer, their buying patterns or behaviour and more. Split testing also helps determine this.
4. Write a crisp mail, be specific.
The most important thing, that needs to be kept in mind is the actual draft of the mail. It begins right from the subject line, which not only needs to be personalized but should also contain the name of at least one item that was left behind in the cart. This immediately draws the attention of the customer and raises the open rates. In the later follow ups of your mails, people or the customers you are targeting through your mails might have forgotten about the products altogether. The most effective emails are those that clearly specify the items that were left behind in the cart. When the focus is on the item or items that were left behind, and it communicates that the product cannot be help for too long, the customer would feel compelled to reconsider at the least and at the very best might even decide to buy it.
5. Let your emails reflect your brand persona.
Most of the customers end up on your app, somewhere because they connect with your brand and its value, and may not even realise it. When you send out a recovery email, it is important that your email continues to reflect the brand values and persona quite strongly without getting too wordy. However, in communicating this value ensure that the focus still stays on the product that you are looking to resell. Take this opportunity to remind people of why they like your brand and you will definitely engage with them better thus reducing the cart abandonment percentage in the long run.
6. Personalization is Key!
It is humbling to know that 94% of the businesses have confessed that email personalization is key to their success. While you may have already achieved it to an extent by putting in a strong visual of the product that was left behind in the cart, you can go a step further. Mentioning the customer by name is a great place to begin with. Further it is a great idea to write a plain text mail that looks like a mail from an acquaintance and has a conversational quality instead of looking like a promotional mail out rightly. Also, let them know how awesome their choice of product is, a “stamp of approval” even from a stranger goes a long way boosting such decisions.
7. A deal, discount or incentive.
Don’t we all love a discount? When you offer a deal, discount, or any other kind of incentive you encourage the customer who might have been a little unsure about the purchase because of the price. Most of the people abandon carts due to the prices, and when the right discount comes their way, it is highly probable that they would cross over and complete the purchase. While discount is a great incentive, a sense of urgency mentioning limited items in the stock is an effective nudge too! However, you need to exercise some caution as well, because your customers might use this as a hack to avoid paying full price and look at this as a way to get discounts.
8. A sneak peek of related products.
There are times when your customer might not be totally sold on the items they initially added to their carts, however might be looking for something in similar category. In this case, a suggestion or recommendation of similar or related products might come as a solution to them and might work as a conversion for you. However, as you make the recommendation, do not steal the focus away from the products in the abandoned cart. The suggested items may be a recommendation of similar products or products that go well with the products left behind.
9. Customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials.
The testimonials or reviews on the email let the customers know that there are genuine buyers who have bought the product and their opinion is easy to refer to. This helps them understand whether the product is what they are looking for and offers the much coveted “stamp of approval”.
10. Time it just right!
The time when you decide to send out the email is of extreme importance, as the memory or the placement of the product in the customer’s mind decides whether your recovery campaign will reach fruition.
  • Should you, shouldn’t you? While you might be inclined to send the customer a mail the moment you get their mail address, but in our opinion, not a wise decision. Offer them enough time to be able to actually make the purchase. Ideally a 60-minute window is good enough. If the customer ends up making their purchase in these 60 minutes, no need to send out an email, but if they don’t consider the cart abandoned and shoot out a mail.
  • The first email This is the most effective mail of all and should be sent out after a waiting window of 60 minutes. The 60 minute window is to offer the customer an opportunity to actually complete the purchase, hoping they still have the purchase on mind. There might be multiple apps or windows open as they consider making a purchase, and a good chance is that they would go back to their mail inbox after they have abandoned the cart. Hence getting a mail quickly to their inbox is definitely in your interest. 60 minutes is a balance of both the scenarios and has proven to be an ideal time period in most cases.
  • The second email Sending just one mail and stopping right there might give you some results but the opportunity is not exploited to its max this way. Follow it up with a second mail within 24 hours of the first one. How did we reach at this conclusion, you ask! It is normal buying behaviour! The online shoppers tend to open up the apps or online stores at the same time usually, whether it is after they have put their kids down for a nap, or at the time of retiring to their bed after being done with their chores and relaxing, it is usually a matter of routine, hence if they were shopping at 12 in the noon, shoot this reminder mail at 12 in the noon next day and you would have higher chances of their engagement in your app.
  • The third email As a final attempt, try and shoot out your third email anywhere between the third and seventh day depending on the customer demographics, the nature of your product, the kind of discounts you have on offer. This is the time when you should offer your best deals, whether it is a discount or any other form of incentive. Also, you might raise the pressure with this email letting your customers know that there are only limited stocks left!
While the first email might be considered the most effective one, the second and third emails combined bring about 40% of the conversions, hence while designing the recovery campaign, let it be a series of well timed and beautifully planned emails that are aimed at conversion.
11. Perfect copy and the right tonality.
The idea of sending out a recovery email is to get the customer back on the shopping page of your app or store. Hence, consider this not as a sales opportunity, but as an opportunity to offer customer service. This is someone who is already sold on your store and maybe even the product, because they have already put in their email addresses for you to use. Make sure that the copy of your email reflects that you want to help. Include question or questions like
  • “How may we help?”
  • “Reply to the mail with your query.”
  • “You can reach us on this number.”
  • “Do you have any questions for us?”
The emails might increasingly become a little more pressing, but the idea is to keep the tonality helpful. The email is not a promotional email, the focus should entirely lie on the abandoned transaction and intent should be conversion.
12. Do not annoy them.
Around 40% of the customers reported that the recovery emails were quite annoying and about 15% wished the companies would stop shooting them out. But do not consider these figures in isolation, because 70% of the respondents also mentioned that the recovery emails were helpful, helped them make the purchasing decision, even when they did feel annoyed by them. Sometimes the frequency and at other times the tonality might be annoying for your customers. Shoot emails only for the important matters and not for every little activity. A well targeted, contextual email, that is personalised would never annoy an interested customer.
13. Include appropriate CTAs.
Like we mentioned earlier, the only intent of sending out an email is to get the customer to complete a transaction, hence it is just the one action you want your consumer to take. In your email, ensure that your CTA is crystal clear, is super-clickable, and that your email copy is crisp & focused. Some suggested and highly effective CTAs include:
  • Take me back to my basket
  • Claim my product
  • Complete my order
  • Continue shopping
14. Employ attractive visuals and other resources.
While making an online buy, it is only the visuals that help you decide whether you want to buy something. In the recovery mail, a good visual makes it look amazing, and reminds the customer about what they had left behind, making them want it even more – “What you see, is what you covet.” While designing the email, it is important to consider the placement of the visuals including that of the CTA. It should be prominent and placed where it would grab their attention easily.

How to reduce or prevent shopping cart abandonment?

As critical as the problem maybe, it is impossible to entirely eliminate it entirely as there would always be some consumers who would abandon their shopping midway. However, there are some steps that you can take to improve the experience you extend to the consumers that may help you reduce the phenomenon of shopping cart abandonment.
  1. Build Trust In The Consumers For The Buying Process
  2. The digital consumers are wary of the cyber crimes and other fraudulent activities, and it is upon you as the owner of the service or the app to dissipate these fears by building trust. The consumer is going to be handing over their financial information to you, it is only natural that they are looking for something that they can put their faith in. Adding an SSL certificate and trust seal contributes to an increased conversion rate. A glorious example here is that of the Central Reservation Service that increases conversions by 30% when VeriSign was added on their page. On the other hand, around 61% of the people did not buy because the logo that they trusted wasn’t there and more than 75% people didn’t complete the purchase because they didn’t recognize the logo.
  3. Do Away With Any Price Shocks Or Surprises
  4. Hidden or shock prices are one of the leading causes of cart abandonment. This typically is about the shipping costs that might only be displayed at the end of the entire check out process. To avoid this, one of the most efficient things to do is keeping your shipping prices or additional taxes totally transparent. One more strategy to employ here is to discount or waive off the shipping charges for a minimum cart value.
  5. Send Out Cart Abandonment Emails
  6. When the customers abandon their carts towards the end of the checkout process, you probably already have their email addresses. Create an autoresponder that would be triggered the moment they abandon the cart and reminds the consumer of the items that they have left behind in the cart. This can then be followed up with a couple of well spaced out emails within next 24 hours. Design this email well with clear pictures of the items that they have left behind in the cart with a clear call-to-action to go back to your app and complete the purchase. If all else fails, then you can go back later and offer them a discount to nudge them a little.
  7. Offer The Option Of Checking Out With A Guest Login
  8. One of the reasons of shopping cart abandonment that we mentioned earlier is the requirement to create an account or a login. This part of the process might be unacceptable to the consumer or might make the checkout process seem longer to them and make them leave without buying. However, the moment you add an option for the consumers to checkout without having to create a login, as a guest user the attitude changes and the process becomes favourable to the consumer. The information you might need, will be at your disposal when they fill out their shipping details which you might offer to save for future orders.
  9. Reach Out To Them On A Personal Level
  10. Autoresponders are good but might lack the immediate problem solving skills or the human touch. The moment you receive a notification of abandonment, reach out to them asking the reason for the abandonment, you’ll be surprised by the number of times you can help them solve these problems on your own and help them return and complete the purchase.
  11. Analyse & Keep An Eye Out For Funnel Leaks
  12. Google Analytics is THE tool for this! It offers you some of the greatest insights into the behaviour of the visitors on your app. It is better to not assume and actually make the effort to study the consumer behaviour when you want to figure out the leak points in the traffic to your app. Trial and error can prove to be an expensive bargain for your app, instead study the flow of visitors and ask relevant questions. Are foreign consumers abandoning shopping carts due to the shipping options? Are there bottlenecks on some of the product listings that you were unaware of? Are there points of confusion that you had no clue about? When you ask these questions, and seek answers to these, you can fine tune the ecommerce experience that your app has to offer.
  13. Remarket What Was Left Behind
  14. In the world of ecommerce, you need to be prepared for at least some people who would inevitably abandon a cart. It is therefore important to have a proper remarketing campaign in place. Remarketing is of absolute importance especially for the ecommerce retailers because if they aren’t remarketing to those who were just about to make a purchase, it means you are effectively limiting yourself to just one opportunity at converting a visitor in one session only – probably something that is impossible in this world of numerous options and low attention span.
  15. Make It Easy To Navigate Especially Between The Cart And The Store
  16. It’s important to have a simple navigation process with as few steps as possible so that the customer is more likely to complete a purchase. It has been established that one fourth that is 25% of the visitors abandon their carts due to complexity of navigation. In doing so, one must however consider the natural shopping patterns where it is usually quite indirect, not necessarily efficient, and definitely non linear. Hence the navigation between the shopping cart and the store should be simplified too. Let the customers save and later return to their carts while helping them navigate through the app with intuitive and logical options between the checkout & product pages.
  17. Get The Genuine Testimonies From Previous Buyers At Strategic Places
  18. Everyone looks for references when it comes to buying a product, and when these references come in the form of customer testimonials they go a long way in inducing trust in the prospective customers who are just on the fence about buying a product. Keep this in mind and encourage your consumers to add a review about your product. These reviews can then be featured on your product pages while featuring them in strategic spots of other relevant landing pages of your app. Let your customers know who else is buying your products.
  19. Offer Free Or Flat Shipping
  20. It is the extra cost above the price of the product that deters the consumers from completing a purchase, hence if you can absorb the shipping costs within the product prices, you can offer free shipping without any qualms. Free shipping is known to not only reduce cart abandonment, but also lead to the consumers spending more than they would have if shipping were charged. Offering free shipping is no mean feat especially for the small business owners as it might eat into their profit. In those situations the following might work pretty well for them. A threshold for free shipping. Instead of offering all the orders for free shipping, you can have a minimum cart value to be qualified for free shipping. Flat Shipping Charges. By offering flat shipping charges the element of surprise is taken out of the picture and your customers go in with full disclosure from you. The third option is to offer discounted shipping. You can offer discounted or really low shipping rates for normal deliveries and can add to the shipping in case the delivery address is really out of the way or for special shipping requests.
  21. Make Sure That The Cart Is Clearly Visible
  22. About one fourth of the customers who add items to cart, do so with the intention of coming back later to complete the purchase. When the cart isn’t visible all through the app, the chances of them forgetting about it completely and moving on are higher. However, even a small cart icon which signifies the number of items in the cart would remain in their memory and increase their chances of coming back to complete the purchase.
  23. Let The Customer Know That You Are Around
  24. Always be ready to serve the customer. The lack of a visible chat or phone support system, discourages the customer who is facing any trouble or doubts with your app anywhere. Even a dedicated FAQ section goes a long way in dispelling any doubts and increasing consumer satisfaction levels. In case you do not have the ability to offer chat services, a customer care number too works for most people.
  25. Make Multiple Payment Options Available
  26. People are creatures of habit and when it comes to money, there is the matter of putting their faith in a particular system. At the time of checkout, if the customer cannot find their preferred mode of payment on the app, they might not feel comfortable with completing the purchase and you lose out on a sure thing.
  27. Offer Till Stocks Last & Display The Units Left
  28. Creating a sense of urgency in a customer is a tactic that every business has employed and benefited from. If a customer left an item in the cart and did not complete the purchase let them know that the stocks are limited or if it is the last piece or only 3 pieces left. Knowing that they might not get the product later when they need it, will definitely encourage them to complete the purchase for fear of losing out.
  29. Employ Strategic Exit Intent Pop-Ups
  30. Exit intent pop-ups offer an amazing world of opportunities for you, especially if you have never used it. These can be installed on any of the pages and works by detecting when the visitor is about to leave. It is at this moment that a pop up message is sent out to offer a deal or a coupon and tries to lure in the customer who is on the verge of leaving the app.
  31. Incorporate A Progress Indicator To Help Them Know How Far They Have Come In The Process
  32. This is a big help. Imagine being in a place where you are walking on with no idea of how far your destination is, anxious yet? It’s the same in case of a visitor on your app too, during checkout, if they can see that they are almost done they are going to stick to the process. In absence of this indicator, their anxiety might get the better of them and they might abandon the cart and move on.
  33. Offer The Consumers An Option To “Save For Later” or “Add To Wishlist” Or Both
  34. When the customer has an option to save something for later or create a wish list, you are increasing their aspiration levels and their chances of coming back to buy that one thing that they want to buy, but probably can’t buy then and there for various reasons. This wish list that the customer creates while browsing through your app, has a way of funnelling into a sale in future.
  35. Provide A Reliable Money Back Guarantee Or Other Such Assurance
  36. Customers are known to be willing to pay higher prices for the same item, when they see that the return policies are easy. Online shopping always has that element of intangibility as you cannot hold the material of the product in your hands and feel it. A return policy that is favourable and reliable allays any such misgivings while assuring the customer that they can always change their mind.
  37. A Highly Responsive App Is Imperative
  38. An app that takes too long to load is going to frustrate the customer. It is instant gratification that a customer is looking for while shopping online. In that frame of mind, an app that is not so responsive or takes longer than a couple of seconds to load might wear off their patience leading to shopping cart abandonment.
  39. Let It Be Easy To Create User Accounts
  40. A personalised customer account is a rich information resource for the retailers and does invoke a certain sense of loyalty and belonging in the customer. However, forcing a user to create an account is one of the leading reasons leading to them abandoning their cart due to the hurdle of going through the process of creating an account. When you request a consumer to create a login, make sure that the process is super-efficient, with minimum steps and never ask for the same information more than once.
  41. Minimise Cross-selling On The Check Out Page Or Eliminate It Entirely
  42. Once your customer has reached the checkout page, it is wise to let them quickly complete the transaction. When you offer them anything at the checkout, the chances of them getting distracted by the temptation of finding something better might defeat the whole purpose. If the customer is going to abandon the cart of their own accord, it is one thing, you don’t have to give them a reason to do so.
  43. Frequently Review The Process
  44. Take time out to test out the whole process of buying products from your app and experience what a typical customer goes through. When you continuously test and refine the shopping cart checkout process, you would come across many details that might have escaped your attention as a developer.

Concluding Note

Abandoned shopping carts are an inevitability and it might not be possible to stop the phenomenon completely. The good news though is that there are steps you can take to prevent it, and there are ways that you can employ to recover them. Follow our suggested tricks and tips to see the statistics change and increase your revenues.

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Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie