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Retailers lose a collective £18bn as four in 10 abandon online baskets

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Shoppers are more fickle when it comes to online shopping, with 41% of UK consumers reported to have abandoned a transaction at a virtual checkout this year in comparison to 24% who have walked away from a purchase in brick-and-mortar stores, finds new research from Barclaycard.

The items most likely to be discarded in a ’window shopped and dropped’ trend include women’s clothing (29%), men’s clothing (26%) and entertainment items (26%).

Despite a clear opportunity for retailers to combat basket abandonment that’s worth an average of £29.37 each month and £18 billion a year, 59% retailers are unaware of the average buyer drop-out rate on their websites and a mere 27% report to analyse the browsing behaviour of their clientele who abandon their baskets. In addition, less than a half (45%) are able to pinpoint lost sales by gender and a further 41% by age group.

This knowledge gap is also evident when to identifying specific shopper behaviour patterns online. Some 31% of merchants reveal that they struggle to name a month when their website sees the highest level of shopping basket drop-out, whereas 37% are unable to identify the time of day when this phenomenon peaks.

Retailers route to drive online conversion

The research reveals that the most useful tactic retailers use to tackle digital basket abandonment are automated email reminders (30%), followed by a shopping basket expiry period (19%), while 29% plan to introduce these methods in the future.

“It is so important that retailers not only invest in marketing to drive footfall to their websites but also in their payment process to ensure that the online shopping experience is as seamless and hassle-free as possible, says Clare Bailey, independent retail expert.

“In the same way that consumers can lose interest in a purchase when buying in-store due to long queues, they are also put off by confusing and long check-out processes online. As such, retailers don’t want to waste their efforts in helping customers get items into the basket only to fall at the final hurdle when customers drop out because of problems at the check-out.”

The research went on to identify some of the key factors which contribute to an increase of consumers abandonment behaviour, unveiling that peak time for online shopping drop-out range between 8pm to 10pm and 6pm to 8pm.

Amongst the most indecisive shoppers are millennials (aged 24-34), followed by a younger age cohort, aged 18 to 24 years old.

Retail peak seasons appear amongst the leading ones for highest rates of basket drop out. In fact, December takes the first place for virtual cart abandonment, November and January take the second place, as buyers browse for Christmas present ideas, Black Friday and January sales.

Of those retailers who capture demographic data, 39% say women are more likely to leave their online shopping, versus to 19% who report that men do-while 45% of retailers reveal that men and women are equally indecisive.

Conversely, 17% of shoppers who abandon items online do so because they like to ’window shop’ with no intention to buy, with 12% report to add goods to a virtual basket so they don’t sell out.

“Online basket abandonment rates are a perennial problem for online retailers, but as consumers increasingly shop via retailer websites, it’s becoming ever more important that merchants are equipped to combat this challenge. There are many ways retailers can convert online interest into sales – whether this is reminder emails about items left in online baskets, reducing the steps required to check out online, or securely storing card details so shoppers don’t need to re-enter them every time they visit a site, said dGeorge Allardice, head of strategy at Barclaycard Payment Solutions.

“These actions will be most effective if they are based on insights about shopper behaviour, but as our research shows, there’s currently a knowledge gap that could be holding businesses back. Data from payment gateways such as Barclaycard Smartpay helps retailers to identify ecommerce pain points and make important steps to boost online sales.”

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