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UK retailers risk losing customers at clunky checkouts

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UK retailers risk losing customers through clunky and inflexible checkout procedures, a new report suggests.

The report, Revenue Rescue: saving sales when shoppers stray, analysed the checkout procedures of more than 100 UK retailers and found 33% did not offer a guest checkout option, requiring customers to register in order to buy. Shoppers had to click through an average of five pages to complete the process, while outliers in the research included retailers that asked customers to go through as many as nine pages.

The study also assessed how much flexibility traders gave shoppers to adjust the contents of their baskets – and how well they kept them informed. It found that only 7% of retailers allowed shoppers to change product attributes such as colour or size, while one in ten (10%) retailers did not give shoppers a way to change the quantity of products once in the basket.

More than one-third (38%) of retailers expose their customers to ‘sticker shock’ by revealing the total cost of the items just before purchase. This can be a major factor behind shopping basket abandonment. However, the other 62% display a preview of the shopping basket, allowing shoppers to adjust product details and to keep an eye on the running total.

Georges Berzgal, managing director of Bronto Software Europe, says all of this matters. “The shopping basket is a pivotal moment in online commerce,” he said. “It’s the point at which sales are converted or aborted. Many retailers in the UK are losing customers at the last hurdle due to the length and complexity of the checkout process. The fact that no retailer offered a true one-step checkout is indicative of an industry which is yet to fully provide a transparent, easy and convenient purchasing experience.”

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