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Why do online shoppers abandon their baskets – and is it always bad news?

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The conventional wisdom is that abandoned shopping baskets are a drag on ecommerce sales, each representing a missed opportunity to sell. But a new study challenges that assumption. It finds that far from clicking away to another retailer or not making the sale at all, most of online shoppers who abandon their basket mid-purchase have gone away to check that the item works for them. Having done so, they then return to the same retailer to complete that purchase.

Indeed, more than half (53%) of those who abandon their baskets come back at a later point to complete a transaction, found the study from Connexity.

The study, What brings abandoners back?, draws on analysis of the online behaviour of 1,145 consumers from around the world. It found that 32% of online shoppers who did abandon their shopping did so at the checkout. The primary reason given, by 15% of respondents who abandoned a shop, was that they did so because they wanted to confirm the item met their needs. That was followed by 14% who said it was too expensive and they didn’t have a discount coupon, while 11% had a coupon but had problems redeeming it. Finally, 11% said they abandoned because the product they wanted to buy was out of stock.

When the analysis considered different demographics, 25% of 18-34 year-olds said the item was too expensive or they didn’t have a discount coupon, while 14% of 35 to 49-year-olds said the shipping cost was too high. Almost 18% of baby boomers, aged 50 and over, said they wanted to confirm the item met their needs before buying.

The study also threw up some useful hints on communicating with shoppers. It found that some 57% of shoppers completed their purchase between 9am and 5pm, suggesting this was a good time to send messages. Then, 59% of shoppers completed orders if they had a 20% off discount – suggesting vouchers made a significant difference.

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