£18bn lost each year through cart abandonment

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Research from Barclaycard reveals that Brits abandon online baskets worth almost £30 a month, potentially resulting in more than £18 billion of lost sales each year. Perhaps even more worrying, while retailers are taking steps to increase conversion, many lack access to crucial customer insights: six in ten merchants are unable to identify the average cart abandonment rate on their website.

UK shoppers each abandon an online basket worth an average of £29.37 every month. The study found shoppers are more fickle when buying online with 41% having abandoned a transaction at a virtual check-out in the last year, compared to 24% who have walked away from a purchase in-store.

59% are unaware of the average buyer drop-out rate on their website and just 27% analyse the browsing behaviour of shoppers who abandon their baskets. A further 45% are also unable to pinpoint lost sales by gender and 41 per cent by age group.

Three in ten merchants struggle to name the month when their website sees the highest level of shopping basket abandonment, while 37% are unable to identify the time of day when drop-outs peak.

The UK’s to 10 ‘most abandoned’ items online

The research also highlights the most commonly-abandoned items:

  1. Women’s knitwear
  2. Leather goods, such as wallets
  3. Women’s lingerie & hosiery
  4. Headphones
  5. Watches
  6. Women’s sportswear
  7. Women’s skirts
  8. Books
  9. Men’s trousers / jeans
  10. Women’s tops & shirts

Online basket abandonment: five key facts

  • 8pm-10pm and 6pm-8pm are the peak times for online shopper drop-out.
  • Retailers identify millennial shoppers (aged 25-34) as the most indecisive online, followed by 18-24-year-olds.
  • December is the month with the highest level of online basket abandonment, followed by November and January, as shoppers browse Christmas present ideas and the Black Friday and January sales.
  • Of those retailers who capture demographic data, two in five (39%) say women are more likely to abandon their online shopping basket, versus one in five (19%) who say men do – while two in five (425) think men and women are equally indecisive.
  • 17% of shoppers who abandon items online do so because they like to ‘window shop’ with no intention to buy – and more than one in ten (125) put items in an online basket to hold on to them 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.

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.”
– George Allardice, Head of Strategy, Barclaycard Payment Solutions

Clare Bailey, an Independent Retail Expert points out that confusing and long check-out processes online quite simply put customer off. Calling for a ‘seamless and hassle-free as possible’ payment process adding that retailers 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.

Whether it be an onerous payment process, surprise carriage charges, inconvenient delivery options or slower than expected despatch times, if you spring a surprise on the consumer at checkout it’s a customer that might not visit again.


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