A new report from GFS and Retail Economics suggests UK online retailers are missing out on over £30bn a year due to shoppers not purchasing items they have added to their baskets, but what are the main reasons for this?
The report suggests delivery options are a sticking point and that retailers and customers are not on the same wavelength here. While 83% of retailers believe they meet their customers’ needs with the options they offer, less than half of consumers (48%) agree.
Nearly a quarter (24.8%) of purchases end up being ditched before checkout because of problems related to delivery, according to the report. In some cases, high delivery costs put customers off, though a lack of flexibility can be just as much of a deterrent, as can slow delivery speeds.
Previous work from GFS has highlighted that while retailers might think flat delivery rates and times keep the purchases process simple, customers often see this as too rigid. Instead, they appreciate options such as standard or next-day delivery, as well as the ability to select their own delivery date and time.
In an increasingly impatient online world, it’s not just speed of delivery that can lead would-be customers to pull the plug on their purchases, but slow or user-unfriendly websites as well. GFS notes that unwieldy checkout forms that ask shoppers to manually enter their address and other details can cause them to become bored and have second thoughts about buying. Forms where users can simply enter their postcode and select their full address from the drop-down options make this process a lot less tedious.
Forcing customers to create an account in order to make a purchase can also lead them astray. Retailers should offer a guest checkout option to cater to those who do not want to open accounts and may have reservations about the way their data is being used.
It’s important to remember that some degree of online basket abandonment is inevitable, as some people simply add items to their basket as a form of “wishlist” and have little intention of making an immediate purchase. However, abandonment rates online seem eye-wateringly high – in excess of 80% according to some studies over the years – suggesting that businesses need to take heed of customers’ qualms when selling online.
A smart, easy-to-use website with simple and well-functioning forms is a start when it comes to online retail. If you’d like to sell more online, chat with Engage Web about your needs today.