Online retailers lose out on billions in sales as baskets get abandoned

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(Image credit: Future)

Many e-commerce retailers have lost out on sales to the tune of £39.4bn during lockdowns over the last year, according to new research from Barclaycard Payments.

Despite the fact that online shopping is booming, many consumers have been abandoning their baskets midway through a transaction. Lengthy checkout processes have been a key reason for this, although 37% of those questioned were also put off after spotting high delivery costs.

Retailers in the homewares, fashion and electronics sectors were the main outlets to see customers defecting and leaving their incomplete shopping cart behind. Nevertheless, Barclaycard Payments says it has continued to see a rise in revenues from online shopping, with 50% of all transactions now coming from e-commerce channels - up 40% from the early days of the pandemic.

On a more positive note for e-commerce retailers, many outlets have seen an improvement in converting sales by making the experience more enjoyable for consumers. Investing in an app has been done by 16% of businesses, and introducing a unified e-commerce gateway offering more payment options has been deployed by 15%. Meanwhile, a further 15% of retailers have introduced the convenience of a ‘swipe to buy’ system. However, as a result of the lockdowns the value of abandoned baskets has gone on to more than double since 2018.

Data analytics

The report added that 71% of retailers who identified a problem with website abandonment have boosted their analytics software to try and tackle the issue of lost sales. A further 76% thought it was vital to focus on online sales while physical stores were closed during lockdowns.

The use of analytics software looks is vital for businesses to tackle their lost sales issues and it is clearly being taken more seriously by retailers. But while data analytics software could be used more effectively by outlets, only 69 per cent are currently able to identify the average basket abandonment rate on their website.

However, this is a sizeable improvement from 25% when the same research was conducted three years ago. Nevertheless, that also means nearly a third of online retailers are still missing out by not using suitable tools to help convert sales. Of those businesses that have made improvements, 49% have opted to simplify the sales journey to the checkout while 48% now opt to send customers an email reminder that their shopping cart has been abandoned. 

“Online shopping has traditionally been the convenient alternative to bricks and mortar, but as e-commerce has boomed during the pandemic, so too has the number of purchases abandoned at the checkout," noted Marc Pettican, President of Barclaycard Payments. 

"An increase in choice, slow lengthy payment processes, and websites which are difficult to navigate have all contributed to shoppers deserting their shopping at the last minute."

"To help convert sales, retailers can look to leverage a single, unified payments provider to reduce friction at the point of sale, while also offering shoppers a variety of ways to pay.”

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.