Retailers miss out on £39.4bn of sales in abandoned baskets during lockdown

Research from Barclaycard Payments reveals that UK retailers have lost out on more than £39.4bn in potential sales over the last 12 months, as lockdown sees the value of online abandoned baskets more than double since 2018.

Research from Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that high delivery costs added at the last minute are to blame for 37% of abandoned baskets, with cyber window shopping (26%) and lengthy payment authentication processes (24%) also increases the likelihood of customers dropping out at checkout.

The data shows 71% of retailers who know their website’s online abandonment rate has improved their analytics software to better understand customer behaviour and tackle this drop out, with 58% of this cohort doing so within the last twelve months. These improvements were essential for 76% of merchants who saw the opportunity to leverage online sales while their physical stores were closed – with Barclaycard Payments seeing 50% of its transactions now come through e-commerce channels, up from 40% at the start of the pandemic.

The findings also show that data analytics software could be used more effectively by retailers, with only 69% able to identify the average basket abandonment rate on their website. While this is a significant improvement from 25% when the same research was conducted three years ago, it means that nearly a third of online retailers are still missing out on this important insight to help convert sales.

However, with a better understanding of basket abandonment rates, many retailers are starting to act to improve these figures. Almost half (49%) have reduced the number of steps to checkout, with a similar amount (48%) now sending automated emails to remind customers about abandoned items.

abandoned baskets add to basketChange makers rewarded

The benefit of adapting operations based on customer tracking is shown by those that have enhanced their payments offering. Over half (53%) of retailers have introduced a digital wallet, for example Apple Pay or Android Pay, with a similar number optimising their website for mobile use (49%) or making improvements to an app (47%). These changes are paying dividends. Those that have invested in introducing an app, or improving an existing app, have seen basket abandonment fall by 16%; investing in an improved e-commerce gateway reduced the rate by 15%, and introducing ‘swipe to buy’ similarly decreased dropouts by 15%.

This reflects consumer data, where the merits of a dedicated retailer app are clear, with shoppers least likely to abandon a basket on an app (5% compared to 31% on a laptop). Discounts are given in exchange for downloading apps (23%), feeling less distracted using them (18%) and finding them easier to navigate (18%) all decrease the likelihood of ditching a purchase. In addition, 22% report only downloading apps from their favourite retailers, which naturally reduces the amount of competition per purchase.

The UK’s ‘most abandoned’ items online

The research also highlights the most commonly abandoned baskets include items in, homewares (34%), smart clothing such as suits and dresses (31%), gadgets (29%), party outfits (23%) and holiday wardrobes (23%). Many have then logged off and left their shopping unpurchased due to distractions from other shopping items (22%) or forgetting what’s in their shopping basket altogether (18%).

With the deadline for implementing SCA (Strong Customer Authentication) looming in September, resulting in two-factor authentication for many purchases, it’s crucial that retailers look to reduce friction at the check-out with a service that works with their online payment gateway. Barclaycard’s Transact is one such service, which speeds up the payment process by verifying genuine transactions more quickly, thereby reducing basket abandonment.

Marc Pettican, President of Barclaycard Payments, said, “Online shopping has traditionally been the convenient alternative to bricks and mortar, but as ecomm has boomed during the pandemic, so too has the number of purchases abandoned at the checkout. 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. With the SCA deadline on the horizon, easy-to-integrate technology, such as Barclaycard’s Transact product which works with existing payment gateways to reduce the number of steps at the checkout, is one way to help combat basket abandonment – and increase shopper satisfaction at the same time.”

Claire Bailey, Independent Retail Expert, said, “This research provides retailers with invaluable insights that could help them buck the growing trend of basket abandonment. Ensuring payment processes are as streamlined as possible should be a major priority for all online businesses, because every extra second it takes customers to checkout increases the risk of lost revenue.

“Having a dedicated app also has a significant impact on decreasing the number of items abandoned in baskets. With the increased volume of online traffic, retailers should ensure they are set up to reap the benefits, not the empty baskets.”