SAP: more than a third of UK shoppers frequently abandon online shopping carts

Moving items into carts does not mean the purchase is in the bag for UK online shoppers. According to the SAP Consumer Propensity Study focusing on online shopping behaviour, more than a third (38%) discard carts sometimes or all the time, mainly because shipping costs are higher than expected (62%). Price-sensitive UK shoppers also desert carts because they are only using them to compare prices of similar products (41%), or because the items they are interested in purchasing are out of stock (38%).

More than 1,000 consumers in the UK were surveyed on their use of online carts and motivation to click ‘purchase’. The results reflect that more than a third of online shoppers tend to drag their feet before making a decision. 35% do not check-out immediately, allowing items to sit in the cart for durations ranging from an hour to more than a week. The top three online purchase categories among British shoppers include fashion (80%), travel (73%) and entertainment experiences (66%).

The chances of cart abandonment are higher for products relating to fashion (22%) and furniture (15%), followed by financial products (14%) and digital goods (14%). When asked what would drive shoppers to make the purchase, discounts emerged as the top factor (52%), followed by responses to customer queries about the item they are interested in (26%).

“Selling today is more complicated than ever, especially in the UK, where sales have suffered the biggest decline since the mid-nineties. It’s clear that retailers need to take steps to boost customer engagement and increase conversion,” said Roland van Breukelen, UK&I marketing director, SAP Customer Experience. “Data that provides insights into individual customers’ preferences and habits allows retailers to achieve a consistent, complete view of their customers, and draw useful conclusions about what’s important to them.”

“Once they know why shoppers are abandoning carts, retailers can determine the best way to remove barriers and encourage follow-through on the purchase,” he continued. “For instance, retailers can integrate back-office and e-commerce systems to provide customers with a real time view of stock availability to offer the consumer different purchasing options such as click and collect. They can also provide assistance via online chats, use retargeting to get consumers to visit again, send reminders if they left something in the cart, or follow up by providing a special promotional code.”

Within the UK’s mature, highly competitive market, online shoppers are clear about what they wish to see from brands to make their online purchase experience more positive. Consumers are weary of retailers’ suggestions, with only 6% interested in recommendations at least half the time. Instead, improving the online purchase experience relates to providing easy exchanges and returns (66%); offering comparison tools so shoppers can compare prices and specifications with other similar products and services (44%); and having a physical store where they can test out products (34%).

“Shoppers need to feel like they can trust the entity they buy from, which is why retailers need to ensure there is no room for error when it comes to convenience and speed. This requires a robust omni-channel approach which provides a view of the customer across all touch points at all times, and advanced analytics to anticipate customer behaviours and understand their real-time intent. As a result, brands will be able to provide a personalised and responsive consumer experience before and after the checkout process,” added van Breukelen.