Virtual checkouts abandoned almost twice as often as bricks and mortar sales

New research from banking giant Barclaycard has found that online shoppers abandon checkout at the last minute almost twice as often as they do in physical stores.

Some 41% of shoppers are said to have discarded virtual baskets in the past year, while just 24% of us have walked out of a store with items in hand.

These lost opportunities are said to be worth £18 billion a year to retailers, many of whom (59%) are said to be unaware just how close they are to boosting sales. Just 27% of retailers are said to analyse the browsing behaviour of their clients online meaning that many may be unaware of what triggers customers to suddenly abandon their shopping experience. Illustrating the gap in knowledge, the research shows that 45% of e-tailers may actually be unable to pinpoint lost sales by gender and 41% by age.

Millenials have been shown to be the most difficult shoppers to convert, with those aged 18 to 24 also proving indecisive.

Constructive analysis of shopper buying habits is further shown to be lacking with the revelation that 31% of merchants would struggle to pinpoint the time of year when their website sees the greatest rate of dropout. 37% were unable to demonstrate peaks and throughs relating to time of day.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, pre-Christmas months have the greatest potential for loss with December leading the dropout, followed by November and January when the deepest sales kick in.

Those chasing lost customers largely do so by email prompts (30%), while 19% issue a basket expiry notice.

Clare Bailey, an expert in independent retail who worked on the research said: “It is so important that retailers not only invest in marketing to drive footfall to their websites but also in their payment process to ensure that the online shopping experience is as seamless and hassle-free as possible.

“In the same way that consumers can lose interest in a purchase when buying in-store due to long queues, they are also put off by confusing and long check-out processes online. As such, retailers don’t want to 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.”

Of those retailers capturing basket dropout demographic data, 39% say women are more likely than men (19%) to abandon online shopping at the cart. 45% can’t spot a difference.