An Experian study has revealed that just under 50 per cent of online shoppers in the UK abandoned a shopping basket in 2011 – the equivalent of over £1billion in value. When I read this it did strike a chord, because I myself have abandoned an online shopping basket – more than once.
For me, there have been a few reasons why I’ve left the trolley in the aisle and gone elsewhere, or maybe just not bothered at all. Sometimes it’s as simple as I’ve changed my mind – I don’t need to buy this dress after all, I’ve got one just like it – save your money Sarah! But more often than not, there are other reasons, and if online retailers don’t take note of these statistics, and take action, they’ll continue to face abandoned baskets and lost revenue.
Check me Out – Pronto
One thing that really grates for me is a long checkout process. I’ve spent time browsing and choosing what I want, now I want to pay for it, get back to what I was doing before the call of retail therapy got the better of me, and look forward to the postman turning up with my stuff. What I don’t want to see is a mile-long list of optional add-ons, especially ones that I carefully have to uncheck so I don’t end up paying for a surprise gift. Airlines are good at this – how many times have you suddenly realised you’re also paying for insurance and a carbon-offset donation as well as your flights?
Neither do I want too many clicks or screens. Retailers should make sure there is minimum fuss and space between clicking buy, and seeing that final ‘thank you for your order’ message. If you’re in a shop, and the checkout queue is really long, will you bother waiting? And if you do join the queue, and there’s a salesperson there trying to fill your basket with more stuff you don’t really want … how long will you last? It’s the same online. So listen up retailers – let us check out quickly!
Do you really need to know my shoe size?
Another annoying thing is being asked for too much information. Yes you need my name, address, phone number and email address. OK if I’m buying certain things, like wine, you’ll need my date of birth. But why do you need to know my gender, ethnicity, occupation, how many times I go online, when was the last time I played golf, etc.? OK it’s market research – but don’t bombard me with it when I’m trying to buy something – if I feel like helping you out, and you ask me nicely, I might consider doing it – after I’ve finished shopping.
Something else that stops me in my tracks before I check out is being hit with a totally ridiculous postage charge and suddenly being made aware that the prices quoted didn’t include VAT. That really, seriously gets me. There was one the other day: I bought a few toiletries which came to £10. The total at the checkout? £26.95! So annoying – of course I left the website with haste. Make it clear, retailers – be upfront about how much postage will be charged and realise that consumers are used to seeing prices with the VAT already included.
Selling online? Abandoned baskets plaguing your sales figures? Why not take some time to run through the checkout process yourself. If it takes too long, asks for too much information, or your postage charges aren’t competitive – have a review!