Online cart abandonment costing retailers £3.4bn a year

Developing better CRO tactics and listening to shopper needs the key to success

New research published this month by Barclays has concluded that a staggering £3.4bn worth of goods is abandoned by online shoppers in the UK each year. Two thirds of the contents of all virtual shopping baskets are abandoned, meaning retailers are missing out on considerable ecommerce revenue every day with poor CRO.

Barclays Corporate Banking Online Retail Report, From Browse to Buy: The Conversion Challenge concluded that there are a number of reasons shoppers abandon their carts before completing the checkout process:


  1. 1

    Shoppers want a better mobile experience, but only 16% of e-tailers say they plan to make mobile shopping a priority

  2. 2

    614 million hours of time are wasted trying to navigate non-mobile friendly or hard to browse sites

  3. 3

    Shoppers want more discount incentives and greater delivery options

  4. 4

    43% abandon their cart or put off checking out because they want to wait for a better offer

What can retailers do to claw back some of the lost £3.4bn?

Shoppers say more streamlined processes would encourage them to complete their online purchase rather than abandon their virtual carts. Mobile apps could make the process easier and would lead to 28% of consumers being ‘more likely’ to complete the transaction. The report finds that this may be a pipe dream however, with many retailers citing the cost of IT investment as prohibitive to app development. In fact, 79% of retailers say they’ll prioritise the in-store experience in the next 12 months instead.

A third of consumers browse on their mobile but many prefer to physically complete a purchase on a second device such as a desktop or laptop computer. Facilitating device switching, where users leaving a mobile site could pick up their same cart later on a laptop could help to cut the volume of abandoned goods and result in more sales being completed.

There are other, lower cost ways for retailers to improve their conversion rates and lower basket abandonment. The report identified a host of low cost approaches to try including:

  1. 1

    Introduce flexible delivery to online sales

    56% of online shoppers would like free delivery and 29% say free returns would make them more likely to purchase online. 17% would be swayed by next day delivery and 15% say a click and collect option would make them more likely to proceed to checkout online.

  2. 2

    Make offers hard to resist

    43% of shoppers say they want a better deal, so they’ll wait to check out. 38% actively look for online discount codes while 35% wait for a sale. Retailers can combat this by offering incentives related to the products in cart, being proactive about offering discount codes and free shipping. Incentivising consumers with bonus points and rewards schemes can also help to improve conversion rates.

  3. 3

    Remarketing and marketing automation

    Setting up marketing automation and using remarketing tactics can also be effective in drawing shoppers back to complete the checkout process. 22% say traditional marketing such as email prompts encourage them to purchase saved items.

If you’re a retailer struggling to cut down the volume of abandoned baskets which don’t convert to sales, get in touch with our team to find out more about our digital marketing services including copywriting for ecommerce sites and CRO.

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