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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : May 04, 2016

74% of UK retailers fail to follow up instances of cart abandonment

Abandoned online shopping carts are one of the biggest challenges facing retailers, yet new research reveals few are proactively following up in an attempt to save the sale.

by Helen Leggatt

In their analysis of 100 UK retailers from Internet Retailing's Top500 (IRUK Top500), customer engagement specialists Optilead found that almost three-quarters (74%) failed to follow up on instances of cart abandonment.

In the course of the analysis, Optilead added items to a retailer's shopping cart and provided personal details, but abandoned the cart before proceeding to payment. Overall, more than £172,000 (US$250,133) in sales were abandoned (approximately £574 / US$834 per cart - and approximately half of what the Centre for Retail Research suggests UK consumers will spend online this year). Each retailer was visited three times.

The results show just how little emphasis UK retailers are placing on attempting to re-engage potential online prospects. Only 26 of the 100 retailers responded with follow-ups, all by email, and just 13 followed up on all three occasions.

Furthermore, response times were slow, averaging nearly a day (21 hours 46 minutes), by which time, says Marc Pearce, Optilead's multichannel marketing manager, "consumers are highly likely to have visited a rival website - and may have already completed their purchase".

In fact, Optilead's suggested time-frame for re-engaging prospects is much shorter - within just 15 minutes of cart abandonment.

"With the lowest response time in these 300 tests being 29 minutes - and the highest four days and 21 minutes - none of the IRUK Top100 engaged within this vital time frame," says Pearce. Furthermore, almost half (46%) of those retailers analysed that responded to at least one abandonment did not do so when a test involving a higher value cart was conducted.

"Having a real-time solution in place is vital to engage with online prospects immediately. But what's most important for retailers is the ability to harness the tools available to connect with prospects depending on each opportunity's value," advises Pearce. "For instance, high-value leads should be followed up instantly with a phone call, email should be utilized to engage with lower-value leads and SMS is fantastic to touch base, offer discount codes or confirm order and delivery statuses."

Tags: cart abandonment, ecommerce, lead generation, retail, UK

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