The volume of goods bought online continues to increase dramatically every year.
In the UK, Europe’s most mature e-commerce market, the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that £30.9 billion worth of items were bought from retailers in 2014 – up almost £4 billion on the year before.
Just as the recent past has been a lucrative period for retailers, the future also looks golden. One study has suggested that almost half of all non-food sales in the UK will be completed online within a decade.
Such a boom in business, however, does not come without its complications. Chief amongst them is cart abandonment, the process by which consumers select goods and make their way to the checkout but do not go through with their transactions.
It is a massive headache. Some £2.6 trillion worth of sales is abandoned by e-shoppers around the world each year.
During the course of preparing to launch Parcel for Me in February, we conducted lengthy research which revealed that the reasons for abandonment were common to retailers of all sizes.
Many shoppers have complained about the time taken to navigate their way through the online checkout. Others are deterred by the breadth and cost of delivery.
As a result, we have concluded that there are three principal elements in overcoming those issues, all of which are integral to our platform that has already attracted significant attention from brands looking to beat abandonment.
E-commerce has arguably helped consumers become more sophisticated in how they shop than ever before.
More than the sheer range of products available, evolution in how they interact with retailers has led to them gaining a better understanding of what they want and how to get it.
Therefore, it’s essential for retailers to provide shoppers with the information needed to decide whether a purchase is right for them.
At the checkout, it means transparency and simplicity about how goods will be shipped to them and how much it will all cost.
Afterward, they need to be able to keep track of all they’ve bought. Up until now, that has meant multiple e-mails confirming orders, packing and dispatch of their purchases, something which can be difficult with one order let alone many.
Retailers can be helped by knowing a consumer’s individual delivery and payment preferences. It not only builds the sort of familiarity which shoppers warm to but ensures an excellent customer experience every time.
Moreover, it means that retailers and their parcel carrier partners can provide first-time delivery success every time, something which helps build the reputation of both and keeps customers happy.
Filling in lengthy forms has repeatedly been shown to be a major problem at the checkout.
One of the many attractions of e-commerce is its convenience. We can shop for almost anything wherever and whenever we like.
It seems counter-intuitive, then, to slow the ease of buying online right down by asking shoppers to enter address and payment details every time that they’re trying to buy something.
By increasing the speed with which consumers can pay for goods having already indicated their willingness to buy by adding products to their shopping cart makes online retail more friction-free and more likely to result in a sale.
Just as on the high street, consumers want to be in control of how they shop.
Allowing them to designate where, when and how goods will be delivered, to be able to keep on top of all of their purchases and payments is a powerful tool for any retailer wanting to encourage completed – and repeat – transactions.
Smaller brands too recognize that the ability to install the new and more comprehensive checkout experience on their websites – removing the complications of adding individual delivery services – is a considerable benefit.
All noted down and ready to execute?