LONDON: Online consumers in the UK abandon £3.4bn worth of goods in their virtual shopping baskets each year, yet much of this wastage could be saved if retailers do a better job at meeting consumer expectations, a new study has revealed.

According to the latest Barclays Corporate Banking Online Retail Report, “device switching” is a key reason to explain basket abandonment, as consumers browse for products on their mobile devices before switching to laptops to make purchases.

With consumers looking for the fastest and simplest way to buy, the report said this perhaps explains why they avoid buying through “fiddly” mobile websites and so prefer to switch devices.

Mobile apps that simplify the purchasing process would help because 28% of consumers – out of Barclay’s sample of more than 2,000 UK adults and 300 senior online retailers – say they would be more likely to complete a purchase if a more streamlined process was made available.

Consumers also find having to provide personal registration details at checkout to be annoying and 13% report that not having to provide these details at checkout would encourage them to buy.

The Barclays survey also found that a lack of discount incentives and limited delivery options are two other factors that lead UK consumers to abandon their shopping baskets.

Free delivery (56%), free returns (29%), next day delivery (17%) and click and collect (15%) are all options that consumers say would make them more likely to purchase, the survey found.

Meanwhile, 43% of consumers say they would not complete a purchase because they would prefer to wait for a better deal or offer, 38% would look for discount codes online and 35% say they would wait for a sale.

Discounts tailored to the product being viewed are also likely to incentivise consumers and 27% say reward schemes, such as bonus points, encourage them to buy, the report added.

To underline how much UK retailers stand to gain by adapting their online systems to make them more convenient, Barclays estimated that they could boost sales by £10.5bn within just five years.

“At a time when cost management is a priority, it’s understandable that investment in mobile optimisation may seem too expensive for many retailers. However, our research underlines the longer term benefit of providing easy to use options across all online platforms,” said Ian Gilmartin, Head of Retail at Barclays.

“By adapting quickly to the needs of today’s consumer to create a better shopping experience online, and particularly via mobile, retailers will boost their sales.”

Data sourced from Barclays; additional content by WARC staff