The annual Delivery Matters study compiled by Royal Mail shows that 34% of online shoppers now abandon their cart frequently. Retailers’ delivery offerings continue to cause the most discontent amongst demanding shoppers. The scale of shopping cart abandonment continues to grow with UK online retailers losing an estimated £4 billion last year – up from £2.7 billion in 2009.
Lack of clarity around delivery charges, delivery lead times or lack of delivery options are the most common reasons for abandonment.
The study shows that the moment delivery charges are revealed is the most dangerous point in the checkout process, leading to nearly half of all cart abandonments. At the very least, Royal Mail recommends retailers should spell out delivery charges as early as possible to prevent them losing sales.
The study also revealed that shoppers increasingly want to be able to track the progress of items they have ordered through to delivery.
Roger Morris, Royal Mail’s Head of Communications and Product Development for Courier, Express and Parcels, said: “Online shoppers continue to demand a range of delivery options and vote with their fingers by shopping elsewhere if there are any nasty surprises. If customers don’t anticipate the cost that appears when they proceed to checkout, many will simply abandon their cart and look elsewhere.
“Retailers have made good progress in expanding their delivery options but it’s clear that greater transparency and flexibility are still needed to curb the abandonment issue and prevent sales being lost.”
Bhupendra Maisuria, owner of London based fancy dress store Escapade.co.uk, said: “We’ve been established for over 30 years and selling online for over ten so we have witnessed first-hand the importance of providing choice and transparency when it comes to delivery. Our use of Royal Mail allows us to provide flexible and cost-effective services we need to give our customers real peace of mind about their orders.”
Royal Mail has also developed a range of products to help including the internet-based Delivery Promise Tool to help online retailers to make sure they offer consumers the best possible experience and reduce shopping basked abandonment.
The tool can analyse any e-retail website, monitoring the quality and availability of delivery information such as cost, time, tracking, delivery options and contact details. It produces a detailed report which includes recommendations on how each website can improve its service.
Julie Slater, founder of travel accessory and gift designer Julie Slater & Son, said: “Online shopping cart abandonment is an issue faced by everyone in our industry. We’ve taken proactive steps to minimise its impact by simplifying our sales process. Through our partnership with Royal Mail we are able to dispatch items quickly and effectively to customers across the country.
“Moving forward, we are also considering adopting the Royal Mail Tracked® service so that our customers can follow their order at every stage through to delivery completion – an area we see as being increasingly important to online shoppers.”