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Success in e-commerce: Mind the consumer journey gap

Four in ten UK shoppers (38%) abandon an e-commerce purchase at least once a week, with a fifth (21%) claiming to do so more regularly. That’s according to new research with a call for retailers to prioritise shoppers’ most fundamental needs for the sake of their bottom line.

The BigCommerce research reveals a lack of fast and affordable delivery options as the number one reason behind cart abandonment, with over half of UK consumers (54%) admitting they have abandoned their online shopping cart due to delivery frustrations.  The burden of needing to create an account and frustrations with the functionality of a mobile website came second, cited by 32% and 33% respectively as reasons to drop out.

Meanwhile, 27% of consumers have abandoned a purchase because they couldn’t remember their log in details for an existing account, whilst more than a quarter of UK shoppers (26%) admitted they have left a purchase halfway through because they ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to prepare their card details.

The findings, which highlight the fragility of the shopper journey, form part of a new report — Navigating Needs: the path to profit in e-commerce.

Inspired by Maslow’s well-known hierarchy of needs theory, the report considers the shopper needs retailers must satisfy in their quest to gain and retain customers.

  • Functionality makes up the foundation of the pyramid as the need that must be met first and foremost, with 37% of respondents saying the ease of using a retailer’s website has the biggest influence over their purchase decisions. Almost a quarter (23%) said they’d also be influenced by the speed of the checkout process, while 22% are encouraged by flexible payment options.
  • Hierarchy of shopper needsSafety comes next, with three quarters (75%) of consumers saying they would be likely to abandon their shopping cart if they did not trust a website’s security. In the current context, this also means the safety of deliveries, with many retailers now offering essential non-contact delivery options to minimise the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Moving further up the pyramid, the research reveals the importance of engagement, with 39% of consumers saying good customer service would encourage them to shop again with an online retailer. An additional 27% said poor customer service would deter them.
  • An intrinsic need to be recognised and valued – esteem – comes next, with a third (33%) of consumers noting that personalised offers or discounts would encourage them to shop with an online brand, and a fifth (19%) being swayed by a personalised checkout experience. In fact, a fifth (19%) even said they would be likely to abandon a purchase if they weren’t treated to a personalised offer.
  • And, with all other needs met, many consumers are looking for entertainment and inspiration — enriching experiences — to capture their attention, with over a third (35%) of UK shoppers saying they are more likely to shop with a retailer that is associated with fun content and experiences.

“Even before COVID-19 struck, retail was undergoing a seismic shift – and now its transformation is almost inevitable,” says Andrew Busby, top 20 global retail influencer, CEO of Retail Reflections and IBM Futurist.

“Innovation is key, and retailers are right to consider new ways of reaching customers and bringing the same enriching experiences to them in this strange new world. But, in a matter of months, functionality and safety have shot to unprecedented levels of importance. Physical stores may never look the same again – and, from the ability to try before you buy to the need for secure spending and rapid returns, online retailers are under peak pressure to make the shopping experience as safe and seamless as possible.

“Shopping should always be easy and enjoyable. Consumers want e-commerce to be as quick and flexible as possible, and as this research shows, anything less than a seamless experience will result in abandoned baskets. As stress levels rise and purse strings tighten, shoppers will buy more from those merchants that match their needs,” adds Jim Herbert, EMEA general manager at BigCommerce.

“Every e-commerce abandonment represents a dent in the retailers’ revenues and potentially a sale lost to a competitor, making it incredibly important to consider every aspect of the shopping experience – from security and website speed to the power of personalisation – across all channels where customers engage.”

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