More than half the people that apply online for various financial services abandon the process before completion, according to a new survey. 

The study, by comScore, suggests many of these abandonments occur because consumers want to find out details about the services on offer, but that information is hidden behind the application process.

It used data from a panel of more than 2m web users worldwide, as well as an email survey of 568 people that had abandoned an online application for a financial product.

Other reasons given for abandonment were:

  • 23% wanted to see more product information.
  • 19% were not ready to apply.
  • 14% wanted to see if they qualified.

Of those that intended to buy, but abandoned:

  • 12% changed their mind about applying online.
  • 11% had privacy/security concerns.
  • 11% wanted to speak to a sales person regarding the product.

Average online checkout abandonment rates can vary dramatically, but the average is around 48%, which suggests that there is room for impovement from the financial service sector.

Providing customers with all the information they need before beginning the checkout process is a must. It is also a good idea to provide links to any questions that may arise during the process so that customers can find the info they need without abandoning.

Of those that intended to apply but dropped out, those that wanted to speak to a sales person instead were probably looking for information/reassurance about the product on offer, and again this could have been provided online. Making sure your FAQ/help section contains any info customers may be looking for is essential.

Websites, financial or e-commerce, shouldn’t be giving customers any doubts about security – displaying clear signs of server security, and third party verification logos can reassure the customer on this issue, and reinforce trust.

Ideally, customers should be furnished with all the information they need before they begin the checkout process. This may be delivery costs, returns policies, interest rates, and so on. Then, it should be a case of helping the customer to complete the transaction as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Also see our Online Retail 2007: Checkout Special, which takes a detailed look at how e-commerce sites can reduce abandonment rates, using examples from top online retail sites. 

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