While 87% of online shoppers abandon their shopping baskets, the majority plan to return to websites later to complete their purchases, with baskets effectively used as wish lists.

According to a basket abandonment survey from Amaze, 74% of respondents said they would return at a later date to make a purchase, and many are using the basket as a means to ‘window shop’ on e-commerce sites.

The report suggests that, since there is little that etailers can do to change this behaviour, then less emphasis should be placed on abandonment rates as a measure of success or failure.

There were differences in the types of products that shoppers stored to buy later. Clothing and computer products were more likely to be bought straight away, while baskets containing books and music were often abandoned:

So what can e-commerce sites do about abandonment?

  • Saving basket contents for future visits, and making it easier to resume the purchase may
    make it more likely that customers will come back and also use the feature for research.
  • Clearly display prices and delivery charges on product pages so that shoppers don’t have to add items to the basket to find out this information. If customers are reaching the shopping cart and then abandoning due to
    delivery costs, then this suggests that this information has not been made clear or that charges are too high.
  • Add user reviews and ratings to help uncertain customers make a decision on a purchase there and then.
  • Offer collect in store options. Sometimes people want items more quickly, or are simply researching online for offline purchases, so making this easy for customers can pay off. Both Halfords and Argos have boosted their multichannel revenues recently by offering such services.
  • Email customers that abandon baskets. By adding items to shopping carts, customers have shown a possible intent to purchase, so a reminder email, possibly with the added sweetener of a discount may be enough to get shoppers to come back and finish the purchase.

    While this could be an effective tactic, care should be taken over the timing and tone of emails to avoid annoying customers.