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Retailers Urged To Drop 'Speed Bumps' As M-Commerce Growth Fuels Abandoned Purchases

04 May 2016 - 14:19 by Graham Miller

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Britain’s retailers are being warned that failing to remove online “speed bumps” could mean their missing out on an m-commerce bonanza. New research has found that the volume of retail sales completed by smartphones is oustripping orders placed via tablets and computers for the first time.

The study, which was conducted by Parcel for Me, discovered that m-commerce now accounts for roughly two-thirds of all online shopping in the UK.

However, Parcel for Me’s Chief Executive, Luke Davids, added that difficulties in navigating through online checkouts meant mobiles were also responsible for consumers abandoning more purchases than any other technology.

“Even though cart abandonment is a massive headache for retailers, it demonstrates how consumers are themselves being confronted with difficulties when trying to buy online.

“We have spoken to retailers both large and small, all of whom appreciate that abandonment by smartphone is often the result of a couple of very distinct factors and not just because of occasional poor mobile signal or the fact that users can be distracted by any one of the vast number of functions which these devices can perform.

“It appears that consumers are put off by how long it takes to input information on a smartphone, especially at the checkout, because typing on a mobile is time-consuming and can be error-ridden.

“Some retailers’ websites are simply not suited for mobile transactions. That fact, together with problems of form-filling and the aggravation caused by losing connection and having to begin the process all over again, results in consumers taking their business elsewhere.

“These are the principal speed bumps preventing more sales being completed. Given the growing willingness of consumers to use their sophisticated handheld devices to buy online, failing to remove these obstacles and create a frictionless buying experience is potentially a very expensive oversight.”

Mr Davids’ comments follow the February launch of Parcel for Me, a platform designed to help simplify the online checkout and contribute to the reduction of an estimated £2.6 trillion worth of abandoned purchases around the world each year.

He said that discussions were continuing with a “considerable” number of domestic retailers about adoption of the system. The most recent figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that online retail sales in the UK in 2014 were worth £30.9 billion, up almost £4 billion on the year before.

Further data released in March concluded that almost two-thirds of all UK online shopping was done using mobile devices.

Mr Davids outlined how problems with loading pages on mobile devices was reckoned to cost UK retailers more than £1.7 billion in sales each year.

“There are some individuals who might argue that an increase in m-commerce cart or checkout abandonment is simply a by-product of a rising number of consumers using smartphones to buy goods.

“However, every abandoned purchase is lost revenue - a point lost on any retailer trading online.

“It is a sign of customer dissatisfaction, something which no retailer – be they a major brand or small independent – wants to be known for.”