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British retailers lose out on £3.4bn without online investment

British retailers are losing out on £3.4 billion worth of goods left in virtual shopping baskets each year, as two thirds of the contents of all virtual shopping baskets are abandoned.

A study by Barclays found that making online shopping more convenient could boost retailers’ takings by £10.5bn within just five years.

The Barclays Corporate Banking Online Retail Report, From Browse to Buy: The Conversion Challenge, is based on the views of 300 senior retail managers, 2,000 UK consumers and economic modelling.

Across all devices, 86 percent of browsers save items to online shopping baskets and wish lists but consumers switching from mobile phone browsing to laptop purchasing, a lack of discount incentives and desire for a variety of delivery options are key reasons for ‘basket abandonment’, according to the research.

This suggests that more targeted investment in the strategies identified by consumers as most effective in encouraging them to complete a sale could help turn more browsers into buyers.

The British retail sector boasts the highest proportion of online sales of any major European country. Barclays’ research found that UK residents browse online for an average of 89 minutes per week with 45-54 year olds leading the way, clocking up just over 100 minutes per week.

Only 16 percent of retailers claimed that they will make mobile sales their top priority in the next year, but consumers are calling out for retailers to introduce mobile apps to simplify the purchasing process.

Ian Gilmartin, head of retail, Barclays said: “At a time when cost management is a priority, it’s understandable that investment in mobile optimisation may seem too expensive for many retailers.

“If they get their online strategy right, we could be looking at UK retailers selling more than £80bn of stock online by 2021, but that will only happen if as an industry we respond to what the public want from us.”

About Domonique Wilsher

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