New research from Hermes suggests providing consumers with more information before checkout could reduce the number of abandoned baskets.

I’m guilty as charged and I’m sure you are too! Every person reading this column has – at one time or another – sat down at his or her computer to partake in some online retail therapy, but abandoned their baskets before confirming their orders.

The Hermes team recently conducted a survey of 1,935 online shoppers, which revealed that 40% had ditched their potential purchases in the lead up to Christmas. There are a number of reasons why it happens so frequently, but perhaps the most significant is a lack of information, whether that’s concerning delivery, returns, refunds or details about the items themselves.

Consumers want more information

As you are aware, non-conversion costs the industry billions of pounds a year and feedback suggests that consumers now want access to more information before reaching the checkout. Some online retailers offer a multitude of delivery options, are transparent over delivery costs, and provide easy to access information on refunds and returns.

However, there are some that need to make small changes to their websites in order to secure more sales. When a consumer has spent time picking their items it is important for them to have all of the necessary information so they then have the confidence to finalise their order.

The research also showed that one in two consumers aged between 25 and 34 abandoned their baskets, compared to just 19% of people aged 65 and over, which perhaps shows that the younger generations prefer to shop around for the best deal.

Demanding more choice

In addition, as online shopping figures continue to grow each year, consumers are demanding more choice and convenience when it comes to receiving their purchases. As part of the research, we pitched home delivery against click and collect.

Despite the growth in popularity of the latter service, 51% said they would favour paying £1.99 for home delivery rather than collecting purchases free of charge from a store. Meanwhile, 42.5% of consumers said they would rather save money and pick-up their items themselves.

The results prove that home delivery can still be considered the ‘method of choice’, which is constantly being supported by innovative new features and services, like the Hermes Parcel Manager App that provides up to date tracking information on a smartphone or tablet.

Off the back of the busiest peak season to date, it is absolutely crucial for retailers to satisfy the needs of the demanding consumer – whether that is by providing thorough information on returns and delivery costs before the checkout, or by offering a variety of convenient delivery methods that fit in with their hectic lifestyles.

By planning ahead the industry will hopefully see a sharp drop in the number of abandoned baskets during Peak 2015.

  • Mark Pettit is sales & marketing director at Hermes