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Online retailers could boost sales in Scotland by offering free deliveries, finds Barclays

Posted: 7th September 2017

• Scottish shoppers are leaving 68% of items unpurchased in their shopping baskets
• The offer of free deliveries (57%), selling the item cheaper than elsewhere (42%) and customer reviews (42%) are particularly likely to entice Scottish shoppers to convert to a purchase
• Glaswegians are more likely to browse online shops using personal smartphone (42%) compared to Edinburgh shoppers (23%)
• Investment in converting browsers to shoppers nationwide could cut basket abandonment in half by 2021, and boost retailer profits by £10.5bn

Shoppers in Scotland are particularly keen on free deliveries and competitive prices, finds new research by Barclays.

Shoppers in Scotland reckon that they buy only 32% of the products that they save to their shopping baskets. When asked what would encourage them to buy what they save to their baskets, 42% said customer reviews would help, versus the national average of 39%.

Shoppers in Glasgow (42%) are also more likely to shop using their personal smartphone compared to Edinburgh consumers (23%) and the rest of the UK (31%). Across the UK, the research finds that retailers may be losing out on valuable sales because consumers are finding it difficult to complete transactions using their mobile phones. This is leading to the phenomenon of ‘device switching’ where consumers browse for products on their mobile phone and then switch to another device, such as a laptop to complete their purchases.

The findings are from the Barclays Corporate Banking Online Retail Report, From Browse to Buy: The Conversion Challenge and are based on the views of 300 senior retail managers, 2,000 UK consumers and economic modelling. The study found that through investment in basic techniques, British retailers could cut basket abandonment in half by 2021 and boost retailer profits by £10.5bn over the next five years.i

Euan Murray, Relationship Director, Barclays Corporate Banking, Scotland, said: “With retailers battling the continuing pressures stemming from wider economic developments and shoppers postponing or reducing discretionary spending, the last year has been an uphill battle for the retail industry. Throughout this, online sales have continued to motor ahead and make up a portion of the shortfall.

“With 36% of UK e-retail sales via mobile, retailers must invest in their online and mobile shopping platforms to improve the user experience and drive growth. Online is the driving force for sector growth and our research highlights the overarching benefits investment in sophisticated online and mobile shopping experiences can bring.

“If they get their online strategy right, we could be looking at UK retailers selling more that £80bn of stock online by 2021, but that will only happen if as an industry we respond to what the public want from us. This research shows that a streamlined mobile offering, flexible delivery and competitive pricing can help convert more browsers to buyers.”

Nationwide trends
Across the UK, British retailers are losing out on £3.4 billion worth of goods left in virtual shopping baskets each year. 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.

At an uncertain time for the retail sector, the report estimates that investing in measures that encourage purchase conversion would cut basket abandonment in half by 2021.

Furthermore, instead of fiddling around with mobile sites that aren’t optimised, or wasting time searching through a difficult to navigate website, 614 million hours of timei[i] could be saved over the next five years. There are productivity benefits too to the tune of £4.2bniii, as time is freed to work or spend on the economy.

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