Buying Intent Is Increasing in the UK; Mobile Consumers Will Desert Their Cart If the Experience is Flawed

RetailTechNews’ weekly roundup brings you up-to-date research findings from around the world. In this week’s edition: Buying Intent is Increasing in the UK; Mobile Consumers Will Desert Their Cart If the Experience is Flawed; and Sites Are Improving for Busy Seasons.

Buying Intent Is Increasing in the UK

In Q4 2017, UK shoppers registered the greatest buying intent seen over the last nine quarters, according to Salesforce’s Shopping Index. Almost a quarter (22%) of shoppers demonstrated a buying signal like searching, adding a product to cart, or starting a checkout, during their visit.

The number of UK visitors that ended up making a purchase in Q4 increased by 25%, while UK retailers saw a 9% increase in overall traffic year-on-year. New visits were driven by mobile, which saw a 21% increase in traffic in Q4. In fact, UK shoppers are becoming increasingly more mobile as 67% of Q4 traffic came from a mobile device. Mobile ordering is also on the rise, with 40% of Q4 orders coming from mobile.

Social continues to have a growing influence over traffic in the UK, with 4% of all traffic coming from social channels, a 33% increase over last year. The strong quarter came at a cost, however, as discount rates and free shipping peaked to 23% and 72%, respectively, leading to a slight decline in average order value and increasing margin pressure.

Mobile Consumers Will Desert Their Cart If the Experience is Flawed

Nearly four-in-10 respondents had issues entering their personal details when trying to complete a purchase on their mobile phone, which caused them to desert their cart, according to research by Addressy.

Entering personal details is just one of several problems digital shoppers face. Some 35% of respondents said the screen wasn’t big enough to see what they were typing, and more than a quarter had issues entering their order accurately. What’s more, one-third said they lost the connection, which resulted in a loss of interest in that product.

But it isn’t always a poor mobile experience that results in an abandoned cart. For instance, a study from SaleCycle, conducted last year, asked digital shoppers worldwide why they abandoned their shopping carts. One main reason? Roughly a third said they were just looking. Another 18% wanted to compare prices, while just 4% said they did so because they experienced a technical issue.

Despite these issues, more people are shopping via mobile. According to eMarketer’s latest forecast, m-commerce sales totalled USD$1.36tn (£1tn) in 2017, making up 58.9% of digital sales – a large jump in share from 40.2% in 2015.

Sites Are Improving for Busy Seasons

Online retailers are investing heavily in holiday shopping season preparation, according to Shoppimon’s Online Health & Usability (OSHU) Index. The majority of this is done through updates and upgrades to improve site performance. This investment seems to have paid off, as between September and October of 2017 e-commerce sites on the OSHU Index saw average interactive load times drop by over 10%.

Critically, sites on the OSHU Index managed to maintain that improvement throughout the course of the holiday season, actually improving their speed. Considering the strain these sites were under from increased traffic during this crucial period, this improvement was impressive. OSHU sites closed out the holiday season and Q4 of 2017 a full 13% faster than at the end of Q3.

Shoppimon estimates that, while speed optimisation to top e-commerce sites helped increase 2017 holiday revenues by USD$1.5bn (£1.1bn), technical Issues cost these sites USD$11.8bn (£8.5bn). These technical issues included full-site downtime, broken search, and missing store pages, among other issues. This data indicates that the e-commerce industry needs to focus not just on performance and performance stability, but overall site health.