Disappointing UX risks £350m in lost ecommerce sales in December

02nd February 2020

With retailers braced for the ‘most digital Christmas’ ever, poor user experience in ecommerce journeys could cost retailers £350m in lost Christmas sales, according to our latest research.

With the ONS reporting online retail sales had grown for the sixth consecutive month in November, UK consumers are expected to spend a third of all their Christmas shopping digitally – +25% more than they spent online last year*. Visits to ecommerce sites are also seeing a significant and sustained peak in traffic as shoppers move Christmas spending online, with Wunderkind’s data showing web traffic rose +56% since the start of November.

However, the latest data from thinkTRIBE suggests that retailers risk forgoing much needed Christmas sales opportunities if the user experience on-site doesn’t meet up to customer expectations. With the average UK shopper abandoning 10% of their online purchases due to poor website performance, thinkTRIBE’s data suggests poor digital experiences could account for £350million in lost Christmas sales opportunities.

Ease of navigation and speed were key performance factors impacting purchase abandonment in online buying journeys, according to its research of 2,000 UK shoppers. Nearly three quarters (73%) of consumers would abandon a purchase if they couldn’t quickly find what they were looking for, while a third (31%) would not tolerate a wait of more than 5 seconds for a webpage to load.

Deri Jones, CEO of thinkTRIBE: “If a retailer’s ecommerce platform isn’t robust enough to accommodate increased spikes in demand, it not only risks poor user experiences, like slow loading webpages and glitches to third party plug-ins, but it could bring the site down all together. We saw evidence of this during Black Friday with long queues to get on to Boots’ website, while others experienced crashes and outages due to the sheer number of visitors coming onto sites. Similarly Naked Wines’ marketing campaign saw locked-down customers surging onto its Christmas gifts page, which also brought the site down – taking out its sales channel out of action just at the moment it needed to be taking sales.”

“Customers already had high expectations of their online shopping experiences, but these have been accelerated and magnified due to the prevalence of online shopping during the pandemic. That means now, more than ever, anything that causes friction in the digital buying journey doesn’t just risk losing that sale but puts the loyalty and entire future value of that customer at risk,” he added.

50% of European retailers had sought to enhance their online proposition ahead of peak trading in order to better meet consumer expectations amid the anticipated boom in Christmas ecommerce sales, according to Capgemini. However, in their race to add functionality and improve CX, many retailers open themselves up to risk by adding 3rd party plug-ins.

If this additional functionality is left untested, it could end up adding friction, threatening to undo the very thing retailers were trying to achieve, according to Jones:

“There’s a paradox here; in retailers’ efforts to improve CX by adding functionalities to their sites, plug-ins that aren’t accurately and robustly tested could end up ruining a customer’s experience entirely, which risks lost sales and lost loyalty. Critical to ensuring retailers’ efforts – and investment – aren’t wasted, is achieving a balance between adding new functionality against being technically robust enough to accommodate those changes and mitigate against risk. Continually conducting testing at each stage of integration ahead of time will ensure retailers can maintain the high levels of CX customers now expect to ensure sales aren’t lost.”

For practical insights and advice on how retailers can ready their digital proposition, download the Tackling The Twin Peaks report.

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