Retail shift to mobile would convert more browsers into buyers



Katie Sadler
09/27/2017

New research finds that streamlined online purchasing and a bigger focus on mobile could boost UK retail sales by £10.5bn

A study carried out by Barclays Corporate Banking (LON:BARC) has found that retailers could generate an additional £10.5bn in sales over five years by investing in systems that will streamline online purchasing.

The report, From Browse to Buy: The Conversion Challenge, found £3.4 billion worth of goods are left in online shopping baskets every year. The study, which surveyed 300 senior retail managers and over 2,000 UK consumers, suggests this could be the result of ‘device switching’, with customers choosing to browse products and services on their phone and then revert to laptops to make a purchase. A lack of discount incentives and a delivery options are also said to be key reasons why customers abandon virtual shopping baskets.

With UK consumers spending an average of 89 minutes per week browsing online, and this rising to 100 minutes per week for 45-54 year olds, targeted investment which encourages consumers to complete a sale could help turn more browsers into buyers, suggests the report. Furthermore, the research revealed 614 million hours of time could be saved over the next five years if customers had access to optimised, easy to navigate sites.

However, only 16 per cent of retailers believe they will make mobile sales their top priority in the next year despite consumers calling for retailers to produce more mobile apps to streamline the purchasing process. This is backed up by the survey results which found that 28 per cent of consumers would be more likely to complete a purchase if the method were simplified.

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This, according to the report, exaggerates the reason why consumers are ‘device switching’ and choosing to avoid purchasing products through awkward mobile sites.

Ian Gilmartin, Head of Retail at Barclays, explains: “At a time when cost management is a priority, it’s understandable that investment in mobile optimisation may seem too expensive for many retailers. However, our research underlines the longer term benefit of providing easy to use options across all online platforms. By adapting quickly to the needs of today’s consumer to create a better shopping experience online, and particularly via mobile, retailers will boost their sales.

“If they get their online strategy right, we could be looking at UK retailers selling more than £80 billion 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.”

Only 16 per cent of retailers believe they will make mobile sales their top priority in the next year despite consumers calling for retailers to produce more mobile apps to streamline the purchasing process.


Providing personal registration at checkout is also an online irritation, 13 per cent of consumers believe they are more likely to make a purchase if they did not need to provide details.

Further analysis revealed its not just investment in new technologies that drives the consumer to the online checkout. Traditional methods which save time and provide convenience are also an incentive. In total, 56 per cent of consumers would be swayed by free delivery, 29 per cent by free returns, 17 per cent by next day delivery and 15 per cent by click and collect.

Price will also have an influence on whether a consumer will purchase online goods. Of those surveyed, 43 per cent said they would not complete a purchase because they were waiting for a better deal or offer. Furthermore, 35 per cent said they would wait for a sale.