Most consumers, or 86% of online shoppers, have abandoned a shopping cart at least once before completing a purchase, whether because they got distracted, wanted to shop for better deals or decided against the purchase altogether.

But of this group, 67% have returned to a cart to finish at least one abandoned transaction, including 72% of Generation Z shoppers, nearly three-quarters of millennials and over two-thirds of bridge millennials, suggesting that all is not lost when a customer virtually walks away before providing payment details.

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These findings come from a study conducted by PYMNTS in collaboration with that examined the features retailers provide for shoppers during the checkout process and how changes to these features affect consumers’ payment experiences, satisfaction and loyalty.

Read the study: Consumer Choice At The Checkout: How Online Shopping Experiences Build Customer Loyalty

Among the most important reasons for returning and finishing a purchase is price, with 31% of shoppers saying they came back after conducting more research and determining the price offered by the retailer was good. Price holds the biggest sway with baby boomers and seniors, with 37% of this cohort returning after conducting more research, followed by Generation Z, with 35% coming back to an abandoned cart after conducting price comparisons. Only a quarter of millennials said their most important reason for returning was price.

Perhaps surprisingly, only 25% of consumers who live paycheck to paycheck and have trouble paying bills said price comparisons were the most important reason for returning to finish a purchase, compared to 35% of those who do not live paycheck to paycheck.

Decline of Free Shipping

Merchants have also made it easier for customers to put things in their carts, with nearly 50% of them implementing a “quick add to cart” feature as of the middle of this year compared to less than 31% as of the end of 2020. The share of merchants who have a “buy” button on their platform remains roughly unchanged over the same time period, at 83%.

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Related: What Online Merchants Get Right and Wrong at the Checkout

But even though 55% of consumers say the inability to receive free shipping could cause them to abandon their cart and switch to another merchant, the share of retailers offering free shipping has begun to slip. At the end of last year, nearly 79% of merchants offered free shipping, with 47% requiring a certain purchase amount. As of the second quarter of 2021, less than 64% offer free shipping.

And though mid- and bottom-performing merchants were the most likely to jettison free shipping — the share of mid-performing merchants offering it fell 15 percentage points and the share of bottom-performing merchants fell 11 percentage points — top-performing merchants have also begun to reconsider as shipping costs continue to rise. Every top-performing merchant surveyed in the fourth quarter of 2020 offered free shipping, but only 93% offered it as of the middle of this year.

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About: It’s almost go time for the holiday shopping season, and nearly 90% of U.S. consumers plan to make at least some of their purchases online — 13% more than did in 2020. The 2021 Holiday Shopping Outlook, PYMNTS surveyed more than 3,600 consumers to learn what is driving online sales this holiday season and the impact of product availability and personalized rewards on merchant preference.

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