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E‐Commerce » Tips & Facts, Best Practice | 05.10.2015

How can UK businesses reduce the numbers of international customers abandoning carts?

Every year e-commerce businesses lose hundreds, if not thousands, of sales to cart abandonment, whereby customers fill up their cart but log out before checking out. In a report by the Baymard Institute it is stated that almost 70% of customers abandon carts. If you want your e-commerce business to flourish, this is a problem worth tackling. To solve this issue you need to understand the root causes, so why do customers abandon carts?

According to online statistics database Statista, the number one reason that customers abandon carts is due to unexpected costs - a huge 56% of those surveyed provided this as an explanation. This could be VAT, hidden delivery costs or any other unforeseen charge. For a UK business dealing with international customers, making sure your pricing is clear and accurate is absolutely imperative.

Further down the list we see a few more general justifications: over-complicated checkout design, unstable websites, or it may simply be that they've found a better deal. Towards the bottom of the list, though still contributing to around 20% of cart abandonments, are concerns over payment security, unsuitable delivery options and pricing in foreign currencies.

What should you be doing?

For the concerned retailer there are plenty of measures that can be taken to make sure your customers don't get tempted away from your business.

First and foremost: be transparent. Unexpected costs were the number one reason for abandoned carts. Make sure VAT and expected delivery costs are presented clearly to the customer early on in the checkout process. This is especially true for retaining international customers, due to the higher prices of international shipping and the potential variances in taxation.

Secondly, get payment security right. Seventeen percent of respondents cited payment security concerns as a reason for giving up on their purchase. Unfortunately, 18% also complained that excessive security checks put them off. What this means for the retailer is that your security measures have to be pitched at the right level. So make sure that you offer a wide range of simple, but secure, payment options. Benefiting from the established trust of internationally recognised payment services like Paypal could pay dividends in the long run.

Finally, make sure you present prices in the right currency. Thirteen percent of consumers found foreign currency pricing off-putting. Handling currency conversions for your customers takes a weight off their mind and will likely lead to more sales across the international community.