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What’s stopping us from checking out?

By Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director UK & Ireland • Visa

September 18, 2017

The impressive performance of e-commerce in Britain continues at pace, with sales exceeding £130bn last year. This growth has been reflected by figures from Visa’s Consumer Spending Index – which has shown e-commerce spending continue to rise during 2017, while face-to-face spending on the high street has declined.

In the past, “window shopping” required you to leave your house or workplace. Times have changed though, and our research reveals that people are making full use of the ability to actively browse for products at any time of the day or night; whether during their lunch break, or winding down for the day in front of the TV.

Clearly online retailers want to continue to drive this growth in e-commerce, however in converting browsers to buyers they will need to tackle the factors causing people to abandon online purchases.

After all, how often have you been in a physical shop, got to the cashier with a full basket, then simply decided you didn’t want to proceed with your purchase? Probably rarely, if ever. Yet three quarters of shoppers have done exactly this online according to research we conducted this summer. Our study sheds some interesting insight on the question of web-based ‘basket anxiety’ – when consumers get right to the final stages of the checkout process before abandoning their shopping basket.

But why is this? Unsurprisingly security is a major consideration – and 76% of those who have opted against a purchase at the point of payment have cited security concerns as a key reason.

Ironically, the other sticking point stems from one of the primary drivers for online shopping over the past 15 years – convenience. It transpires that there is still room for improvement in creating a truly frictionless shopping experience. Extra payment steps at point of purchase are a particular source of frustration, and three in five (59%) of those who’ve abandoned a basket have done so because of this.

What’s more, while the potential for a convenient shopping experience has increased exponentially with the ubiquity of smartphones, filling in these details on a small smartphone screen is an even greater source of annoyance.

Finding a balance between these two concerns – security versus convenience – has been the fine line the payments industry has been walking for decades.

Nowadays, the difference is the sheer number of new ways to pay, driven by the internet and mobile technology. As a leading international player in payments, it’s up to Visa to help provide solutions that are as secure as possible while reducing points of friction – regardless of how consumers wish to pay.

For instance, with Visa Checkout, we have addressed the issue of reducing payment steps by providing a centralised payment method for consumers, meaning they don’t have to enter billing and shipping details every time a purchase is made. Once registered, this information is retained, and shoppers only need to click on the ‘Visa Checkout’ option when making a purchase to complete it – with no need for extra steps.

This new payment method responds to the two key issues facing consumers – cutting down frustrating friction points, while simultaneously providing security. As payment data is stored securely on users’ Visa Checkout accounts, shoppers avoid having to share details widely with unfamiliar retailers. You wouldn’t expect to complete a form every time you bought an item on the physical high street; we believe the online experience should mirror this.

As retailers look to make the most of the opportunities offered across every sales channel, ensuring consumers’ financial security while maximising the opportunity to convert a browser to a buyer, they can rest assured that we are working to cut out the frustrations thrown up by online retail and ultimately reduce instances of basket anxiety.

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