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70% of lost online sales come from abandoned or uncompleted purchases

High shipping costs and complex checkout procedures to blame

As many as 70 percent of sales lost by UK business come from abandoned or uncompleted purchases.

According to Forrester Research, two thirds of consumers said that they preferred to shop around before committing to a purchase and that was why they abandoned purchases.

However, customer experience marketing firm Epsilon believes the complexity of checkout processes and the high cost of shipping and handling costs are also contributing to online purchases being abandoned. A fact that's backed-up by separate research from website e-Consultancy, which revealed 77 percent of adults who have conducted an online transaction said they had experienced problems in doing so.

"While click rates appear healthy, conversion rates tell a different story. Online retailers simply aren't converting as many prospective customers into sales as they could be, and this is costing their businesses a good deal of lost revenue," said Jon Maddison from Epsilon.

Epsilon also revealed that, despite the high returns that can be generated by prompting customers to complete abandoned transactions, only 31 percent of retailers are doing so. Furthermore, of those retailers that do seek to re-engage customers just under a third (32 percent) contacted them within 72 hours.

"There is a huge opportunity for retailers to convert customers that are still researching their purchases, but retailers need to act promptly to achieve this," said Maddison. "We see very high conversion rates when retailers seek to re-engage these customers quickly. After all, you know precisely what they are looking to buy, but if you leave it too long many will complete their purchases elsewhere."

See also: British online shoppers spend £831,000 in a minute

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