British shoppers abandon £3.4 billion worth of goods in online carts every year, a new study from Barclays has found.

However, improvements to the mobile shopping process could generate up to £10.5 billion more in online shopping spend in just five years.

With ‘device switching’ to blame for the high rates of basket abandonment, the study of 300 retail managers and 2,000 UK consumers found that investment in online sales such as mobile optimisation, discounts and flexible delivery options could cut basket abandonment by half by 2021.

Barclays’ head of retail, Ian Gilmartin, believes the study highlights the long-term benefits of providing easy options across online platforms, with brands needing to “adapt quickly” to the needs of today’s consumers’ expectations, particularly on mobile, in order to boost sales.

Tech or tradition?

According to Barclays, users’ device switching preferences highlight that a more streamlined process – one avoiding fiddly mobile sites – would make 28% consumers more likely to buy.

The research has found 13% of respondents admit that if they didn’t have to provide registration details at checkout, they would be more likely to go ahead with their purchase. Despite the feedback from customers, only 16% of sellers plan to prioritise mobile sales next year.

Gilmartin understands that investment in mobile optimisation might not be a priority for retailers focused on cost management, but getting the strategy right and responding to customers’ needs could see retailers selling over £80 billion worth of goods online by 2021.

Despite the emphasis on tech improvements, however, the research found that shoppers still respond well to traditional remarketing strategies. Free delivery options would encourage over half (56%) of buyers to finish the purchase and 22% respond to email prompts, while for 27%, schemes such as bonus points would be an added benefit.

Unsurprisingly, price is crucial for browsers to turn into buyers and 43% of those surveyed don’t complete the purchase because they are waiting for a better offer. Over a third (38%) look for discount codes online and wait for sales (35%).

The study also showed that new technologies aren’t top priority for UK buyers just yet – only 6% admit augmented or virtual reality would encourage them to buy, and the same proportion would be encouraged by stylist recommendations – even fewer prefer chatbots.