• Paul Kelson

UK's busiest online shops 'plagued by basic errors'

A review of the top 450 e-commerce websites in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Sweden has uncovered widespread checkout errors, causing customers unnecessary frustration and costing businesses significant lost revenue.

Research from Stripe, which builds economic infrastructure for the internet, found that some of the most common errors include: allowing shoppers to submit transactions with incorrect card details; failing to warn shoppers when out of date expiry information is entered; not providing a numerical keypad for entering card numbers on mobile.

Businesses are making it unnecessarily hard for would-be customers across Europe to buy from their sites, with two thirds of sites not translating their pages into local languages and just 12 per cent supporting mainstream local payments methods.

Iain McDougall, UK and Ireland country manager at Stripe, said: “Now is not the time to be leaving money on the table - businesses invest heavily in getting customers through the virtual door of their online shop, so to then throw the sale away because your checkout page isn’t up to scratch makes no sense, and yet it happens all the time.

“On their own, mistakes like not offering a numerical keypad for customers entering card numbers on mobile might seem small, but when combined together, the slew of errors we found across the country’s top sites add up to a needlessly difficult checkout experience for shoppers, and a significant number of lost sales.”

At a time when increasing addressable market is crucial to maximising sales, many of the top e-commerce sites are not doing a good job of providing a simple checkout for users in other European countries, according to Stripe.

It found that 66 per cent of the top 50 checkouts in the UK do not translate into local languages when prompted by local shoppers, while only 12 per cent of UK sites offer popular local payment methods for markets such as Poland, Belgium and Austria.

With mobile sales now accounting for over two-thirds of global e-commerce, building a successful checkout for the small screen is crucial, but the many of the sites reviewed by Stripe offered poor mobile experiences.

It found that 82 per cent of websites in the UK did not offer any digital wallet payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

When it comes to adopting mobile wallets, businesses are lagging behind the consumers they serve, with only 18 per cent of checkouts offering Google and Apple Pay, compared to the 26 per cent of European customers paying through Stripe Checkout that have set up either Apple Pay or Google Pay on their device or browser.

With 90 per cent lost sales in Europe failing on the checkout page, fixing these basic errors and reducing friction in the transaction process can result in significant increases in conversion and revenue, especially as more commerce moves online.

Stripe found that 42 per cent of UK checkouts did not explain what a CVC code was when asking for it, 32 per cent did not verify the card number automatically as it was entered, and 30 per cent let shoppers submit the payment request with an expired card date entered - rather than flagging the expired date before submission.

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