Research shows an average 63% basket abandonment rate on transactional websites. Whilst leading research organisation Customer Experience Management (2010) adds that 31% of customers who abandon online shopping baskets do so due to unreliable or unstable websites.

The inflexibility of existing systems leads to discouraged users and lost sales. This can often be attributed to a lack of transparency on prices, leading to customers progressing through the sales process and abandoning the cart at the last hurdle due to unforeseen charges or their expectations not being appropriately met. Alternatively, overly complex and disconnected ecommerce platforms generate confusion and today’s increasingly time-poor consumer has very little patience for such issues.

Research conducted by Forrester (2010) suggests that basket abandonment stems mainly from an ineffective checkout process, particularly in relation to the time required to complete a purchase online, the ease of navigation through the website and purchase process, unexpected delivery charges, and the need for registration. Therefore, ensuring seamless and efficient integration between your site and your preferred transactional platform is fundamental to long-term ecommerce success.

The Arts: Ticketing systems
Similar to commercial ecommerce sites, basket abandonment rates continue to rise on arts websites that offer the capacity to purchase tickets online. Evidence suggests that effectively integrating a suitable ticketing system helps to streamline purchases and increase sales. This became ever more evident when analysing Alienation’s work with the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, whereby the new ticketing system solution has resulted in 82% of people who enter the online box office completing the sales funnel, a massive 25% above the industry average of 57%.

Recent studies show that 70% of companies who invest time in targeting basket abandoners experienced increased sales as a result. Therefore, integration efforts must be supported by customer relationship management and complimentary marketing, whereby basket abandoners are targeted appropriately to convert them back into sales.

So here’s a run down of our top recommendations to reduce basket abandonment:

  • Ensure seamless integration between your website and ecommerce/payment/ticketing platform;
  • Display clear Calls to Action to guide the shopper and facilitate navigation;
  • Provide a simple display of the customer’s progress through the checkout process;
  • Ensure the efficient collection of customer information to reduce the need for duplicate entries;
  • Clearly display all relevant information to enhance transparency, avoid misinterpretation and consequent irritation, and ultimately boost trust;
  • Isolate the checkout process to simplify visual impact and reduce the likelihood of the customer linking off to other areas rather than completing the purchase;
  • Target basket abandoners to convert them back into sales.

Critically, we must recognise that the Internet is increasingly used as a research and price comparison tool, therefore, unlike physical shopping, the online sales funnel will never reach 100%. However, ensuring that your website provides a reliable, robust and simplistic shopping experience will, at the very least, reduce the aforementioned 31% of basket abandoners who fail to complete purchases due to the state of the website itself.


Spiders, Web (2011) How to Prevent Shopping Cart Abandonment?, The Free Library [Available at: to Prevent Shopping Cart Abandonment?-a01074294952]
Coremetrics (2010) Black Friday & Cyber Monday, IBM Coremetrics Benchmarking Reports [Available at:]
Fireclick (2010) Fireclick Index: Top Line Growth, Digital River [Available at:]
Davis, D. (2010) Key Profit Indicators Point Up, Forrester Research [Available at:]
The Drum (2011) 14% of e-tailors use ‘abandoned basket’ emails, Carnyx Group [Available at:]