Barclay's research shows free delivery could boost retailer profits by £10.5 billion

A 'straightforward user experience' would encourage more online shoppers to the final purchasing stage, according to Barclay's research - especially when using mobile phones
Gail Bell

RETAILERS could boost their online sales by offering free delivery to customers, new research from Barclays has found.

And getting their online strategy right could see UK businesses selling more that £80bn of stock online by 2021, according to the bank's relationship director, Graeme MacLaughlin.

The findings showed how investment in converting browsers into shoppers nationwide could cut 'basket abandonment' in half by 2021 and boost retailer profits by £10.5 billion.

Northern Irish shoppers are currently leaving 67 per cent of items unpurchased in their online shopping baskets, with 50 per cent saying the offer of free delivery would entice them through the check-out.

A 'straightforward user experience', meanwhile, would encourage 32 per cent of shoppers to go through to the final purchasing stage.

The research, from Barclays Corporate Banking Online Retail Report, 'From Browse to Buy: The Conversion Challenge' also revealed that shoppers in the north (41 per cent) are more likely to use their personal smartphone or tablet, compared to the rest of the UK (31 per cent).

"At a time when cost management is a priority, it's understandable that investment in mobile optimisation may seem too expensive for many retailers," Mr MacLaughlin said.

"However, our research underlines the longer term benefit of providing easy to use options across all online platforms, particularly for shoppers in Northern Ireland.

"By adapting quickly to the needs of today's consumer to create a better shopping experience online, and particularly via mobile, retailers will boost their sales.

"This research shows that a streamlined mobile offering is of particular importance in Northern Ireland, where the use of mobile and tablet devices is the highest in the UK."

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