Many of the UK’s leading e-commerce sites are losing sales by failing to offer rudimentary features, new research has found.

A report from online payments giant Stripe has highlighted a number of common shortcomings including a lack of Apple Pay compatibility and basic error messages to flag up problems with transactions.

Alarmingly, the research found that one in three (32%) of the busiest UK e-commerce outlets were allowing customers to submit transactions with invalid card numbers. A further four in five (82%) of big online retailers still don’t offer Apple Pay or Google Pay to customers in the UK.

The study looked at a variety of business including the likes of ASOS, MatchesFashion and Glossier, for which it processes payments. It found that two thirds didn’t have multi-lingual functionality on their websites, which left many missing out on valuable oversees trading opportunities. Only 12% let their European customers pay using mainstream local payment methods.

Abandoned payments

Stripe’s comprehensive review looked at the top 450 e-commerce websites in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Sweden. It discovered that 70% of all online shopping carts were being abandoned, with basic errors in the transaction process being largely at fault for the failing payments.

Simple warnings, such as failure to warn shoppers when out of date expiry information was entered, or the lack of a numerical keyboard option being available for entering card numbers on a mobile, were seen as obstacles for consumers wanting to buy goods. In fact, many websites were not even optimised for mobile use.

Stripe issued a list of key factors e-commerce website owners should look at in order to improve the online sales experience. These included mobile-friendly page design and functionality, digital wallet payment options, more choice for payments from overseas customers and better-designed payment or checkout forms.

Iain McDougall, UK& Ireland Country Manager at Stripe said: “These easy-to-fix checkout errors could be costing businesses important revenue. 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.”

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