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Online shopping cart abandonment rates ‘lowest on charity sites’

Transactions on charity websites are the least likely to be abandoned compared to other sectors, according to ecommerce platform provider Ve. Their research has also found that charities are the most successful organisations at emailing those who abandon their online transaction and persuading them to return and complete it.

The cart abandonment rate for charities (when donors fail – or choose not – to complete an online transaction) is 62%, according to Ve’s analysis of its clients’ transactions during 2014.

The highest abandonment rate of 92% occurred on education institutions’ sites, driven by the number of people applying online for education programmes. This was followed by the travel and leisure sectors (both at 79%).
Financial services, retail and publishing sectors did better, achieving cart abandonment rates from 69-70%.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.
Online shopping card abandonment rates by industry (2014)
Charities achieve the lowest transaction abandonment rates online – but could still improve!

Credit to charities – or donors?

The findings are encouraging for charities, but could be interpreted in two ways:

1. Charities are very successful in UX (user accessibility) design on their websites, or

2. Individuals are more determined when giving online than shopping online, and more forgiving of charities’ website processes.

Turning abandoned visitors into online donors

Re-engagement emails per sale by industry
Charities are best at getting people to return to their shopping cart and complete the donation.

Ve also found that charities beat other commercial sectors in being the most successful in using email to re-engage people who had abandoned the donation process and to persuade them to complete the donation transaction.
Charity clients of Ve secured on average one donation for every 26 re-engagement emails sent. In the financial services sector it was one transaction in every 102 emails.

Ve puts this success down to the charity sector’s ability “to pull at consumer heart-strings”. It adds “The charity sector is unique in its ability to form an emotional connection with its audience, and as more shopping moves online, charities have huge opportunities to appeal to customers’ wants and needs, making for a more successful re-engagement strategy”.

Dan Cons, Head of Charities and Education at Ve, commented:

“Our data demonstrates that, on average, the conversion of charitable purchases requires less marketing engagement – and as such, that consumers have less hesitation than when purchasing in other sectors. This would imply that consumers are more motivated and assured when spending their money for a greater good: it paints a rather compassionate picture of the UK online customer.”
“Having said this, on average 62% of customers will still abandon their donation despite their good intentions. Email re-engagement is a creative and effective way to bring visitors back to your site so that they can complete it. Charities that aren’t using this strategy are missing out on a fantastic opportunity.”

The findings cover the period from 1 January to 31 December 2014 and relate to abandonment and re-engagement campaigns by Ve Interactive’s clients. The figures in the report exclude general marketing or awareness campaigns.
Main image: abandoned shopping trolley by Aurelio Wieser on Shutterstock.com