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A View from a Shopping Cart

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Posted March 16, 2001 By Robyn Greenspan     Feedback

These 10 secrets to shopping cart satisfaction can enhance a customer's overall experience at your site.

All of your hard work is to bring your customer to this point - checkout. Your captivating marketing techniques have led them to your site and the navigation, usability and design has proven to be effective. Your e-commerce site has provided all the necessary ingredients conducive to a positive shopping experience and now your customer is in the final phase of the transaction chain.

If this last element of the shopping trip can be completed easily, you've probably just gained a loyal repeat customer. So, here are some valuable components that make for a good shopping cart:

  • Give your customers the ability to access the cart from any place on the site. A running total should be visible so shoppers can avoid exceeding an allotted budget.
  • Customers should be able to change the quantity of items in the cart and delete products. Price totals, including tax and shipping charges, should be recalculated immediately.
  • A toll-free number should be displayed on every page of the checkout process for the customer that needs to quickly double-check information before completing the transaction.
  • Keep the customer's encrypted credit card, shipping and billing information on file so they don't have to repeatedly fill out the same forms.
  • The customer's order history should be accessible to help inspire repeat sales. If you offer free shipping or some other incentive for every 10th order, a consumer can readily determine how many more shopping trips they have to make.
  • Multiple methods of payment help prevent alienating the customers who don't believe in the almighty plastic triumvirate - MasterCard, Visa and American Express.
  • Shipping options should be plentiful and include a range that encompasses the slowest and least expensive to the quickest and more costly. Display the delivery cost early on in the checkout process so it doesn't surprise the customer when they are completing the order.
  • Tracking information should be available once the order is processed.
  • The cart should have the ability to save an order that wasn't completed. An abandoned cart can often be the result of the customer not having a credit card readily available or some type of interruption. If a customer fails to complete the transaction, send an e-mail reminder that you are holding the order until a more convenient checkout time.
  • Suggest related products when a customer adds something to the shopping cart. Make a couple of recommendations but avoid overwhelming the customer -- some people shop online to avoid a hard sell.

These secrets to shopping cart satisfaction can enhance a customer's overall experience at your site. The time spent developing a dynamic checkout system can pay off with repeat visitors and good word-of-mouth.

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