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Keep Your Online Shopping Carts In Line

Carefully executed Web site checkout encourages completed sales
Carefully executed Web site checkout encourages completed sales
Creative Commons: Flickr Naystin

Your Web site has visitors, they are browsing – clicking – and they are shopping.

Everything is going great: your Internet business is on the verge of success.

But why is your virtual aisle littered with abandoned shopping carts? Shopping cart abandonment is a problem for all e-commerce sites, with some industry statistics suggesting that as many as 75% of consumers don’t complete their online orders.

Knowing how to run an online shopping cart is integral to having your Web site work. Maintaining a balance between collecting customer information and providing a simple online shopping experience is the key.

Make sure that your promotion codes work. This includes codes from external sites, affiliate marketers, printed offers and other advertising. It’s important to have someone at your business personally check all of your exclusive savings certificates regularly, daily if possible.

Try not to ask for duplicate information. Have shipping fields auto-populate from billing information. Reduce the number of keystrokes for your customers.

Reveal all shipping costs and options, as well as other add-ons, like gift wrap, before asking for a credit card.

Do not require customers to register before processing their order. Your customers spent time to find the right merchandise, considered size and color, input their credit card information, as well as billing and shipping data … and then the Web site won’t allow the order to go through until they register? This is what the customer thinks: “You have my American Express number, I have $580 worth of merchandise in my cart, and NOW I have to REGISTER?”

Registration can take place after completing an order. Include a "thank you," for example, a coupon code for their next order, a newsletter sign up, or catalog "preview" status.

Add a completion meter in your checkout process. Let your customers know where they are with numbered, clearly labeled steps. Make each “next step” very clear. Provide the opportunity to review actions and the ability to go back if needed. Error messages are frustrating.

Put an image of the selected items in the virtual “shopping cart,” with links back to the item description. Make it simple to add or delete items from the shopping cart. Editing color or quantity should be easy.

Remember that real people, not machines, make sales. Clearly display contact information for your company at all stages of the shopping cart process. Keep it simple and minimize error messages. Instead of “you did it wrong,” say “how can we help you?”


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