June 30, 2009
3 Shopping Cart Blunders to Avoid
Whether you sell tee-shirts or televisions, your prime goal as an online retailer is to turn browsers into buyers by driving them to your checkout process. The path to (and through) the shopping cart should be a smooth one, with none of the virtual bumps that could potentially cause items to be tossed out and left somewhere along the road.
With today’s widespread market research and usability studies, most designers of eCommerce sites have a firm grasp of effective strategies for keeping customers on a clear, focused shopping path. Even so, there are still a surprisingly large number of websites that commit grave errors in the design and implementation of their shopping carts.
Below are a few of the most common (and easily avoidable) mistakes:
- Calling it something else. Your site’s sole point of entry into the checkout process is no place to risk confusion by getting overly fancy or “cutesy” with terminology. Resist the urge to be different by calling your cart a bag, basket, or some other alternate label. Just call it what it is, and consider adding an identifying graphic to reinforce it.
- Hiding the “Add to Cart” button. This should be the easiest action for a customer to take, and should require little to no thinking on their part. Make sure the “Add to Cart” button is in a prominent place on the product page, and that it’s in the same location regardless of which item is being viewed. If you have long, text-heavy descriptions that extend below the fold, you might even consider including two “Add to Cart” buttons (as long as you do so on every page, for consistency).
- Forcing customers to register. In keeping with the “smooth cart path” strategy, requiring customers to fill out a registration form prior to adding an item to their shopping cart can be conversion suicide. While you definitely want to make it easy for customers to create new accounts, it should never be implied that it’s a condition of purchase.
The last thing you want to do is to cause confusion with your potential customers. Make it simple for them to purchase from you instead of your competitors.
Regina Baker is the co-creator of Wahmcart and the Ecommerce Solutions Expert for Group Mastery. She created Wahmcart as a full ecommerce software solution for work at home moms without the huge price tag. She's dedicated to educating the small business individual (sole proprietors) and companies with ecommerce solutions that will allow them to work smarter, not harder while at the same time providing an affordable solution that the “average” person can afford. More about Wahmcart