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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 15, 2010

Does your shopping cart need some maintenance?

Does your online shopping cart have a squeaky wheel? If your customers are shoving shopping carts to one side, perhaps you need to do a little maintenance.

by Helen Leggatt

If the process of using a shopping cart is too lengthy, or too risky, customers will go elsewhere. Therefore, much effort must go in to the optimization of the final trip to the checkout.

As customers 'walk' towards the till, they must be reassured of the security of the website. Reputable security icons, prominently displayed during the process, will allay fears that their personal data or financial information is at risk.

If a cart takes too long to get to the till, perhaps going off on a tangent for no apparent reason, customers will get fed up, or run out of time, and shove the cart to one side. Minimize the steps it takes to get from picking up an item to paying for it.

Better still, provide a status bar or indication of just how far along the process they have traveled and how far they have left to go.

How annoying would it be to be asked to fill out a form before being able to pay for your goods in a supermarket? Likewise, it's just as annoying online. If you must take up a customer's time at this vital point in the checkout process at least make it optional.

Finally, don't wait until a customer has their wallet in hand before advising the cost of getting their purchases home. Be upfront and transparent about all delivery costs, and return costs, providing as much delivery flexibility as possible, early on in the process.

With Christmas just around the corner, isn't it about time you checked your cart for a squeaky wheel?

Tags: ecommerce, online shopping, retail, shopping cart

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