Q: Even if you do everything else wrong, what’s the one thing you absolutely must have without fail if you want to run an ecommerce site?
A: The shopping cart!
You may have miscategorized your products, failed to make shipping policies clear, even ignored the crucial planning phase, but without a cart you’re pretty much doomed. So how do you go about setting up this most vital component? That’s what this next tip is about.
Tip #7: Plan The Shopping Cart
When planning a shopping cart, it’s sometimes easier to talk about “what not to do”. Most of us who’ve shopped online have a list a mile long of things that drive us crazy. Sometimes we’re patient or having a particularly good day and nothing bothers us. But other days, we’d just as soon never shop again than spend thirty seconds “registering for an account”. Stay on your customers’ shopping lists by following some basic cart rules.
The easier it is to check out, the more likely your visitor will do it.
- State a clearly defined call to action. Think in action words – “buy now” and “add to cart” buttons make it easy for customers to do just that.
- State your purchase policies. Remember those business rules? Don’t hide them from customers. Answer the important questions – What will it cost to ship? Can I return it? When will I get it? – so customers will feel confident purchasing.
- Create a simple checkout process. The only thing you should require your customers to do at checkout is check out. You can ask customers to create an account but this should be as easy as (optionally) providing a password. Good ecommerce sites focus on the sale.
- Provide a concise order summary. Make it clear to customers what they have chosen and how much it costs.
- Keep your customers’ options open. Provide the opportunity to keep shopping, and be sure the cart items are still there when the customer returns. Allow customers to update quantities, delete items and return to a product page with ease
- Up-sell but don’t oversell. Checkout is an appropriate time to suggest additional products, but be careful not to force customers to decline offer after offer before submitting their order.
- Make required information clear. A tiny asterisk (*) can go a long way toward facilitating checkout. Tell your customers up front how much information they need to provide, and let them know how many steps there are in the process.
What one change would make your shopping cart better or easier to use?