Get Rid of That Shopping Cart with the Squeaky Wheel

August 29, 2008

While you may be considering all of the things that you need to be doing to landing pages, home pages, tweaks you need to make to your navigation, and making sure that all of your content is new and continually updated, you may be overlooking a key component of your website: the shopping cart. Even though this component is on the back end of your website and seems to be something that isn’t that important, making sure that your shopping cart works without a hitch really is that important.

You may think that if a customer has gotten as far as the shopping cart, you have already won the battle. Unfortunately for you, however, this is not true. All too often, customers will add items to their shopping cart, only to choose not to buy them in the end. While this is inevitable to some degree, many people just add items to the cart to see the total price or so that they have a convenient place to keep all of the items they have found and liked so they can go back to them later, there are still those that just get frustrated or confused and give up.

Hopefully, you don’t have too many of the latter group. If you do, however, and you would like to minimize this number, here are a few tips for optimizing your site’s shopping cart.

Make sure that your check out link is clearly visible. Use both a text link and an image link, maybe one of a shopping cart, crazy, I know, to clearly indicate to your customer’s that this is the way they need to go.

Make it easy and clear for your customers to update their shopping cart. If they want to delete an item, make it easy to do so and make the resulting total clear and easily updatable. The last thing a customer wants to do is to have to start all over again and find those items, they may just give up on you.

Minimize the advertising on the checkout pages. People have already chosen to buy from you, don’t push it too much. Your best bet, if you want to entice someone to purchase a similar product or spend a specific amount, is to pitch this to them when they add something to the cart, not when they are preparing to leave your site.

Make your safety, security, and shipping information clear and understandable. Provide links to the security pages, explanations of your shipping methods, and other information readily available to keep your customer’s satisfied and feeling safe. Also, make sure you do not store personal information unless you allow the customer to ask you to do this. A simple box to check is enough, but let them ask for it, don’t push it on them.

Finally, make sure that you keep your customer updated on how far they are in the process. If you have a long checkout process, letting people know where they are will encourage them to stick with it rather than give up right before the final step.

Making sure that your site is easy to use is vital to your success. Attention should be paid to the entire customer experience, from beginning to end. Don’t neglect the steps that seem inconsequential, all too often, they are the ones that your customers will find most important.

Written By: James Blackburn, Website Office Staff Writer

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