Great shopping carts are a feature ecommerce websites should focus on, but a lot of them simply do not. Some have been using the same tired shopping cart for years that forces users to go through useless steps or constantly forces them to repeat steps when they add new products.
Other shopping carts are so confusing shoppers simply leave. Ecommerce is a unique niche that comes with its own set of problems, but your cart should not be one of them. Work with your professional web design team to ensure a user experience that result in sales, not abandoned carts.
Ability to See What's in Your Cart/Bag
Regardless of what it is called, the number one quality your online shopping cart or bag should have is that your customer should see the items in them even while they browse. There are many ways to do this.
A small pop-up can say the item has been added then return the customer to the main site so they can continue browsing. A simpler option is to have the cart clearly appear at the top of the website, with a number indicating the number of items or a total of the amount spent so far. Give your customer a choice and do not take them directly to the end of the shopping experience. Give them the power to decide when to stop shopping. A great shopping cart does not take that choice away from them.
A great online shopping cart replicates the mall or grocery experience by adding photos to the shopping cart of the items selected. This serves as a small reminder to the customer of what they already have and is also great visual stimulation that helps to simulate the shopping experience.
Part of a great shopping experience is really looking over your purchase. In an ecommerce setting, that visceral part is delayed until the shipment arrives.
Nothing frustrates a customer more than having no choices -- so make sure you always give them great choices for shipping once they hit the shopping cart. Many successful ecommerce businesses are designed to allow overnight or standard shipping. There is always that one customer who forgets his wife's birthday, or needs to send him mother something over in Ohio but waited until the last minute. This more than anything can finalize a sale.
Add-ons, such as extra charges for shipping or gift-wrapping should be easily viewed at the beginning of the shopping cart steps. Not the end, because that more than anything causes sales to drop. Curiously enough, customers who were informed of shipping prices at the beginning went through with the sale. The difference was in the transparency and the timing. When customers know about before they input the credit card, debit card or PayPal number, it is not such a big deal.
A professional web design team should give you a shopping cart with easy to spot links and buttons. Why? Because you do not want your customers to waste time hunting for that tiny link at the very bottom of your page. The key to a great shopping cart is visibility of important buttons like Update Cart or Buy Now. Forcing your customer to look all over the place places unnecessary stress on the process and can cause you to lose a sale.
No Big Differences from Other Shopping Carts
Call it a bag, a book bag, a cart, a yarn basket -- it does not matter as long as the fundamental concepts are the same. Make sure your cart is instantly recognizable and instantly accessible.
In many cases customers will keep looking for shopping carts even if you have a yarn basket right there, on the top of the website. This is because people scan websites, they do not really read. Plus they are always in a hurry, so they look for the familiar. Give them the familiar. Shopping should not be a stressful or a complex experience.
Work with your professional website design team to make sure your carts have these qualities so your website's user experience is friendly, easy and ultimately, something your customers will return to again and again.