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Online Shopping Carts - Preventing Customer Frustration Online

Nov 21, 2007
There are millions of retail websites on the Internet that use online shopping carts to enable customers to order products or services online. If you've ever shopped online, however, you know that all online shopping carts are not created equal. Some are confusing to use, don't allow you to make changes as you progress through the ordering process or are limited in terms of payment options and other features.

Having a shopping cart system that doesn't work well or is limited in functionality is often a mistake new websites make. They lavish lots of time and money on making the site appealing, showing off their products or services in the best possible light and even adding cool flash add-ons and other extras, but cut corners on the shopping cart because they see it as a mundane, boring feature that is strictly utilitarian. The problem that arises from that attitude is that shoppers can quickly lose their enthusiasm for purchasing a product or products if they become frustrated when going through the online checkout.

Online shopping carts should be customer friendly. People make mistakes; it's a fact of life. If your website's online shopping cart system is well-designed, it will allow for errors by having links on each page for going back and making corrections or enabling the shopper to change his mind on one item without losing his entire order in the process.

Internet shopping is only as convenient as the payment options for most people. If a retail website offers wonderful gifts, clothing or furniture but doesn't accept credit cards, it will lose a hefty proportion of its customers. Conversely, if a variety of options such as major credit cards, PayPal and e-checks are available; shoppers will be more inclined to make purchases.

Shopping carts must also have back end flexibility. Of course, offering lots of different options and services through your online shopping cart system is great for your customers, but if it isn't easy to use and adapt to your own company's needs from the back end as well, it won't help. If you have a flexible, intuitive back end design, however, you'll find that a more complex shopping cart system can actually make your work easier.

There are many companies today who offer custom designed online shopping carts as well as companies that offer several different software packages that you can tailor to fit your specific needs at a reasonable cost. Using these specialists to help you implement an online shopping cart experience for your website can improve everything from your customer service to your bookkeeping, since you can use these systems for not only placing orders, but for tracking inventory and assessing sales trends.

When researching online shopping cart options for your website, ask some serious questions about what the provider can offer you. Considerations on whether the software package will include the source code so that you can customize your online shopping cart as your needs change should be an option. Find out if there is technical support available if and when you need it. Research what types of payment options can be set up with the shopping cart program. And learn if the system is a dynamic one that can evolve and change, as shopper's needs change.

Be sure when you're looking for the right online shopping cart service or package that you really know what you'll need. Whether you offer customized gifts or require drop-down menus for color, size and style choices, your decision will be based on your needs. Also, find out what the return policies are for the particular product you are interested in. Knowing as much as possible about what you want will ensure that you don't fall short when you invest in your website's online shopping cart system.
About the Author
AspDotNetStorefront is a premier online shopping cart and storefront provider.
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