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Your Online Shopping Cart: Portal To Profits

Dec 14, 2007
What attracts customers to an ecommerce site and keeps them there all the way through the purchasing process is your online shopping cart. Just as with any retail venture in real life, shoppers are looking for a user-friendly experience that gives them everything they want or need at that moment. We've all experienced both ends of the spectrum when it comes to shopping; either the salesperson is dogging our every footstep, or when we really do need them, they're suddenly nowhere to be seen. The same could be said of your online shopping cart. Some shopping carts are so flashy and confusing, the visitor often gives up before completing the purchase. Other carts are barely there, lacking clear navigation and the sale is killed before it gets a chance to start. You could have the best product in the world, but if you can't get your customers to buy, it's worthless.

Think of your website as a physical store. You want to showcase your product in the best way possible. If you were selling in the physical world, you certainly wouldn't choose a building in a poor section of town, or one that had numerous problems with it. Location is everything and easy to use navigation of your site is key. People need to see all of your products clearly and have the ability to compare each one. Your online shopping cart should have sufficient means to do this, with large pictures to show the product and enough space for detailed descriptions. Nothing is worse than trying to get a look at a product from a microscopic thumbnail image. Put your product images on display.

When designing your online shopping cart, take your time. You might be all jazzed to get the project running that you throw something together simply for the sake of getting it up quickly. Nothing will kill your sales faster than your customers' constantly running into an under Construction message. You can bet that the customer will find that same product elsewhere and won't be back. People want instant gratification and if they can't get it from your site, they'll leave.

The number one reason people buy from any given site is credibility. If a site looks shady, no one is going to give personal information, not in a day and age where identity theft runs rampant. A sense of trust is extremely important. Traditional stores, like Sears or Wal-Mart, work very hard to maintain an atmosphere attractive to their customers. The same goes for your site and online shopping cart. If your site is suffering from technical bugs or your checkout procedure is too hard to follow, it won't help build your credibility or trustworthiness with the customer at all. In addition, you have to offer enough support to back it up should the visitor encounter a problem.

A sense of openness with your visitors is important and goes hand in hand with credibility. Ecommerce sites with ambiguous pseudonyms for contacts cause customers to wonder what you might be hiding. Customers like to know with whom they're dealing. Put a picture of yourself on the site, give them a real name as an email contact, or put up a phone number where you can be reached should the customer have questions needing immediate attention.

All of this should appear clearly on your website. Don't make your customers dig for a contact page or an email address. Provide real time help for real time people. If people know you're there for them, they'll feel good about handing over their hard-earned cash. Make your site and your online shopping cart as safe and secure as possible and in turn, your customers will stay longer and buy more.
About the Author
AspDotNetStorefront is a premier online shopping cart and storefront provider.
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