Success for Your E-Commerce Store – Turning the Shopping Cart into an Actual Sale
Your site experiences this all too often – potential customers shop, place items in their shopping carts, and never actually check out. Why, you ask? At brick and mortar stores, people fill their carts, and, even though they may change their minds about some items, they eventually end up in the checkout line and make actual purchases. There may be all sorts of psychological reasons for this phenomenon. It is much “easier,” for example, to leave a filled cart at the online checkout than it is to do so in a store. Sometimes, it is just fun to have the “thrill” of shopping without actually following through with an outlay of money.
You know, however, that your product(s) are in demand; you know that your prices are good; you know that your site is attractive and engaging. You also know that you are not “there” to close the sale, and that there must be some method to keep that shopping cart in front of the customer at all times and to maintain a customer’s cart over time. The solution is to get a shopping cart system that continually reminds the customer that s/he has items in a cart throughout the navigation and shopping on your site. In addition, you want a system that holds in-cart items, even when a customer leaves your site without purchasing them yet. In other words, shopping carts on your site must be ever-present for the customer and it must still be there when the customer visits again!
If you have the traditional shopping cart, you will want to read on, in order to learn how to maximize the effectiveness of your cart and, ultimately, maximize actual sales!
Keep the Customers’ Carts in Front of Them at all Times
There are two critical pieces to this goal. First, while a customer is navigating throughout your site, his/her shopping cart should always appear, no matter where they travel on your site.Customers want the convenience of reviewing what has been placed in their carts, but you also want to remind them that they have items in their carts at all times. Studies have shown that this “perpetual cart” does increase sales.
Second, you want to hold onto abandoned carts for a very important reason. Often, visitors will place items in a cart and then, for a variety of reasons, leave your site without completing a purchase. Maybe they are comparing prices; maybe they have other pressing activities. Whatever their reasons, you want to keep that cart! When they return to your site, their cart is then intact, not empty, and they do not have to begin all over again to locate the items and re-place them in a cart. Keeping a perpetual shopping cart, even though it has been abandoned, is both convenient for the customer and more effective for you. Such perpetuity can be achieved with a simple cookie.
Go One Step Further
So, let’s summarize. You want your shopping cart in front of the shopper at all times, and you want to maintain abandoned carts when shoppers return to your site. An additional feature that will enhance your visibility to a shopper is the ability to send an email to that customer, reminding them of what they have in a cart on your site, or offering a flash sale for a quick purchase. Again, the more you present their cart details to shoppers, the greater the chance that an ultimate purchase will be made!
Making Payment Smooth and Easy
If payment processes on your site are cumbersome, customers may become frustrated and leave without a purchase. When you decide on a shopping cart solution, you want to look for the following consumer-friendly devices:
Do not place walls of forms to fill out in front of them all at once. Perhaps collect the personal information (address and shipping address, etc.) first and carry it over to another page on which payment information is then requested.
1. Be certain that you offer all available payment methods, so that customers may choose among many options. The same customer may wish to use a credit card for one transaction and perhaps PayPal for another.
2. If you decide to use a captcha, make it as legible as possible.
Choosing the Right Cart/Payment Option
Your choice of a shopping cart solution will depend upon two things – your own expertise and your budget. Even if you are not fully expert, there are free open source shopping cart solutions that will provide templates and instructions from which you may choose. These are great for those with low budgets; however, customization may be a bit lacking.
OpenCart and Zen Cart are a couple of options for free shopping cart set-ups. Both have great manuals, “how-to’s,” and other materials that will basically walk you through a set up.
Remember, with free carts, you must have the conceptual understanding and the attention to detail that will make shopping and payment convenient and effective for your shopper. If you want unique customization, that is possible, but you will probably need some outside expertise!
A simple “Google” search will give you thousands of paid shopping cart solutions, from purchasing software for a modified “do-it-yourself” cart to a full design completed by a professional. Such solutions as Magento, Shopper Press, and CS Cart will offer a variety of solutions from which you may choose, dependent upon how much you wish to spend. Customization is far more easily accomplished through these pay-for options, moreover.
Obviously, you will want to shop around yourself, if you are to secure the shopping cart that is going to work for you, that will be simple for your customers, and that will be easily maintained and updated. You know your products are of value to consumers; you know that your prices are competitive. Now, you have to be certain that shopping carts are persistent and perpetual and that the checkout process is as user-friendly as possible!
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