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Five Important Features of Great Shopping Carts

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Sarah Lee Parker

Here at AimHigher we love developing web experiences for customers, and shopping carts have now become an online staple. If you have an online business, a shopping cart can make or break your site. So how do you balance a great shopping experience with customer retention, sales follow-ups and failed transactions?

Meeting Customer Expectations

Your customer wants their shopping experience to be flawless. For some people, a fast, efficient system with minimal activity is the way to go. Other people may like to slow down, evaluate and compare all the possible products, visit a few times and enjoy the process before settling down to purchase. Desirable features that help the customer get their amazing product quickly include:

  • Pre-fill fields where possible
  • One click payment method
  • A well mapped out process from selection to delivery
  • Wish lists
  • Large, appealing photos or images that give an accurate representation
  • Search functions for products
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Wish lists are also great for returning customers. If your site remembers the products they were viewing, then they can be promoted to the returning customer or used in email marketing to remind them of the product

Meeting Business Needs

A business needs certain key things from their customers and to begin with, the features listed above are a great start. Your expectations should be to make your customer happy, complete the sale quickly, and resolve problems before they happen.

Your product should be something you are proud to deliver, and your pride in your business should be obvious from a great website through to great copy and excellent customer service.

On the back end, your financial systems should be easy for you to use, easy to complete refunds, and be trusted world wide. Your stock management can be inbuilt into the shopping cart plug-in, and these days webpages can function as shop front, stock management, and customer relationship manager. Your web site should also be able to handle any webhooks or integrations needed to complete actions for you, such as adding customer data to your CRM or updating sales to your accounting software. Updating should be well documented and easy, whether adding new products to your catalogue or writing blogposts.

Easy and Efficient Payment Systems are Crucial

It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need to easy to use. You can use any kind of payment methods, or a combination of them (you can even accept Bitcoin if you want), but whatever method you use, it should show the price accurately, be clear on what currency it’s using and involve as little typing and locating of credit cards as possible. Many potential customers stop at the last step due to the psychological barrier of needing to go get their credit card. For some reason, getting off the couch and searching for your purse makes the purchase seem more real, and more likely to allow time for doubts to set in or distractions to arise.

Any great back end should also hook into, or even use your accounting software.

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Your financial system should also have clear guidelines and terms and conditions for you - what happens when a customer completes a chargeback, even when you know the product was received? Always plan for the worst even while hoping for the best.

Collecting Customer Details

Building your customer database is an important part of online businesses. If you have convinced a customer to purchase from you, and they were delighted with the item they purchased, they will want to do it again. You can encourage them by collecting data and serving advertising that meets their needs and previous purchasing history (but make sure you get their permission to collect the data).

If a customer leaves the purchasing system without completing the sale, your shopping cart software has the potential to wait a given period of time and then email the potential client. This is a great way to pick up extra sales and also make that additional effort to welcome a customer to your business. There are many reasons why the customer didn’t complete their purchase, perhaps they were on their phone and they didn’t have a chance to complete their purchase.

A warm audience is easier to sell to than a cold audience, so cherish any information they give you, and make sure your shopping cart captures meaningful details.

Carefully Mapped Out Processes

Your customer wants to feel taken care of, so it’s your role (and your web developer’s) to make them feel this way! If you can answer questions before they are asked, your support requirements will drop and automation will save the day. Customers will want to know details about shipping and returns, and feel safe in expecting an efficient and positive solution to any problems they raise with you. Your customer service pages should be detailed and written in plain language, and any forms easy to locate and easy to print.

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Map out what your customer will do and see when they visit your site. What will attract them and how will they buy your product? How can you add value to their experience?

Modern shopping cart apps and plugins will also track the pain points of customers. Is there a step that seems to lose a high percentage of customers? At what points do most people click out? If you keep an eye on these details, you can later look to find reasons why people fail to buy, and then create solutions to keep the sale. If there is a certain step that causes 60% of the sales losses, then you can easily find creative solutions to fix the issue and retain those customers.

Shopping cart apps and plug-ins can also hook into your advertising too. Have you ever seen the same advertisement across multiple platforms? This sort of advertising is effective for the multiple contact points reminding the customer of your great product.

If you’re looking to build an ecommerce store, a developer can customise your site to perform exactly how you want it, including user experience for the site as well as the sales experience. A great developer can help dovetail these two needs into one website. Fill out the form to talk to us today!

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