Effective Shopping Carts

By Melanie Prough on Thursday, September 24, 2009
Filed Under: Zen Cart Tips

I’m sure you’ve done the same thing yourself. You go to the grocery store, get a cart or basket, fill it with items and suddenly you felt like you may be buying unnecessary things. What happens after that realization is a pretty common practice. You leave your basket or cart half full of items near the counter or just at the end of the aisle or put some things back. The same thing can and does happen on your Zen Cart: customers abandoning their carts. This problem, however, is not entirely out of your control. There are a number of ways to increase the effectiveness of your shopping cart and the proper implementation of these best practices can reduce the lost sales associated with abandonment.

There are several common reasons why people abandon their shopping carts midway. One harmless reason is that they just want to know the prices of the products on your website and compare them with another supplier. If they find out that they can get the products much cheaper somewhere else then they may leave.

However, the solution to this price war issue is not an easy one. We have to get the right suppliers and services to ensure that we can offer the products at a minimal mark-up or at a very competitive rate. At least if you and your competitors have fairly the same product prices, your can get customers by getting ahead in other areas like customers support or quality. Note that the “cheapest” price is less effective than a low price. Many shoppers assume the cheapest price also delivers the cheapest quality and support.

Another issue that your customers might find with your Zen Cart is poor usability. The Internet is a continuous information gateway. If your customers find your Zen Cart slow to load and has a great deal of obstacles and required fields to fill out, they may turn to your competitors.

Remove any stumbling blocks that might hinder your customer’s ability to order products easily online. Too much non-purchase information in checkout is a definite turn-off. Keep your checkout simple and customize your store to enable fast product browsing and easy ordering.

Security is another major issue. This is only natural. Your shoppers will be handing over credit card information which in some ways can be hacked and used by unscrupulous people. Asking for too much information will put your customers on the defensive. They will be cautious resulting to loss of sales.

Keep your Zen Cart patched and up to date. This rule also applies to your hosting and server software. Make sure that you incorporate all relevant shopping cart features, and it would be a plus if you could add a couple of innovative product specific ideas of your own as well.

Honesty is greatly appreciated by shoppers. Let your customers know of any other added costs on their purchases. Place this information as early and clearly in the ordering process as possible. Customers will surely get irritated if they find out of additional fees or shipping surcharges at the end of their transactions.

These are simple, but effective ways to ensure the effectiveness of your Zen Cart and get started on the road to success. Nonetheless, as simple as they may be, the yield can be great if you pay attention to logical and necessary customizations in to your shopping cart.

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