5 features that an Online Shopping Cart Should Include
When considering your shopping cart CMS and the features that savvy merchants rely upon to give their shoppers a better experience and to create less administrative work, it becomes apparent that there are a few common features that you will not want to be without.
Integrated Shipping Calculation
This is fairly basic, but is not implemented in several commercial shopping carts without customization. There is nothing worse for a customer to checkout with their shopping cart and then find out that they will incur extra charges that did not get totalled into the final price because their shipping costs were not included. Some carts offer the capability of choosing among multiple shipping vendors. The convenience of having multiple vendors, however, can be offset by the increase in the complexity of the transaction for the customer.
Integrated Sales Tax Calculation
For those sites that are shipping goods to different states in the United States, the standard used to be that a customer that owed tax, would need to remember and individually report their purchases, paying the sales tax for their state after the transaction was complete. In practice, this never worked as most customers forgot to pay. Angry states therefore began to create sales tax provisions that required companies doing business in their state to start charging and collecting the sales tax online as customers order. This facet of online commerce is currently a real minefield legislatively, however for merchants, a built-in capability to add or change sales tax based on the province or state that a customer is ordering from makes a big difference.
For customers that are putting together an order, the experience should no longer need to be a progression of loading 10 pages as they change their selections. Instead, using shopping cart software that includes Ajax controls, they merely change and watch the corresponding order details refresh, raising your sales closure rate.
Product Reviews and Ratings
Although many intelligent customers understand in advance that product marketing people are always trying to influence customer reviews of their products on major shopping sites like Amazon, human behavior remains fairly consistent in that new shoppers will tend to read the product reviews on your shopping site and giving them some credence with regards to their purchasing decision. Without them, you may lose customers that have never tried a particular product before.
Just like the concept of a loss leader in a supermarket, the capability of offering coupons or special offers on certain products to customers is a necessary arrow in your marketing quiver. Customers that are shopping for one product and find out that there is a great deal when they combine products or that there is free shipping on a particular product, are more likely to order. Reward types can include:
- Membership incentives
- Gift certificates
- Discounts or Offers
- Reward programs
Eric Wyatt writes on internet marketing and social media, and focuses particularly on conversion optimization and landing page optimization.