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Sheri Hebbeln
 
February 24, 2014 | Sheri Hebbeln

Shopping carts impact e-commerce user experience

You may not realize it, but one of the most important features of your online wine store is the shopping cart. Even though there isn't a lot of difference in shopping carts physical stores, e-commerce websites vary a great deal, and shopping cart features can lead to higher rates of abandonment. 

Most e-commerce shopping carts include five main functions, according to Marketing Land. These are: add to cart, select shipping options, payment information entry, confirmation and the order processed page. From these main steps, you can apply a number of metrics to determine if there are any functionality problems. You can measure the number of conversions from each page in the process to identify where problems are happening. Breaking it down to separate steps can help form a more complete picture of performance. For example, if there is a significant drop-off after one part of checkout, that page may have a problem. 

Unidentified shopping cart issues could be impacting online wine sales
A common problem with shopping carts is they don't offer a streamlined experience, and this can annoy customers, Marketing Land said. Some e-commerce sites redirect to shipping pages or return policies, and this is essentially taking customers out of the checkout line. This distraction could cause them to abandon your site permanently. 

The entire purchasing process should be as simple and quick as possible, with a streamlined flow from one step to the next. Adding extra steps gives people more chances to rethink purchases, so you should eliminate anything that isn't essential to processing the transaction. Another reason shoppers abandon purchases is because they get slammed with high wine shipping rates at the very end. You may see lower shopping cart abandonment rates if you include shipping estimates when people add wine to their carts. 

To avoid getting held back by these relatively small issues, you should regularly test your site performance and account for these conversion metrics, Multichannel Merchant stated. You make small changes to things like button sizes and locations and the amount of text that appears on a page. While you shouldn't bog down customers with too many steps in the checkout process, it's important to keep in mind that a single-step checkout is illegal in some places. You need to ensure your checkout configuration is compliant in all regions where you have a customer base. 

Shopping cart configuration can make or break your online wine store. Wineries should consider the most important aspects of the shopping experience to their customers and make adjustments accordingly. This can help you see better results over time. 

Use abandoned shopping carts as an opportunity
While customers not completing transactions on your site is hardly ideal, you can take advantage of this. Identifying the areas where there are problems allows you to make improvements and refine your shopping cart. In addition, you can get back in touch with customers who have finished part of the process, according to BizReport. You may need to take a closer look at shopper behavior. Some people may start placing items in their carts on the go and run out of time before completing the transaction. Others may be researching offerings from a number of wineries and add items to their carts as placeholders, with the intention of returning to the site that has the best deals or shipping options. 

Triggered email messages when a customer leaves a shopping cart can help draw him or her back in, the article said. However, these messages need to be timed properly and applicable to the situation. Too many emails can cause a prospective shopper to abandon you for good.

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