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3 shopping cart tricks that improve sales

Usability is fundamental for trust and conversion

  • 13 Jun|


Ample revenues are lost simply because companies fail to invest in usability testing i.e. the ease-of-use of your web shop. Whether your website is not intuitive or not easy to use is not for you to say but it is for the end users that visit your site. You or your web development company may be so used to technology that you do not realise that small things seemingly harmless are actually contributing to huge losses.

In this article I shall present you with a few of the harmful shopping cart design defects that could radically improve your online revenue stream if corrected. Let's see how we can avoid shopping carts never paid for:

Tip #1: Field labels should include descriptions

How often have you seen a field name like Billing Address or Address Line 2/3/4? Well these label names are ambiguous for many end users and may cause them to abandon their shopping cart without paying. Many people have one single address they've lived in for an entire life and asking them for a payment address as being separate from a billing address confuses them.

Even worse are credit card details like CVV or CVV2. Only if you are a technical you know that CVV stands for Card Verification Value usually represented as 3 digits on the back of your credit card.

How to avoid:

Simply add a description under each label ideally supported with a visual cue. E.g.:

Tip #2: Use clear indications when a submitted form is invalid

When customers encounter a problem with a form, the likelihood of them abandoning the purchase increases significantly especially if they fail more than once. A common mistake is to indicate that an input error needs to be fixed without specifying where the mistake is and what's wrong with it.

How to avoid:

If one form field out of 20 has errors, it is imperative that this single form field is clearly highlighted and that a contextual error message is displayed next to it. For instance an error message like 'Invalid Name. Please enter a valid name.' is not helpful because it states that the name is invalid but not what is wrong with it. If for example you expected names to be longer than 2 characters, your error should read 'Please enter a name with three or more characters'.

Tip #3: Registration should be optional

Imagine going out for shopping and you are requested to specify all your personal details like name, surname, address and the rest every single time you like something and want to buy it. How more convenient is it to go into a shop, take something from an open shelving, pay and leave? Well, this is what most eConsumers want to do. They can't keep track of all the website passwords, they are fed up wasting time filling long forms, they are reluctant sharing their information with you, they do not want to receive any email. They just want to buy and enjoy.

How to avoid:

Simply offer registration after a purchase takes place not before. During credit card purchase you would still capture some details like the full name and the delivery address country. You can motivate the user to give you his/her personal email so that you can send him/her a copy of the receipt or a discount coupon to use for the next purchase.

What you see in this article are only 3 defects that require your attention however there over 50 defects that one can fix. Through usability testing services one can reveal an endless list of improvements that will stop harming you and your users from a vanilla shopping experience.

  • Tags:
  • webform design patterns
  • process flow
  • user experience

Author: Aaron Gusman

Aaron is an eBusiness specialist deeply knowledgeable in both business and technology. He has been the strategic architect behind many projects of varying sizes ranging from simple eCommerce websites, auction sites and eMarketing projects and ending with huge projects for banks, payment gateways and other financial institutions which demand the highest industry standards.


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