In e-commerce, the shopping cart is a piece of software where your customers can store the products they like and might purchase after browsing merch in your catalog. But other than serving as a storage of items for purchase, an e-commerce shopping cart offers several important functions.
Once a customer adds an item to their shopping cart, they can easily review and manage their selections. They can change order sizes, colors, or quantities. Customers can continue browsing your website and then add products or remove them from the cart. When they’re done browsing, they can go back to their shopping cart and select the items they want to check out.
A shopping cart also shows the different shipping and payment options. After the customer makes a payment, the cart organizes all the order information and sends it to you as the retailer, and to other parties, such as your bank and delivery partners for order fulfillment.
Types of Online Shopping Carts
There are two primary types of shopping cart solutions available to online store owners.
A one-time purchase of a shopping cart software license gives you access to a licensed or self-hosted platform. With a licensed shopping cart, you take responsibility for customizing the features of the platform to meet your website’s needs. This option often involves high upfront costs. You can also expect additional costs for troubleshooting glitches, technical assistance, or adding new features.
If you’re new to e-commerce or don’t have the manpower with technical expertise to host, opting for a hosted shopping cart solution is recommended. You only need to pay a subscription fee either monthly or annually. In a hosted platform, a third party handles and maintains the platform. You don’t have to worry about fixing anything should any technical problems occur.
Why Your E-commerce Store Needs a Shopping Cart
Because it accompanies your customers throughout the shopping journey, investing in a reliable shopping cart solution is vital in enhancing your customer’s buying experience. In effect, this can strengthen your brand’s reputation and boost revenues and customer loyalty.
It streamlines the shopping experience.
A good shopping cart platform provides your customers easy access to product information and allows them to make quick changes to their orders. If the customer is not yet done shopping and continues browsing your catalog, all the items in the cart remain intact until the customer comes back and selects the items to purchase.
Multiple payment options are also accessible, so customers can choose which one is convenient for them.
It lets you keep track of customer orders better.
Order management from the point where the customer makes a payment to having the items shipped to the customer involves several processes. With a shopping cart software, it is easy for you to process and fulfill orders faster, saving time and money. It also keeps information and transactions more organized to prevent errors in order processing and fulfillment.
It stores and provides data for analytics.
You can extract a wide range of information from your shopping cart software. Information such as previous purchases or items left on the cart can help you in designing your retargeting plan. Many shopping cart platforms have a feedback feature that lets you know how customers rate their shopping experience. You can use such data in improving your customer management strategy.
Top Tips for Shopping Cart Success
One of the challenges you may encounter as an online seller is shopping cart abandonment. This happens when someone visits your store and adds an item to their cart but does not make a purchase.
The following techniques can help you bring down your shopping cart abandonment rate.
Improve product pages-to-cart navigation.
Rather than immediately checking out after adding one item to their cart, customers are more likely to continue viewing other products in your store. Make sure that it is easy for customers to switch from the cart to the product pages and vice versa.
Place a thumbnail of the product at check-out.
Doing this assures your customers that they are purchasing the correct product.
Be upfront with all costs.
Build trust by showing the calculation of all fees related to the purchase.
Simplify the check-out process.
The best practice is to allow your customers to complete a transaction, from checking out to selecting the shipping method and making a payment in just a few steps. You can also use a progress indicator to guide your customers throughout the process.
Design a customer-friendly refund policy.
Keep in mind that offering a refund doesn’t mean that you are not confident about the quality of your merchandise. Instead, it’s a way for you to assure customers that you care about their shopping experience.