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Add Item To Cart- Then What? Your Opinions Desired
Posted 04 November 2006 - 05:17 PM
We are redesigning our woeful website process and I've immersed myself in a thorax-deep pile of shopping cart usability research so that we implement the most recommended features. However, one aspect of the process that I've had trouble getting a consensus on is:
After a customer adds an item to his shopping cart, what is the best next step for us to present the customer- to
1) Keep the customer on the page on which he added the item and just indicate somewhere on that page that the item has been added to cart
2) Immediately take that customer to a View Cart page which displays his cart. (with, of course, option to checkout, keep shopping, etc.)
I thought that keeping the customer on the page from which they added to cart kept them focused and theoretically still in the purchasing "stream" (as opposed to prematurely pushing them towards checkout), BUT on the other hand, massive ecommerce sites, which have much more money than we have to research and optimize site usability, (so you have to assume they know what they are doing) DO send their visitors to the View Cart page (see Amazon.com).
What do you guys think?
Posted 04 November 2006 - 05:48 PM
I've never specifically tested it, but I send people to a View Cart page that gives them a quick and easy to see link --button actually-- to go ahead and finish the checkout process.
One thing I do always make sure is there is a link to Continue Shopping. Sometimes two links, one to Continue Shopping that leads back to a main categories page and another link to return to the page they came from. I make sure those are both very promininent. Usually right above or right below the view cart listing.
Since I haven't tested it I don't know how much good it's going to do you. Though I can say that I do still get many, many orders where people are getting multiple products.
Posted 04 November 2006 - 10:40 PM
I currently send people to my cart page w/ prominent "Continue Shopping" buttons as Randy described. But in chatting w/ someone else a while ago, they made the comment "I hate it when websites do that", I'd never even thought about it. I have been strongly considering leaving the customer where they are at and just letting them know the item has been added when I get my new cart up and running. As I almost always buy more than one item when I shop, I can see how this might be more friendly ... but I'd be sure they have a very prominent "Go to Checkout" button if they weren't taken to the cart page, don't want any confusion there.
I'm not set up to test this at the moment ... one more thing to put on the list.
Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:48 AM
Yeah, I found a very interesting thread on this at webmasterworld- it was back-and-forth but I think "go to cart" edged "stay on product page" with a lot of the reasoning being that the bigger sites do go to cart.
For me, the strange thing is: this decision would seemingly be a pretty major one in a checkout redesign and when you redesign these days, it's not hard to find consensus out there on what is right and wrong to do from the usability experts- I mean they've done A/B tests and usability tests on everything under the sun, right?
So you think on a question like this, there would be a real black/white answer there that has been backed up by testing. But there's not, as far as I could find. I wonder why that is?
Posted 05 November 2006 - 11:13 AM
Keep your customers shopping, keep the shopping cart and its contents visible. Minimize clicks.
Posted 05 November 2006 - 05:59 PM
I suspect the problem is a common one you see if you get heavily into conversion testing. This being you really cannot take someone elses testing data and try to extrapolate it to fit your site. It's too dangerous.
A couple of quick examples...
If someone like Amazon released their testing data regarding the purchasing pathway they've found to be the best --which they would never do but you can bet they've actually tested it-- Joe Blow Webmaster could take that data and really hurt the conversions on his site. Amazon sells thousands of products and has special deals on shipping, among other things.
If Joe Blow Webmaster tried to implement the same exact concepts on his Red Lederhosen site that sells 10 products, the chances are every bit as likely to hurt his conversions as they are to help them. He would need to test it on his site to see what the type of visitors he attracts prefer.
I run a lot of different sites in vastly different markets. I can tell you for a fact --because I've tested it-- there some things that work wonderfully to improve conversions for a site selling to say novice users but will not work for my sites that attract more savvy users. They'll often have the opposite effect.
Sometimes you want to give people a lot of options, sometimes giving them options only confuses them and/or causes more friction and anxiety to work its way into the buying process.
I made this mistake once of trying to shortcut the process. It cost me a lot of money before I got off of my lazy bum and set up testing on the rest of my sites. I'll never make the same mistake again. Now each site has conversion testing built into the mix from the very beginning.
That's not to say reviewing what others have done is a bad thing. You can definitely pick up some ideas by seeing what others have tested and found to be effective. However in my experience you simply cannot extrapolate data from one site to another, because they're not selling the same product/service to the same audience.
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