I’ve seen a few big shopping cart no-nos lately, so I just want to alert Grok readers to them–they’re pretty easy to avoid:
The Homepage Dump: You add an item to your cart and are thrown into the checkout process. You’ve got another item on your shopping list, so you click the little link that says “Continue Shopping.” You’re dumped on the homepage. This is especially bad when you’ve done a lot of searching and results-filtering, and now it’s all gone. It really does feel like you’ve just been dumped! I can’t think of any good reason why the homepage is the proper place to land a visitor to continue shopping.
The Painful Multi-Item Purchase: Many shopping carts make no distinction between adding to cart and checking out. As soon as you add to cart, the website assumes that you want to checkout and sends you down that path. But what if you’re not ready? We all know from the offline world that putting a bag of chips in a real shopping cart, and standing in the checkout line secretly reading tabloid headlines are two very different things, right? More robust shopping carts allow an item to be added to the cart without interrupting the browsing process. When visitors are ready to checkout, they intuitively know how to initiate that process from any page with one click. Threadless.com and Amazon.com both do decent jobs of this in their own unique ways. A good test for this one is to go through a multi-item purchase on your site without using any of your cross-selling or up-selling elements. It should still be easy to browse >> add to cart >> browse again >> add to cart again >> check out.
Hopefully, you’ve skimmed these two issues and they don’t apply. Pat yourself on the back and maybe focus on testing and optimizing your cart instead.