EDIT: There’s a great conversation in the comments below where Inertia CEO Paul Mabray answers many of my agruments for having a single screen cart. Be sure to check it out.
Tomorrow Next Thursday I’ll be meeting with Dan, an account manager from Inertia Beverage Group to go over their REthink Engine and Wine Trade offerings. Inertia’s ability to manage allocations, wine club, shipping and age verification all from one consistent interface, with only one technical contact if things go wrong, is immensely appealing.
However I’m also trying to convince them to design a better shopping cart for the Capozzi Winery site. They’ve just released information on a new cart that they will be rolling out in August – a 4 screen cart that is really nothing new. They claim that they analyzed the carts of the top 20 e retailers and integrated the best for their version, but as I see it, many newer industry best practices are ignored.
The Single Screen Shopping Cart
For instance, customers value getting the information they want as fast as they can. One of the most important pieces of info that a wine buyer wants to know, ASAP, is the cost of shipping. In the new Inertia cart they have to wait until page 3 to find out. This diminishes goodwill by wasting online buyers time and increases shopping cart abandonment rates.
The situation is similar with taxes. Once I’ve inputted my state information (at any time on the site) , the cart should show me my tax burden immediately. I shouldn’t have to click forward a screen to find what my total purchase cost is then click back to add more items etc.
The solution to situations like these is to create a dynamically updated single-screen cart. When I add an item to the cart, shipping costs, tax (assuming I’ve entered my state already) and total purchase amount is updated immediately. I don’t have to click through multiple pages to find the information I need. It’s no fun.
Marketing Sherpa has shown that early results with single screen carts lower shopping cart abandonment rates substantially (>20%). They call it “still in its infancy” but “very intriguing” and laud a single-screen cart’s ability to “allow shoppers to examine pricing, shipping costs, accessories, etc., all without leaving the shopping pages of a site.” All of this translates into happier shoppers and a lower cart abandonment rate.
From the 2006 Ecommerce Benchmark Guide:
The main ways in which marketers can positively affect abandonment have to do with informing the customer – about the product and the process. Any tactics that give a potential customer a better sense of the product should be coupled with easy-to-use checkout and upfront information about shipping or attendant costs.
Two of the top three reasons for cart abandonment (“The shipping cost was too high” and “I didn’t have time to complete the transaction”) are addressed with a single-screen cart. Checkout can be made quicker and there isn’t a large shipping cost surprise when they click through to the cart. I don’t know why more ecommerce folks aren’t yet using one (corporate skepticism of AJAX?), but I view the situation as a way to differentiate and build our brand. Uncertainty and risk = opportunity.
Dan has mentioned that they might use me as a test case for such a cart, and I say USE ME.
Hopefully he will have good news to report tomorrow on this and other technical fronts (like making my inventory levels syndicatable by RSS!). Cheers!