May 14, 2009

Setting the Shopping Experience for Maximum Sales


Hostway Team

Shopping cart software typically includes all the features you need to create your store and design the customer experience. And that experience is central to the customer's decision to buy because buying decisions are based mostly on how they feel about the shopping experience. Creating an intuitive, enjoyable shopping experience is the best way for you to engage your customers' emotions in a positive way.

While feature lists are important to buyers, they're secondary to the overall emotional experience on your Web site. Make sure you list all the important product features to help buyers rationalize their purchases, but focus the majority of your time on the following elements:


In the retail space, people make a connection with an item by picking it up and examining its workmanship, textures and quality. To give them a similar experience on a Web site, you need to upload several product images into your shopping cart software. Show the product from the front, back, side, top and bottom. Include close-up shots of important features and quality materials.


Online reviews help customers learn more about how the product actually performs. Sixty-two percent of consumers read product reviews written by other shoppers while more than 80 percent of them base their purchasing decisions on those reviews, according to a 2007 study by Deloitte. The study also showed that customer reviews either confirmed people's decision to buy a product or encouraged them to look for a different product than they had originally considered.

Order Process

Simplifying the order process is perhaps the biggest way to provide a positive shopping experience. Frustration is a powerful emotion. If your customers are forced to fill out long forms or complete the entire purchase process only to discover the items they selected are out of stock, they're likely to decide not to purchase from you and will possibly never return to your site.

Make sure you display the inventory status of an item the moment customers add it to their carts. Also, display your return and exchange policy on the very first page of the order form to eliminate surprises at the end.

When you've created your online store, run through the entire ordering process a few times to experience it yourself. Ask your friends and family to do the same and gather feedback on what works and what could be improved.

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