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Where to go after "Add to Cart"
Product page or shopping cart
ChadSEO




msg:638664
 3:09 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

We're currently in the process of redesigning our site, and there is some discussion on what to do when a customer clicks on the "Add to Cart" button.

In the past, we had taken them to the shopping cart. Due to a small number of complaints that they didn't need to see their cart every time an item was added, and that they had difficulty navigating back to the product listing they had come from (the page before the product page), it was changed to take them back to the product page after adding to cart. We are discussing changing it back to the shopping cart to 1) make it more obvious that the item was added to the cart (no confirmation as it is now), and 2) try to emphasize the cross-sells, which currently are limited to the product page, well below the fold.

I was wondering what experiences people had with both scenarios, taking customers to the product page or to the shopping cart. What complaints have you gotten with each one? Any changes seen with regards to avg. order size or conversion numbers? Any usability studies done to support either one?

Thanks!

 

jsinger




msg:638665
 5:32 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good topic: A few commercial carts give the shopper a check box in the cart so he can decide whether to return to the cart after adding a product or return to
the product page.

Offhand I think giving an option is the worst choice especially if your customer base is fairly unsophisticated and orders, on average, just a few different items. It's one more thing to slow and confuse the shopper who is about to checkout.

I think it is best to clearly confirm that each product has been put in the cart even if that slightly slows someone ordering many different products.

----
All of our carts take the shopper to the cart with each product addition. I recall only one or two complaints in many years.

justgowithit




msg:638666
 5:35 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would think the answer to your question could be found fairly easily by evaluating your customer/order history.

Are you selling item(s) that a customer will typically purchase in quantity, variation, or selection? What you are selling should dictate how often a customer needs to see the cart. Look at your customer flow. If your typical order is multiple items I would suggest sending customers back to the product page to continue shopping. If your typical order is comprised of a single item I would send the customer to the checkout to complete the order.

moltar




msg:638667
 5:48 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Go to cart and then have a clear, visible link in bigger font that says:

Take me back to:
  • Blue mechanical widget page
  • All widget category

In the cart screen, highlight newly added product (in case user has several products in the cart). Have an easy way to adjust quantity and easy way to remove items.

Some carts are design in such a way that the user must set quantity to 0 and press "update quantity" in order to remove the item from the cart. This is totally not intuitive.

In usability every user action has to produce a clear, informative response. Simply redirecting to product page will confuse the user.

grandmf




msg:638668
 6:49 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I personally hate not being directed to the shopping cart when I add something. I could see if people were adding a lot of items from a search or something not wanting to go to the cart. But we countered this by listing everything that is in the same 'category' as the item they just added at the bottom of the shopping cart. Then the customer just clicks the add button on the cart page for the other items they want. Its really fast and easy in my opinion.

digitalv




msg:638669
 6:55 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Take the user to the shopping cart and include a link to return them to both the page that brought them there and a link to the category the product was in.

I also recommend displaying similar items on the cart page immediately after someone adds an item - if you collect previous sale data you can say "Customers who purchased X also purchased..." and show those items. Or you can show related items. For example if someone buys something electronic, include batteries on the cart page, or any addons/accessories for that product that they can add to the cart with one click.

It will take a little bit of work to put your product database together this way but its well worth the time and you'll definitely see an increase in your sales.

ChadSEO




msg:638670
 8:24 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Some people I work with are in love with the "return to product page" method that we do now. They're thinking is, if someone is browsing page 5 of Category-X, and adds one of the items to their cart, they should easily be able to get back to page 5 of Category-X. In either case, redirecting to the product page or shopping cart, it's a simple matter of hitting the "Back" button a couple times. Apparently, the thinking is, this is more common if people are on a product page than a shopping cart. There is also some thought that people are scared to
when shopping, as this could clear the cart back in the old days of the 'net.

My one big problem with taking them back to the product page is, it adds a new item to the browser history, but the page appears almost identical, so that if they go "Back" in the browser, it takes them to the first product screen. Clicking Back and not getting a different screen is both annoying, and potentially confusing.

digitalv, We already do the cross-selling on the cart page, both with related items and top sellers. Which is why I like the idea of taking people to the cart page after doing an "Add to Cart". The cross-sells on the cart page are much more noticible than those on the product page.

Unfortunately, the arguements of "The web standard is to take them to the cart page", or "it's better for confirming the item was added to the cart" or "we get better cross-sell opportunity" have already fallen on deaf ears. Web site design is decided by someone not in the marketing department, and they tend to be very stubborn. So this whole thread is my little ammo-searching expedition.

moltar




msg:638671
 8:38 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is also some thought that people are scared to when shopping, as this could clear the cart back in the old days of the 'net.

I think that is exactly why many of us should take responsibility and stop using "home-grown" solutions that are not user friendly and annoying. Users are scared from bad experiences that were brought to them by other shopping sites.

If you provide enjoyable and intuitive experience to the shopper, they are surely going to remember you and return for more. If you make it difficult, you will not only loose the returned visitors, but you have a risk of loosing the first sale.

Human brain remembers bad experiences a lot more than the good ones. Lets try and eliminate the bad ones.

jsinger




msg:638672
 9:54 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

A few commercial carts give the shopper a check box in the cart so he can decide whether to return to the cart after adding a product or return to the product page.

What do you all think of giving the customer the option?

iamlost




msg:638673
 10:09 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

This seems an opportune thread to get some feedback from the ecommerce webmaster community on a cart design I have not seen elsewhere. A friend is developing a custom shopping cart for a particular client. It is currently undergoing in-house user testing.

I got to play with it a couple of weeks ago. I have no idea about the code involved although I assume it is AJAX. I have permission to describe it in the following very limited fashion:

A box/div about 200px square in the top right corner (of every page) initially shows some shopping/shipping PR info. On each product page (in varying locations probably for testing reasons) is an order bar along the lines of:
"Add [1] [Blue] Widget in size [small] to my order."
Stubby arrows above and below each option allow for user customisation. Clicking this order bar causes the item as described to show up in the top right box which now displays as an interactive shopping cart.

Later on if you want to drop or modify an order in that cart box it can be done directly in the box - no need to go elsewhere. When done browsing/ordering one click brings up an order confirmation page with similarly interactive identity, shipping, and payment fields.

It is beyond anything I have done with carts and AJAX got added (again) to my "learn how to use" list. I had very little time with it and so no opportunity for testing/analysing.

What intregued me, however, was the constant interactive shopping cart - no need to go back and forth - and the fewer pages to final payment.

Thoughts?

moltar




msg:638674
 10:37 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

One thing you need to make sure is that the cart works without AJAX. Not everyone has appropriate settings to have AJAX working 100%.

moltar




msg:638675
 10:42 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

What do you all think of giving the customer the option?

The less options the better. Simplify the user interface. IMHO after user added something to the cart, you should always show cart's content. Users might want to evaluate total costs in case of purchasing multiple products. They might wanna see the total with shipping costs included. They might want to adjust quantities. And most important, they mgiht want to make sure the product in fact is in the cart.

psage




msg:638676
 1:41 am on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

The goals of any shopping site should be to:

- Allow customers to find products and add them to the cart as easily as possible.
- Allow customers to checkout as easily as possible.

Oh, and to convince them to buy in the first place, of course.

When someone adds a product to their cart they should go to the cart page, because otherwise they may not realize that their "add to cart" worked.

There should also be a "View Cart/Checkout" button clearly labeled on the top of every other screen, preferably upper right.

When they go to the cart page, there should NOT be a "Clear Cart" button. Why would you want to encourage customers to clear their entire cart? Or let them press that by accident? I'm amazed at how many sites have such a button.

Preferably there should be thumbnail pictures of every item they ordered, with links to remove the product from the cart or change quantity.

The "Checkout" button should be large and clearly labeled and again ABOVE THE FOLD.

A "Keep Shopping" button should be there, which should ideally take customers to the product page in the category they were in, or back to the item they bought (I prefer the former).

Once in the checkout process there should be NO NAVIGATION other than a "Return to Shopping" button and the "Continue" etc. buttons. You do not want the customer to be distracted.

Also, the cart contents should be visible on every page in the process, because people forget what they're doing.

One question which I don't have resolved completely is whether it's better to have less checkout screens or more screens, each of which fit on one page with no scrolling.

Currently we have 2 checkout screens (shipping and billing), and I think having only one would be better, given the "you lose customers with each click" rule, but if anyone has studies which show differently I'd love to see 'em.

moltar




msg:638677
 2:23 am on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Excellent points psage!

Regarding multiple screens.

It depends on the kind of cart you have. Generally you should split the number of screens into logical segments. The screen with the payment info should idealy be last. You don't want to disapoint the customer by getting the credit card right away. People don't like to pay, they like to spend money ;). You should lure them into entering all the other info to make them less tempted to leave.

  1. Confirmation screen with the list of products that the customer is about to buy
  2. Shipping address
  3. Billing address
  4. Credit card info
  5. Purchase confirmation screen
  6. Suggest to create an account with the info provided

Confirmation screen

Provide very detailed info about each product. The customer should have no doubt about what they are buying. You don't want them wondering off to do research on the product while they are checking out.

Emphasise you return/refund policy if it's unusual, or if you have lots of "free riders".

Shipping & Billing Address

Allow very easy and "free form" address entry. Do not overwelm the customer by hundreads of input boxes. Make it internationally friendly. Not everyone lives in the U.S. ;)

Allow the customer to choose "same as shipping address" on Billing Address screen. Automatically fill the form out with JS from hidden values from Shipping Address.

Credit Card Info

Allow free entry of the credit card number. Do not separate the number into multiple input boxes.

Show full month names as well as month numbers. Sometimes it's not clear which drop down is month and which one is year. Again, not everyone lives in the U.S., and date representation standards vary from country to country. Some people remember month names better than their numerical representation. For some it might be easier to remember that the card expires in August, rather than in "08". You don't say "I was born on zero eight, twenty third in seventy second."

Purchase confirmation screen

Could be the same as the initial screen, expcept it would say that the purchase has been placed and will be handled shortly.

Leave contact info in case the customer has any questions.

Clearly say how long it will take for handling and what is approximate shipping time.

Suggest to create an account

Display this very clearly on the confirmation screen. State the benefits of registration (e.g. easy checkout in future, sale updates, future discounts, etc...). State the privacy policy in short. Have a link to a full privacy policy page.

Offer a small discount (5%-10%) for the next purchase if the user registers now. It will make the come back.

Warning: These are my thoughts from experience as a shopper, not from experience as a seller.

badtzmaru




msg:638678
 1:12 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)


To me, it's kinda silly to discuss this. Look at the flow of the large ecommerce sites and do it that way. They've spent money researching the issue and they also have the traffic and sales volume required to gain meaningful insight into customer behavior.

rogerd




msg:638679
 2:04 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Great discussion. One of the biggest sources of lost business are abandoned shopping carts. While some of these may not really be true losses (sometimes I'll toss something into my cart to see how shipping is calculated, how the cart works, etc.), presumably many are really lost business.

Taking a person to the cart with a clearly visible checkout option is best, IMO - rather than hoping for additional sales, make sure the buyer can complete the transaction with a minimum of fuss or confusion. Naturally, some obvious links to continue shopping are desirable too... but don't let anything stand in the way of fast & easy checkout.

moltar




msg:638680
 2:18 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

To me, it's kinda silly to discuss this. Look at the flow of the large ecommerce sites and do it that way.

I am sorry, but this is simply not true. There are hundreads if not thousands of big companies that do it wrong.

The first one that comes to mind is GoDaddy, because I had recent experience. I don't hold any domains with them personaly, but one of my clients does. I had to go through a whole bunch of screens and trouble to get a domain registered/renewed. They upsell on every step. It makes it extremely difficult to complete the task even for me.

Just yesterday, the secretary lady was supposed to register two .com domains with them, instead of me. By mistake she ended up registering 1 .com and 2 .biz domains. How could that happen? Check it out for yourself.

badtzmaru




msg:638681
 2:35 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is the point of the GoDaddy checkout to maximize the user experience or to instead maximize revenue for GoDaddy? Your example cites someone who planned on purchasing two domains and instead purchased three and probably has to go back and get a fourth. Seems like a well-designed checkout to me!

digitalv




msg:638682
 3:12 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

The first one that comes to mind is GoDaddy, because I had recent experience. I don't hold any domains with them personaly, but one of my clients does. I had to go through a whole bunch of screens and trouble to get a domain registered/renewed. They upsell on every step. It makes it extremely difficult to complete the task even for me.

Just yesterday, the secretary lady was supposed to register two .com domains with them, instead of me. By mistake she ended up registering 1 .com and 2 .biz domains. How could that happen? Check it out for yourself.

GoDaddy is the #1 domain registrar in the world, did about $100 Million in 2004 and they're probably going to do twice that this year - if you consider what they're doing "doing it wrong" you've got a lot to learn about running an ecommerce site and a business. Those upsells have EVERYTHING to do with their revenue.

ChadSEO




msg:638683
 3:13 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

GoDaddy certainly has the right setup to promote up-selling, cross-selling, and annoying people. I would imagine that the scenario described, purchasing the wrong domains, isn't an uncommon one. I would also suspect this leads to 2 results: 1) Users get used to the layout (like me), and know exactly where to click "No thanks" on each page, or 2) users get tired/annoyed with the attempts, and go else where. While I think they have the right mindset, GoDaddy's approach is much to forceful for my tastes. (Why do I still use them? habit mostly)

bcc1234




msg:638684
 3:19 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I did a split-run test a while ago.
One group remained at the shopping cart page with a link back to the last added product and a link to the category that containts that product.
The other group was returned to the product page, and under the price there was a smaller sign "this itam was added to the shopping cart."

I found no significant difference in conversions.

moltar




msg:638685
 3:47 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

GoDaddy is the #1 domain registrar in the world, did about $100 Million in 2004 and they're probably going to do twice that this year - if you consider what they're doing "doing it wrong" you've got a lot to learn about running an ecommerce site and a business. Those upsells have EVERYTHING to do with their revenue.

They earn most of that money by trickery and the fact that if you buy the wrong domain you cannot be refunded. If you consider that a good practice, then there is no argument. I see it as deceiving upsell. They sell a whole bunch of additional services that the end user does not understand and most likely will never need. And users do buy it without their knowledge.

I disagree with those kind of tacktics, but it's a matter of opinion and personal standards.

The fact that they did $100 mil does not make the shopping cart user friendly. It could easily be due to them having good advertising, creative branding and many other reasons. You can't measure corporate earnings just by the cart setup. It's only a small factor.

And I don't even blame GoDaddy developers. I am sure most of those ideas are forced from corporate execs. Developers and interface designers just have to play by the rules of execs.

You'd be surprised how many big corporations have horrible interfaces. Just have a look at the websites of major offline retailers.

hannamyluv




msg:638686
 5:01 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Actually, Go Daddy just changed their cart a few weeks ago so that an "experienced" user could bypass the upsells. These big companies do pay attention to what sells and makes money.

So has anyone given consideration to the demographics of your site user? Older, younger, web savvy, web clueless, income high, middle, low?

These all play a huge role in how you should present the shopping cart. Since Go Daddy is such a hot topic in this thread, let's use them.

Who shops at Go Daddy for Domains? Most likly a web savvy, moderate to high income user, probably young but not necessarily. But even then you have two user groups.

One, is a bulk domain buyer, or at least one that buys quite frequently. Probably has hosting and knows something about search engines and internet marketing.

The other is someone who knows just enough about the internet to be able to handle a WYSIWYG and knows that you can get a domain name. Probably wants to make a personal site to put up pics of the kids. Or maybe, wants to try selling some things online. They've heard that you can do that pretty easy.

Go Daddy's shopping cart was set up to maximize their profit. Prior to the change made a few weeks ago, they probably trusted that if you had no need for any of their services (Group A), you were web savvy enough to navigate their upsells and the price was low enough to make it worth your while to do so. And maybe it just so happened that you threw in a service or two.

But Group B is something all together different. These people probably don't have the first clue where to host from, probably didn't know that you had to do anything to get in search engines and, most importantly, have alot of disposable income. Every page brings about a "Hey, I need that" reaction and another dollar sign in the cart.

Now, over some time now, Go Daddy prices have not been as competative as they use to be. And suddenly, it's not worth the savvy users time to cut through the crap. Hence, the change to their check out.

You really need to think about who your user is. If possible, find a sample of your users and sit them in front of a computer and watch them go through. Sort of an informal usablity study. Remember too, that just because it seems easy to you, doesn't mean it is easy. Average internet users are incredibly ignorant.

b0omer




msg:638687
 5:11 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I find that a simple, confirmation screen displaying the the product thumbnail and short description along with a notice about it being added to their cart.

Below this a "< Continue Shopping" button on the left and "Checkout >" button to right.

So the customer clearly see's he's added his/her item and now is presented with the option to proceed to checkout or continue browsing. Normally I just place them back on the home page on continue just to try and up-sell more. Just my 2cents.

badtzmaru




msg:638688
 5:23 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

=====
I did a split-run test a while ago.
=====

That's the point I was making. The large ecommerce sites do this also only their dataset is huge. A friend who works for a large e diet site said they can tell if a new banner ad is performing in-line with expectations after less than 10 minutes (probably because the ad is on the front page of msn). The large sites are working with phenomenal traffic and order levels and do regular testing on how features and site flow affects user trends. When a question about how a standard commerce function should operate, one should always consider large sites like Amazon (or whatever is appropriate for your industry) as a well-researched reference implementation. No need to reinvent the wheel.

hannamyluv




msg:638689
 5:47 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

No need to reinvent the wheel.

I think the point they were trying to make was that you don't know which big ecomm sites are in the know and which are not. I know of several multi-million dollar ecomm sites with national brick and mortar stores that not only know very little about how to measure usability, the people running them probably don't know what usability is.

Looking at what the big guys are doing only makes sense if you have it on the best knowledge that they too know what they are doing.

justgowithit




msg:638690
 6:39 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

The problem that plagues most webmasters is showcased wonderfully in this thread.

Decide what you want your site to do, and then design it to perform that task well.

FACTS:
A.)The website in question has been online making successful sales for sometime.
B.)Seeing that the site has been online it is reasonable to assume that they have loads of data on customer flow, behavior, order history, tracking logs, etc.

Armed with such powerful information, why would you want to be influenced by generalizations from other webmasters about what worked for them?

If you want a website to be successful you first need to think about what you want it to accomplish. Do you WANT your customers to order more, or do you WANT them to checkout and leave?

I don’t understand why so many webmasters look to the next guy when they are trying to decide what is best for THEIR site. GoDaddy does what they do because in order to remain a power in the domain market they HAVE TO upsell. If you’re looking for a mentor in product-based e-commerce you’d be better of looking at Amazon.

stroudtx




msg:638691
 8:22 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Our web store does exactly what I think you should do.

I session varriable the URL on the last page viewed before the customer hits a product to view it's details. Then I provide a button on the cart which says 'continue shopping' and if clicked it just takes them back to the sessioned URL. I also use URL variables on my pages to keep track of where they are in the process since they are all dynamic in conent. Therefore, it always brings them back to the exact same spot they were when they clicked on the product to see the details.

It's easy to set up if you designed your site in a similar way.

Good Luck!
Mike

Habtom




msg:638692
 3:46 am on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I believe there is no one general way of doing the things. The web targets really matters on how you handle the things.

But what moltar have mentioned above seems to be quite a good info to me.

Habtom

willybfriendly




msg:638693
 6:32 am on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Allow the customer to choose "same as shipping address" on Billing Address screen. Automatically fill the form out with JS from hidden values from Shipping Address.

Moltar, this brings up a pet peeve of mine.

Make very clear how the order will be shipped!

I live in a rural area without US Postal service. If it is shipped US Postal it goes to my PO Box. UPS/Fed Ex comes to my front door.

If I don't know the shipping method I don't know my own shipping address, which has caused problems with great consistancy. Last order was software, and I had to assume US Postal. A couple of days later I get a call from UPS asking for a physical address. Another time is was a relatively large order ($800 US) that I gave PO Box for, and it was returned to sender by the Post Office.

WBF

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