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Shopping Cart or Print out order form!
My wife insists on a print out order form instead of a shopping cart.

 7:37 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

My wife keeps on insisting on a print out order form that the customer can just print out and mail a check. I think this is ok for those who don't trust CC's on the net, and should be an option with our new cart. But, I keep telling her that this is not very professional and will chase away a lot of customers. Our site is going to start very small and slowly build. We are currently using V-shopping cart and PayPal. I hate v-shopping cart because of all the hand coding for each individual item, what a pain, and my wife wants me to teach her to insert items too, not going to do it, just to involved. I am looking to get a shopping cart like x-cart, so she can enter items without any coding. I need some professional back up here to convince her that this is the wrong way to go.




 8:03 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld toolcrazy!

I don't want to get involved in a marital dispute but...sites are easy to build, traffic easy to get [relatively], sales are hard though. You must go with an easy to use shopping cart system, allow the customer to make the purchase there and then, don't give them the time to change their mind.


 8:04 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

> will chase away a lot of customers

I agree, printing and mailing an order form is an order killer!


 8:46 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Good Idea: On a page in your shopping cart system which lists the customer's items and total cost, including shipping, insert text telling them that they can print out that page, and mail it with a check for the total to your address.

Bad Idea: Not having a shopping cart system. I will sometimes place an order over the phone with a merchant, but I have never and probably will never print out and mail an order form for anything I find online.

Rest assured, if a potential customer wants your product, but has to print out an order form to get it, they will find your competitor instead (you know... the guy who offers online ordering! ;) )

I've heard good things about using Mal's e-commerce as a shopping cart for sites with PayPal payments.


 9:07 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mivox - that was 3000th 'ole' pal. ;)

I have seen surveys that indicate a high percentage of the sales on the Inet come from impulse buying. If a good shopping cart is used (not all of them are equal) then the customer is more likely to purchase if the experience is quick, easy, safe, and reasonably priced. If any of these criteria are missing, your chances of making the sale drop significantly.


 9:17 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

A shopping cart is a must for online orders. One software combo that comes to mind is OptionCart that utilizes a free shopping cart service called Mal's eCommerce. OptionCart will let your wife maintain the catalog without hand coding HTML. And the shopping cart provides a "check" as payment method with a printable invoice. Unfortunately, I find there is a high abandonment rate when buyers use "check" as the payment method. Paypal or CC is better.


 10:24 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

The standard rule of thumb you always hear is that taking CCs will double your business, and my own personal experience shows this to be a good approximation - my first year or two I was taking just checks and MOs and things really took off after I got my merchant acct. I still have a print-out form because their are people without cards or who are paranoid about any form of net CC tranaction, but I would say I handle 30 CC orders for every mail one.

So decide "Do we want to make money or just play around". I don't say this sarcastically, some people would prefer a small, limited, uncomplicate biz, and not taking CCs is a good way to limit the size of your biz.


 7:14 am on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

We use UltraCart and always give the option to either pay by cc OR print out an order form, for the same reason as Slindo.

The order form is part of the shopping cart, so that when they click on 'print order form', their name and address details and contents of the cart are on the order form, so literally all they have to do is print it and post it with their cheque/MO.

But I would agree that having ONLY a print order form system is an order killer!


 2:30 pm on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

give the option to either pay by cc OR print out

That's an excellent idea. It underscores a theme that should be a part of all shopping carts: options/convenience. There are several ways to execute a payment transaction both of these are options as are PayPal, a phone call, and a fax.


 3:27 pm on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

One site I manage offers a choice (including an 800 number.) Fewer than 1 in 1,000 orders uses the print form, either mailed or faxed. And this site's principal demographic is senior citizens! The 800 number is used for perhaps 1 in 10 orders.

Another site I work with refused a shopping cart for 2 years, offering only an order form or an 800 number. When they finally allowed us to add a cart, their sales increased over ten times.

The ease of a shopping cart makes a big difference, and users today are very comfortable with a well designed cart.

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