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I think you'll need to consider how to have a "view cart" button on your selling pages to bring focus back to the shopping cart.
The client maybe adamant that this is the way it should "work", but this could significantly decrease the effectiveness of the site. It could be the difference between 1000s of sales and 10s of sales.
Ecommerce isn't new anymore. Ecommerce sites generally don't work like this. Visitors spend 99% of their time on other peoples web sites. So make a site that works like other web sites.
You also have to think about how the site will reflect on you/your company. Do you want a failed ecommerce site in your portfolio?
It can be difficult, but imho client education is an essential part of the job. If a potential client is adamant about things working their way, I explain the pros and cons then if there'll still adamant I explain that they may be better off with another, less-experienced, web developer ;)
You have to consider your own reputation. Good clients often come by word of mouth...
Still, I agree with everybody here -> don't do it :-) Personally I ran into more and more problems with clients who insisted on pop-ups - they had an overall weird way of looking at www technology and are probably better on with my-neighbor's-son-can-do-that-development...
It's like a 'modal' dialog but it allows you the user to interract with the main window whilst the 'modeless' window floats on top. I personally haven't done much work with this but you can find out all about it on MSDN: [msdn.microsoft.com...]
If you get stuck - don't hesitate to give me a shout :)
Edit: Just found this which is also a good page on the subject:
PS - I can't say enough that you really should try and persuade the client otherwise!