7 Tips for turning your Shopping Cart into your best sales person.

Written on the 30 January 2012

I’m going to cut to the chase, you want a Shopping Cart that works. Your Shopping Cart should be the perfect sales person - easy to follow, friendly, helpful, trustworthy, converts well and working for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just like a human sales person, you need to put a little energy into the initial “training” of your Shopping Cart, so today, I’m going to give you seven tips for turning your Shopping Cart into your star performer.

1. Match your Shopping Cart’s personality to that of your buyers

I don’t expect to go into a camping store and be served by a man in a suit that looks like he’s never spent a single night in a tent. Nor do I expect to go to an online store selling children’s toys and be greeted with a black and white design and formal language - I would want something a bit more fun and colourful!

For this, you need to intimately know your target audience as it will be crucial for determining your direction, marketing approach, language, content and even product designs. When you’ve done this, look at your website’s appearance, product descriptions, product names, email responders, and images, and decided whether or not they will appeal to your target.

2. A good sales person will lead your prospect through the buying process   

And so should your Shopping Cart, right from the first page they land on. 

In the first 8 seconds of arriving at your Shopping Cart, your buyers need to know who you are, what you sell, the fact that you sell online (an image can often convey this very effectively) and your points of difference.

Make sure that everything in your Shopping Cart is easy to find and flows logically. This includes your product categories, information on individual products, hierarchical navigation, your search bar, your buyer’s Shopping Cart contents, the Pay Now button, and your phone number or contact details if they are having difficulty or want to ask a question.

When your customer has their shopping cart ready to go, make it easy for them to make the purchase. Most Shopping Carts will ask a new customer to register. Make sure that your form is short and doesn’t ask for lots of information. A long form is an ineffective form.

Leading your customer through the buying process also includes addressing their fears - this is perhaps one of the most important steps in the process. You can do this by promoting the privacy and security of your online store, providing an FAQs section to address the most common questions, testimonials from happy customers, guarantees, warranties, enough information and imagery on your products so they can have enough information to decide whether to buy, pictures of your physical business or staff and a phone number for any questions they’d like answered.

3. “Would you like to start with some bread and dips”

This is a brilliant one in the hospitality industry. When I go to a restaurant, I’m usually thinking about ordering my eye fillet steak, not a cob loaf. But just when my stomach is rumbling and I can’t wait for my meal the wait staff offers me something quick, affordable and completely irresistible.

I say “Yes, please!”

This is upselling, and your Shopping Cart should be able to do this with ease. Think about this as a possibility. You’re an online retailer for women’s clothing. I go to view your Knee Length Grey Cocktail Dress. Just underneath this, you have a little section that features a $10 bangle in matching colours, a feather fascinator and a gorgeous set of earrings - the complete ensemble!

I say “Yes please!”

Now, you are selling more than an item, you are selling an entire package. I went online to buy a dress but I spent more on accessories than the original item. Think creatively about how you want to upsell your products, and make the most of this feature for a maximum return.

4. “And how would you like to pay for that”

A good sales person will be relatively flexible with their payment options. Offering different payment methods can be a very successful strategy for your Shopping Cart. Your customers will probably already know their preferred method, and if you don’t offer it, they may be hesitant to finalise the purchase. Popular ones include PayPal, offline payment and credit card through well known banks, or online finance organisations.  

Use images in your website design to make it obvious which cards are accepted and your security.

5. A good salesperson will gently persist

Expect to have your Shopping Carts abandoned by potential buyers. This is a fact of e-commerce, but you do not have to submit to it either.

Good salespeople will gently persist with a potential customer until they know for sure that they are no longer interested. An abandoned Shopping Cart does not mean you have lost the customer straight away, but you almost certainly will lose them if you don’t remind them of their interest in your products.

With abandoned Shopping Carts, the most effective strategy is a follow-up email sent one day after the initial abandonment, offering them help completing their order, product information or advice, or even a special discount or offer with a “valid until” date to get them over the line. You are striking while the iron is hot and you may draw back many customers as a result of this technique.

Even if they didn’t quite make your shopping cart find other ways to gather their contact details such as offering VIP membership or entry into a competition, then pique their interest by sending monthly specials or exclusive offers via email to build up the relationship and encourage them back again. 

6. Getting them back

Return customers are the best customers. They know you, trust you, and want to do business with you. Working on past customers is the fastest and most effective way of growing your revenue.  But how do you turn that one off sale into a regular custom?

Aside from having amazing products that keep people coming back to you, the trick is to stay top-of-mind to ensure that you’re the first person they think of when they need your product or service. Add your new customer to your Contact Database, and use Email Marketing, Events, SMS Marketing and customer feedback surveys to keep in touch with them. Build up the relationship and encourage them back to your store again with gifts, promotions, of value information, special offers and more.

7. Measure your Shopping Cart’s performance

We all know the importance of measuring, because if you don’t measure the effectiveness of each step of the sales process, you really don’t have an accurate way of knowing what’s working - and what’s not. Just like your sales team have KPIs to meet, and procedures to follow, so too should your Shopping Cart.

Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring your Shopping Cart’s KPIs. Use it to find out where your Shopping Cart traffic is coming from, how they are navigating around your website, whether or not they are filling out the forms on your website, and where they are exiting. Google Analytics is free, easy to use, and accurate.

Where can you find a Shopping Cart that does all this?

Why, Bloomtools of course!

If your business is ready to jump into the world of e-commerce, the next step is to speak to your Bloomtools Consultant. They’ll discuss your goals, needs and strategies to suit your specific business.

In the meantime, remember to read more about our Shopping Cart and other great e-commerce tips for small to medium businesses.