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The Six Page Views of The Shopping Cart

Published by Charles Brodeur

When you are building an eCommerce site there are so many things to think about.  You need a website, a customer database, credit card processing, marketing, Inventory management, reporting, and the list goes on. Sometimes there are just too many things to think about. That's why it's good to have a list.  Building a "to do" list and checking it off is the best way I know how to get through the multitude of tasks when starting a new venture like an ecommerce site.

For the purpose of this article we are going to focus on the Six Page Views of a typical ecommerce shopping cart. This list is a great check list for designers and integrators looking to set up an ecommerce site.  Each one of the six views is equally important in that each page view is one stage in the conversion path or sales funnel.  If any one of the six page views is broken then you have a problem and the orders will slow or worse stop.

>> Catalog View

The catalog view is the main entrance to most shopping carts.  This is where the main categories of products,the main classifications or items being sold.  We need to be smart in our classifications in the Catalog View.  This is where your online visitors are going to start their journey browsing your product offerings. 

Good carts will have multiple catalogs, and multiple categories of products segmented into groups of products with specific similarities for visitor browsing.

Many times a shopping cart fails here because the site has classified the catalog views in terms of the manufacturers classifications and has not thought about how the site visitor would browse the site or how the visitor would classify the items.

So think in terms of the visitor browsing when setting up your catalogs.

>> Small Product View

This is where the visitor can see a list of products on one page.  Usually there is an image, a price, the product name, and any other important piece of information to help a visitor select.
People like to scroll so don't limit the page view of products to a small number of items.  If you have 25 or 100 or 500 products in a catalog put them all on one page so your visitors can scroll easily.

This view it is also good to have search and sort options for your visitors.  Many good shopping carts will have a "side bar" in the template to help the visitor sort, search, and select other catalogs.

>> Large Product View

The large Product View or "Detail View" is the page where all of the product details, specifications, comments, attributes are found.  This page view will also have the main "call to action" buttons like "Buy Now", "add to cart", etc.

The large view is where the online retailer has the advantage over the retail store.  It is in this view where the visitor can research reviews, product details, cross selling, up selling, and so forth.

Think about what you need to help convince the customer to purchase the product in this view.

>> Shopping Cart Summary

This view is where the visitor can see an overview of what they are going to purchase, the costs for the products, shipping charges, taxes, coupon codes, gift certificates, and the total cost.  Sometimes it is best to let the customer change or add quantities, manage shipping options, and more.

The focus in this view is to get the customer to agree to the items being purchased and head for the "Check Out Form"

To do this you may want to focus your visitors attention on the summary form and remove any distractions, unneeded links, or unnecessary copy from this page view.

>> Check Out Form

This is where the visitor enters their personal information and their credit card details.  To be PCI compliant the check out form needs to be encrypted with SSL technology. All BigTurns sites come with an SSL certificate at no extra charge.  Shopping carts that don't have this technology have the option of sending their customers to an external service like PayPal or Google Check out. 

The focus in this view is to get the visitor to fill out their details including their credit card information and hit the submit button.  It is important to have all distractions removed from this view and have the form looking as professional as possible.  The best forms are easy to complete with asking all of the necessary information and no extra information.

>> Invoice

This is the last view a customer will have during their ecommerce experience with your site.  It is important to treat the invoice with as much concern as the other ecommerce views.  This view will give your customer confidence in their purchase or not. 

Once the customer leaves your site, the invoice will be the main reference your customer has to your business and their purchase.  It is here that you can affect your customers and get them to tell their friends about their experience.    Make sure to include all the necessary informatio a customer needs to referencr their purchase and have it displayed in an orderly and structured fashion.

I hope this helps,

Charles Brodeur
eCommerce Consultant
BigTurns Professional Services Ltd 
Vancouver, BC V6E 4R1

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