Why ecommerce retailers shouldn’t neglect the basket!

I recently did an interview with Internet Retailing magazine for a feature that was looking at online shopping baskets and the steps that retailers and marketers can take to optimise them.

This got me thinking; so many companies see the basket as a necessary function that does a very specific job. But this view misses a whole range of exciting possibilities. If used effectively, the poor old shopping basket can be transformed into a dynamic entity that can increase up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and deliver significant revenue returns.

Buyers don’t travel from A to B

Old school ecommerce websites were designed to take visitors from a buying page through to checkout via the basket. They assumed that customers navigated the site in a very linear way and, as such, they kept the entire checkout procedure simple and straightforward.

But the truth is that online consumers are anything but predictable. As in an offline store, we move around websites in strange patterns; browsing, adding products to a basket, checking out to see what delivery rates are, then returning to the web store to make further product changes before finally checking out.

Acknowledging this complexity is the first step in turning a shopping basket into a powerful sales tool.

Basket 2.0

With this in mind, modern ecommerce websites need to think about how they can use the basket to improve the customer experience and increase revenues and conversion rates.

There are a number of relatively simple ways to do this. For example, you could allow customers to dynamically add an item to a basket, while leaving the customer on the buying page so that can continue to shop. This might feel like a relatively small changes but it can have a significant effect on bottom line returns.

There is also a lot that can be done with offers and discounts. For example, some sites now offer a range of up-sell opportunities so that if a customer adds an item that is part of a ‘buy two, get one free’ deal, the basket could automatically tell the customer that if a further item is added, they can qualify for the discount.

This is a great mechanism to increase your ‘AOV’ (Average Order Value). This common metric is crucial in ecommerce as it’s a great indicator to see how the site is performing and can highlight any problems or issues. If you want to know how to increase your AOV, why not post a comment below and I will answer as soon as I can.

So when it comes to redoing your ecommerce site or analysing where you can make changes to increase conversions and basket values, don’t forget the good old shopping basket!

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