Re: Web media

Subject: Re: Web media
From: Kathryn Hedges <khedges -at- asymtek -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 09:31:08 -0800

Susan Harkus said: >One of the best examples of poor design is the shopping
cart. Research on
online shopping revealed that more than 60% of shopping card purchases are
abandoned before the user gets to the checkout. That doesn't mean that a
shopping cart metaphor isn't great. What it does mean is that shopping cart
implementations are not all good.<

One problem I have with shopping websites is that often the only way to find
out what the shipping costs will be is to load the items into the shopping
cart and then go to a screen that calculates shipping. If I'm ordering
something smallish (say $10 worth of pharmacy stuff), very often the
shipping costs cancel out any savings and I decide to cancel the purchase.

Is this just bad design, or are the merchants trying to move part of their
costs into S/H charges to make the prices look low, then obscure the high
S/H so people will commit to the purchase before realizing this? A friend
of mine noticed this when ordering RAM chips. Some places would add $30 for
S/H and others only $7. Coincidentally, the place with the $30 S/H had
prices about $20 lower than the other one. "Wow, look! This RAM is $20
less here!" Well, it's less until you factor in S/H. It doesn't cost $30
to ship something that size UPS Ground.

In other words, just because people abandon their shopping carts doesn't
mean the shopping cart metaphor is bad... it may be a completely different
"problem" with the site, and the designers may have thought they were being
clever. Some people are just seeing through the cleverness.

Kat H.

(Not speaking for my employer)

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