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Be Considerate of Your Customer

Before you start to program your marketing department's requirements into your shopping cart program, put yourself in your customer's place and think about his or her time and information:

  • When creating an order form on your site, break it up. Because you have to collect a lot of information to process an order, you shouldn't put the entire order form on one web page. Break it into logical steps with short pages for the billing and shipping address, credit card number, contact information, shipping information, and so on.

  • Shoppers like convenience. One convenient technique is to have the customer sign in before starting his or her order. If the customer has previously ordered from your site, he or she might already be registered. Using that registration info, you can populate (automatically fill in) many of the order form fields for the customer. Of course, because it's very important to let shoppers choose their comfort level, you must make registration an option. Then sell your visitors on registering. Explain how registering their personal information makes shopping at your site faster and more convenient—for them. If you have a secure server, explain that any personal information customers supply will be kept secure and private. (You did remember to place a Privacy Policy statement on your site, right?) Then let visitors choose whether to give you their shipping information and/or credit card numbers to store on your site.

NOTE

Important: It's okay to suggest registering to the customer who is ready to buy. But never ask a visitor to register at your site just to shop. Ask visitors to register only when they start the purchasing process.

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