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IA for Shopping & Shopping Carts Adrian Whatley INF 385e Fall 2005 Overview E-Commerce Consumer Purchase Factors Closing the deal with the shopping cart Simplify Support Secure Confirm Conclusion E-Commerce Is Big Business

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ia for shopping shopping carts

IA for Shopping & Shopping Carts

Adrian WhatleyINF 385e

Fall 2005

  • E-Commerce
  • Consumer Purchase Factors
  • Closing the deal with the shopping cart
    • Simplify
    • Support
    • Secure
    • Confirm
  • Conclusion
e commerce is big business
E-Commerce Is Big Business
  • 50% of US net users and 20% of non-US net users regularly buy online (2002)
  • “Click and Mortar” firms see an increase in visits to traditional sales outlets
uncontrollable factors

Uncontrollable Factors

Uncontrollable Factors
  • Consumer characteristics
    • Social
    • Economical
    • Cultural
    • Psychological
  • Beyond the the control and influence of marketers

Controllable Factors

  • Product/Service Characteristics
  • Medium Characteristics
  • Merchant/Intermediary Characteristics

In other words: IA is essential for an enjoyable e-commerce experience!


The Factors at Work

No Thanksgiving 

Web Ad



What Is a “Shopping Cart?”

  • A metaphor employed by e-commerce sites to help customers better understand the online purchasing experience.
    • Shopping baskets
    • Shopping bags
    • And many more




Design is Important…

  • Billions in sales are lost every year because customers become frustrated and leave an e-commerce site
  • Trust and usability are the two attributes most often cited by customers as the reasons for choosing a site

A Quest!



Scandinavian movie about a girl whose homely sister has her banished to the frozen woods. She is saved by Jack Frost who helps to find her a dreamy husband..


Overall Design is Important…



Clean, easy checkout


…but the shopping cart can make or break a site.

  • 65% of buyers leave their shopping carts in mid-purchase (eMarketer 2003)
  • IA can help reduce cart abandonment rates

Keys to Good Cart Design

  • “Programmers need to hear people call their baby ugly.” Terrell Jones, president of Travelocity
  • Simplify the process.
  • Explain the steps.
  • Secure the transaction.
  • Confirm the order.

Simplify: Make the Cart & Its Contents Easy to Find


The shopping cart should:

  • Have multiple entry points
  • Be transparent
  • Give product information
      • Availability
      • Quantity
      • Price
  • Allow products to be stored for later purchase

Simplify: Break-Up the Ordering Process

Page Numbers

Where am I?

Where am I going?




Simplify: Provide Clear Instructions

Required fields

Builds trust

Saves space

Next step

Go back


Explain: Provide Rich Functionality

Navigational Options

Detailed Description



Explain: Provide Support During Checkout

  • Unanswered questions can translate into lost sales
  • Phone support is best for new customers or those uneasy with web purchases
  • Support via a chat window like eBay’s “Live Help” or UT Libraries’ “Ask a Librarian” is gaining favor
  • FAQs should be provided at the very least



Explain: Show All Costs

Show taxes, shipping and any another purchase costs. No surprises!

This cake better be $%&^ good.


Secure: Put Their Minds at Ease

Williams Sonoma

  • In order to establish trust, the customer must be comfortable with you and your site’s security
  • Think about possible customer concerns at every step
  • Your security standards should be easily accessible and clearly written

Confirm: Make Sure the Order is Correct

Right address?

Right product?

Right price?


Confirm: Send a Confirmation E-Mail

  • Include:
  • Confirmation date
  • Order number
  • Tracking (if possible)
  • Be brief!


  • Organize a focus group to test the shopping cart before the site is launched.
  • Make sure your cart simplifies, explains, secures and confirms the online ordering process.
  • Remember, a successful Web site is built around customer-centered design.


  • Taking the shopping centre online: new models in e-commerce. Timothy Dixon, Andrew MarstonProperty Management;Volume 23;Issue 2; 2005
  • Electronic commerce: A comparative study of organizational experiences.

Majed Al-MashariBenchmarking: An International Journal;Volume 9;Issue 2; 2002

  • Product search in e-shopping: a review and research propositions.

Jennifer RowleyJournal of Consumer Marketing;Volume 17;Issue 1; 2000

  • Influencing the online consumer's behavior: the Web experience

Efthymios ConstantinidesInternet Research;Volume 14;Issue 2; 2004

  • Comfort your online customer: quality, trust and loyalty on the internet.

Dina Ribbink, Allard C.R. van Riel, Veronica Liljander, Sandra StreukensManaging Service Quality;Volume 14;Issue 6; 2004

  • An integrated framework for recommendation systems in e-commerce. Timothy K. Shih, Chuan-Feng Chiu, Hui-huang Hsu, Fuhua LinIndustrial Management & Data Systems;Volume 102;Issue 8; 2002
  • One-stop-shop information mall – MTR’s experience.

Y.K. Chan, Martin Brown, K. Neailey, W.H. IpManaging Service Quality;Volume 10;Issue 2; 2000



  • Good information architecture increases online sales.Ivan Walshhttp://www.sitepoint.com/print/increases-online-sales
  • Ten ways to improve the usability of your ecommerce site.Webcredible consultancy.


  • Information architecture of the shopping cart: best practices for the information archtitectures of e-commerce ordering systems.Sarah Bidigare, Argus Center for Information Architecture, May 2000.http://argus-acia.com/white_papers/shopping_cart_ia.html
  • The Design of Sites: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience.Douglas K. Van Duyne, James A. Landay, Jason I. Hong.Addison-Wesley, 2003.