Five Takeaways from a Broken Shopping Cart

Five Takeaways from a Broken Shopping Cart

Looking for insights related to your website shopping cart? You’re in the right place. First, a little story for you:

You know how vegans have a reputation for making sure everyone knows they are vegan within the first five minutes of meeting them?

First of all, I have not found that to be true at all. Anyway, I’ve become known for something far more annoying. Folks who know me will tell you, “James won’t shut up about biking in Prospect Park.”

This I admit, is actually true. I understand the compulsion needs to be tempered. Yet, here I am writing a blog post about it.

Our story begins last spring when I realized it was time to replace my helmet and gloves. This was based mostly on the condition of said items at the time, which for the sake of brevity, we’ll call “decrepit.”

But isn’t it funny how these “resolutions” rarely turn out to be urgent? Darned if I didn’t go right on ahead, using those same gloves and helmet three and four times a week, from April to November all over again.

Well, spring has rolled around once more, and this time the left glove no longer has what you might call, “finger holes.” It was time to follow through on last year’s intent, for sure.

Cyclists on the loop in Prospect Park

Cyclists on the loop in Prospect Park

When it comes to bike gear, I won’t claim fierce brand loyalty. I probably should have a road bike with better technology and those cool, curved handle bars. But I’m super-content with my modest, eight-year-old Specialized “Cirrus Sport” hybrid. I really don’t go for all these aerodynamic shorts, shirts, and accessories either. Just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s like I fear the punk rock skateboarder from high school days would never approve.

Anyway, I mostly leave that stuff to the other guys in the park with the fancier bikes. I call them, “The Dudes with the Duds.”

But a lightweight, non-smelly helmet? That’s just common sense, right? And, there’s actually decent utility to cycling gloves. Gripping the handlebars decreases blood flow in your hands, so after a time they tend to go numb. Most cycling gloves are designed to help mitigate this problem.

Right about now you might be asking yourself, “Is he ever going to get to the part about the broken online shopping cart?”

The prospective cycling gloves, in question.

The prospective cycling gloves, in question.

Ahem. Once I’d finished up my online research on gloves and helmets, I pointed my browser at the Specialized website to see if they had any of these items in stock.

Lo and behold, they did. Specifically, they had a pair of gloves called “Grail” that I’d seen positive reviews for. Encouraged, I clicked some sleek black ones into my online shopping cart.

I guessed my ID and password. The system allowed me to log on. But try as I might, it would not let me add a shipping address. No matter how carefully I completed the fields, an error message would appear on the shopping cart, “UNABLE TO SAVE ADDRESS.”

Well, that’s frustrating, right? If you can’t progress past that step, you can’t place the order. What kind of business move is that? Next, I looked around on amazon.com and some other online outlets, but could not see many Specialized products listed at all. Didn’t quite know what to do next, but I probably had some work to get back to. So, I left it alone for the time being.

Alert! Abandoned Shopping Cart
The next day, I called the number on Specialized’s website to see if I could place an order via phone. A polite, young-sounding guy acknowledged the issue with the shopping cart. Apparently, the site had been redesigned recently and all the kinks hadn’t been worked out. He said they were working on it, apologized, and suggested I try back in a couple days.

A few mornings later, a brand spanking new email newsletter from Specialized arrived in my mailbox. Subject line: “New Spring Clothing Is Here.

The email promotion I received from Specialized.

The email promotion I received from Specialized.

“Now we’re in business,” I thought. “They must have fixed it.” A company would never deploy an email meant to drive online sales if their shopping cart was not fully operational. I clicked into the message, found the gloves, and added to my shopping cart only to discover I still could not get past the shipping address screen.

Can you believe it?

This time, I navigated to an area where you could search for authorized local dealers. Turns out, not only was my favorite local shop Bicycle Habitat listed, but a newer one I’d heard about called Ride Brooklyn was as well. The skeptic in me reasoned that neither of these places would have the specific gloves I wanted, but they probably had some I could use.

Wrong again! Moments after arriving at Ride Brooklyn on Bergen Street, the black Specialized Grail gloves were in my hand — in size large. What were the chances?

Here’s another quick read you may be interested in:
Select an eCommerce Shopping Cart

On my next ride around the park loop, I reflected on all this and would offer a number of takeaways:

  1. Be Sure Your Shopping Cart Works
    website-shopping-cart-ecommerceIf you are an online retailer, it’s critical to make sure your website’s shopping cart works flawlessly. You can get all the other things right; product line, presentation, colors, sizes, etc. But if customers can’t proceed with a purchase, you’re leaving revenue on the table and perhaps damaging your brand.
  2. Coordinate Your Promotions
    If you’re aware that your online shopping cart is not fully operational, hold back your email efforts until it’s repaired. Better yet? Make sure your cart is works before those emails are scheduled to go out.

  3. Channel Sales Dealers Get Priority
    Having served several clients with channel sales structures, I understood why Specialized items were not so easy to find elsewhere online. Authorized dealers such as Bicycle Habitat and Ride Brooklyn probably get priority – if not exclusive access – to their products.

    website shopping cart ecommerceThat can be a good deal all around. Local retailers benefit because they are less apt to lose sales to discount online retailers. It also gives them a better chance to compete in a world where local shops have a hard time existing. Channel sales organizations like Specialized benefit from getting their product into shops that cater to their audience with better knowledge and a higher level of service.

  4. Support Your Local Retailer
    Though buying items online is convenient, retail really has its place. I want to reinforce this idea with myself more going forward. Many items are practical to purchase online. But not all. Visiting that new shop opened my eyes. It was neat, clean, and most everything seemed fully stocked. The staff was friendly and attentive. I’m not quite in the market for a new bike yet, but they sure had some beauties on display. I’ll definitely return and would recommend both shops to friends.
  5. Great Customer Service Still Matters
    website shopping cart ecommerceSpecialized’s online cart disappointed me. But somehow I didn’t give up on them. Certainly, the positive review on this particular glove drove my search. But the honest, polite treatment I got from their representative via phone definitely left a positive impression.

If your business needs help with an ecommerce enabled website, don’t hesitate to contact us. Below are links to the companies named in this story. They all deserve your business.

Oh, and for the record? Some of my best friends abide by a vegan diet. It’s just great for them. Really! Ready to improve your shopping cart solution? Let’s get started!

 

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Sources may include:
Bicycle Habitat
Ride Brooklyn
Specialized