June 01, 2015
Posted by Alicia Baumann

The Online Shopping Cart of Tomorrow

One of my favorite adventures circa de childhood was going grocery shopping with my mom. As a sultry, but charming kid, I would often see if I could fill the cart with forbidden items—cereal with marshmallows, bags of candy or an array of cookies. I rarely got past her seemingly constant gaze, but if I did, my dreams were ruined by the time we got to the checkout stand. She knew exactly what was on her list, and it did not include my fantasy-filled edibles.

Fast forward twenty years and an array of thankful hindsight for my mother’s healthy habits, and there is something to be said about knowing exactly what it is your shopping cart. Yes, we roll down the aisles with a budget, list or recipe in mind, but what about the more efficient and indulgent (and honestly, popular) version of shopping? Online.

If I am perusing for new furniture, décor or anything else I need, the last thing I want is remnants of the wily, not-so-charming web-version of my childhood sneaking in extra items.

As a modern-day consumer wrapped up in the spike of laziness and necessary efficiency, I want my online shopping cart to be fully utilized for what I want, transparent and quick.

The first part, getting what I want, is on me. As is the case with most aisle-less shoppers, I want the most bang for my buck. This doesn’t mean the cheapest, and it doesn’t mean the best; it means the most informative based on reviews, pictures, and availability. You’re out of stock? Adios.

The second part, however, is on the seller. I want transparency. Why am I throwing two new bar stools in my shopping cart only to find out upon check out that their shipping cost is astronomical? Either tell me that up front, or take it out of the equation altogether (read: Amazon Prime: free shipping). As the seller, you’re being counted on to have done the dirty work for me—if I feel cheated or misled, I’m out faster than the Lucky Charms my mom tossed back on the cereal shelf.

Lastly, I want the process to be quick! I can barely make it through a 15 second ad before a YouTube video, so if I’m being dragged around to finish processing my purchases, I’ve already downloaded a new album, texted four friends and brewed a cup of coffee—in other words, unless it’s ridiculously easy and fast, I’m out and likely not coming back.

The fifth annual Cisco Consulting Services backed up my claims as a consumer, finding that most shoppers want innovations that allow time to be spent efficiently with greater savings on products. The online shopping cart of tomorrow is expanding; we have mobile cardless payments (Apple Pay, Soft Card, Google), rewards programs for purchasing, subscriptions (Amazon Prime) and more. So what’s the secret formula for keeping customers like me from abandoning your aisles without compromising your own revenue?

The same answer as most questions posed in this millennium—outsource your technology. Item availability, transparency and efficiency—if you can’t handle it, or even parts of it, find the young buck who can.

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