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Pattern Group F. Basic E-Commerce > Store Carts for Later

Store Carts for Later

One serious problem on some e-commerce sites is that the shopping cart disappears if a customer does not do anything on the site for a while. There are dozens of plausible explanations beyond “the customer abandoned the shopping cart.” Customers might be comparison shopping on other Web sites, taking a lunch break, or talking to someone next to them. At a minimum, save customer shopping carts for 24 hours or more. However, a saved cart must be merged with a new cart when a shopper logs in and collects a new cart full of other products. In such cases be sure to communicate that a customer already has items in the cart as soon as you can. In addition, you must tell customers about items in the saved carts that are no longer in stock.

Another option to give customers is the ability to store items for later purchase. This option can be provided in one of two ways: as a private list for each customer or as a public list for customers to share with friends and family, also known as a wish list. CDNOW has such a wish list (see Figure F3.3). Clearly wish lists are not useful if they are retained for only 90 days. The best approach is to retain an item in a wish list until it has been purchased or explicitly removed.


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