The smallest shopping cart around

10Jan13

Part of the allure of online shopping is that you don’t have to physically cram the items into a shopping cart or bag, and then get them home. In other words, while the notion of a shopping cart provides a useful metaphor, everyone knows that an online cart can hold a lot more than an old-fashioned metal one.

With this in mind, I was puzzled to encounter a situation where a particular website only allowed you to place one item in their shopping cart at once. If you wanted to buy two or three of the item, you had to repeat the entire ordering process multiple times.

Granted, it took me longer to figure out the scope of the problem than to actually deal with placing two orders. But I think there are several takeaways here. First, try not to place arbitrary limits on how many items customers can buy at the same time. And second, if technical limitations prevent you from providing the expected shopping cart functionality, be sure to tell customers upfront that they’ll need to place multiple orders. Although they may be a little bit surprised by your low-capacity cart, at least people will know what they’re dealing with before they get fed up with a shopping cart that doesn’t seem to work as expected.



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