Product Reviews of Shopping Cart Software

Your website and the ability for customers to check out quickly and easily is incredibly important. As many website owners know, all too often a customer will place an item in their cart and go to check out. However, for whatever reason during checkout they change their mind and never complete the transaction. This could be due to any number of reasons, but in many cases it is simply because the checkout procedure is too much of a hassle. If you don’t want to lose sales at the last critical point then make sure you have the best shopping cart software. How do you do this? There are several ways, but one of them is to read product reviews.

Product reviews are important because it allows you to see from a website owner’s point of view the benefits and drawbacks a particular program might have. This is important because before you can learn from other’s experiences before you buy and install the software. You want to avoid as many lost sales as possible and the best way to do this is by reading product reviews and finding shopping cart software that will meet your needs. There are a few things to look for.

First, you want a software that makes it easy to checkout as well as make changes or return shopping. Some individuals may be in the process of checking out and realize they forgot to look through the clearance items. The last thing you want to do is have them start over so you need a shopping cart software that will easily let the customer return shopping and then back to the shopping cart with no confusion and seamless transition.

There are many different shopping cart software options on the market and some are great while others are just so-so. You don’t want a so-so shopping cart software but rather one that is right in line with what customers want from a checkout process. They don’t want to have to fill out a lot of forms, they don’t want to have to create an account, and they want to be able to make changes to their order and see the immediate price changes whether this be with shipping, taxes, or simply adding or removing items.

Finally, make sure your shopping cart software is never the reason why a potential customer leaves with her cart half full. This is the worst possible situation and if you are doing what it takes to get customers to your website and then making a purchase then the last thing you want is for your shopping cart software to turn them away.

The Rise of Social Shopping and User Reviews

Why I think customer reviews and social shopping are important. Social shopping is an interesting concept which divides opinion amongst web commentators.

Most are agreed that social shopping is a specific type of web service with its roots in the social explosion of Web 2.0.

In their purest form the best social shopping sites provide an open independent platform where users can add products, post a review or provide a product rating. The sites are service orientated, providing the tools for others to use and as such rely heavily on user generated content to set the agenda.

In essence the opportunity now exists for consumers to band together, discuss specific products and brands and provide an authentic alternative voice to the brand led marketing activity and conventional expert reviews we are all subjected to in other media.

By sharing product knowledge and experiences, creating useful content, an empowered community consensus can emerge, highlighting the gems and warning against the over hyped duds – the products which disappoint and fail to deliver.

This type of user generated content has a real value and satisfies an important element of the online shopping process – research, which accounts for 80% of consumer time when they are shopping online.

Social shopping sites combine social elements such as a social networking community features with aspects of shopping such as product reviews, ratings and deal hunting.

Some of the more agile social shopping sites are making use of the Twitter API and Facebook Connect to tap in to the online conversation, providing context for product related Tweets on Twitter and distribution of product opinion via Facebook.

Social shopping sites can be viewed as a value added evolution of the affiliate model – as they seek to monetize website content (the user generated product reviews and ratings) by sending traffic to third party merchant sites where they can purchase product.

My starting position is to agree with the mantra that “customer recommendation is the Holy Grail of Advertising”. We know this is true in the real world – if your friends and neighbours enthuse about their new car, lawnmower, laptop or digital camera – it will have weight, you take note.

The same holds online – reviews and recommendations are very powerful; especially those from people with status in a community, and those which are provided weeks and months after the purchase; only the scale and dynamics of relationships differ. The potential then of social shopping and what it offers us as consumers, product designers, specialist retailers and brands which really focus on and respond to their community is very exciting.

Some statistics and predictions from rantorave.

According to a global Nielsen survey of 26,486 Internet users in 47 markets, consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78% of the study’s respondents. (Nielsen, “Word-of-Mouth the Most Powerful Selling Tool”).

83% of shoppers said online product evaluations and reviews influenced their purchasing decisions. (Opinion Research Corporation, an infoGROUP company, July 2008).

76% of US retailers said user-generated content would have a greater impact on their marketing goals in the near future. (SLI Systems/Zoomerang, November 2008).

56% of UK website owners say that user-generated content lifts conversion levels; 77% say it increases traffic; and 42% say it increases the average spend on site.(eConsultancy survey of 360 website owners across all sectors, November 2008).

By 2020, 84% of marketers agree that building customer trust will become marketing’s primary objective, and 82% agree that collaboration with customers will prevail over marketing. (1to1 Media survey April, 2008).

Top 10 Social shopping sites: (note I am only allowed to submit an article with 4 links)

  1. Kaboodle – a great site, arguably market leader geared towards female consumers. Now owned by Hearst Digital Media.
  2. ThisNext – another strong site with an emphasis on female consumers, this site feels like a great window shopping experience with expert Maverns on tap
  3. Tribesmart – this site is making use of twitter and Facebook connect. There are some great tools such as the personal list builder and community messaging features based on the ‘Tribes’ idea. Like Veedow, Wists and Crowdstorm it could appeal to both sexes and this is potentially where the gap in the market is as Kaboodle, OSOYOU and ThisNext seem to have marked out a claim on the younger female market.
  4. Veedow – a slightly confusing site, a neat idea, still yet to realize it’s full potential in my view
  5. Stylehive – feeling less like a pure play social shopping site these days, it has a strong emphasis on wannabe celebrity fashion/lifestyle writers who you follow – it is not as vibrant as twitter although you can see where they are going with it
  6. Jungle Raft – a new entrant, included as it is a new concept with a clear proposition in terms of pulling the best deals from Amazon
  7. Stylefeeder – offers to help users discover products based on their unique tastes. The looks a little off the pace and has some annoying and tacky pop up ads. All a bit old skool.
  8. Crowdstorm – the site is a Digg type site for products, it is based on buzz and an expert opinion network- although it does seem to have gone quiet in the last 12 months
  9. Shopstyle – feels like an ecommerce site with price discounts on display. Lacks obvious reviews or community features although the stylebooks feature is really nice enabling people to put looks together and share these – the ‘sale alert’ feature could be useful though and the site has hooked up with Elle magazine in the past.
  10. Wists – a trending site about what is new and what people plan on buying

There are many others, sites like Shopcorn and Naturalbornshoppers to name but two.

Finding the Best Value With Online Product Reviews

When you are planning to buy an item or product, a common gesture done by most consumers is to ask their friend or family members for opinion about a given product before buying to generate information.This applies for all type of products,whether it be appliances,clothing, or any other items. Anyone wants to gain more information about a certain product before they go on to pay for it. same thing applicable for online product reviews are the best tool that online shoppers can use to help them out in finding the best product out there.

If you have tried online shopping before, you probably have noticed a star rating provided next to each product as you are browsing through your possible options. Although not all online shops offer this feature, most of them do and you have to take advantage of this feature. In most cases, those ratings provide direct link to online product reviews that you can read to gather information about a product and learn what others’ opinion of the product is.

Although these reviews provide valuable information about a certain product, you must not take 100 percent of the information as it is. Most of the reviews written for products found online are legitimate, such that they are written by industry experts who have tested the product or consumers who bought and have tried it. You need to be wary about fake reviews though that were written with product promotion as its hidden agenda. These types of reviews provide positive assessment of the website and serve to shadow the negative features just to convince buyers to purchase it. It is therefore important to have an idea of what to look for in a given product before heading out to do your online shopping.

Although they are of help, star ratings placed next to the product do not offer anything. You can be more confident with reviews written by actual users or consumers of the product. It will provide a more realistic and effective insight into the product, especially issues concerning user functionality. Going back to the above statement, knowing what your needs are and specific characteristics that you want, reviews you read can potentially impact your buying information based on your buying priorities and intended use. You have to admit it; product descriptions provided in online shops do not offer much, so these online product reviews should be generated to the fullest.

To conclude, online product reviews enable the consumer to identify the advantages and disadvantages of buying a certain product. Hence, many online merchants have invested on the business of writing reviews knowing how much it affects the buying decision of certain individuals. Indeed, they double as a promotional or marketing strategy knowing that consumers rely on the validity of information provided to ensure that they have made a great choice.

How to Find the Best Deals Online – Comparison Shopping Sites, Product Reviews and More

Shopping online is a pleasure when you get what you want and with significant savings. Finding the best quality items for the lowest possible spend is a challenging task. By turning your focus on comparison shopping and taking out time to carefully assess the product reviews, you make sure that you get the best value for the money spent. Ask any avid online shopper and he/she will tell you the benefits of reading product or service reviews before you go hit the virtual stores!

In any shopping experience, online or when you walk into a physical store, one of the best approaches of arriving at a great bargain is of comparing different products and prices. Internet makes comparison shopping a breeze. Open an online shopping portal and begin your product search by identifying your choice of brands and comparing notes on the various product specs & prices. For instance, if you are looking to buy a good laptop, comparison sites can bring great deals and bargains within your reach. View the laptop images, specifications and dimensions, and arm yourself with all of the information you need for deciding on the one closest to your needs. Make sure you also check the online store’s warranties, return policies, service records and customer ratings.

Comparison shopping also helps you to use discount coupons wisely. One might think that the more shopping sites he refers for price comparison, the better results he gets. It is true to an extent but price comparison is certainly not the only idea behind comparison shopping. Reading product reviews from customers, who have already been using the product, also guide you in making the right choice. Blogs and forum posts have evolved as valuable sources of information. Read up forums and buying guides where you get the latest professional and consumer advice based on usage experience.

Useful tips that make you among the first to know about the best deals:

There are many ways of finding the best online deals. Since there are so many places from where a prospective buyer can know about the money saving deals, each one has his own way of staying up-to-date of the buzz.

Subscribe to merchant newsletters

Sign up for personal newsletters at your favourite online store and you will be informed periodically of the latest deals on offer at the store. Be the first one to know about the exclusive coupon codes, festive season discounts, freebies and the attractive contests.

Outlet Stores are also available online

Outlet stores often make available great money saving deals on your favourite products. You also find many of such stores online. It’s a good idea to visit them frequently if you wish to lay hands on otherwise expensive products at unbelievable discounts. Keep in mind to act fast when you find a good deal because such stores usually stock limited quantities which could run out if you delay.

Join Deal Forums – Express, Suggest and Exchange Ideas!

Connect with the members of shopping blogs and forums and you will know of the latest online deals. Look for the best deals posted by the members in the forums and purchase the items at discounted prices.

Special Deal Search Engines

Search for deals in specific search engines. A bargain site is a place where members post internet links to great products. You can easily grab the best deals for yourself through these specific search engines. This way comparison shopping becomes as easy as the click of a button! Compare the price of your favourite product on different websites and find the same quality at a cheaper price. These sites are usually updated several times a day so it’s always worth going back to them.

Internet shopping is perfect when you know what you want. You’re sure to find some important advice that you can take along to your next online shopping trip. Remember each person has different likes and opinions, so try to first understand what is most important to you, and a simplified shopping experience will ensue.