Help Needed - Shopping Carts - you can help!

Mar 10, 2001
We are building a NEW Shopping Cart for own own web-sites and for the use of others as well. I need to know what the customer wants and does
not want from a shopping cart.

I also need to know what the merchant wants and does not want from the shopping cart.

Please send the ideas to me at and we will try to improve your shopping experience

not only with us but with every other knife seller on the internet. Thanks, A. G.
I want a cart that goes in a straight line and has ample provision for frozen and freash meat... oh and bread as well. How about one of those clip boards for a list?


"To strive to seek to find and not to yield"
Ranger motto

A few useful details on UK laws and some nice reviews!
Certified steel snob!
Founding president and member number 1! Wana join?
I always look for the big shopping carts. I love those carts you use at Sam's Club, Costco ect. I really hate the little toy shopping carts at some stores. Bigger is better.

A Pat on the Back is only a few inches from a Kick in the Butt.
I live just down the street from the grocery and enjoy the walk. So I go several times a week and just pick up a few things each time. As a result, I prefer a hand basket. The hand basket is faster anyway since I can dodge and weave through the crowded isles easily and quickly.

Now, Mr. Russel is probably not amused with us. But, I submit that there's a lot to be learned here.

People want many of the same things in a virtual cart that they want in a physical cart.

Take me, for example. One or two things... in and out... in a hurry... quick, quick. I won't want a whole big cart to have to push around. I want a button next to each item on the site that says "Express Check-Out". You punch that button and you go right to check out with just that item, no "shopping cart overhead."

The General wants compartments to organize his many purchases. At a knife site, that might mean organizing the listing of his cart's content into categories such as "knives -- Fixed", "Knives -- Folding," "Accessories", and "Books/Publications."

And both Esav and General want carts that work easily, don't squeak or pull of on funny lines. Online, that means avoiding java, cookies, and other features that various browsers don't uniformly support. Keep the wheels turning without squeaks and without steering off on funny lines.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
Chuck: Many thanks for your insights. I, being just an old grump, missed every bit of the helpful information that was offered to me. I have sent all of it including your translations to the developer and know that it will be helpful. Please keep an eye on this thread so that you can translate for me when more of my friends offer help. The best to all, A. G.
My son was just home from school on spring break and wanted to order some computer stuff-software and hardware. I told him the usual-check the various sites we usually get stuff from and give me a total price. Incidentally I'm not always just looking for the "cheapest" but some places have been more reliable and customer service oriented then others.
Well one thing we always mention is that some sites allow you to go all the way thru INCLUDING shiipping for a total BEFORE you enter credit card and personal info. Some do not and you have to give all this info. to get a total then cancel if not satisfied. This is always annoying to me and my son didn't even bother with sites that worked that way.



There are several thing that should be pointed out when it comes to execution of a shopping cart. Basically, you need to look at two perspectives, the customer and the business.

As for the customer, you want to make something that is informative and easy to use. What I expect to see when I go to an online catalog is to have a total of the shopping cart always on the screen. This together with two small control buttons for viewing the cart and checking out. The cart view should allow the altering of it's contents and I prefer that it comes up in a separate window. Internally, it is best controlled with a client-side script instead of going back to the server. It will be faster this way and will look cleaner on the screen. This can be done so that it operates across all browsers.

The business perspective depends on the server-side design. I will only say that DO NOT spread your business logic to the client-side. This has unfortunately been done on some shopping carts and some very clever people have paid less for the item they purchased than they should $3 for a $300 watch. This is completely avoidable, it was a matter of poor programming.

Just my thoughts,
Jeff Jenness
One of the biggest mistakes people make when considering their own website is to look at it only in prevue mode with their web authoring tool on their own computer.

Instead, log on and look at your website as your customers will. But first, set your modem's top speed to 14.4K. Now see how you like that fancy Java thing. It's kind of niffty, but it takes forever to download and, after all the wait, really isn't worth it.

I had dinner at one of Portland's finest places a couple of weeks ago, Jakes. It took a long time for the dinners to come out due to one person who ordered a seafood stew that the waiter warned would take a few minutes extra. But, boy, that dinner was worth waiting. That was one of the best pieces of Salmon I've had. I sampled that stew too, and it was excellent, well worth waiting for.

I stopped for a burger at a "fast food" place the other day. After about thirty seconds, I was getting impatient. It took 'em probably three minutes to get my burger. To tell you the truth, it wasn't worth it.

The web is the same way. If something takes a long time to download, first, a little warning and an option to skip that item is in order, and, second, it better be worth the wait.

The problem with many shopping carts and other aspects of many websites is that they're not worth the wait. They try to get to fancy and it ends up taking to long to download. Of course, the developer and the owner never see this because they preview the site off of the local disk instead of through an actual network connection.

Turning down to 14.4K may seem a bit radical, but it just simulates worst-case connections.

Now, this idea of catering to the worst-connected customers may seem a bit radical too. Take my site, for example, There are single images on my site in excess of a megabyte! Those are not for the thin-of-pipe. But, I try to warn people before they access those. Furthermore, my site is not a business. If you can't wait to download a picture off of my site, quite frankly I don't care. But, a business wants to sell and to sell to as many customers as possible. If you run a brick-and-mortar knife shop, do you care if the customer drives up in a fancy BMW or in a beat-up old Chevy? No. You don't care about the condition of this car. You care about he condition of his wallet!

So, businesses must be very careful not to create a site that is sloppy and slow for people with old or diverse browsers, people who choose to turn off java or cookies, or people who have thin pipes.

Try your site with as many different browsers and different versions of those browsers as you can. Try it with different option settings on those broswers. And try it through a thin pipe.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
I've ordered various books through, and love their shopping cart system. It allows you to add items to the cart, and refer back to the cart weeks later, where your items are safely stored. I can do a little online window-shopping at my leisure this way, and not lose my choices as soon as I stop shopping. I hate writing down all my prospective purchases on paper, and making printouts so I don't lose the information.

I also like how the Amazon cart remembers information about me. I don't have to reenter my name and credit card info for each purchase I make. I do it the first time, and subsequent orders require very little work on my part. I enter my user name and password, and the cart does the rest.

I'd also like to see what items are currently in stock. I've made three orders from online knife stores in the last month. Two of those orders had backordered items, and were delayed indefinitely. I only found this out when physically calling the retailer for a status update. I could have literally waited for months, and never even heard that I was backordered. That's just bad business.

Automatic calculation of shipping costs would also be a big plus. My wife will often ask how big a purchase I've made. All I can usually say to her is, "I'm not sure, but it'll be somewhere around this much....". Money is money to the wife who’s balancing the budget, and “somewhere around” doesn’t cut the mustard.

I’d really like to see a full set of information on each knife. Knowing the blade size, handle material, blade material, locking mechanism, tip up/tip down carry, weight, etc, would keep me from having to leave the online store to visit the manufacturers site. Pictures of both sides folding knives would also be a big plus.

While I’m on a roll here, I’ll spit out some more features that would be killer from a consumer’s standpoint. Imagine entering certain search criteria into a knife search engine. Say I want to search for all knives in stock, which have 440V steel, a micarta handle, and have less than a 4” blade length. That would be the ultimate shopping experience. I enter what I want in the knife, and the cart tells me what items match my wants and needs.

I definitely consider automatic email confirmation a must. The email should have an itemized list of my purchases, as well as an accurate total of money spent. A reference number for my purchase, in case I need to call for some reason, is also a must. Online order tracking is also a big deal. Few of us trust UPS with our lives or our knives.

Boy am I picky!!! Hehehehehe……. Call me Super Comsumer!!!!
Like someone mentioned earlier. I like to see the total including shipping before I commit. I always pay with my checking acount debit card so exact totals are important.

The first knife was probably used to cut stuff.
In my ideal shopping cart I'd like to see;

1. The ability to plug in my choice of shipping and have the cost added in to a running total as I continue shopping.

2. Express Checkout that will remember me from one visit to the next, needing only my credit card data plugged in at the end of the transaction.

3. The ability to change my mind and remove items from the cart, and see that removal reflected in the running total.

4. The ability to "save" my shopping cart and come back tomorrow. (Sort of a "wishlist")

5. Minimum fuss and graphics, fast load time.

6. A printer friendly (Low graphics) receipt page AND an automatic emailed receipt showing the details of my order.

And as a final note, I'd REALLY like to see the re-introduction of the Black Chrome Sting IA!
(Sorry, just had to slip that in there.)

Tráceme no sin la razón, envoltura mi no sin honor
Usual Suspect
Lotsa ideas here on the cutting edge of technology.

*oops, can i say that?

[This message has been edited by Hal (edited 03-21-2001).]
I like speed (more than 15 sec or so, and I leave), and a toll free number to call in my credit card. Being in the business, I know how unsecure the world wide web REALLY is.
Swede: Security is as important as speed. We will be using Linux (NOT Microsoft) and we plan to make HushMail available so that even the US Govt much less the gangsters using the USSR's spy satilites will be able to pick off the credit card numbers.

What we want to build is a shopping cart that will please the customers and attract the small business man on the web. I don't think that anybody less than Amazon or Barnes & Noble could afford to build what I want. The only way I can do it is believing that I can offer it at a reasonable price to others selling on the web, producing an income to balance the outlay necessary to build it. Much thanks to the many who spent time helping with this. I am sure that everybody who did not will surely find the things left out when it is working. A. G.

I just bought a Zip Drive from

Try this for yourself and see just how bad a shopping cart system can be. I have a T1 line connecting to my house. My connection is not the problem.

I started with Netscape 4.51. It locked up solid, "task not responding". Well, Windoz is like that so I tried again. Bang. It locked right up at exactly the same place. Wow. I tried one more time and got the same result. This shopping cart system actually crashes Netscape 4.51! So, I switched to Netscape 6. That got me in. I made my selection and proceeded to checkout. I glanced at my watch: 12:07. I thought, "This will just take a minute and then I get lunch." This stupid shopping cart system asks you the questions one at a time. You enter your name and press "submit". Then you wait and wait and wait. Then, your DSU/CSU flickers back to life as hundreds of K of flaming logo graphics and java scripts and frames downloads at about 2K/second. Finally, the screen appears and asks you for your street address. You enter that and press "continue". Then you wait and wait and wait. Then, your DSU/CSU flickers back to life as hundreds of K of flaming logo graphics and java scripts and frames downloads at about 2K/second. Finally, the screen appears and asks you for your city and state. Etc. Etc. Etc.

At 12:35, twenty seven minutes later, my zip drive was ordered. I've walked out of brick and mortar stores for lines shorter than that!

Never again will I buy a zip drive that way!

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
Chuck! Fair dues my man, you got my comments spot on!

It is very nice to see exactly what you have bought and what categories they are in. Many like me get a folder/fixed etc all at once. I do sometimes like to look and think, ah to many fixed blades, must get a folder etc. Call me stupid, but I like to get different stuff, more intersting for me anyway!

"To strive to seek to find and not to yield"
Ranger motto

A few useful details on UK laws and some nice reviews!
Certified steel snob!