The shopping cart system is one of the most brilliant inventions in the history of the internet. Prior to the shopping cart, people had to call a business and give their credit card information over the phone to make a purchase.
Shopping cart software makes it easy for users to pick out what they want, and save items to their cart for immediate or future purchase. It’s convenient, easy, and familiar. Innovations like Shopify make it easier for businesses to customize their online stores to maintain a professional presence. Still, for some high-end websites, a shopping cart system of any kind can be tacky.
Not all high-end websites are ecommerce sites
It makes sense for most ecommerce websites to use shopping cart software, but there are some websites that should avoid them. The websites that should avoid shopping cart software aren’t technically considered ecommerce websites. They’re sites that sell high-ticket items like art collectibles, museum pieces, and antiques. Generally, these websites curate pieces from individual dealers and therefore don’t process payments online.
The main reason these high-end websites don’t process payments online is because they rely on building trust to make the sale. That’s hard to do over the internet. “Selling expensive items online is really difficult because people are scared of being cheated on the internet,” says Sidsel Dorph, former silversmith and creative business advisor. “With expensive sales one of the key components is trust, and usually trust is [built] between a maker and a customer when they meet in person, and the customer gets to take the piece home when they purchase it.”
A favorites lists is a classy alternative to a shopping cart
In the past, shopping cart software was the only way to allow users to collect items they were interested in, even on sites that didn’t process payments. However, today there’s a classier solution called a “favorites list.”
Decaso, a decorative art website that sells everything from bespoke furniture to paintings and rugs, is just one example of how a favorites list works.
Users can browse available inventory and click on a heart icon to add it to their favorite’s list. A simple red heart replaces the usual shopping cart icon. When items are added to the list, a number appears next to the heart indicating how many items the user has saved.
If your website offers high-end, high-ticket items, you’re better off using a favorites list to allow users to keep track of the items they’re interested in. A shopping cart, even when used only to make lists of items, gives users the impression they’ll have to make a large payment online. This immediately diminishes their perception of trust.
Both systems are similarly programmed
On the back end, a favorites list works similarly to shopping cart software. Essentially, both systems allow users to “collect” items they’re interested in buying. The difference is, with a favorite’s list there’s no checkout process. As with the decorative arts website linked above, when a user views an item they’ve saved, they’re given a link to contact the dealer directly to make the purchase.
How to get a favorites list on your high-end website
If the content management system you’re using doesn’t already provide a favorites list (or a favorites list plugin), you can hire a developer to create one for you. Clients commonly request this type of application, and most developers will already have the framework for it.
If you can’t find a developer to create a custom favorites list for your website, there are other options. You can convert a “wish list” plugin to a favorites list by hiring a programmer to change the verbiage from “wish list” to “favorites list.” A wish list works the same way, but favorites list sounds more professional. Seeing the words “wish list” might tell people they can’t afford the items they want, and it may take longer to get a sale.
The final option you’ve got is to hire a developer to convert a shopping cart system into a favorites list. This requires a substantial amount of work, mostly to eliminate elements of the checkout process and replace graphics.
There are plenty of open source shopping carts you can have customized for this purpose. Usually open source shopping carts aren’t a good idea, but if you won’t be processing payments online you don’t need to worry about whether or not they’re compliant.