Retailers working to optimize their shopping cart process are often focused on how many visitors abandon their shopping carts. Bryan Eisenberg argues in a nice article on optimizing customer experience that persuasion, not shopping cart abandonment, is the real issue.

Eisenberg says that:

If you focus on providing relevant and persuasive content based on understanding visitor intent, easily inferred from Keywords (or ad copy, or the email they arrived from), you’ll have a much higher overall conversion rate. Visitors who are thoroughly persuaded are uncannily motivated to navigate even the worst check-out process.

He advises you to focus on these three things:

  1. Improve home and landing pages.
  2. Improve persuasion scenarios.
  3. Ensure persuasion scenarios aren’t interrupted.

A related study from User Interface Engineering confirms Eisenberg’s comments. The trick is to avoid ‘pogo-sticking’:

“…shoppers could not ascertain enough information from the product list, so they clicked back and forth between the list and multiple individual product pages… Pogo-sticking is the name we gave to this comparison-shopping technique… It’s an indication that you are losing sales.”

Eisenberg concluded with these comments:

Is a visitor searching for a product, or for information? If she wants information, she’s not yet persuaded to buy. It’s important to give her enough information to make a decision, and supply it in the right place. At the point where she wants more content, supply it. Make sure it answers all possible questions.

Don’t “pogo-stick” your customers. Persuade them to buy your product by giving them a good customer experience that answers their product questions in a no-hassle buying experience.

Read more at ClickZ.