All About Website Usability Blog – Holly Phillips

Great usability at Piperlime
June 17, 2009, 4:00 am
Filed under: shopping cart

During my shoe-shopping foray on the web, I ran across a site worth a mention in the area of usability:  Piperlime.  They’ve done a lot of things right on this site: 

  • mutually exclusive categories to make it easy to narrow down to what you’re interested in
  • tons of different ways to search
  • great gallery pages with clear pictures and pricing
  • excellent product pages with photos from every angle (including the soles of the shoes)

I could go on, but what I really want to focus on here is Piperlime’s checkout process.  So many sites today still take you away from your shopping page when you add an item to a cart.  If I’m shopping, I may want to add several items to my cart when I find them and then, and ONLY then, do I want to be taken to my cart to see what’s in it. 

Piperlime gets this.  Add a product to your bag and an unobtrusive yet clear small gray box floats down the right-hand-side on that page letting you know what was added to the shopping bag.  It sticks around for a while, with some handy info in it (number of items, total) and links (checkout or view your whole bag).  But if you don’t want to do anything with it, it disappears on its own after a minute or so. 

Piperlime add-to-bag

Piperlime add-to-bag

Why is this a good thing?  As a customer, it doesn’t take me away from what I really want to do — shop for shoes.  It leaves me right on the page so I can continue my task.  But it also gives me quick access to take the next step if I’m ready.
And it’s good for Piperlime, too.  They let me shop around and (hopefully) find more shoes I want to buy.  Clearly they need to put some other code in place to help make sure I actually DO eventually get to that final checkout page, but that’s another blog.  In the meantime, here’s hoping more sites adopt this type of customer-friendly add-to-cart methodology.

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