New Crazy Ecommerce Video Gets Personal With Your Information

OK I really laughed out loud on this one. In Price Checked, Mark, as the clueless cashier, harasses the fetching customer “Jen” for personal info before he’ll tell her cart’s total. Mark really gets his cheese on for this one and emanates the tact and charm of a creepy small town used car salesman (apologies in advance to all smal town used car salesfolks).

Video #5 – Price Checked

Anyhow, this topic of ‘when should sites ask for personal info?’ touches on privacy, ID security, logistics, as well as, well … tact. Not knowing the final tally is a personal pet peeve for me when shopping online … I simply ask for the REAL GRAND TOTAL, with tax and shipping, before surrendering my name, rank and credit card number. Sheesh, is it so hard?

Certainly, some etailers want to capture this info in order to oblige you into making a purchase and also send you newsletters, coupons, offers, … but in reality, this lack of transparency is just annoying (and almost insulting) to increasingly sophisticated shoppers.

My (radical) opinion is: if you show a running total (with tax/shipping estimates) shoppers will abandon less and buy more since the mystery is removed. Of course I might be totally wrong – anyone have a study on this?

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4 Responses to “New Crazy Ecommerce Video Gets Personal With Your Information”

  1. steve matlock says:

    Some of the total calculations require a web site to know your shipping address – tax can be calculated by where you live, where you are shipping to, where the item is shipping from, or where the company that’s selling the item is located.

    Shipping requires the web site to know whether you’re shipping standard, ground, next day, 2-day, and so on.

    Sometimes shipping is taxed, and sometimes it’s not.

    What do you think web sites should do – give an estimated total before you hand over your shipping address? I’m thinking that might be useful with a caveat of “this is estimated – we won’t know until we get your ZIP code.”

  2. It can be done, but it’s often a technology or business process problem.

    If you have flat rate or threshold based shipping – the shipping part is easy. Taxes become tricky when you have multiple locations across various states (assuming we are talking about a US retailer). The answer for that is to do pre-checkout shipping/tax estimates – this requires a tax rate lookup table (companies like eSalesTax offer this).

    You ask a user to enter the address zip code on the cart page (this is one field exclusive of all other personal info, so resistance is minimal). Query the tax and shipping tables – return available shipping options and rates (standard, overnight, etc.) – default to lowest cost rate – display total (including taxes).

    All of this ideally uses Ajax to maintain the users page position and for speed. If a user switches shipping types, simply re-calculate total based on such – easy.

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