Shaping-up Our Shopping Basket

It’s finally here, Black Friday.  It feels like I’ve been waiting for weeks; one of the newest-busiest times of the year (well, for the UK anyway) has been fast-approaching, with the promise of discounts-galore!  In anticipation, the Amazon shopping basket I share with my family has been steadily-growing.  The latest additions have included a laptop, tablet, new Fitbit, a number of books, various hair scrunchies, eight varieties of coloured stones and some autumnal leaves (that we forgot to order for Autumn).  This is only half the contents of the basket.  And with Cyber Monday just around-the-corner, I think it’s time we started shaping-up our shopping basket! 

Taking it easy 

Aside from the earliest version of ‘online shopping’ in 1979, it wasn’t until 1994, that the first online transaction took place.  Our appetite for pursuing and purchasing from the comfort of our armchair has escalated quickly over the last two-and-a-bit decades, going from nothing to an estimated £230 bn in 2017, an increase of just over 14% on last year (across the UK, Europe, US and Canada).  This is great news for retail, but I can’t help thinking that most retailers are missing a simple trick with the online shopping experience. 

A simple trick 

For the most-part, consumers find themselves on the receiving end of the ‘expiring basket’ after an hour or so of inactivity.  Once expired, the basket loses all its contents and leaves a somewhat deflated consumer considering abandoning the transaction all together.  The trick to a great online shopping basket is that it maintain its contents, forever!   My Amazon basket does exactly that, and every few weeks my family convenes to determine what items we’re going to purchase.  This process helps us take advantage of reduced delivery costs, while having the rather useful side-effect of reducing spend.  Actually, the spend isn’t reduced, it’s merely spread-out over a longer period.  Either way, the online store with the smarter shopping basket keeps me going back. 

Put technology to work 

Fashion retailers rolling-out the smart shopping basket would need to be really smart, for obvious reasons of seasonality and trends.  However, today’s artificial intelligence can ensure that the suitable alternative products (based on browsing and shopping history) plug the gaps caused by clothing going out-of-stock.  There are lots of other steps that can be taken too – read my article on ‘how to accelerate growth with online stores‘ for more. 

None of this is futuristic.  It’s already, quietly happening in small pockets online.  If you’re wondering where to invest your time and money on your eCommerce programme, the smart money is going on smart baskets! 


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