Zappos Shopping Cart Is Too Needy

In an earlier post, I wrote about how a site can sway the user into certain actions (such as making a purchase) through personification. Recently, I saw something that took this principle a little too far in my opinion.

After browsing for some shoes on Zappos, I had left an item in my shopping cart without paying for it. A day went by, and I subsequently received the following email:

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My first reaction was, “Awww, isn’t that cute?” my shopping cart wants me to complete the purchase. I smiled, decided I didn’t need the shoes, and went to the Zappos site to remove this item from my cart so I would no longer get this email notification.

After removing the shoes from my shopping cart, I was surprised to find this:

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Your shopping cart is empty, and it’s a little sad. 

This was the point where I cringed a bit on the inside and realized that too much of a good thing (personification of shopping tools and actions) can be bad. Obviously, there isn’t a hard and fast rule to determine the right amount of personification, but I think what bothered me about this user experience is that I was being pushed toward making a certain choice by way of personification, and after I made the opposite choice, I was still pushed toward that same original choice by way of personification. The conclusion would be that such a tactic is better used in limited doses.

Encouraging Shopping Through Personification

I like this content from Amazon.com: 

Your Shopping Cart lives to serve. Give it purpose–fill it with books, CDs, DVDs, toys, electronics, and more.

While it’s a bit silly to think of the cart as “living to serve” as it’s obviously not a living entity, it’s a clever way to try to entice the user into adding items to their cart. 

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Amazon Shopping Cart

An observation and an idea for the Amazon shopping cart. 

One thing I noticed about the Amazon shopping cart is that their call to action for a user to remove an item from their cart is a link with the text: “delete”. I was expecting to “remove” but was surprised to see “delete”. I think this subtle word difference is done on purpose in order to discourage users from clicking on that link. As a user, I place a very negative connotation on the word “delete”. It implies that by clicking on such a link, you will cause a permanent change. The word “remove” is much more innocent and temporary. It’s much easier to bring something back when it has been “removed” than when it has been “deleted”. 

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So what happens if I click on delete?

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Interestingly enough, the confirmation text says that the item was “removed”. =)

Now, on to an idea for how to improve on the delete/remove functionality. As a user, I may have removed the item by mistake and want to immediately bring it back – an undo function. I’m surprised Amazon doesn’t have this. 

Here’s a concept mock of how it could look. By clicking on the undo link, the item is immediately brought back into the cart. 

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