Online Checkout that is Shopping Ecstasy

Rarely do I get the urge to “blog” about an extraordinary shopping experience. Something new, exciting, fresh and pleasantly easy.

But today, I placed not 1, but 2 orders on Soma Intimates and White House Black Market and the experience was phenomenal. What I loved most about the navigation of their websites:

Instant zoom in on product images!

Once I add my item to my shopping cart, it immediately and clearly asks me “Checking out or continue shopping?” I don’t have to EVER use my back button and wait and wait.
If I select "Continue shopping," guess what? It actually takes me back EXACTLY to the location where I was looking right before I added the item to my cart. Yes, this means that if previously I’ve requested “View All” and have just scanned down to 67th dress on the website, it returns me to the 67th dress, NOT the beginning of the category page or at #1 dress, which would require me to scroll down the 67 dresses all over again.

HUGE kudos here! This is when I am reaching online shopping heaven.

It instantly gives me the color options.

The size chart is conveniently located right as I am selecting the size (so I can double check my measurements, though that, alone, can be a scary thought).

I bought a gift to be shipped to Philadelphia. Immediately, I could enter the gift card but at the exact same location, I could see an image of the attractive gift box and beautiful ribbon, all for a mere $3.00 for gift wrapping. My feeling is this is extremely reasonable and well priced.

Shipping charges, though not free as I was hoping for, were also very, very reasonable. I didn’t feel that I was being taken advantage of. Nothing makes me angrier than buying an extremely light-weight but expensive item, and being charged $15.00 or more just because I spend so much more. I never understood company philosophies on de-motivating large orders. Often times, companies will charge you based on the dollar amount purchased and actually penalize you as you continue to spend more money. What they should be doing, in fact, is starting with a high shipping rate and as you continue to shop and rack up the dollars spent, they should be discounting your shipping charges and actually bringing you down to zero. (A great incentive would be to state “If you spend only $xx.xx more, your shipping is FREE!)

Hello out there, wouldn’t this be an awesome way for companies to take an average order of $57.00 and turn it into a $250.00 order?

At any rate, my recent shopping experience was excellent. I am ecstatic.

I can’t wait to get my products. I actually typed “Happy Mother’s Day” and signed it ME. Knowing my family's previous Mother’s Day Gifts, I thought I should have a back up to brighten my day.

Just WHY shouldn’t I buy myself a few special items? I deserve it!

And, every once in awhile, I should take a work-related-minute to really evaluate a few online checkouts.

Have you checked out any great online shopping carts lately?  |  digg it!  |  reddit reddit!  |  Google!

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You must have had a much better shopping day than me! I ordered WITH GIFT WRAP from the same two stores and am so unhappy. The gift wrap from White House Black Market was nothing more than a black box inside the shipping box, with my merchandise in the ugly cellobags full of stickers ... and I sure didn't get the white gift wrap and silver ribbon that was represented on the Soma site. I'm one SAD SAD online shopper. If a company puts a photo of a gift wrapped package and charges $3 for that, I think THAT is exactly what I should receive.

This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like 'Mixview' that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you're listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of "neighbors" will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune "Social" is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

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