U-Haul’s Shopping Cart System is a model of Excellence.

- June 30, 2008

In about three weeks, I will be moving into a brand new two-level apartment across town. The apartment has a huge patio area, great location, a very nice and long bike / running trail, and a fireplace! I’ve never had a fireplace before, but again I’ve lived in South Florida for 9/10ths of my life, which begs the question “Why does an apartment in Boca Raton need a fireplace?”

Anyway, I have only used one moving service in my entire life – U-Haul. Normally when I am booking my truck reservation online, I am not paying attention to the functionality of the website or the load time of any of the pages – I’m looking for the biggest truck and most amount of supplies for the cheapest dollar amount. I had already booked a U-Haul truck a month ago, but all of a sudden, it dawned on me that I did not want to ruin my perfectly new king-size mattress and box spring set by dragging it across the moving truck’s rusty floor. So, I went to U-Haul’s website and ordered a set of King-size mattress bags.

It wasn’t until well after I had purchased these items when it struck me like a bolt of lightning: “That was a great shopping experience!”. I went back and traced my steps, and sure enough, I was right! Starting with the individual product page for the King-Size Mattress Bag, each step in the Shopping Process was smooth, easy, efficient, and effective. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a few days, so I’d like to share with you an image of the U-Haul Shopping Basket Page, and why I think it’s so awesome: (Click on image for a full-sized picture)

U-Haul's Shopping Basket

I like this so much because:

  1. Clean Site Architecture – The framework of the website is simple, easy, and clean.
  2. Item and Subtotal Review – I like the single-line review at the very top of this basket
  3. Shopping Cart Items Table – Look how clean and simple that is! You can update quantities easily, remove items at will, and a clear breakdown of the price of each item.
  4. Second Sub-Total Figure – I can’t explain it, but it makes me feel “safer” by having a second sub-total amount on the page…as if the cart is verifying itself.
  5. Action Buttons – The silver “Continue Shopping”, “Update Subtotal”, and “Checkout” buttons don’t clash with the page or seem obtrusive. They are sleek and neat.
  6. Free Shipping on orders over $25 – That’s a nice statement to have at the bottom of your shopping cart, where there would normally be white space. $25 is a very attainable amount, by the way.

Other notes from the shopping system (not pictured):

  1. Log-In Screen – A log-in screen follows this page. Normally, I dislike “create your account” steps in a shopping cart, but this one is so neat and effective that it wasn’t a problem. You enter in your email address and password, and you continue. I also like the fact that, if you’ve already created an account before, you can enter in your information in the ‘New Account’ area, and it’s smart enough to keep you moving forward, instead of serving up a “This account already exists” type of error. Very nice.
  2. Thank You Page – The order confirmation / “Thank You” page follows the same format as the rest of the cart, but it doesn’t leave you hanging. There are links to continue shopping and pictures of other stuff that I may be interested in.
  3. The Other Cart Pages – Shipping / Billing Info, Shipping Options, and the Review Your Order pages carry out the momentum that started at the shopping basket page. None of these pages are cluttered or lack pertinent information when you expected it. They also don’t refresh annoyingly when you update a cart item or change a shipping options – they have buttons that you click on to let you know when the page is going to refresh.
  4. Individual Item Pages – I’m also liking what I see with the individual item pages. Clean descriptions, well-written copy, and high-resolution images really do make a difference, folks.
  5. All Pages – In general, all pages are quick to load, they are all functional, and they have given me a very good experience – and left a very good impression with a very picky and observant customer. πŸ™‚

I can go on and on about U-Haul until I move into my new apartment. So I’ll close this post by giving two thumbs up to U-Haul’s web development and analytics personnel for a job well done on their entire Ecommerce platform. You’ve definitely earned yourselves a returning customer, and I’ll definitely be recommending U-Haul to anyone who will listen to me. Now, let’s just hope the moving truck doesn’t break down on while on the road! πŸ™‚

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