questionsshould online sellers protect items added to the…


Congrats on your first question!

I like the idea of retailers protecting items in your cart for a period of time. I know several that do it for 15 minutes as you've mentioned and it is helpful when you are trying to do other shopping and take advantage of combined shipping. It would be really nice if others did the same.


I agree. Except I was thinking that in a situation where the cart is not protected, the item in your cart may also be in the cart of someone ahead of you in the checkout line. Like you snatched up the last $100 Kindle and started the checkout process, but it was still listed in stock so I put that same Kindle in my shopping cart, starting the checkout process a minute later for the same item. But you finish checkout ahead of me and when I go to pay it is gone. Protecting the item in your cart by removing it from the stock listing also helps prevent me from getting annoyed that I thought I was buying my mom a Kindle for Christmas.


They should all do it. Maybe. The trouble is that building a system like this is a LOT more complicated. A simple online store doesn't actually "track" what is in your cart, but just keeps a list. Keeping track of everyone's browsing session and automatically expiring old carts is a big job.

And what if someone wants to keep items in their cart just to keep track of what they might want later? I know I've had items in carts for days on end while comparison shopping. To make it available for someone else, it has to be removed from my cart. And then what? I have an empty cart and I can't remember what was in there - abandoned sale. Those items could be moved to a "saved for later" section instead, however.

I can't say for sure it's what everyone wants. I had a friend buy a ticket on Fandango to the same showtime as me. Despite it saying he had 8 minutes, it caused him to panic. He bought for the wrong showtime, but very quickly.


Having shopped at an online retailer where I put something in my cart and started the checkout process only to have it gone before I was able to complete the process, I agree it is not a good shopping experience. I would prefer that once the item is in my cart, it is safe from being plucked by someone else as long as my session is current.
I do shop with some online retailers, like LL Bean, that will keep the list of the contents of my cart for days, but do not reserve the stock once my session ends. This seems a bit fairer to all involved as I see it as akin to putting an item in a B&M shopping cart, leaving the store, and an employee re-shelving the item later.


I disagree. Even for a limited time. If I want it and I'm ready to check out I should be able to buy it without waiting to see if you really want it. Why should I hang around a site on Black Friday waiting for someone to decide they really cant afford something. Then if I move onto another item and you remove it from your cart and another schmuck picks it up, I'm SOL.


@nmchapma: I agree. Besides that was the original thing w/ Woot. Buy it quick before it sells out.
True, it's not one item a day any more, there are still deal sells out. But if you have it in your cart protected, and it sells out ( counts what's in your cart} and you don't buy they are stuck with it. A seller can' t offer deep discounts that way.
And once upon a time, it made it more fun .
Yes, things have changed. The deals aren't usually as good as in the past, there is more stuff, there is a cart.
But hitting the buy button before it sells out is perhaps one of the last bastions of Woot-past.


Honestly, this is a deals site. Protecting the cart isn't fair to people who are ready to purchase right away. A regular online retailer may find it beneficial to protect the cart in order to offer that option to their loyal customers, just like if you went to a department store and asked them to hold something behind the counter for you for a few hours. I've never had a problem doing that. But on Black Friday? No way. Move it or lose it. I know it sucks; everyone has been in the situation where they wanted something but couldn't act fast enough, but I don't believe cart protection would work in the best interest of most companies that rely on deals - quick, impulse buy sales. Cart abandonment is something that a lot of sellers use as a statistic to determine what they could be doing better to get people to complete transactions, and more quickly.


@dows: "Cart abandonment is something that a lot of sellers use as a statistic"

I wish they just used it as a statistic. Every time I get an email from a retailer saying "you left something in your cart!" I mentally ban myself from buying anything from them for a while. I got a string of those emails post-purchase once, because I used a different browser to complete the purchase.