Some Background on the Shopper's Experience


Introduction.  ECommerce stores have started to have a fair amount of commonalities.  Many things depend on the particular type of business.

The following diagram represents the basics of the shopper's experience.

A shopper will visit the homepage and, as is typical in most store webs, they will be able to browse the store based on links or search.

From here they will likely either leave without making any selections or purchases or they will select at least one product.  These selections will be stored in a shopping basket.

After they have selected at least one product they can move into the checkout section.  Notice they cannot get into the checkout section without selecting something.

It also needs to be reasonable for the shopper to leave the site during the selection or checkout process.

Finally, if the purchase is made we need to give them some sort of confirmation.

It is also important to develop some pages that assist in validating whether the order is actually received correctly.  Though we will likely leave this out of our developments.

We will actually treat each shopper's visit as new and record information for later data mining. 

We are not intending on maintaining a cookie on a computer to automatically retrieve a shopper's profile when someone using the computer visits.  There are a number of reasons why this is preferable.

  • security - who is really using the computer?
  • does a computer have multiple users?
  • we will maintain some profile information for each shopper that chooses to develop a profile and/or make a purchase

While there is obviously much more that can be said, we will now move on to background on the tables and PHPs that we will develop.