U.S. Patent Application 12,973,070: Inter-net Shopping “Cart”

It’s true, every Bandcamp-powered site now has a shiny new shopping cart. You can add stuff to it, remove stuff from it, and even umm…check out. And yet we’re sincerely excited about it, and think you should be too. Why? Well that requires a story. It’s kind of long, but as you’ll see, that’s kind of the point.

The other day I received an email from one of my favorite artists announcing her new record. I clicked the buy link in the message (click count = 1), which then took me to her label’s (non-Bandcamp) site, where I was immediately redirected to a page prompting me to either log in or create an account. I clicked Create Account (2), filled out required fields for name, sex, date of birth, phone number, email address and home address, clicked OK (3), arrived at a page congratulating me on creating an account, clicked Continue (4), and then finally landed on a page containing her record (it was in the middle of a page with nine records by others artists, but that’s another topic). I clicked the Add to Cart button (5), but nothing happened. I clicked it again (6), and this time the page flashed. That seemed like an important clue, so I carefully scanned the page, and up in the corner noticed some oh-so-subtle text that said “Shopping Cart now in your cart 2 items.” The “2 items” part was a link, so I clicked that (7), and was taken right back to the log-in page (apparently I’d spent a little too much time looking for the cart link). I logged back in (8), was taken back to the product page, clicked the “2 items” link again (9), was taken to a cart confirmation page, changed the quantity from 2 to 1, clicked Checkout (10), and was then informed that I would be charged an additional £5.88 in shipping (incidentally I’d already changed my currency to USD on the previous screen). I clicked Continue (11), and then — and I swear I am not making this up — I was asked to log in again. I did that (12), clicked the cart link yet again (13), and was taken to a screen informing me that “This is currently the only payment method available to use on this order: PayPal Website Payments Standard.” Well all-righty then. I clicked Continue (14), saw that my quantity was still set to 2, not 1, clicked Edit (15), checked out again (16), saw the quantity was still wrong, and realized that instead of changing the quantity and then clicking Checkout I needed to change the quantity, click the Update Cart link and then Checkout. I did so (17 & 18), clicked Confirm again (19), and there, after 19 clicks, 13 field edits, two log-ins and one Ativan, was a PayPal screen. The saga didn’t end there (I still didn’t have the music, after all), but for the sake of brevity (!) let’s pretend it did and move on.

This particular buying experience may sound like an extreme case, but it is, sadly, not at all unusual. In just the past few months of casual music shopping, I’ve ended up on sites that sprung major shipping and handling fees on me only after collecting all my payment info, sites that required me to go through onerous account creation processes, sites that bungled basic currency conversion, sites that waited until the very end of the checkout flow to inform me that a limited edition item was already sold out, and even one site that required me to grant a Facebook app permission to do everything short of inspecting my underwear drawer before I could make a purchase. Throughout all this I kept asking myself one question: why’s it gotta be so damn hard to give some money to the artists I love?

The worst of it is that these sorts of hurdles don’t merely annoy customers – they prevent them from buying at all. If 10 of your most dedicated fans were faced with the checkout gauntlet described above, how many would make it through? One? Two? The result is that something as banal as an online shopping cart can actually end up doing something as catastrophic as keeping artists from making a decent living. Helping artists make a living is of course Bandcamp’s raison d’être, so when we set out to add a shopping cart to the site, we made it our objective to knock every last one of those hurdles out of your fans’ way.

Here are a few of our cart’s more noteworthy features:

* It doesn’t add a single additional click to the existing checkout flow. If your fans want to use the cart, it’s there, if they’d rather bypass it and check out immediately, they still can.

* It’s conspicuous. When a fan adds an item to the cart, they won’t be left wondering where their cart is or how to checkout.

* It doesn’t require an account. The cart’s contents are still remembered in between sessions per machine (so a fan can always come back to it, or use it as a wish list), but there’s no cumbersome account creation process for your fans to slog through.

* It uses location wisely. Once a fan sets their location, they’ll be able to see an item’s shipping costs up-front, view pricing in their native currency, and even checkout in their own language.

* It not only works across all Bandcamp sites, it works across custom domains too. So if you’re a label with custom Bandcamp URLs like digital.fangisland.com and store.omar.com, fans can buy items from both artists in a single checkout.

The cart is active on every Bandcamp site now; there’s nothing for you to do other than sit back and bask in the cha-chings. However, if you’re selling physical goods, please read about how combined shipping works – you may want to make a tweak or two to your shipping settings.

The final reason we’re excited about the cart is that it means we can now get on with the business of giving your fans more ways, and more stuff, to add to it. Please try it out yourself so you know what your fans are experiencing and, as always, let us know if you have suggestions for improvement. Enjoy!

100 Comments

  1. Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Holy shit, you guys. Every time you announce something, it is in fact a better thing for the site and for artists / labels. Great work.

  2. Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Yes!!! Thank you!
    the best feature!

  3. Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Absolutely fantastic; you guys nail it again.

  4. Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Thanks!
    You would help indie music with that!

  5. golemdx
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    always loved Bandcamp for having such quick and easy methods of purchase. never needed to buy more than one album at once, but now I know that I can! :P

  6. Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Niiiice!! Thank you!!

  7. Danny
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Great, absolutely great.

  8. Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    This would have been great a while back — I once was buying individual tracks from a favorite artist’s “rarities” album and ended up making 9-ish individual $0.99 transactions. A cart would have made the process much much simpler and faster.

  9. Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    This is great but how much does it cost to use it???

  10. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Free as in beer.

  11. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Thanks, I got a Cha-Ching probably from the new system, just before you emailed that this article was up! Congratulations on the enhancement.

  12. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    So excited every time I see a new blog post here. It’s *always* good news and that’s just so rare. Fantastic as usual, guys! Thank you so much for your hard work.

  13. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    You get it!

  14. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    This is great news. It’ll boost sales on my site, and streamline accounting and sales for me. Thanks Bandcamp!

  15. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    This is awesome news! Is there a way to link from a completed shopping cart transaction to a digital file located on my site (i.e. PDF file of sheet music)?

  16. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    wow, that saga above is why i hardly ever buy CDs on the internets. thank you bandcamp for making it super easy!

  17. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Oh man. This is fantastic! This was the one hurdle that was about to send us over to [lolwut]…albeit reluctantly. This feature is critical to us as a growing label. THANK YOU!!! p.s. now how about tabs on our index pages???? You guys rule!

  18. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    any chance we can get pop up carts like this on our website?

  19. Sonny
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I knew you would do this sooner than later. Thank you!

  20. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Cool! So…what kind of cart module is it? Or is that a trade secret? :)

  21. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    amazing, you guys rule so much.

  22. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    This is yet another reason to love you folks. You’re the BEST.

  23. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    That’s what’sup!!! *Kool-aid Smile*

  24. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Been waiting for this! Thanks BC!

  25. Daniel Miller
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Ahhhh, I love it when companies take heed of good–and terrible, in this case–user experience and improve.
    Good on you, folks.

  26. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Awesome! I just want to see more people downloading my songs, my band’s single is free: http://yearonamountain.bandcamp.com

    We’re Indie/Folk/Rock

    Thank you bandcamp! and everyone who uses bandcamp regularly, it’s really a great website.

  27. Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Five stars for BandCamp’s new shopping cart . . . simple, straightforward and user-friendly.

  28. jaychris
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Loving it. BUT CAN YOU GUYS INCORPORATE THIS KICK ASS SHOPPING CART WITH FACEBOOK PAGE PLEASE!!!!

  29. Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Wow! We’re signed up on other sites too, but BandCamp seems to be the way to go. You guys are on it man. Dig.

  30. Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Sounds great, but I can not see it on my bandcamp page. Do I need to do something?

  31. Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Nope. It’s there, you just need to click Buy on any of the items on your page, then click the Add to Cart button.

  32. Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Now if I had something I figured would sell…..

  33. Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    So glad I discovered you guys a month ago, I thought Bandcamp was already great, now it’s even better, thanks a million!

  34. Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    You guys rock! Thanks a lot for the good work! Keep it up :)

  35. Posted July 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    HOLY FLIPPING HELL! MY PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED! LOVE YOU GUYS!

  36. dean
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    love!

  37. Posted July 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Can’t wait to see it in action. You guys really offer value to the musicians.

  38. Posted July 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Awesome! I have been making multiple purchases and have to log into Paypal each and every time…. and that gets REALLY bloody annoying. The shopping cart is a MUST have.
    Brilliant site guys, thanks.

  39. Posted July 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    love love love bandcamp, simple clean straight forward…ARTIST friendly!!!!!

  40. Posted July 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    nice…..I’ll be more active very soon….

  41. Tony
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    About page is needed! come on dudes

  42. Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    This is brilliant. My day job is web developer. I’m going to post a brief write-up and link on my Web Manager Tipsheet blog to the “19 clicks” article above as an example of the ways that e-commerce sites sabotage themselves.

    I already tried out the cart — it works beautifully as far as I went. (I can’t even afford my own bargain priced music these days, LOL.)

    As always, you guys are solid.

    (Now if we could just jazz up that player a little… :D )

  43. Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Great!. You’re the best!

  44. Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Downloaded the single from ‘Year On A Mountain’ mentioned above. Cool track. Hey, here’s an idea for a feature, make our pages web 2.0-ish – so I can tell the band directly that their track is cool? Just a thought. Love me some bandcamp! FYI – I’m releasing a new album 8-2-11.

  45. Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I love you guys so much! Bandcamp is essential for anyone with a band. Also, I love Fang Island and was super pleased that you used them as an example of a custom Bandcamp URL. Easter egg ftw!

  46. nursequeenston
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    you guys rock! i swear, every update just makes this site better and better. i’m proud to say that a percent of my sales supports your incredible service, because nothing else could ever dream of coming close!

  47. Posted July 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, you guys rock!

  48. Lucky Jean
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Yay! Good work, y’all!

  49. x
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    BC IS VVINNING ♆♆♆ ӊѦΪᴌ ϟ▲†△₦ ♆♆♆

  50. Posted July 19, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Awesome. You guys keep managing to make the site better and better.

  51. Posted July 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    You never sleep ;-)
    Great stuff!

  52. Posted July 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    This is brilliant, the continued improvements to ease of use is making Bandcamp practically unrivalled for online music distribution!

  53. Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Yay! I’ve been hoping you would add this feature. Very excited :)

  54. Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    you rock my world so damn hard by making it so much easier for my music to rock other people’s worlds!

    Thank you!

  55. Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Mycket bra!

  56. Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this new feature, it’s fantastic!

  57. luke
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    Why not allow others to add it to their custom site?…as a widget?

  58. Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    awesome. :)

  59. KGoesLouD
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    Just want to say thanks for making things simple as they should be! Bandcamp just keeps getting better and better. Big props from PT :)

  60. Posted July 20, 2011 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    Love it!

  61. Sean
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    You guys are the best in the game, further proof just added here now… Keep it up!

  62. Posted July 20, 2011 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Aaaah yeah.

  63. Posted July 20, 2011 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Bandcamp is awesome.

  64. Posted July 20, 2011 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Great job! Always thinking about the fans and the artists and not the advertisements and bullshit. Always promoting Bandcamp!

  65. Posted July 20, 2011 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    even better than kangaroos!!

  66. Posted July 20, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Way too awesome!!! – Finally, someone who understands the consumer side of the purchasing process…and does something awesome about it. Bandcamp…I’m in love. =^)

  67. Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Band camp rocks.Keep up the good work.

  68. Kami Armstrong
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Everything you do just makes it better. Thanks! :)

  69. Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Umm,…U know, like,…this one time, on ‘bandcamp’,..they added something really cool and umm,…
    :-)
    Seriously though, this is cool.
    Thanx 4 being there Bandcamp. Peace

  70. Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    You guys have just made my day, thank you Bandcamp.

  71. fsd production
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    thanks bandcamp..see u always looking to improve this site for both the artist and the listeners…u should start a top 100 chart in each genre too that would be cool

  72. Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I LOVE you guys. That my friends is all I have to say. Oh, and keep doing it!

  73. stuart gelin
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Bandcamp is the opposite of Facebook. When Facebook updates people are sad, when Bandcamp updates, people are happy.

  74. pschase
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Whoa. you are now the online version of cool little record store

  75. Matt Sokol
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I love that you use Fang Island as the example.

  76. Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    LOVE IT! YOU GUYS ARE REALLY IN-TUNE WITH ACTUALLY HELPING ARTISTS! THANKS A MILLION!

  77. Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Amazing! and about time! I also can’t wait until you add a bio link or a bio header that tells you a bit about the band you’re about to listen to. Right now our header links to our web page where we have all of that but it would be nice to have something on the Bandcamp page itself… We’ve also included a lot of info on each album’s page and each song but it could be a good thing to have a small one page or one paragraph bio one could click on…

  78. Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Amazing. An email that’s helpful and not annoying spam. Thanks guys!

  79. Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Very well written — you totally nailed it.

    And, thank you!

  80. Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Thanks for making it easy for my fans to buy my music. One of the things I’ve hated about myself trying to buy iTunes music, along with most sites, is that you have to register and fill out all of this stuff before you can make a simple purchase, which really turns me OFF!
    http://www.devoraclark.bandcamp.com

  81. Evan Reidell
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the added functionality of the SHOPPING CART. I will invent some merch and try out the new e-Commerce Shopping Cart soon.

  82. Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    This looks great, and will save a lot of tedium!

  83. Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Great stuff!!! just what we wanted.Must be Christmas….COOLEO

  84. Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Yet again, bandcamp wins by taking something others overcomplicate and making it simple like it ought be. Can’t wait to start entering our merch into this thing.

  85. Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Not only a hysterical rendition of the oh-so-frustrating, piss-poor shopping cart experience that even some of the biggest bands are guilty of (perhaps the majority), but also a wonderful display of the seamless web design and common sense abilities of the Bandcamp team. Thanks for this one, guys. You blew the competition out of the water.

  86. Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    You guys are rockin’!
    Powerful stuff man! :)

  87. Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    looks great! i assume that the percentage bandcamp takes from each purchase is still included in all sales (and is still the same amount)?

    really nice gui…cheers to the designer or design team. that is what i like most about bandcamp…the look, and ease of maneuvering.

  88. Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks John! And that’s right, the pricing hasn’t changed.

  89. Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Bandcamp knocks my dirty sox off…cleans them by hand and hangs them in the sun to dry. loving this experience.
    MArina

  90. Mathias
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I think you guys are awesome. A website made intelligently ! To me, selling my music, it is the easiest, the more convenient, the best (for me and for my fans)
    Thanks a lot,
    Mathias, Piano Man

  91. Neil
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Amazing. You guys are awesome, thanks for all the great updates, and unlike other companies, each update doesn’t screw something up!

  92. Posted July 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks guys. Really wish you’d give the artist the ability to offer 30 second samples. Personally I’m not selling anything at the moment because my music really isn’t ready nor am I promoting it because of that. I’ve read both sides of the argument. Sorry but I’m old school. 2 or 3 full songs then the rest samples. If they don’t like, don’t buy. 3% of the artists sell anything anyway. My 2 cents.
    Jimmy

  93. Darren
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Can you add physical merchandise like tshirts etc?

  94. Jimz
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    I was actually concerned releasing my album that those who don’t like Paypal would be discouraged from buying. This makes me very happy! :) Good work! Thanks!

  95. Posted July 22, 2011 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    You guys never cease to amaze us. You continue to add tools that are actually useful to the artist and customer while keeping it incredibly simple. From the bottom of our hearts we love you. Not that we don’t appreciate [woopwoop, beepbeep and wagawaga] but we REALLY love you. the other sites are nothing more than flings with no real emotional attachment. <3

  96. Posted July 22, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Love this. Now that this is in place, any chance you could add an up-sell feature?

    For example, if someone adds Album X to their cart, a notification could appear saying “Great! If you add Album Y and buy it at the same time, we’ll knock $2 off the price!”

    I feel like this kind non-advertised up-selling could significantly raise sales, and I think it’s strange that I’ve never seen a site do it. (Amazon’s Frequently Bought Together feature could do this, but doesn’t.)

  97. Whither Peregrine
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    You guys are the very, very best. Why can’t you run the entire music industry?

  98. Posted August 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    You just went from cha-ching to ba-da-boom!
    Love you people.

  99. Posted August 27, 2011 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    Great stuff :) You know what would make this even more fantastic?… If the cart showed up on the index pages too.. :)

  100. Posted September 1, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Agreed, we’ll get that fixed up.

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