E-Commerce shopping cartFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy is today urging German Chancellor Angela Merkel to quicken the pace on sorting out Europe’s financial muddle. However, it might be a good idea to go slow. Rushing and impatience for results do not appear to be great bedfellows for financial stability. New research shows that impatience is related to low credit scores. The more impatient you are, the less able you are to manage money it seems. So, rather than having European leaders who want to rush financial repair, we might all be better off with politicians who are prepared to take their time.

However, it is not just at the macro-economic level we need to think about these things; it is at the level of every ordinary business. The study showed that impatient people have the lowest credit scores. In other words, their financial position is not sound and credit card companies and banks put them in the categories of people more likely to default on any loans. It seems that the impatient person is so focused on “rewards now” and “consequences later” that they end up in financial difficulties because of their desire for instant gratification.

This could be a big problem for online companies. The world of the web has made us more “instant reward” driven – because we can get things in seconds, that years ago would have taken weeks, we now live in a world where “instant” and “real time” is the norm. People want it NOW…!

Much research on shopping carts, for instance, has shown that people abandon their carts if things are taking too long. They all want the “One Click” method seen on Amazon – but that is patent protected so other websites can’t use it unless they pay royalties (like Apple does to enable iTunes). When you get used to clicking once and immediately getting a book on your Kindle or a new track on your iPod, you can’t understand why some shopping carts are tedious and relatively time-consuming. Is it any wonder we give up so much?

But actually, if your shopping cart is rapid, you pander to the impatient – the very people who are most likely to default. Of course, if they are paying by credit card, it doesn’t matter to you very much, because the card company picks up the tab. But all that means is that there are billions of pounds owed to credit card companies, making us all pay more in interest charges to help them cover their debts. Rapid-fire shopping carts could well be a factor in the macro-economic mess.

What, though, if you are not getting paid by credit card? What if you are being paid using online payment systems such as PayPal? True you will get some degree of protection. But can your business withstand several customers simply not paying you for goods or services they have bought from you? If you had a slower shopping cart, you would wheedle out the impatient people, making those defaults all the less likely.

Perhaps all that advice – some of it on this website – to make your shopping cart work quickly is more financially harmful than we previously thought.

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