Top 5 Ways to Improve your E-Commerce Shopping Cart Page

When looking for ways to improve upon an online store, a great place to increase usability and ultimately conversions is the shopping cart page. This is the page that launches customers into the checkout flow and is responsible for setting the customer’s expectations for their purchase. A lot is riding on the shopping cart page, so you’ll want to make sure it’s easy to understand and contains some features that can increase order totals and conversion rates.

Top 5 Ways to Enhance your E-Commerce Shopping Cart Page

 1. Provide options within the “continue shopping” button

The continue shopping button can be tricky. A common implementation is to simply take the customer back to the page they came from; essentially just mimicking the browser’s “back” button. While this may make sense on the surface and is very easy to implement, it’s possible for this method to add confusion. With the multitudes of ways to get products into the shopping cart (wish lists, related product listings, emails, etc.) there are many situations where simply going back one page doesn’t help the customer to actually continue their shopping experience.

Continue Shopping FlyoutSo how can we change the continue shopping button to fix this? A strategy I’ve implemented that has proven to be successful is to turn the continue shopping button into a fly-out menu. When continue shopping is clicked, the customer is presented with several different places to navigate. Options might include the previous page, the last product listing page viewed, the last category listing page viewed, a “view all departments” page, or the homepage. Now in circumstances where simply the last page won’t do, customers can choose the option that will help the most while still offering the standard “go back” option.

 2. Show as close to the final total as possible

There’s nothing worse than looking at your shopping cart total and thinking you’ve found a great deal, only to be ambushed with high shipping fees after you’ve begun the checkout process. Many customers in this situation will abandon ship and never return. You might be thinking “but I offer fair shipping prices!” Even if your website offers competitive shipping rates, the surprise of any shipping charges might scare some potential customers away. When people begin checkout, they’ve committed to spending what the cart shows and additional costs like shipping may not even be on their radar.

So to combat this, clearly display as close to the final total as possible on the shopping cart page. If the customer is already logged in, great! Now we know what their address is so we can calculate a shipping charge and display the cost right on the shopping cart page. We should also calculate any applicable taxes and include those in the total. What if this is a guest and we don’t have an address? Simple – offer an area for the customer to enter in their zip code to calculate an estimated tax and shipping. While this is an optional step that can be skipped, at a minimum it will be a good reminder that the pesky shipping cost is still out there so there won’t be any surprises when they appear.

Display TotalsZip Code Shipping Estimate

3. Place the checkout button above and below the cart contents

Here’s a simple one. Having a “begin checkout” button above and below the cart contents will guarantee that the button is not hidden below the fold. This will reduce frustration for customers if they’re hunting for your “begin checkout” button.

Two Checkout Buttons

4. Show a lightbox cart preview when adding products

To further reduce the frustrations of the continue shopping dilemma, instead of taking the customer to the shopping cart after adding a product, bring the shopping cart to them! Open a lightbox on the same page displaying a preview of the item added and a summary of the shopping cart contents. This will give the customer a visual confirmation that the product has been added which they’re expecting, but also doesn’t eject the customer from their shopping experience. Since they haven’t left the page, they can decide how they want to continue shopping.

Lightbox Cart Summary

5. Display relevant upsell products

Finally, the shopping cart page is an ideal page to include related products and up-sells. However, make sure the products being listed are relevant to the products in the shopping cart. For example, displaying a list of site-wide best sellers on the shopping cart might not be very beneficial. By the time a shopper gets to the shopping cart, they’ve zero’d in on their purchase so let’s work with that to provide intuitive product lists.

A good blanketed approach is to display products that other customers have purchased in addition to some or all of the products in the current shopping cart. This is great for several reasons. First, people generally buy things that work together such as matching shirt and pants, paint and a paintbrush, or motherboard and processor (if you’re a nerd like me). Secondly, each and every shopping cart combination can have it’s own unique list of recommended products which creates a personalized experience for your shoppers. Lastly, the data supporting this feature is naturally assembled by all of your shoppers – you don’t have to do a thing!

Customer Also BoughtThese are just 5 ways to improve upon your shopping cart page. Are any of these features applicable to your shopping cart?

Andrew brings to TKG extensive experience in e-commerce and e-comm usability, so you’ll find him talking frequently about the online shopping experience and how to make it better for visitors.

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