How to design a shopping cart that drives your business forward?

Sc (Shopping cart) – the most important element of your e-commerce

Online shopping is available 24/7. It saves time and is convenient. What is the most important part of your online shop? You perhaps confidently answer:

“Surely, my products and how I present them!”

Fair enough, but the final decisions for purchase are made when someone clicks that basket button.

When grocery shopping at Tesco and approaching the cashier with your full trolley of weekend goodies, you do not decide to leave the salmon behind at the last moment. This is not the case when you shop online. Here, the temptation to undo the selection is higher, as this action is much easier than in a physical store.

Ergo, the shopping cart with its following check-out pages is the most crucial element of your e-commerce.

Mandatory steps

A cart page and check out process involve:

  • entering your complete delivery address
  • providing your email address
  • choosing your preferred shipping method
  • selecting how you wish to pay

Web-Shop Builders offer you the possibility to customize your shopping cart pages to some extent. You can, for example, edit the shopping cart page to your taste and requirements.

One page vs. multiple pages

A shopping cart can consist of one single page or encompass multiple pages.

One page shopping cart and check-out process

A single page cart website you may have come across is Amazon. Once you open the basket, you are less than 3 clicks away from your order confirmation. A single shopping cart can also be a page of a website with one product available for purchase through a PayPal Button.

PROSCONS
Fast and convenient for customers, checkout happens with fewer clicks Slower loading speed due to dense content of 1 page
Simple, since everything is one 1 page Can be intimidating due to the amount of information, less clear structure and scrolling down-process
Shopping behavior cannot fully be analyzed as it includes less clicks
Influences the layout. Here content may look cluttered as the same number of fields need to be crammed in one page

Pros and cons of a single page cart and check-out process

Multiple page shopping cart and check-out process

You can implement it to your website either through a plugin, or it is already part of the website builder.

PROSCONS
All steps and information about the checkout process can be taken in bit by bit for your customersMultiple pages load faster individually, but the process is slower
Steps can be watched easily to analyze shopping behaviour (e.g., at what click the customer left the checkout) The check-out happens step by step and thus takes longer
Better layout, better clarity for the buyer Navigation through multiple pages may be too complicated for some visitors

Pros and cons of a multiple page chart and check-out process

How to avoid people abandoning the shopping cart?

According to different studies from the Baymard Institute performed over the last 10 years, on average 68% of customers abandon their carts. Depending on different sources, some return and complete the purchase at a later stage. For example, 31% of UK shoppers came back to buy the selected item, whilst 26% went to a different online retailer, according to data from Statista 2021.

And you? When did you last empty that shopping basket or close the browser tab? What made you cancel? Were you just looking?

Why people leave their cart?

Abandonment in e-commerce happens when a customer stops the check-out process and leaves the shopping cart. Enhanced Ecommerce features of Google Analytics will provide you with useful insights on your e-shop activity. Reports include statistics on any shopping activity of your visitors and abandonment rates.

The doors to your online store are always open. Your mission as the seller is to encourage the desire of the visitor to buy something. There are many aspects in your e-shop you have control over to achieve that mission.

Still, not all shopping cart abandonment is bad. People show different shopping behaviours, and that is something you have little influence on.

Shopping behavior

There are consumers who visit your e-shop but have no immediate need to buy. Those are problem and product aware, but not brand aware. Thus, their need is foremost to compare the functions and prices of an item by researching several sites before they decide on the best deal. You have little control over this behaviour, as the best deal does not mean the cheapest price.

Window-shoppers may browse through your products because they find them entertaining. Otherwise, they would be bored during their long commutes.

Consumers are cross-visiting. This means they are in a retail store, have an eye on the new shiny winter jacket and at once grab the mobile device to search for a cheaper equivalent online. Others may “just have a look” online and decide to buy the item in the physical store later.

Shopping cart and check-out process through the eyes of the customer

Shopping cart and check-out process through the eyes of the customer

What you have control over

Costs

The number one reason people leave the shopping cart is unexpected extra costs. These are either related to delivery costs or extra taxes.

Customer accounts

With the rising awareness of personal data security and the daily digital dose of information, no one prefers to register an account with the vendor to be able to checkout.

Simplified check-out

If the check-out process takes longer or is complicated, customers go elsewhere. This can imply a slow loading page, confusing steps or too many fields to fill out.

Top 5 reasons for cart abandonment in percentage, based on 2584 samples from the Baymard Institute

Top 5 reasons for cart abandonment in percentage, based on 2584 samples from the Baymard Institute

Best practices to make your visitors complete the purchase and return

What can you do to avoid people leaving your shopping basket and going home happy?

Why you?

Advertise why we all must buy from you. Make your unique selling points (USP) visible to the public. Austin McGhie put it perfectly:

Strong products and services are highly differentiated from all others. It’s that simple. It’s that difficult.

Loading time

Opt for a website that is structured clearly, intuitively and with all necessary content above the fold. The site with all pages should load in significantly less than 3 seconds.

Essential 5

Make sure that the essential 5 are clear from first sight:

  • prices
  • delivery (costs and time)
  • payment methods
  • return policy
  • contact data

Your contacts page needs to be reachable, visible as a tab on the navigation line. Payment and shipping methods can be presented on a separate page including T&Cs and return policy. Here, simplicity, transparency and easy access are paramount. Ensure prices including costs, such as VAT, delivery, and packaging are clearly shown on your product pages.

Plenty of payment options

Make several payment options available. Klarna is one of the most successful payment providers in Europe, therefore some methods will attract customers from different regions. New mobile solutions, like Apple Pay and even Bitcoin, will engage younger generations to stay and pay.

Webnode offers several country-specific payment methods besides Stripe and PayPal, such as checkout.fi and Klarna.

No extras

Avoid extra costs for your product appearing later in the check-out process. If you have a special tax rate on a product, mention it in the product description. Offer free delivery to motivate to buy. In Webnode’s e-shop, you can set up free shipping above a specific amount.

Short and sweet

Minimize the checkout time by limiting form fields. Here, you can summarize address, name, and surname into one field. Eliminate optional fields. Make the check-out clear, avoiding customers filling in data twice.

Make entering personal data on the mobile phone simple with responsive web design, customized large buttons, and short forms.

Working discounts

Discount codes are a wonderful way to gain loyal customers, increase retention and improve conversions. Did you know that, according to Statista, 46% leave the cart when the discount code does not work? Ensure they are working.

Retargeting Ads

Hope dies last for e-commerce. Deploy social media and Google to advertise and retarget your lost customers. Google reaches 90% of all internet users. Bet that those who visited your shop are amongst them. Customers return to your shop (26% for the UK in 2020), like the murder to the crime scene. Let them spill money.

Abandoned cart emails

If the users exited your shop after they typed in their email address into the form, you can send them an abandoned cart email or use the function of a pop-up. It will remind them that they forgot something important. Formulated well and spiced up with an incentive (discount, free shipping), they convince the customer to return for good.

Example of the main content of an abandoned cart email or reminder pop up

Example of the main content of an abandoned cart email or reminder pop up

Trustworthiness

A doctor has a degree to be able to practice his profession and a taxi driver needs a license to drive a car. Online-store owners need no qualification or license. Everyone can sell. Gaining trust on the first click will build up to a full shopping cart. Implement trusted seals, badges and links to any valid relevant documents to ensure that:

  • when buying at your store all transactions underlie the global PCI Standards
  • your system is safe using a specific anti-virus software
  • your customers know their rights (buyer protection plan, refunds)
  • warranties are legitimate for electronic goods
  • tested products are evaluated properly by an accredited ICRT institute
  • you are GDPR conform

Reviews on Google and other platforms where customers recommend you, will increase your chances of reaching new customers.

Be available

While you and your team are resting, a chatbot can support your customers every minute. Customers come from all time zones. Remember to be there for them, they are the kings and queens of e-commerce.

Now you know what to look out for so your e-shop visitors complete their shopping journey. If you can take one thing away, it is honesty and trust. Be honest and clear about what products and services you offer and give your customers the best value for their money.

Don’t forget to read the guide on how to create an online store.