Essential Elements of a High-Performance Online Shopping Cart

Written by Albert Vang on 08 May 2013
20,555 Views • Web Development

Anyone can build a shopping cart, but you need experience and expertise to build a high-performance shopping cart. Here, we take a look at the essential elements that need to click into place to give birth to a successful online shopping cart.

Your ecommerce website doesn't have any salesperson. All you have is a list of products or services, their pictures, and perhaps some videos showcasing the product in a better light. Just as a salesperson persuades uncertain visitors to make the purchase decision and shop for more goods, a well-designed and smartly-conceptualized ecommerce shopping cart can help convert visitors into customers, and transform customers into heavy buyers.

There are a hundred and one things that designers can do to create shopping carts that sell. When you are creating a custom shopping cart for a client, you need to put in a lot of thought and decide which elements to use. Let's look at some of the most popular and effective elements that help create a high-performance online shopping cart.

Extra Visibility for all CTA Elements

The devil is in the details: make all the little things work perfectly.

The aim of any ecommerce website is to sell products or services. There are several call-to-action buttons that guide the customers towards the checkout. You need to make the website easy-to-use for a non tech-savvy person using an online store for the first time. So, highlight the button that tell the users to “Buy this Product,” “Add this Product to the Cart,” or “Proceed to Checkout.” Use large buttons, readable fonts, and simple, clear content.

Progress Trackers for Simpler Shopping Process

Lets the user always know where he stands.

When a user buys products from an online website for the first time, he needs to fill out quite a bit of information: sign in details, billing & shipping info, payment details and verification of the details. By providing clear progress trackers for the step-by-step process, you reduce the impatience of the users, offer a smoother shopping experience and allow the users to switch between forms.

Note: In 2013, another option to this approach has also gained a fan following – many ecommerce shopping carts now take all the information on a single page, thereby removing any need for progress trackers or a step-by-step checkout. Needless to say, minimalism and a good layout are a must if you are planning to use a single-page approach.

Full Page Shopping Cart

Accessible products details, well-matching products.

There has been a lot of debate in the design community between full-page shopping carts and mini shopping carts. Many feel that a mini cart with basic details regarding the products, surrounded by a host of similar products that the user can buy, can be a better means of increasing sales. But by providing all the product details on one page and just a few matching products (that actually match!), you win the trust of the users.

Offer an option for mini cart at the top of the page – this will allow the users to choose what view they prefer. A “Continue Shopping” option should be added to ensure that the users do not leave the store once the transaction is complete.

Seek Minimum Information, Don't Force Registration

Reduce the number of fields in forms, don't insist on registration before checkout.

People really hate filling forms: the more information they have to enter, the more annoyed they are. For mobile users, it is simply not practicable to fill long forms and enter all sorts of information. So, keep your forms as short as possible – do not ask for any information that is not vitally important. This will foster a hassle-free online shopping experience, gratify the customers and help you earn customer loyalty.

Mandatory registration is the biggest mistake you can make while designing an custom shopping cart. No matter how badly a sites wants registrations, this move is not worth it because it will adversely affect conversions and make the customers flee. When a user has goes through several products, finally selects what he wants, and then tries to pay for it, but is instead faced with a registration form, he may simply go to some other ecommerce store and buy the same product from that website. So, never force registrations.

To Wrap it Up

A custom shopping cart is driven by the needs of the users and the set of features that the potential buyers would need. Every ecommerce website is different from any other site, but there are certain rules that do not change. Creating clear, simple and easy-to-use shopping carts that help the user accomplish his task without any hassles is the key to high online sales.

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yogesh 11 years ago
"Your ecommerce website doesn't have any salesperson." The little elements have to do the talking, and they must do it well to make shopping a pleasant experience for the buyers.

Thank you for sharing your insights!
Albert Vang Admin 11 years ago
Glad you liked it Yogesh If you are designing or developing an ecommerce store, you could also consider using these inline validation techniques: