Shopping basket

eCommerce Guide

The shopping basket, or shopping cart, works much like a basket or trolley at the supermarket. It offers the customer somewhere to put the items they want to buy as they shop around your online store, before they finalise their purchases and are ready to proceed to the checkout.

In much the same way that you don’t have to take each item off the supermarket shelf and pay for it individually at the checkout, the shopping basket in your eCommerce site saves the user the hassle of having to pay for every single item they buy from your site separately.

But not only does the shopping basket make things more convenient. By enabling the visitor to store up possible purchases as they go, it gives them more incentive to browse deeper into your site, opening up the potential for even more sales.

There are two aspects to the shopping basket, which perform separate and precise roles:

  • First, you will have a facility to add items to the basket on each individual product page, usually in the form of a clear and conspicuous button labelled Add to basket or Add to Cart
  • Secondly, you have the main shopping basket page, where the visitor can review the items they want to purchase and add, remove or amend their choices

Make baskets highly visible

Customers want to know where they stand and be able to quickly and easily check what’s in their basket at any time. So make sure your eCommerce application includes a link to the shopping basket from every page within your site.

Shoppers also like to get some form of confirmation whenever they’ve added something to their cart. So make certain that you are able to display the number of items in the basket next to the link on each page. This way, customers can see their basket contents increase each time they add a new item.

It’s also important to position the link where users intuitively expect to find it – either near the top of each page above the fold or somewhere prominent in the sidebar. You might also want to improve the visibility of the basket by using a simple graphic symbol of a basket or trolley.

Make it easy for shoppers to modify their basket

Your eCommerce web design solution should make it as quick and easy as possible for users to add and remove items to and from their shopping basket.

Customers should also be able to amend quantities with the minimum of effort. This is because shoppers often make mistakes when ordering and will find it particularly tiresome if the system doesn’t allow for changes of mind and they’re left having to start an order all over again.

Keep delivery charges consistent

Customers want to know the total cost of their purchase and will be tempted to abandon their basket and move on if you keep them in the dark about shipping charges.

So make sure the customer knows what your delivery charges will be – either in the customer’s basket or somewhere prominent on your site.

What you need to consider

The success of your online shop depends much on the usability of your site and how easy it is to buy. And that clearly means making it as easy as possible for visitors to add items to their basket from your product details pages.

So don’t forget to ensure that your Add to cart button stands out by considering differences in font, colour, size and wording – all of which can make a big impact on your conversion rates.

If you offer FREE shipping on orders over a certain amount, you could mention this directly in your baskets as a way to encourage customers to buy more from your site.

You would do this by switching the focus from the amount the customer has to pay for delivery to highlighting instead how they could avoid the cost of delivery charges altogether simply by adding another related item to their basket.