Tips for Optimizing Your Online Shopping Cart

(Last Updated On: December 19, 2015)

The shopping cart of your online store is a very important when it comes to closing the deal and making the sale. Just any old shopping cart will not do, customizing your shopping cart to better convert shoppers into buyers is the key. Measuring, testing, and changing your cart for better variables of optimization is an ongoing job. This article will cover tips on how to optimize your shopping cart for the most conversions.

  • Website to Shopping Cart Continuity: Often times a shopping cart program will look different than the rest of your website. Make sure this is not the case with the shopping cart program you are using. If visitors are used to the look and feel of your site while they were shopping and then all of the sudden everything looks different when they are asked for their personal information and credit card details, it can scare them off.
  • Do Not Require Buyers to Register: Some shopping carts have a default setting that requires shoppers to register for the website and give their email and other information as soon as they add an item to the shopping cart. This usually throws up a red flag with shoppers and they become wary about having to give their email just to shop. Cater to those shoppers who are suspicious and enable the “check out as guest” feature.
  • Don’t Let Shipping Drive Your Customers Away: There are a few things that can go wrong with shopping. Some shopping cart programs require an address before giving a shipping price. Try to avoid this by offering different shipping options and let customers know what the shipping costs will be as soon as possible.
  • Keep it Simple: Try to keep your shopping cart as simple as possible. Make sure that shoppers see right away where to click to continue and make it easy for them to check out, return to their cart, or return shopping without having to re-enter their information each time.
  • Display All Policies and Information: It can be tricky to find the right balance of including enough information to answer questions while not having too many distractions that take customers away from the checkout process. Links to return policies and sizing information that open in a new window usually help to offer information without taking shoppers off track.

Testing to Find the Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment

When you test different variables and options for your shopping cart, you are looking for the variations of different designs, and settings that result in the least amount of shopping cart abandonment (shoppers leaving your website without completing the checkout process).  Part of the testing process should include evaluating analytics and even polling visitors to find out why they did not buy. These incredible insights can help you learn what should be changed; it could be pricing, it could be a perceived security problem, a trust issue, or a shipping concern. Many companies find that shipping costs can be a basis for shopping cart abandonment. We know that shipping must be paid for one way or another, so part of the testing process is finding out if working shipping costs into the product price is better than charging for shipping or, perhaps an elite shipping club program similar to Amazon might work for your e-commerce website.

Three Takeaways for Increasing Shopping Cart Conversions:

  1. Establish Trust: Let customers know that their credit card security and personal information are safe. This can easily be done with logos and messaging how long you have been in business.
  2. Find the Right Balance of Technology: It shouldn’t be too advanced that an average internet shopper cannot understand how to check out, but it should have enough of the advanced technology options integrated that average shoppers expect to see, like auto fill, and smart shipping options.
  3. Implement What Works for You: Not all shopping carts are the same, and each business has different needs. Understand that a bit of trial and error is necessary, but finding the customized shopping cart set up that works for you will be worth the time and effort you put into it.

Bio: Richard Larson is blogger and Brand Manager for GoPromotional. He enjoys sharing online business and marketing tips.