Disclosure: Your support helps keep the site running! We earn a referral fee for some of the services we recommend on this page. Learn more

As you can see, the optimization process isn’t complicated, but it does involve making significant changes to your checkout and shopping cart pages. You might need to ask for assistance from the development team of your e-commerce platform to make those changes.

Key takeaways

  • Cart abandonment occurs in nearly 70% of all transactions and is a significant hurdle to conversion for e-commerce businesses
  • The lost sales associated with cart abandonment are about $260 billion
  • Most of the reasons for cart abandonment have to do with the failure to provide a smooth user experience, which you can solve by making design and process changes
  • The goal of optimizing the shopping cart and checkout process is to make it easy for customers to pay for their purchases the first time
  • Optimizing the shopping cart and checkout process can improve conversions by up to 35%

Why Optimizing Your Customer’s Shopping Cart Experience Is Important

Why should you even bother optimizing your shopping cart and checkout process? The answer is simple: customer satisfaction.

Most e-commerce site owners invest heavily in design and structure to make their websites accessible to all and attractive to buyers.

They choose the best e-commerce website builders to ensure they give their customers an excellent user experience (UX). Weebly, for instance, specializes in customizable themes to make online stores look unique and designed professionally.

bring ecommerce store to life
Source: Weebly

Most website builders offer marketing, SEO, and site analytics tools to improve visibility and performance. They also have integrated checkout and shopping cart features. But that’s the problem. You often see those two at the tail-end of a feature list, which is weird. Treating the shopping cart and checkout pages as by-the-ways is a mistake for e-commerce businesses.

The sales funnel is narrower at the bottom, for sure, meaning it’s easier to nudge customers in the right direction once they’re at that stage. But the shopping cart and checkout stages are critical since this is where conversion happens.

Everything else leads up to those stages. You don’t want to miss sales at the last minute because you stopped making it easy for them to commit, and your visitors abandon their carts.

What Is the Significance of Cart Abandonment?

How bad can it get? Many cart abandonment surveys show it’s pretty bad. Baymard Institute looked at 46 of them and came out with an average of 69.82% cart abandonment rate, and it’s even worse on mobile, which accounted for 40.1% of e-commerce sales in 2021.

That means the seven out of 10 people you managed to entice to your site, after much effort, decided not to buy finally. Think about that sobering fact.

If your monthly sales are $100, you make $333 instead if none of your visitors abandons their carts. Overall, about $260 billion in e-commerce sales are lost in the limbo of abandoned carts.

Why Do Customers Abandon Their Carts?

That’s an excellent question, and you’ll be happy to know that the same study identified 58.6% of shoppers in the United States who abandoned their carts because they were “just browsing.” So, roughly four of the seven carts lost to your e-commerce site are probably not your fault.

But the remaining three carts are on you, or rather, your checkout process. Below is the breakdown of reasons from customers for abandoning a cart even when they were prepared to buy but ultimately chose not to:

reasons for checkout abandonments graph
Source: Baymard Institute

You might argue that shipping, tax, and other fees ― being too high as the reason for 48% for cart abandonment ― are the irreducible costs of doing business. But what about the other 52%? Most of the other reasons cited ultimately boil down to a breakdown in the seamlessness of the transaction, leading to poor UX and customer satisfaction.

For example, 17% of customers had a problem with checkout usability, finding it too long or complicated. Most websites ask customers to fill in 23 form fields when the ideal number is seven to eight. Reducing the number of fields can reduce cart abandonment by as much as 35.26%.

Other design and UX issues are at the heart of a significant portion of cart abandonment. If you can double your sales by optimizing the shopping cart and checkout processes, that should be your priority. Let’s get on with it.

How To Optimize Your Website’s Shopping Cart and Checkout Experience

Optimizing your e-commerce website’s checkout and shopping cart is something you can do right now. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Place cart button and icons on all pages
  • Create an overview of the product
  • Add transparency to your checkout page
  • Create a simple and secure payment page
  • Enable guest checkout

Optimizing your checkout process has one goal: make the UX as seamless, transparent, and convenient as possible to minimize cart abandonment. You want to remove all sources of friction that might cause the buyer to give up. Fortunately, you can do that in a few steps.

Place Cart Buttons and Icon on All Pages

Design your product pages so that the customer doesn’t have to look for the “Add to Cart” button. You want them to keep adding products, so make sure they can at any time in the shopping process. Make the button nice and bright, enticing them to click it.

Most website builders add the “Add to Cart” button by default, but the placement might not be ideal. WooCommerce, for instance, places the button under the product description in some cases. You want to move that button to be more visible to the customer.

demo store
Source: LearnWoo

Some e-commerce builder templates may also disable the “Add to Cart” button. Always check to ensure that the button is in a strategic area and highly visible.

It would help if you also placed the Cart icon on the top right of the page, where most people expect them to be. Putting it there makes it easier for customers to check what’s in there without going through hoops. This placement is especially ideal for mobile shoppers.

Create an Overview of the Product

A product description is an essential tool in your marketing arsenal. It plays a significant role in the visibility and persuasiveness of your site. But it should still give customers practical information on the product’s benefits without overwhelming them with technical details.

When setting up your product listing, ensure you have at least three images, price, size, and color options displayed immediately. Place the “Add to Cart” button before the full product description that answers any additional questions the customer might ask.

Most consumers rely on product descriptions when deciding on making a purchase. Engaging and clear descriptions go a long way towards improving the UX and minimizing cart abandonment. Check our article on how to write compelling product descriptions to help you with this step.

Add Transparency to Your Checkout Page

As mentioned earlier, more than half of cart abandoners cite extra costs as the reason. You can avoid that heartbreaking situation by being upfront about extra costs, such as shipping costs, on the checkout page itself. This ensures customers don’t have to wait until they get to the payment page to find out how much they have to pay.

Aside from shipping fees and taxes, include icons for all the payment options you have on your site. If you offer free returns, discounts, and money-back guarantees, include them there as well.

Shopify is one of our picks for best e-commerce platforms because Shopify Checkout ticks many of our boxes for transparency, even on mobile.

seize every sale
Source: Shopify

Putting all these together on the checkout page reduces friction and improves customer satisfaction. If the customer is aware of the small extras that add to the final bill, it increases customer trust and considerably improves your conversion rate.

Create a Simple and Secure Payment Page

The biggest hurdle for most e-commerce owners is the final click confirming payment. Aside from the 17% that thought the checkout process was too long and complicated, a good 18% of consumers in the Baymard Institute survey identified a lack of trust in the site’s security as the reason for cart abandonment. You can solve this by making the payment process as simple and secure as possible.

You can do this by displaying as many payment options and security seals as you can on the page. This gains their confidence and removes any barriers to payment at the same time. Also, offer them the option to save their payment details, so payment is easier and quicker on their next visit. Smart, huh?

If you don’t have an e-commerce website yet, choosing an e-commerce platform designed explicitly for that can also help. A good example is 1ShoppingCart, which is Payment Card Industry (PCI)-compliant and offers multiple payment options.

customer confidence
Source: 1ShoppingCart

You can also consider other platforms, such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, and CoreCommerce, which have reviews on the Digital.com site.

Enable Guest Checkout

Another top reason for abandonment is the annoyance of creating an account just when the customer is ready to buy. People are so tired of signing up for a new account that they choose to leave instead. It’s like stopping someone from paying for their purchases so you can make them sign up for a newsletter or store card. That’s a big no-no.

Enabling guest checkout means the customer can buy first, and you ask questions later. In most cases, a customer is more willing to register for an account after purchasing. That allows them to track delivery, review products, and ask for assistance, so there’s a perceived value for them to do it.

Tips for Optimizing Your Shopping Cart and Checkout

Optimizing your website just takes a few steps, but you might want to keep some tips in mind when implementing your checkout and shopping cart strategies.

  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
  • Remove distractions from the Add to Cart, Buy, and Pay buttons
  • Enable autofill for customer information
  • Have social login options
  • Motivate your customers to return and complete their purchase by saving their carts until their next visit and sending them reminders through email
  • Reduce the number of steps from add to cart to pay
  • Provide repeat customers with one-click checkout options
  • Pay attention to the visual impact of your checkout and shopping cart design
  • Make it easy for the customer to edit their shopping carts
  • Include real-time stock notifications
  • Make sure customers can use the back button
  • Provide live chat support or a comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • Make it attractive for customers to purchase by offering limited discounts and incentives

What Should You Do Next?

Whether you have an e-commerce site or are still planning on getting one up, make it a priority to optimize your website’s checkout and shopping cart. The steps and suggestions above should help you see a marked improvement in your conversion rates.