E-commerce Shopping Cart Usability Research Findings

The Nielsen Norman Group’s study called “Decision Making in the E-Commerce Shopping Cart: 4 Tips for Supporting Users” discusses how many shoppers use the shopping cart to make final purchase decisions. Therefore,  you should provide features to accommodate this behavior in order to increase conversion rates and reduce bounce rates.

Some of the key features that your shopping cart should utilize are:

  1. Provide Access to a Full Shopping Cart. Some sites utilize a mini-shopping cart page, which drops down from a Cart button near the header. Clicking the Checkout button from this drop down skips a full Shopping Cart Page and jumps the user into the checkout process. These “minicarts” prevent a user from doing the types of decision making they want to do on a full Shopping Cart Page, such as comparison shop, adjust quantities and review product details.
  2. List Product Details: Many sites list products on the Shopping Cart Page without providing any details such as the size and color of the product that the user selected on the Product Detail Page (PDP). This can frustrate the user and prevent them from making a purchase decision.
  3. The product image is essential: Not only is it essential to display the product image, it is equally as important to display the product image large enough so that the user can actually see the details about the product they added to the cart.
  4. Link Users to Full Product Details: It is important to link both the product name and image back to the PDP so users can easily access more details about the product that will help them make their purchase decision.
  5. Let Users Easily Remove Items: Because so many users use the cart to help them make a final purchase decision, it is essential to provide them with a quick and easy way to remove items from their cart.

Many sites fall into the trap of fighting with typical user behavior by believing they can force users to follow a certain flow and restrict them from having access to certain features. Instead of fighting with your users, you should help make their final purchase decision experience as easy and as accommodating as possible.