Online Shopping Carts: Features to Boost eCommerce Conversion
11-minute read
Published 21, Sep 2020
With an 88% cart abandonment rate in March 2020, the key role of the shopping cart design for eCommerce cannot be stressed enough. More bad news? Over $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise is abandoned each year. The great news is found here too: $2.75 trillion of that is recoverable through remarketing & retargeting campaigns.
Online shopping cart abandonment rate in selected industries in March 2020
On one hand, there are things you cannot change regarding customer behavior. On the other hand, there are things you can and should change to decrease your cart abandonment rate (especially if it's higher than across eCommerce generally or for your specific industry sector). So what are the reasons that cause digital buyers to abandon carts? Below is a USA survey by Baynard Institute. While 58.6% cited “just browsing” as the major reason, the remaining reasons shown below help shed light for eCommerce entrepreneurs on how online shopping carts should be designed to minimize this excruciating damage. “Extra cost too high,” “creation of a user account,” “too long check out” and “unknown totals” are the reasons at the top of the list for cart abandonment that can all be addressed while creating an online shopping cart.
The Zoolatech team has an in-depth understanding of how eCommerce works, due to our multi-vector exposure to the segment with clients like Nordstrom, Tailored Brands, and others. Below are the features we see as must-have in your shopping cart online to counteract the most widely cited reasons for leaving your check out page without a purchase.

What Is A Shopping Cart?

Online shopping cart, aka eCommerce shopping cart, is a software solution that allows digital buyers to add items to cart, review them, delete, adjust quantitative or qualitative attributes, make payments and arrange to ship.
There are shopping cart solutions that are part of the all-in-one eCommerce platforms, like that of Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop. On the other hand, there are stand-alone shopping cart software solutions that can be integrated into the online stores in any programming language, and any programming framework. These are 3DCart, Ecwid, X-Cart. PayPal is a separate type of payment method beast and taking into account that the average user has $485 on their PP account, adding this type of payment to your shopping cart payment methods is a must, whichever shopping card you choose. What are the most popular features of shopping cart software? Below are the most vital modules from an eCommerce store management point of view, that professionals are looking for to make their store a converting machine:
  • Product configurator
  • Abandoned cart saver
  • Discount & coupon management
  • Shipping management
  • Refund & returns management
  • Tax management
  • Credit card processing
  • Inventory management

Top Features in a Design of The Shopping Cart that Actually Converts

The best online shopping cart is the one that doesn’t deter a customer. Your main overarching mission from within a check out page is not to scare them off at this point. They have gone this far, but this purchase is hardly a matter of life and death… if they are not loyal brand ambassadors, they are probably looking for a reason not to spend the money. Just don’t give it to them. Armed with the statistics supplied above, you can see what upsets them and make sure you stay away from those slippery paths. Let’s review once again the top reasons cited in the survey:
  • Extra cost too high (shipping, tax, fees) – 50%
  • The site wanted me to create an account - 28%
  • Too long/complicated check out process - 21%
  • I couldn’t see/calculate total order cost upfront - 18%
  • Delivery was too slow - 18%
  • I didn’t trust the site with my credit card info - 17%
  • The website had errors/crashed - 13%
  • The returns policy wasn't satisfactory - 10%
  • There weren’t enough payment methods - 6%
  • The credit card was declined - 4%
Now, it’s high time we get down to business and unpack this list bit by bit until we know the recipe for a perfectly converting cart:
  1. State price clearly with tax, so that total does not change at the check-out.
  2. Make sure you give an option to check out as a guest.
  3. Reduce all nonessential details – cut extra/good-to-have info to the core.
  4. Feature total price on the product page.
  5. Ensure competitive delivery terms.
  6. Ensure HTTPS protocol and PCI compliance for the eCommerce website. Visa & Mastercard badges need to be displayed clearly on check out page.
  7. Monitor website performance for errors and downtime and address them immediately.
  8. Ensure a competitive return and refund policy.
  9. Try to get every popular payment method featured, including PayPal.
  10. Contract with a reliable payment gateway service to reduce the number of declined transactions.

Developing The Best Online Shopping Cart: Must-Have Features

Item Editing or Deletion Users like browsing eCommerce stores, as there is no pressure from shop assistants and no awkward shopping cart to push along the aisles. Adding something to a virtual cart has little negative connotation in a digital buyer's mind. They know they can abandon the process altogether, delete or edit any item at any point. This is their overall experience with online shopping anyway. Don’t. Just don’t make deleting or editing an item a quest. If you don’t provide the smooth experience they are accustomed to, they are much more likely to just leave this shopping cart and never be back to your store again. Don’t make your customers do any work or solve puzzles in the shopping cart environment. They may already experience some doubt regarding the item, delivery, price – don’t provide them with the last straw in their pile of doubts.

Total Order Amount Early On

The fine print was a popular ploy in the 20th century. Entrepreneurs of all sorts – legit and not so much - made millions with terms and conditions neatly buried in the fine print. If you are in a sustainable eCommerce business with an ambition to thrive and grow, transparency is your best friend. Ensure all the pricing, taxes, charges are stated clearly and the total amount doesn't change on the last page. Otherwise there is an 18% chance it will be the last page they ever visited in your online store.

“Continue Shopping” Is Always an Option

I mean, c’mon, making a person insert those 16+4+3 figures and press the check-out IS INDEED the name of the game for any eCommerce business person. But getting more items in the shopping cart before inserting those magic digits is equally important. As customers we have all been there, where we remember something else we need from the store and returned to shopping from within the checkout page. Always have a “continue shopping” button to give forgetful buyers or impulse shoppers a chance to increase your average billing. It’s important to remember that depending on the delivery and shipment, they may be saving money by combining a few items in one basket, so that’s another reason why you want to have it - you are boosting your customer satisfaction. They are no longer spending money here, but saving here.

Out of Stock Items Are Marked

When choosing a shopping cart software module, it's important to ensure that all out-of-stock items are clearly marked to decrease chances of disappointment. The earlier in the customer journey the client is advised of an unpleasant situation – the better. The worst-case scenario is when they see the out-of-stock warning on the last leg of the checkout.

Product Image Is High Quality

OK, you can’t really have a huge high-resolution image within the cart itself, but make sure it’s still a good quality image in the highest resolution possible. The product should be distinguishable and eradicate any chance of confusion among items. This visual accuracy of the image in relation to the real thing will help you decrease costly returns. While checking out, buyers may start experiencing last-minute qualms. They may want to double-check the size, the description, the fabric contents, and whatnot. Returning to the product page from within the cart should be a one-click matter.

Ensure Guest Check Out Is Always an Option

People hate being inundated with spam. People hate giving out their personal information and supplying their detailed info to an eCommerce store over a pair of fun socks for a distant relative birthday gift. Millennials & Gen Z hate it even more than previous generations, and they are becoming the dominant buying power now. The dilemma of having a guest checkout is simple: Do you need:
  1. to sell stuff now, or
  2. get their personal data, spend money targeting them, and MAYBE sell even more later – all while risking loss of this sale?
I am happy we clarified this. So, unless you are selling a premium product that takes lots of research and consideration before buying, like cars, for example, ensure they can check out in one second.

Shopping Cart Visibility

The user knows the shopping cart is in the top right corner. Keep it classy. Don't experiment with relocation or funny invisible subtle colors and sizes. No hide & seek games when it comes to shopping cart visibility in the eCommerce store, please. Do your sales a favor, make it be seen right away. From any page. Top right corner. Agreed.

Specify Payment Methods

Payment methods are important to customers, and especially when it comes to smaller billing amounts, people might be reluctant to pay transaction fees and such. Clarify all the payment methods and the fees that accompany them upfront – clearly and as early as possible on a user's journey map towards the checkout.

Promo Codes & Discounts Fields

If you play the discount game, this art should be mastered to perfection. Consider whether you want the initial price crossed out by a red line if you want the discount displayed as an absolute amount or percent if you want the final price in green or black. Everything matters here. Once you are discounting, a buyer should feel good about the savings, and a properly-thought-through A/B tested design can help with the mission.

Zoolatech eCommerce Development: Your Perfect Shopping Carts Online

If you are looking for the best online shopping cart for small business or are ready to scale to a thousand SKU store with multiple payment methods and currencies, Zoolatech can help. We help the retail industry to create online shopping services that convert. If you are an offline retailer who is only considering harnessing the online demand…Or if you have an up-and-running eCommerce website, whose shopping cart performance you are not happy with… Or if you are only beginning and need a consultation on the best shopping cart software for your online store… We are here to help! Drop us a line, shoot your question in a chat – we are happy to share our expertise. Let’s get those cart abandonment stats down and your conversion rate up in no time. Sometimes a minor tweaking of design, logic, or shopping cart UX gives a double boost to conversion. State your case and we will tell you how we can improve your sales by developing a better shopping cart for your eCommerce store.    
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