Ecommerce Shopping Cart Optimization: 8 Steps [2021]

August 2, 2021
12:00 am

The demand for ecommerce websites continues to grow and customers expect a seamless online shopping experience. In order to do so, you need to perform ecommerce shopping cart optimization.

Delivering this experience to an ever-increasing number of digital shoppers depends on a smooth checkout process.

Luckily, thanks to the latest technologies, creating the perfect checkout process has become a lot more achievable than before.

But first.

Why is optimizing your shopping cart important?

The shopping cart checkout process starts the moment a customer decides they've filled their cart with everything they wanted and are ready to place their order.

This is important to consider because it helps us understand that there's a sense of urgency here on the side of the customer. They have already spent time looking through products and descriptions, choosing sizes, and colors, and more, and they want to the process to come to an end as quickly as possible. If they find it hard, they may easily bounce.

For all those who are new to the shopping cart concept, try following ecommerce platforms for ideas on how the best shopping cart checkouts work.

If you're on Shopify, or plan to use it to improve your cart checkout process, listen to this podcast to learn more about growing your Shopify brand and offering superior omnichannel experiences.

So, here's how you do it.

How to perform ecommerce shopping cart optimization in 8 steps

  1. Include an order summary
  2. Add live chat for real-time conversations
  3. Make checkout mobile friendly
  4. Ask only relevant questions
  5. Use a readable table-based layout
  6. Avoid using too many fields
  7. Make paying easy
  8. Build trust with your customers

Let's dive into the details a bit more.

1. Include an order summary

The most obvious and necessary part of the checkout page is letting your users check exactly what they are going to order.

Offering complete transparency helps build trust. When customers unpack their shipped parcel, they don't want any surprises that could have been avoided.

Give them an order review summary just before completing checkout, showing:

  • The name of each item and an image/photo of them
  • The attributes of that product, such as size, color, and price
  • Cost-related factors, like shipping fees, discounts, coupons, gift cards, taxes
  • The total amount payable (in their local currency if you can)

Here is a good example of the order review system with Staples courtesy of the Baymard institute (from a study evaluating ecommerce websites to find out the best checkout steps).

staples Include an Order Summary

2. Add live chat for real-time conversations

Several reports show that launching a live chat feature on your website boosts conversion rate and increases ecommerce sales.

That's because live chat provides an instant way for customer to get product information (and more, like delivery options and fees) before they buy. This would not only keep them updated about their product but would also build mutual trust between customers and the ecommerce brand.

For instance, if you sell a laptop to a customer, then they may well be interested in knowing its features, advantages, expected delivery time, or even if you have it in stock or in a different color.

Live chat helps you provide these details right away instead of making customers call or email, and ensures customers won't abandon their shopping cart for lack of information.

acquire live chat

3. Make checkout mobile friendly

Even if your ecommerce website is responsive on mobile, how does your cart checkout process stack up? Is your checkout page optimized for mobile users?

If not, it should. Many more users than before are browsing and shopping from mobile devices. Checkout pages need to be mobile-friendly or you risk losing customers.

mobile friendly checkout

For example, when sites aren’t mobile friendly, customers may find that:

  • Text appears very small and is difficult to read
  • Product images are very small and difficult to peruse
  • Adding the item to the shopping cart makes it difficult to see the total cost and other information

Cart abandonment ratio increases because of all the issues above. Mobile ecommerce shopping cart optimization for checkout pages is a must if you want to improve sales and conversion rates.

4. Ask only relevant questions

During checkout, users sometimes leave because they don’t want to share any extra details about themselves with the website, which they feel could compromise their privacy. Or they just don't have the time to go through multiple pages and clicks to finally place their order.

So, it is always good to keep questions highly relevant and minimize the steps needed to complete the checkout process. Always try to group together relevant product or price-related questions in secure pages.

The Bellroy e-commerce store checkout page is one of the best examples of this. Their approach is minimalistic. Everything is on one page – no need to click "next" multiple times. They ask for payment details, only the necessary contact info, and a delivery address to complete the checkout process. This keeps the whole cart checkout process short and sweet.


5. Use a readable, table-based layout

An ecommerce shopping cart checkout looks good when it's formatted in a way that makes it easy for a user to read. The content of the checkout page should be clear and simple. Use a readable table-based layout so your customers can see details regarding size, color, price, description, and reviews of the product clearly.

Ecommerce website designing services, like Webdesignerdepot, suggest:

“[Use both] a fully functional cart that is contained within a page of its own and a “mini” shopping cart, usually located in the sidebar, or above the page fold.”

6. Avoid using too many fields

Being too demanding with user information can damage the buying experience. Users always prefer a clean and simple process when buying online, and they expect the same throughout their shopping cart checkout.

The main challenge is getting all relevant details to customers when they check out without overloading them. If there are too many fields on the checkout page, it takes a long time to fill them all in, and customers may start wondering why you need to know so much.

Once a customer gets frustrated, they're a click away from ending the whole process for good.

So, when asking for details, go with the necessary only:

  • Name, address, email, and contact number
  • Returning user or guest
  • Modes of Payment: COD, debit cards, and credit cards

7. Make paying easy

Your cart checkout page represents the final stop for customers on your website. And it's an important one. People are protective of their money and they want to be sure everything will be easy and secure.

So, creating a simple, user-friendly payment process will help customers trust you more.

There are certain factors to keep in mind when designing payment pages.

First, allow customers to pay using a number of different payment methods, including their digital wallets. Some websites still offer only one mode of payment, leading to inevitable cart abandonment.

Also, many websites ask customers to sign up before completing a purchase. This puts up an unnecessary barrier to purchasing and causes customers to leave. A guest login is an important addition to your cart checkout process. If you want people to sign up, give them the option and let them choose; you can offer them a benefit like free shipping or some discounts on the next purchase as an incentive.

easy payment process

8. Build trust with customers

It takes a lot of time and effort to earn users’ trust. But to increase conversion rates and strengthen your ecommerce brand, it’s essential that consumers feel safe.

First and foremost, customers should feel secure when entering their card details on your website.

There are different ways to show your website is trustworthy and convince customers to shop there.


Use of security logos and trustmarks. Trustmarks reassure customers that they can enter their payment details and shop on your website with confidence. For example, the logos shown above indicate the technical security of a site and are a great boost to earning customer trust and credibility.

Social proof. Google’s Trusted Stores scheme provides average user ratings, recommending customers buy products because users have bought from that site before. This helps customers feel more comfortable in using your ecommerce site.

Contact Details. Contact options on websites leaves customers feeling comfortable that if there is any problem with their order they can get in touch easily.

shipping bill

That's how you create the perfect shopping cart checkout process

So that's it, how to perform ecommerce shopping cart optimization in 8 easy steps.

Here's the good news.

A smooth online shopping cart checkout process can increase profits for your online business and improve cart abandonment rates. Adopt these steps and you'll be on the right track to delight customers.

Is your ecommerce shopping cart a little clunky? Do you see any room for improvement? What steps have you taken to create an optimal checkout process? Let us know in the comments.


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