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Shopping Cart UX provides for e-commerce success

  • Published on January 24, 2015
Shopping Cart UX provides for e-commerce success

When creating a user experience for a website that includes e-commerce, there are several factors that will help improve the Shopping Cart UX and provide greater success for your business or organization. Whether this involves more sales of products, increased donations to a non-profit, or more registrations for an event, the user experience encountered during the shopping cart transaction can lead users to open their wallet or to walk away from the transaction.

Shopping cart UX should make it easy to buy multiple products

I’ve encountered a number of bad shopping cart user experiences within the past month, and one that really stands out from this weekend. Recently I was planning a weekend ski trip with my family, and visited the website of a ski area to purchase lift tickets in advance. They offered discounts if tickets were purchased before midnight they day before. To add tickets for each family member required a cumbersome process of adding each user, navigating back to the original screen, adding a next person, then returning back to the screen. My children were bringing friends, which required a total of six separate trips to the shopping cart. This leads me to my essential considerations for shopping cart UX:

Consider user scenarios when designing the shopping cart UX

Website designers should always consider scenarios, but none may be more important than with a shopping cart. What type of users will be using the cart, what will they be adding, what is the user flow they must complete for a transaction? The ski area could have used the scenario for a family wanting to buy tickets, and the user flow would have revealed a cumbersome user experience in the shopping cart, which will likely lead many to simply give-up on the transaction.

The shopping cart user experience is a core element of your business

Whether you are in the business of providing a great ski experience, selling widgets, or delivering social services that require donations, your online UX is a core element to your success if you accept payments or donations online. If the online customers and supporters were standing at your door, ready to spend or donate, you would not knowingly turn them away. Yet by creating obstacles to them providing you with funds, you make it likely they will either not transact business with you, or will delay the transaction.

Create an easy-to-follow shopping cart process

The user flow should allow for easy addition of multiple products, and a simple process for applying a method of payment. Don’t require users to visit multiple screens if it isn’t necessary, and if possible allow them to add multiple items that are similar into the shopping cart in a single step to create an efficient user experience.
Similarly, the navigation and steps to follow should be clear and easily identifiable. The next button and back button should not be in the same color, nor should they be in illogical locations on the page. If the next step completes the transaction, and this is what you want the user to click, then the UX of the shopping cart should reflect the significance of the button.

Make the shopping cart user experience trustworthy

The site should look professional, appear trustworthy, and also be trustworthy. Yes, you should purchase an SSL certificate, but buying an SSL certificate isn’t sufficient. The UX of the shopping cart should reflect a trusted site. The areas where you collect information should we well presented, and free from distractions and inappropriate choices. The site should reflect any trust certifications you have, reminding visitors of the secure nature of the transaction via badges or icons.

The user experience that is presented in the shopping cart helps to determine whether a visitor will take the time to complete a transaction, or entrust you with their payment information. We discuss many of these concepts in our Introduction to UX Design Principles class, which is part of the many UX training classes offered at American Graphics Institute.  These are regularly scheduled public courses that are offered in several cities in the U.S. and can also be attended online.

About the author

 is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices. Jennifer holds the CPUX-F credential from the UXQB.

Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern UX Design, and worked closely with the Microsoft Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including XD, Sketch, Balsamiq, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Blend for Visual Studio. She also works extensively in the fields of presentation design and visual design.