11 Best UX Design Practices for Shopping Cart UI

Posted on September 21, 2022 | Updated on July 17, 2023

Most e-commerce owners are all too familiar with abandoned shopping carts. The shopping cart UI (user interface) plays an essential role in preventing abandonment. Because the truth is that many customers will desert their cart if the checkout process is too complex.

Therefore, customers want a simple and quick solution to make their shopping experience hassle-free.

To make the most usable shopping cart interface, follow these tips for best practices.

1. Provide Shopping Cart Editing Options

When customers are ready to check out, they may view their cart to ensure they have the right items. However, sometimes customers can make mistakes. 

For example, they might choose the wrong size or add too many items to their cart. It can be frustrating for users to delete and return the item to add the right one to their cart.

To enhance the shopping cart UI, consider adding an option where they can edit their items.

For example, you could add inline editing where they can change the product specs directly within the cart without an extra pop-up. This UX design will come as a drop-down feature, steppers – plus and minus signs – and quantity input fields.

You should also allow customers to delete items and display a message with an “Undo” option if they want to return the removed item.

2. Allow Customers to Keep Items in Their Carts

Users will abandon their shopping carts sometimes — it’s an inevitable part of being an e-commerce owner. However, that doesn’t mean the cart should refresh whenever a visitor returns.

You never know the exact reason they abandoned it in the first place.

It could be that they want to save their items for later without logging into their account. Or they’re not entirely sure they want to check out that day. Instead, they might want to wait until they get paid by the end of the week.

Either way, if the cart does refresh, the user will not want to start their process again. Therefore, you’ll have to add code that establishes long-term cookies to have this feature.

In addition, you should have a button that allows customers to save items for later for safekeeping.

3. Include a Legible Table-Based Layout

While designing your shopping cart’s UI, creating a table-based layout is always best. Users need to be able to scan the information without interruption. 

Therefore, you should include standard fonts and avoid complex backgrounds. Always ensure there’s enough whitespace and the borders are prominent enough to separate each cell. 

The product information should be legible and scannable, so there shouldn’t be any other distracting elements.

Generally, it helps to have a clean design. Any unnecessary elements or complex styles may confuse customers and persuade them to abandon their cart. 

4. Avoid Adding Too Many Fields

One surefire way to get customers to abandon carts is having too many fields for them to fill out.

To avoid this, eliminate any unnecessary fields in the fill-out form. 

You want to be sure you make the checkout process seamless because an inconvenience like this keeps them from buying. As a result, they might not want to return.

Keep your mind at ease by retaining your number of fields to a minimum. Only ask for the necessary information you need to ship the order, including:

  • Customer’s name
  • Shipping address
  • Payment information

5. Make Sure Your CTAs Are Prominent

Once users arrive at the cart’s page, ensure you provide two possible actions – “Continue Shopping” and “Checkout.”

Your primary call-to-action will be “Checkout,” while the secondary CTA will be “Continue Shopping.”

Once you provide these two options, ensure they’re clear by following the visual hierarchy principle in UX design. For example, your “Checkout” button should be the largest, boldest element on the checkout page. Ensure you include enough white space to make the button stand out more.

The “Continue Shopping” button should also be accessible to users. Yet, avoid making it as visually compelling as the primary CTA by making it smaller and a different color.

6. Provide a Visual Progress Indicator

A visual progress indicator (VPI) represents the customer’s progress through the checkout process. Adding this to the shopping cart UI is essential because it displays how many more steps a customer needs to complete during checkout.

For example, imagine your customer has added several items to their cart and is ready to checkout. When they’re prepared to begin the checkout process, your user wants to complete their purchase as fast as possible. Yet, they may feel overwhelmed or uncertain without a VPI.

Because as they’re going through the steps, they’re wondering how much longer it’ll take before they complete their purchase. This uncertainty can lead to confusion or frustration for users, which is part of the reason 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts.

When designing a clear and intuitive progress indicator, you can create a shopping cart UI that gives customers a clear understanding of where they are in the process.

7. Design a Mini Shopping Cart

A mini shopping cart is a smaller version of the full shopping cart page. It displays items a customer has added to their cart and the total cost of their purchase.

Adding a mini shopping cart to the website is essential because it allows customers to view their content without navigating away from the product page. By providing this functionality on the website, you reduce the number of clicks required to complete a purchase. Therefore, you’re streamlining the checkout process, which is especially important for mobile users.

When designing a mini shopping cart, one key design principle to keep in mind is its prominent display. The mini cart should be easily accessible, such as in the top right corner of the screen. Doing so ensures the customers can easily view their cart and keep track of purchases as they browse.

8. Create Notifications When Users Add Items to Cart

When customers add an item to their cart, they need confirmation that the product is in it. Equipping users with this immediate feedback increases their confidence in completing the purchase.

One way to notify users is through a pop-up window. Once users add items to their cart, a small window will appear on the screen confirming their action. This window can also display item details and provide a link to the mini shopping cart.

Another type of notification to use is animation. A small animation can appear — and it can be as simple as an icon or as complex as displaying the item going into the cart.

Regardless of the method used, the key is to provide an immediate notification for the user to indicate that their purchase is progressing.

9. Implement Autocomplete for Product Search

Designers can greatly improve the user experience of an e-commerce site by enforcing autocomplete for product searches. This feature provides users with suggested search terms as they type. When providing helpful suggestions, users can effortlessly search for what they need, streamlining their product search.

To incorporate search suggestions into the shopping cart UI, you’ll need a search bar on the website. Then, you can implement autocomplete in the search bar using an algorithm. The algorithm will suggest relevant or popular products based on the user’s search query. 

Keep in mind that the design of the autocomplete feature should be clear and concise when displaying search suggestions. With relevant product information and images, you can guide users and increase the likelihood of a successful purchase.

10. Allow Guest Checkout

Some users prefer to create an account when checking out, so they can return to their order to check its latest status. However, other users may desire minimal steps when completing their purchase. That’s where a guest checkout comes into play.

By supplying a guest checkout, you create a quick and easy process for users to buy their items. Therefore, the design of a guest checkout should be as straightforward as possible.

When creating a guest checkout, you’ll need to create a separate process without requiring users to create an account.

Remember that you’ll still need to provide an option for creating an account or continuing as a guest. Users can easily achieve this through a simple button, allowing them to choose an option that best suits their needs.

11. Use Exit-Intent Surveys to Understand Cart Abandonment

Exit-intent surveys are pop-ups that display when users are about to leave the site. Using these tools provides a valuable opportunity to gather user feedback to understand why they’re abandoning their cart.

By gathering user feedback, you can gain insights about why they’ve decided to leave without completing a purchase. With this information, you can continue to improve the shopping cart UI and enhance its overall usability.

Before implementing this design technique, create the survey using concise questions. That way, you make it easy for users to answer. From there, you’ll need to create a trigger for the survey to pop up when the user is about to leave. 

When designing an exit-intent survey, ensure it’s mobile-friendly so smartphone users can access it easily.

Make the Shopping Cart UI Enjoyable

You have many elements you can add or take away to create an enjoyable shopping experience. Remember, a simple checkout process is key to avoiding abandoned carts. However, you should always use heat mapping, surveys and A/B testing to get first-hand information about why users aren’t finishing their checkout.

User behavior and expectations always change. Therefore, it helps to keep track of your metrics and refine your shopping cart UI to ensure you keep winning them over. 

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About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.

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