When customers have added items to their basket and want to continue shopping, where should they end up on your website?

Not the homepage; as Brendan Regan points out on GrokDotCom, the 'homepage dump' is a user experience mistake to avoid, so where should they be sent instead? 

I've been looking through a few retailers' sites for examples of good and bad practice in this area...

The homepage 

Shoppers presumably get dumped back at the homepage as this is the default action for the site to take, but it makes little sense if you are already shopping in a particular area of a site and might want to add similar items. 

You may have added a laptop for instance, and need to buy some accessories to go with it. Or you may have gone through the search and filtering process to get to a results page, and would be forced to go through the process all over again. 

Tesco is guilty of this mistake; after adding an iPod to my basket and clicking the continue shopping link, I'm sent back to the Direct homepage, meaning I have to start over again.

Back to the category / search results page

If customers have spent time looking for products, using filters and narrowing down their searches, then placing customers back at the search results page saves them having to start this process all over again.

This is what TopShop does; having searched for trousers, then smart trousers and adding a pair to my basket, the continue shopping link puts me back on the search results page: 

Topshop continue shopping link

To the product page

Perhaps not the best idea, unless you think the customer wants to check over the item they have just purchased, though at least clicking the back button should get you back to the results / category page you were on before adding the item, so this may make be better than the homepage.

This is what happens after adding an item to the basket and opting to 'shop more' on the Next.co.uk website:

Next shopping bag - 'shop more' link

In the first example I looked at, having added a suit jacket to my basket, I was sent back to the product page with the rest of the suit on:

Next product page

This seemed a good idea initially, but Next sends you to the product page whatever you add to the shopping bag.  

Update basket but leave customers where they are

This isn't a bad option; at least customers can get back to their product search easily by using the back button or website navigation, though it's important that customers know the item has been added to the basket.

Play.com provides a good example of this, giving me a pop up that lets me know the item has been added to my basket, pointing towards the basket link for further reassurance:

Play.com add to basket


Amazon has opted for the cross-sell, which makes sense, while leaving a basket summary and a link to the checkout on the right of the screen:

Amazon cross-sell

Provide options

I like this method, as shown on the Marks&Spencer website. Having added a suit jacket to my basket, I'm given a range of options.

The checkout summary on the right provides a link to the checkout if I want to go ahead and pay for the item straightaway, while links to related products provide opportunities for cross-selling.

Also, under the heading of 'continue shopping', I can choose to continue in the suits section of the website, where I have just been. M&S even gives three options for different areas of that category:

M&S continue shopping options

Don't provide any options

This is what happens when you select to buy an item on the Firebox website. This may be effective in funneling customers through the checkout but it means customers have to revert to the back button or navigation options on display.  

Firebox basket

How do you handle this on your website? What is the best way to make it easier for customers to continue shopping? Let us know below...

My Twitter page can be found here

Related articles:
What should you have in your shopping basket?
How to plug leaks in your shopping basket 

Graham Charlton

Published 21 November, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (3)

Roger Willcocks

Roger Willcocks, MD at Screen Pages

Interesting piece, Graham. On more recent sites, we have started using an AJAX overlay (after a product has been added to a basket) to offer a single choice checkout or "continue shopping". If the former, it's off to the basket & if the latter, it returns to the (just added) product page.

You have prompted me to investigate where we send people from the basket if they hit "continue shopping". With basket abandons at 40%ish, you sort of want folk to not continue shopping, though!

over 9 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Thanks for the comment Roger, I think the AJAX overlays like Play.com uses are a good idea as they don't interfere with the shopping process too much.

over 9 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

You're right this is something most people haven't thought about in any depth (including us with our new site coming out soon!). I would have thought that the M&S (provide options) approach is the best one?

Ashley Friedlein

over 9 years ago

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