Stats suggest that the average abandonment rate for shopping carts is around 60% and that 12% of these customers bail out before reaching the checkout stage.

Many customers may have simply added items to their shopping basket for comparison purposes, which is something etailers cannot control, but others may well be abandoning them due to problems which can easily be fixed.

Here are ten tips on how make the process as easy as possible for customers:

  • Link to the product page

    Having added products to the basket, shoppers may well want to check details again for reassurance, so provide them with a direct link back to the product page.

  • Suggest related items

    While customers are heading towards the checkout, give them Amazon-style suggestions of similar or related items, though it’s important not to let this get in the way of the checkout process.


  • Make the ‘view basket’ button easy to findOnce customers have added items to their basket, they shouldn’t be made to work too hard to find it:

    View shopping basket

    On this example, Comet has the basket link in the top right hand corner, where shoppers would expect to find it, but it is the least prominent link on the page.

  • Show delivery charges

    This is one piece of information all customers will want to know. If you tell them the charges well before they reach the checkout, rather than making them register first, this may well make a difference.  

    HMV’s shopping basket is a good example:

    HMV shopping basket
  • Estimate the delivery time

    This is another key question in customers’ minds. Providing this information on the shopping basket page may reassure shoppers, as Next does here:

  • Clear checkout button

    Once shoppers have added items to their basket, there should be no room for doubt about the next step, so make the ‘proceed to checkout’ button impossible to miss:

    Amazon checkout button
  • Show payment options

    Let customers know which payment options are available before they get halfway through the checkout, by displaying the payment methods and types of credit and debit cards you accept, as with this example from ASOS:

    payment options

  • Add product images

    Adding thumbnail images of the products in the basket is a useful visual reminder for customers of the items they have added:

    Waterstones shopping basket
  • Link to returns policy

    As with delivery costs, a reasonable and clear returns policy can be a clincher, so add a link from the basket to your website’s returns policy to reassure customers.

  • Add a contact number 

    If a customer has just added a £1,000 laptop to their basket, they may have one or two questions they need answering before they commit themselves to purchase it.

    A prominent contact number on the shopping basket page will allow them to quickly contact customer services with any queries, and may be crucial in confirming the sale.

Related research:

Online Retail 2007: Checkout Special

Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks

Related stories:

Why do customers abandon the checkout process?

House of Fraser – a user experience review

Interview: Mike Baxter on checkout best practice