Customers who, by all means, appear to be ready to make a purchase are often found abandoning their shopping carts before they complete their online transaction. In many cases this is part of the normal online shopping experience as the shopping cart is just used as a place to collect items of interest but which the user has no real intent to purchase. But all too often it is a failure of the shopping cart page itself that leads visitors to abandon their items which they do, in fact, wish to have.

While shopping car abandonment cannot be completely eliminated, it can be dramatically reduced. There are a number of key indicators that need to be present on your web site's shopping cart page. These indicators continue the process of instilling trust, reliability and provide shoppers the cues they need to continue forward in the purchase process.

Checkout link

In your main navigation you should always have an easy to find link to the 'cart' page where visitors can go and view all the products they have added. Typically it's a good idea to use both an icon along with a text link allowing the link to stand out a bit.

Checkout link

Updating cart

The actual shopping cart page should provide users the opportunity to edit their order before proceeding. Here they should have the option to remove products, change sizes or increase the quantity as needed.

Updating products

Advertising & up-selling

Keep advertising on the cart pages to a bare minimum or eliminate it all together. The fewer distractions the better. Product cross-promotion and up-selling should be kept to a minimum and used only when extremely relevant. Up-sells should be used primarily at the point a product is added to the cart, not so much in the cart itself.

Advertising and Up-selling

Safety and security

There are a number of things that can and should be added to the cart that provide shoppers with an additional sense of security. Links to privacy, security, return and refund policies all provide valuable indictors of trust to your shoppers.

Safety and security

Storing personal info

You should not store personal information such as credit card numbers, addresses, etc. unless specifically requested by the shopper. A simple check box option where this information is gathered is a great idea.

Shipping questions

It is extremely helpful to visitors to provide links to commonly asked questions regarding the order such as shipping options, costs and time along with what to do if there is an error with their order after they have received it.

International shipping

If you ship internationally make sure your address forms support international addresses. Even better, have the form to change to match the addressing options for each international location you allow.

Order progress

If your order form has multiple steps, provide a progress indicator so visitors know where they are and how many more steps they can expect. Similarly, it's a good idea to keep visitors informed of progress once the order is made by sending emails when items are ready to ship or are shipped, along with any tracking information. If changes must be made to the order you should give them the opportunity to modify or cancel the order entirely.

Order Progress

If your shoppers are truly ready to buy, the last thing you want to do is to give them an opportunity to back out because they just don't "feel right" about the purchase. A well designed shopping cart page can help ensure these shoppers feel safe and have everything they need to feel good about their decision.

December 13, 2007

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Any recommended carts? It's always a pain trying to customize a cart that doesn't have these features.

Sorry, I really don't have an extensive knowledge of shopping carts. Most of the stuff we work with is custom built.

Thanks, Stoney! Thanks for the great advice! Simply fantastic!

health, beauty, slimming & personal care.

You're welcome Jennifer. Glad you enjoyed it!


Excellent advice. One of my brothers runs a on-line florist and has a lot of this cart abandonment. I'm going to refer your article to him.

Rob M

Upon redesigning our checkout, we had to be sure that our company logo was prominent, as we are in the early stages of promoting a new brand on a 'sister site'. Both and have the same basket. It can be a bit confusing, but customers have actually purchased items from both sites comfortably with the same basket. I have to give it to those comsumers, I don't think that in the past many would feel comfortable doing just that. Navigation back to the proper site is not finessed yet. Thanks for your comments!

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > 8 Items Every Shopper Needs In Their Shopping Cart