September 29, 2019

Quick Wins To Improve Your Shopping Cart Conversions

The first step in eCommerce Conversion Optimisation is to have a clear picture of where in the Cart and Checkout you are losing sales. I discuss this is more details in – Is your shopping cart bleeding sales? But essentially this means setting up your Cart Abandonment Funnel correctly – and having clear measurable data on where your shoppers are dropping out.

Then you should move on to the Quick Wins. These are the obvious things every Cart should be doing. And which are likely to have the biggest impact. And remember there are no rules, only guidelines, and even these propositions should be properly A/B tested as part of a Conversion Optimisation Process.

If you’ve already got the basics right, then you’ll want to skip to the next article in this series – a more detailed analysis of Cart conversion issues – coming soon!

1. Checkout Page Speed

This one often gets put to the side during Optimisation testing, because it’s not something that can be easily split tested.

However, there is plenty of data on the correlation between increased page speed on eCommerce sites and improved Conversion Rates. One data study indicates that a 1-second delay in load time could be costing you 7% in sales.

Guideline: Benchmark your site speed, and in particular your Cart and Checkout speed against your competitors, and ensure that you are competitive.

Read more about how to benchmark your eCommerce website against your competitors in our article series: Why eCommerce owners should care about site speed.

2. Remove general navigation from Checkout

There is almost universal support for the proposition that you should remove standard site navigation from the checkout funnel. If your site has standard navigation we suggest you A/B split test removing it as soon as possible.

Guideline: Use an Enclosed Checkout by removing the main site navigation and other non-checkout navigational elements from all steps after the cart step and until the Order Review step.


  • It gets the shopper to focus purely on completing their purchase.
  • It makes Information which gives the visitor confidence in their purchase more prominent, such as delivery details and customer service contact details.
  • Security logos and messages are more visible, reassuring the shopper.
  • Step-by-step checkout process makes it very clear how close the visitor is to completing their purchase.
  • Customers can only head in one direction, towards the payment and order confirmation page.

In a case study from VeggieTales, the key performance indicator, Revenue Per Visit, was increased by 14% by removing the header navigation. And go check out the top eCommerce retailers around to see how they use Enclosed Carts.

You have to admire the distraction-free simplicity of ASOS checkout….

3. Re-directs and visual disconnects

This one is a conversion killer. Many smaller online stores use eCommerce platforms that redirect the shopper to a different domain during checkout.

Guideline: Keep visitors on the same security certificated and domain when the proceed to Checkout

If your checkout is on a different URL, or separate Security Certificate you need to carefully consider how this might be impacting how much visitors trust your site and their willingness to transact with you.

And while you are at it, carefully consider the kind of SSL certificate you use, as you want to one that will get you a GREEN tick with compatible browsers (EV Certified SSL).

4. Don’t fail at Step 1 – Allow Guest Checkout

Most people choose to shop online because it is convenient and easy. Adding items to their cart is generally pretty easy. But customers are often hit in the face when they go to Checkout. If you have good eCommerce Cart Abandonment tracking, you’ll realise that you lose a lot of customers at Step 1 of the Checkout.

There is no one best way to approach the Guest v New Account v Returning Customer conundrum. But there is one rule you should follow

Guideline: Always provide visitors with a ‘Guest Checkout’ option

And a bonus proposition:

Guideline: Make ‘Guest Checkout’ the most prominent option

In one case study a major US retailer replaced their Register button, with a Continue button and a message:

You do not need to create an account to make purchases on our site. Simply click Continue to proceed to checkout. To make your future purchases even faster, you can create an account during checkout

The results: The number of customers purchasing went up by 45%. The extra purchases resulted in an extra $15 million the first month.

Again we feature ASOS for best practice – you can’t miss that Continue to Checkout button!

As long as you don’t REQUIRE registration, you can look at a number of different ways to encourage registration during the Checkout. In most cases, the only real difference between a Guest and Registered customer is that you are saving their details for later. It makes a lot more sense to do that after they have committed to the sale.

5. Be upfront about all costs

No one likes surprises when it comes to fees. The fact that they’re hidden leaves a dirty taste in visitors’ mouth.

A 2016 survey by Baymard Institute of over 1000 site visitors across multiple eCommerce stores indicated that 24% of People Abandoned Checkout because in the words of the customers:  I couldn’t see “calculate total cost” upfront.

Guideline: Display the full order cost in the cart, including shipping and taxes, or at the least, a cost estimate that also specifies how the estimate is calculated.

Next steps

This article deals with just the Quick Wins in eCommerce Conversion Optimisation – what every cart should be doing! The Guidelines in this article are just the start. If you have the basics in the bag, then the next article we’ll be more interesting for you – I’ll be looking at Checkout CRO in more detail, by reviewing some Australian Carts.

And if you are serious about getting more sales out of your existing site traffic, drop me a line and we can talk about how to implement a Conversion Optimisation program with guaranteed Revenue results. 

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