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Ecommerce Forum

Does a Mini Cart Help Increase Conversion?

 12:19 am on Oct 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

We are currently redesigning our website and are considering adding a mini cart to the new layout. I like the idea of having a checkout button in front of my customers, but I donít want to clutter up our site. So what are your thoughts on the subject?




 12:34 am on Oct 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

What do you mean by mini-cart? One-click shopping that retrieves stored customer information? A lenghty one-page checkout process?


 8:12 am on Oct 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

A mini cart is simplified and smaller version of the shopping cart page that is displayed on every page of the website. It basically allows your customers to check out from any page on your site without returning to the shopping cart page first. I like the idea of keeping their cart contents and checkout button in front of themÖ but what I donít like is having it clutter up the site layout too much. Iíve typically seen them done on the right hand column of websites with a 3 column layout (os commerce layout) Thing is Iím not a really big fan of that layout and I would like to find a good way of implementing it without including the 3rd right hand column.

It might look something like this:

Cart (link to detailed cart page)
Items: 2
Total: $34.50
Checkout (link)


 12:29 pm on Oct 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I believe the use of a mini-cart most certainly does help with conversions. I have no hard data but am looking at it from a usability and customer convenience point of view - and my own experience.


 6:19 pm on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)


Thanks for responding.


 8:28 pm on Oct 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

you know. I actually recently removed my mini cart.. In fact, I removed my whole 3rd column so I could devote more space to the product pages. For inspiration, I looked at Amazon, who has the largest use case and they don't show a mini cart. NewEgg shows a little single line mini-cart on the upper right of the page. I would A/B test the mini-cart scenario if I had some extra time. I believe that if, and probably when, I re-implement the mini-cart it will take up very little space like one of the 2 sites I mentioned. I would love to know if people have run tests on this.


 12:59 pm on Oct 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> they don't show a mini cart

It depends upon which pages you're on. If you're on the home page and haven't placed anything in the cart - no. But go to a product page and you'll see the option to add to cart. Add something and you'll see a mini-cart.

added - visibility may also depend upon cookies - not sure about this though


 11:16 pm on Oct 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

We use one and our customers really like it...

Am I allowed to post URLs here? I can show everyone.


 11:32 am on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

No URLs - please see Charter [webmasterworld.com] & TOS [webmasterworld.com]


 3:27 am on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

"I actually recently removed my mini cart.. In fact, I removed my whole 3rd column so I could devote more space to the product pages."

The fanatic testers over at marketingexperiments have stated again and again that 2 columns almost always converts better than 3 columns. The 3rd column completely messes up the eye path.

We recently removed our 3rd column, and voila!, plus 18% conversions.

So... test the mini cart, but if you decide to go for it, then integrate it in the header or in your main or second column...


 1:23 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I use such a mini cart in my shop. However I have no idea if this has any effect on conversion.

However personally when I shop online I like to see which items I have already put into the cart on every page.

Because often when I shop around I put something into the cart, so when I find similar products in the shop I can get to the previous products page with one click. And back to the other product again with another when I have put it into the cart.

What I do not like at all are those shopping sites where you do not see any cart at all but only get a short popup "added to cart".

I would also would not recommend to look at Amazon anymore as an example for good usability. The website is so messed up and cluttered with useless stuff and options no one ever uses. I bet they could double their conversions if they would tidy up their website a bit.


 3:22 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Amazon has an amazing 12.8% conversion rate. Honestly, I don't understand why since I also find their interface messed up... but people to love it.

Bryan Eisenberg says that it takes around 90 seconds to load amazon.com, but users *perceive* the speed to be very high since they find what they want and are able to do what they want. Interesting, huh? Because they find the site useful, they perceive it to load fast.


 11:23 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I also dislike Amazonís layout. I find it extremely cluttered. I guess it works for them since they are trying to sell every product on the planet on a single webpage. You always hear the advice of ďjust do as Amazon doesÖĒ But Iím not sure thatís such a good idea for a smaller more focused website.

Oliver Henniges

 1:15 pm on Nov 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Although personally I like amazon very much, I recall a more recent session, where - after putting two or three things in the cart and then just surfing around a bit - it took me two minutes to find the way to checkout.

I don't know what you exactly mean with mini-cart, but a well placed and big enough link/cart-image leading the customer to the checkout page is an absolute must, and it HAS to be placed ON EVERY PAGE as soon as there is one single item in the cart.

Although I used amazon a couple of times before, their mini-cart was simply too small for my nervous eye, and I almost abandoned the session without buying. What if I had been on a another not so famous page, without former experience in their trustworthiness and service?

I'd expect a graphical link to the minicart top right.


 4:43 am on Nov 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Anybody use a mini cart and also having problem with product pages ranking well in Google?

We use a mini cart and ever since we started using it, our product pages have not ranked well. We are thinking that it may be part of the problem. But the addition of it was done at the same time as a major redesign so we are not positive that it is part of the problem.


 6:40 am on Nov 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't think that your minicart is going to harm your SE ranking. We run loads of sites with minicarts and they all rank well.


 3:43 am on Nov 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

We use a mini cart on the top right of our screen. Recently we added a running shipping amount and total and that increased our conversion rate. We have flat rate shipping based on amount so it was pretty easy to add it.

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