Most e-commerce models use a funnel to show a linear process of finding your site, then finding products, adding those products to a cart, and finally checking out. However many shoppers don’t follow a linear model. Think about example when you’re shopping. You pick up a few items, maybe walk around the store more, then perhaps put some items back – some because you may change your mind and others because you’re aware of your budget. Thus enters the mini cart.
In actuality the cart is more like a holding bin. Shoppers collect items they’re considering but not convinced that they actually want to purchase. As a result, the cart needs to do more than simply hold items for purchase. The cart needs to assist shoppers in making their purchase decisions. This is an area where merchants can leverage the store design to make more and larger sales.
The challenge is that the cart is usually a separate page on the site that’s part of that funnel. The full-page cart isn’t as conducive to this idea of a holding area and a full-page cart takes shoppers away from your product pages. This is where the mini cart shines!
One of the most important pieces of feedback when shopping is a clear indication that an item was successfully added to your cart. The usual indicator of a cart icon with a number is often hard to see and doesn’t give easily visible feedback of success. This is another place where the mini cart shines. Showing the mini cart to the shopper after adding an item is a clear indication that the item was successfully added to the cart.
The mini cart should show all details of products in cart (style, color, size) and also let the shopper change the quantity and remove items. A good mini cart should be easy to get to and also easy to put away when not needed.
The mini cart is also a place to show add-ons or other ways to increase the cart value. A great way to add cart value is to show how a shopper can get additional value such as free shipping or additional savings.
We recently worked with American Made Supply Company to deliver a mini cart enhancement to show shoppers how much they need to buy to get free shipping and 10 or 15 or 20 percent off.
We used a thermometer with simple gradations to entice a shopper to get more savings by adding more to their cart. The gradients and savings amounts can be set in the admin.
The mini cart also has a clear button for checkout.
A good mini cart could actually replace the full-page cart. As long as all the key functionality is present in the mini cart, the full-page cart may be redundant.
Looking at the mini cart is a great example of how paying close attention to the shopping interface has the potential to increase your average cart value and conversions.