The Staples of a Cart that Converts

cart abandonment

Shopping Cart Abandonment Analysis:, Part 2

In our last website abandonment analysis, we outlined the beginning of our journey through We set out to restock our office’s supply of paper and, along the way, we took a look at what Staples is doing to reduce website abandonment from their online store. In this entry, we’re going to analyze Staples’ shopping cart and take a look at how it helps or hinders us as we move from consideration to transaction.


Reducing Cart Abandonment

What’s Working


The Shipping Threshold
While our trip through was a very real effort to get more paper for the office, we couldn’t help but experiment with a few options here and there–it’s our business, after all. Just before filling our shopping cart, we went ahead and took a peek to see what it looks like while empty. Across the top, Staples’ promotion on threshold-based shipping reminds users exactly how much more value they need to add to their cart before achieving free delivery. This countdown creates an incentive to push your order just over the limit, increasing AOV.



Quality Carts
After adding our paper to the cart, the full features of the shopping cart began to surface. Dynamic product thumbnails, brief product descriptions, and easily updated quantities all keep the user from browsing away from the shopping cart, reducing opportunities for website abandonment. By giving shoppers all of the order-editing options they need while within the shopping cart, you reduce the likelihood of consumers disengaging from the buying experience. Staples does a solid job of reminding users exactly which items are in their cart and gives them the ability to make changes to the order they’re about to place.

Directed Actions
The call-to-action on the page is direct and hits all the important e-commerce requirements. “Begin Secure Checkout” is backed by a vibrant, in-brand red that stands out among a sea of gray buttons. Including “secure” in the button’s copy is a small, but effective way to reassuring the user’s safety as they get ready to input payment credentials.


No Surprises
Across all websites, the second most-often cited reason for shopping cart abandonment is being surprised by shipping charges. According to our research, 23.5% of shoppers attribute their cart abandonment to not seeing the final cost until very late into the process. For clarity’s sake, has a box at the bottom of the shopping cart that clearly outlines the total cost of items in the shopping cart, including shipping fees (if any). Because tax cannot be calculated until the user provides a shipping address, Staples prominently states that the total is “Pre-Tax,” eliminating any price surprises between cart and checkout.


Keep the Path from Cart to Checkout Clean & Clear

While cross-selling is a great method for increasing your average order value, it shouldn’t ever compete with the path to conversion. On the visitor’s shopping cart is saturated with product recommendations, making the ‘begin secure checkout’ button difficult to find. As the customer takes small steps towards checkout, the last thing you want to do is create more hurdles to overcome before completing the transaction.

The lack of customer-support options is also likely contributing to shopping cart abandonment. While links to the help center and contact information are available along the footer of the page, it’s always a good idea to make communication channels prominent just before the user moves to pay. Whichever support medium you choose for your site, be sure that it doesn’t take the shopper away from the shopping cart. Modal windows and live chat windows are great options for providing support without taking the visitor out of the conversion funnel. Shoppers get weary when their money is on the line, so make sure you’re on the line with them.

Distracting Discounts


The coupon field in the shopping cart takes the user to a secondary page that requires either a log-in or a click of the “guest checkout” button. While suppressing the coupon form field is typically a good idea, to create a detour just before checkout is a dangerous game. We’re not quite sure why Staples settled on this particular pathway, but it distracted from the primary objective: increasing conversions.


Now that we have our paper in the shopping cart and all the details look right, the next step is moving on to checkout. In our next post, we’ll analyze the nuances of Staples’ robust checkout and highlight the tactics used to reduce website abandonment.

Further Reading
To learn more about ways you can reduce shopping cart abandonment through website optimization, download UpSellit’s Free 50+ page eBook: 25 Tips & Tricks to Reduce Site Abandonment.


Written by Bryan Gudmundson

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