eCommerce Mini-Carts: Increase Checkout Rates

Updated August 31, 2022  |  4 min read

Who Uses Mini-Carts?

While the customer’s shopping cart will have its own page, mini-carts are a smaller version of the shopping cart that accompanies the customer through the remaining steps of the checkout process. This often means that the mini-cart will stay on the customer’s page even as they input additional information such as shipping addresses and payment methods. In general, the shopping cart is an area where a customer is still free to make changes, while the mini-cart that accompanies checkout will discourage changes and simply act as an information tool.

Mini-carts are used in every eCommerce format, including eAuction, B2C, B2B, C2C eCommerce, and more. What you’ll want in your mini-cart may change depending on your industry and will change to match your business logic. They can be built to your exact needs and the needs of your customers; let’s see what else they can do.

How Mini-Carts Can Help

It’s important to note that the mini-cart can integrate with your ERP, CRM, or line-of-business software in the same way as other shopping cart integrations and checkout methods do. If someone changes something in the mini-cart, it will affect inventory as if they’d ordered it from a regular page.

Mini-carts also keep customers on task. If they have to input ordering information or credit card information on a page without a mini-cart, they may not feel the urgency if they don’t have the mini-cart in view. If they get distracted for any reason, they might go to another screen and interrupt their own checkout process.

That brings up another point: Never get in a customer’s way to the final purchase button. Mini-carts on the checkout page give the customer the opportunity to edit, but doesn’t encourage them. Studies show that allowing the customer to edit from the checkout page slows their purchasing momentum, and they might go off track so much that they never return. (While it’s not recommended, we can make your mini-cart as editable as you need.) Mini-carts can also be expanded and collapsed in order to give the customer additional page space to work with wherever they are on your eCommerce platform.

What Mini Carts Can Do for You

As simple as it might seem, the mini-cart shouldn’t be an afterthought. Each element should be tailored to your business and the way your customers want to shop. A/B testing of mini-cart features can help you tweak the settings so that you’re guiding the actions of your customers to your mutual benefit.

Each mini-cart is different depending on the client we are working with. Looking at the list below, you can see just how customized a mini-cart can be to perfectly fit any company’s needs. Some are standards, while others are special-case scenarios customized for the eCommerce portal. Exactly what they will look like depends on your needs, your preferences, and what a professional website designer suggests.

What They Are Ordering

A specific list of what the customer is ordering will be a part of every mini-cart. You, or the designer of the site, will have to decide when long titles truncate (if they will at all). You can also decide whether you want a visual representation of the item or if the title of the item will be enough.

mini carts ordering

Regular Price and Discount Price

Everyone loves a bargain, so this gives you the opportunity to show the retail price and the discount that the buyer is getting. Not only does it show them that you have applied the code, but it also works as marketing to give them a better feel about the deal they’re getting.

Item Quantity

Item quantity should be shown so that the customer can verify the number of each item in their cart. This can also be broken out if there will be split-fulfillment, i.e., “15 units of this item will be delivered by Monday, the other 5 units will be delivered on Thursday.”

minicarts item quantity

Additional Discounts and Coupon Codes

You can add as many lines for order-level discounts as you want. This includes discounts for new customers, bulk orders, salesperson specials, negotiated discounts, etc. Coupon codes can also be added, and the field to enter the code can be either very conspicuous or well-hidden. It really depends on how much you use the feature and if you think your customers will be looking for it.


Whether you’re charging for shipping or are shipping for free, this line should be included. Customers who are being charged for shipping want to see the exact shipping rate, and anyone being offered free shipping wants to verify it here.

minicart shipping

Handling Fees

“Shipping and Handling,” “Postage and Packing.” Handling fees in the B2C world are a common way for sellers to tack on some extra costs to the shipping price. But in B2B eCommerce, handling becomes a legitimate concern for big orders. This might include fees for oversized loads, wrapping, breaking up orders for split shipping, and accessorials (liftgate needs, non-commercial delivery destinations, forklift usage upon delivery, etc.)


Customers need to know what they might expect to pay in taxes, customs, and duties, even if it’s not an exact amount. These can easily be added with APIs that give a good estimate on how much each of these charges will be.

Rewards Programs

If you have a rewards program for your customers, the mini-cart can show them the points that they will be gaining from this order. Like the discounts mentioned above, this gives the customer another incentive to complete the order.

minicart rewards

Countdown Timer

If you are offering items that are limited, such as signed art pieces or concert tickets, you might want to include a countdown timer on the mini-cart. This lets the customer know that they have limited time left before the items in their cart are put back into your regular inventory for someone else to buy.

Multicurrency/Digital Currency

If a customer wants to pay in a denomination different from that of your country, or if you accept digital currency, your eCommerce platform probably notified them of the amount of each item in their chosen currency. Now that they’re seeing the mini-cart, they are able to see the total for all of the items in whatever currency they wish.

minicart currency

Working With Clarity

Mini-carts might sound like a simple idea, but their flexibility means that they can be customized to the exact needs of your business. They can be guiding tools that work with our customers the way they want to be treated when on your eCommerce platform.

Clarity has worked with hundreds of clients to perfectly address their mini-cart needs. We’d be happy to show you exactly how a mini-cart can improve your customers’ checkout experience by offering a free discovery process. At the end of it, you’ll have a document that addresses your needs, and you can work with Clarity or take that information to other developers. Get in touch today to get the process started.

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Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.