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Typically, on ecommerce sites, there is a "Continue Shopping" button or a link in the checkout process.

My question is: should that be linked to the previous page a visitor was on? (like a product page or a category page) or the homepage of the website?

Love to know your opinions on this.

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I think a better solution is to not have the need for the decision to be enforced on the user. Let the user keep shopping until they decide to checkout explicitly.

In case of amazon for instance:

  • User browses the items and adds one to the cart
  • User is taken to a confirmation page, which displays the item added to the cart, a checkout link and then related products to continue shopping
  • There is also 1-click order to bypass the cart process

Overall the need for "Continue Shopping" comes when something new (cart) has been introduced into the users flow, which is not needed.

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I'd say this question is more to marketing rather to UX. Having goal to sell more or provide better service and considering the goods type there could be options:

  • display category page (for clothes)
  • display other category page (software category after buying laptop)
  • display set of categories/accessories page (hardware categories after buying motherboard)
  • display service page (after buying a car or helicopter)

In short, the idea is to predict or lead user to next step. Using this strategy, displaying product page of the product which was bought is not the best idea.

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To follow the everyday example of the cart, nobody needs to make a decision to continue shopping while doing the groceries. Following this skeuomorphic approximation to this issue, a user should just keep shopping until it's time to check out and pay. It is then that the user could revise the item(s) he has thrown into his/her cart and choose whether to go back or not.

As Alok mentioned, this choice, link, or button, is not necessary.

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