I am designing a new experience for an e-commerce website that will go live soon and i will want to check it's conversion rate in terms of "My cart" feature.

I thought it will be a good "call to action" when adding an item to cart will switch the cart view (located in the header) to the total amount of his products in his cart so far. I like it when the user gets a good feedback . what do you think?? should i stick with just showing how many items were added ? or show the total cost? do you think it is this intimidate for the user?

  • Why not show both? Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 20:08
  • 1
    I will test it. the thing is that next to it there is a "my fav " list and i don't want the header to be too overload with information
    – Adi Danot
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 20:13

4 Answers 4


As the user navigates your site, I suggest having a persistent display of the number of items in the cart:

  1. It's standard to show the number of items in a cart (reference Amazon, Nordstrom, etc.)
  2. The user is likely shopping and thinking about "what" they are buying
  3. The user probably doesn't want to be reminded constantly about how much they are going to be spending because that is information that might be stressful to them. Once they are ready to check out, they will see this information.

As a user adds an item to the cart, you can show an animation near the cart about what item was added and how much it costs, but that info should probably fade after a couple seconds.

  • Lauren makes a good point here. To add to that, here is a further resource that you can use as a checklist to ensure that the rest of the online shop promotes good user experience. - smashingmagazine.com/2009/10/08/…
    – Desi
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 10:22
  • Citing Amazon as an example is a dangerous path because Jeff Bezos is known to micromanage the design process often times resulting in quite the horrible decisions.
    – dnbrv
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 8:54

Something else to consider regarding showing price is how the price will change with tax and/or shipping added. The number of items won't be affected by actions later down the check-out flow.

For example, if the user selects a shipping option or enters a shipping address and then goes back to shop more, do you show the updated price or not?

What if the user adds another item to their cart which pushes them up a shipping tier? The total of the cart would increase by more than the value of the item added - which doesn't look good!

update Your comment changes the question significantly, therefore, if the donation to charity made by your site is a motivating factor in the use of the site, then it seems reasonable to show the price/donation alongside the number of items.

Especially if the shipping costs issue is not relevant.

  • Yes you are right, but first of all since its a trial version we will have free shipping. This is an commerce that donates certain amount from the total cost to a charity organization so I'm thinking i should present the total amount the customer will donate with the amount of product he will purchase. this is better then telling him how much he will spend and it is aligned with the purpose of this website
    – Adi Danot
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 20:20
  • That changes the scenario significantly. If the amount spent and donated is a motivation for using the site, it would seem a good idea to indicate that.
    – Steven
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 21:43

In a quick survey, Amazon, Wal Mart and Best Buy all opted to show just the number of items in the cart (not the amount).

I'm not sure why, but I can imagine that it hurts business to show the amount as it accumulates even though it would provide a better UX. Users might think "gosh- I already have spent more than $500- I better take something out of my cart". Or, they may have determined only power/advanced users want to see this information so the number of items is simpler.

I would vote to show both if you can, but when in doubt I would follow the precedent set by industry leaders.


Showing number of items in the basket provides just enough feedback to keep the user shopping and assuring him/her that the selected items have been added to the basket. Showing the user more than that without Explicit action from the user is more likely to become a distraction.

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