Which is a better way in displaying customers' empty cart?

Suggest your products to them ? :

redmart.com empty cart

Or just show that the cart is empty to the customer? :

ipmart.com.my empty cart

The first approach may help convert to sales, BUT only if customers do hover at the cart everytime they visit the page,

Second approach is common in most e-commerce site. Plus this is what customers will always expect when they hover/click on the cart. I believe this is what intuitive means, customers act on their own because it feels familiar, hence they might not hover/click at the cart frequently.

So which one should be used here?

  • Don't think there need to be suggestions to what a person might need to add in his cart. It's all subjective. Unless you have machine-learning enabled, I think option two is more common. Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 5:15
  • Shopping cart should not be visible if there is no product added.
    – esenkaya
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 22:55

3 Answers 3


The question I have is: Why did the customer click on an empty shopping cart? This is not part of the normal shopping flow. Reasons I can think of:

  • The user doesn't understand how online shopping works. In which case a more general message and link to help the user continue shopping would help. I don't think recommendations of specific items add value, though, because you are unlikely to know what the user wants. Therefore, these recommendations won't have much impact. Plus, seeing a list of items here might be a bit confusing.
  • The user checked out recently and wants to review their order. In which case a link to past orders makes sense.
  • The user was working on an order but can't see it because they are not signed in. In which case, a sign in link might be what they need.

I would consider which of the above reasons might fit your case and tailor the message to the potential reasons and the current context. For example:

Your shopping cart is empty

Return to the store to add items for your delivery slot.

View past orders.


Your shopping cart is empty

Please select a delivery slot to begin an order.

View past orders.


Your shopping cart is empty

Please sign in to begin shopping or continue an order.

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  • Why did I click an empty shopping cart? Because of poor UI design! This just happened to me. I was on a site that doesn't show the item count of an empty cart - without a nice Zero, how can I be sure my cart is really empty? In my case, I added my first item and then removed it after changing my mind. The interface didn't give me a warm fuzzy that the item was actually removed. In the store, I can see my basket is empty. A (and the only?) universal icon for an empty basket is the number Zero. Folks may be tempted by the word "Empty", but 0 requires 0 translation :)
    – spioter
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 15:35

Randomly recommending things is not a good idea.

Option 1 - No.

Option 2 is the most used kind of shopping cart in these days. You may use that as well , which is quite normal.

But a plain message "your shopping cart is empty" is not the best UX you can have.

Surprise the user. Give user something to start with. You can give links to special offers. Or may be a link to what is special in your website ( based on what you sell ).

The best thing- If you are using machine learning you can track the user history and recommend the most commonly browsed items to the user , based on his browsing history and patterns. ( this is a must do thing if you want build a decent e-commerce website ).


You need to do a combination.

Cart is Empty Message

Message does need to be there to tell buyers that they have nothing in their cart. If you don't sow that message, it may confuse your buyers

Marketing Material

Empty shopping cart page is a good place to provide an incentive to the shopper. If a buyer did end up on this page it could mean a couple of things:

  1. User just removed last and final product from their cart for whatever reason
  2. They forgot if they added a product their previously looked at into their cart
  3. They just placed an order and wanted to review it again, or review past orders they've placed

In either case you can re-capture their attention by offering meaningful information

Take a look at Amazon and Zappos, both provide different incentives. You just have to make sure those incentives are not overpowering.

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