Helping customers add items to the cart (and lists) earlier in the user journey

by Shareef Ayyad. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

In my last post, I discussed the merits of eBay’s list feature, and how it should be promoted to its customer base more heavily. Well, to continue picking on eBay, I also think the site should allow users to carry out more tasks outside of the product pages.

Let me explain.

Give more power earlier in the journey

Currently, a purchase process can only begin from the product page. I think in order to move users closer to purchase faster, they should be allowed to add items to lists, and more importantly to the cart, without having to visit the product page.

Imagine this scenario. Paul is browsing deals > electronics > film/TV and decides there are two DVD box sets that his father may enjoy but he’ll need to check with his mother first, and one that he’ll definitely enjoy but the listing is ending in five minutes. His budget will only allow for a purchase of two box sets.

Here, Paul needs to be able to add the time sensitive item to his cart and complete the transaction quickly. He also needs to save the two other possible gifts to his father’s gift list so he can make a decision later. Currently, both of these tasks (add to cart, add to list) can only be performed on the product page. For some purchases (e.g. second-hand auctions, electronics with detailed specs etc.) it’s important to study the product page to gain confidence in the seller and the item, but for other purchases there is enough information on the category page to commit to buy (e.g. brand new DVD box sets).

How this might work

When hovering over an item, the image box should extend to reveal the ‘Add to basket’ and ‘Add to Gift list’ buttons. ‘Add to basket’ implies there is still a ‘review transaction’ stage to come, which is preferred over the more direct sounding ‘Buy it now’ button.


This immediacy of the calls-to-action will persuade impulse buyers to keep adding things they fancy to their lists, or to actually commit to a purchase immediately.

Another (optional) step before viewing the product page is the modal window (activated with the magnify glass – see image above) which displays product images larger, and allows users to cycle through the product list. There is an opportunity here to create the same immediacy, but actually provide a little more information to help the user commit to purchase (e.g. delivery price, seller experience, estimated delivery dates). Product pages are very busy, so this modal window can act as an (optional) alternative route to purchase, shown below: