Cart vs Bag vs Basket

These terms might seem interchangeable at first glance, as they’re all virtual containers that hold items that a customer intends to purchase, but they play distinctly different roles in the online shopping experience.

These functions are a crucial “safe place” in which you can review your items before you buy them and are designed to replicate the physical world and intuitively mimic the user experience.

Shopping Cart
The shopping cart is the most used of the three, and is a fundamental element of wholesale, tech focussed, large item, or food delivery apps or websites – think eBay, Amazon or Uber. Conversion rate test results have found that “Add to Cart” buttons perform better than Bag or Cart (, and that the icon is the most distinct and recognisable. It’s key elements are:

  • Temporary storage: Items placed in the cart are not immediately considered purchased.
  • Allows easy addition and removal of items.
  • Typically visible as an icon or text in the website’s header or sidebar.
  • Enables users to review and modify their selections before proceeding to checkout.
  • Often used for tracking and displaying the total cost of items in the cart.
  • May also include features like saving a cart for later or applying discounts.

Shopping Bag
The shopping bag is most often used by retail eCommerce businesses that focus on fashion and apparel or that want to enhance the shopping experience by simulating a real-world shopping scenario and to signal exclusive and expensive items, like iPhones. Here’s how a shopping bag differs:

  • Items placed in the bag are considered “saved” or “owned” by the customer.
  • Often used for wish lists or saved items rather than immediate purchases.
  • Allows users to create lists of desired products for future reference.
  • Usually, items in a shopping bag are not considered part of the current shopping session.
  • Can be a way engage customers for marketing purposes, such as sending reminders about saved items or offering discounts on abandoned carts.

Shopping Basket
The term “shopping basket” is the least used term and often used most for grocery delivery sites and despite being the least used, the shopping basket is a critical component of the eCommerce shopping experience, providing customers with a convenient and flexible way to organise their selections before making a purchase.

Understanding the distinctions between cart, basket, and bag in eCommerce is crucial for creating a seamless and user-friendly online shopping experience. By implementing these features effectively, you can optimise your eCommerce website and provide a better shopping experience for your customers, ultimately leading to increased sales and customer satisfaction.