Articles, Tips

Case Study: Fortune 500 Companies & Their Shopping Carts

November 27, 2009 • By

Fortune 500 companies are placed in a list compiled and published by Fortune magazine. These companies are ranked within the top 500 U.S. corporations by their gross revenue. The first Fortune 500 list was published in 1955. And since then, it has been the dream of most start-ups and established companies to be featured within this list.

A Fortune 500 company has not only expressed success in their ability to rise above the rest, but also in its ability to trade and/or sell flawlessly through specific or various venues. With this being said, we’re going to take a look at a few aspects (mainly user experience related) of top online shopping carts belonging to fortune 500 companies. Although this won’t fuel a company to become known within these warriors list, it will hopefully help designers and developers create a better online shopping experience for users. We also tried to aim for a good balance between companies listed higher up in the group, compared to the lower-end of the listed 500.


AutoZone has a simple, two-tone colored shopping cart that does a bit more than just check you out. The shopping cart informs you of the items availability to ship, its part number (for double-checking), whether it is in stock at stores or only online, and the option to additionally look up items aka “continue shopping”.

With the above named ingredients, the only shopping experience of AutoZone was pretty successful and cozy. Nothing out of the ordinary, however they were able to keep it simple while not boring the user.

Listed number 380 in Fortune 500 list.



The online shopping cart of one of the worlds largest wireless companies, AT&T, was well thought out and designed. It fully compliments the overall color of the site, and sticks to a pre-defined layout. The cart offers several beneficial options to the forgetful or resourceful users such as porting your number from a different company at the top, allowing you to view your shipping costs and options (normally on a separate page), and you can also save the cart for a later date, or print its details for records with ease.

Listed number 8 in Fortune 500 list.



Listed number two in Fortune Magazine’s top 500 companies, Walmart beleives simplicity wins the match against complicated and attractiveness. The cart is neither appealing to the eye or full of options. It’s a very simple cart that offers basic functions. You can edit shipping preferences, search for more options, and pay with more than one form of payment.

As easy as it is to rather develop a much more detailed shopping cart, just remember that sometimes less is best.

Listed number 2 in Fortune 500 list.



Similar to most shopping carts Petsmart uses JavaScript in order to streamline the overall purchasing process. It seems as though this cart places emphasis on promotional codes and important links on the left or right hand side that might lead to more shopping. The shopping carts design is effective, yet it can feel a bit too cluttered at times. Especially if you have several items in the cart at a time.

Listed number 468 in Fortune 500 list.



Microsoft’s online shopping cart is one of the most well-organized, collected, and basic of all. Once you’ve selected the item you wish to purchase the site automatically places it in your shopping cart located at the right-hand side of the page. Delivery options vary, however if it is a software most people opt to download the product. If you wish to change this option then a smaller window pops up into the shopping cart and lets you choose your preferred option.

If you want to inform someone else of your purchase you can easily email the shopping cart info to a friend through a link placed at the bottom left-hand side of the window. The cart also uses as their main function.

Listed number 35 in Fortune 500 list.


With the above mentioned, we took a journey into what a Fortune 500 company’s shopping cart looks like and how it interacts with its users. Please note that a much smaller company should most likely devise a shopping solution that will have a wider variation of ways to interact with its users. Since this will allow you to continue building more clientele, not only with your product(s), but due to the ease of interaction between your shopping cart and customers.

Fortune 500 companies didn’t get to the top because their online shopping experience was favorable, however, building a successful website requires several ingredients, and these companies have created a good balance between a simple shopping cart and a great user experience. Take the time to review the above companies and their shopping solutions, take what you can from them, and use them not as much for inspiration, but as way to define what features are useful and which ones you can do without. A complete list of Fortune 500 and 1000 companies can be found here.