eBay Shopping Basket FAQs: how long does stuff stay in my basket?

Since eBay UK’s shopping basket was introduced, a number of people have wondered about the longevity of items added to it. How long do they stay put? Might they just disappear if you’re shopping over a number of days? eBay gave us an answer:

The content of the basket will remain as long as you keep it. eBay will never remove an item from your basket unless the buyer clicks the “remove” link. The buyer is in full control. So if the item expires, eBay will just show a message saying that the item has expired.

It’s nice to know they’ve designed this part properly. If your website has a shopping cart cookie that expires in days or even hours, you might want to reconsider the idea: losing people’s shopping because they haven’t paid for it instantly is a great way to cost yourself both sales and customers.

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And - does anyone else have the basket coming and going without them doing anything to affect it? Mine disappeared yesterday and I was back to "buy it now" buttons: this morning, my basket is back. I didn't opt in or out of any tests in the meantime. Freaky.

Sue Bailey • 21st August 2010 •

Possible reasons: Clearing cache and cookies removes the basket even if you have opted in (it does for me). eBay may opt you in as part of a test group. eBay may have had 'issues', plenty PNR yesterday (for me and others). PS. Has the payment glitch been resolved yet?

JD • 21st August 2010 •

I'm obviously having a dense moment here: I sell unique items. If somebody puts one in their cart, and then doesn't pay for it, why do I want it to stay there "indefinitely"? Don't I want the basket to empty?

JohnC • 22nd August 2010 •

Not really, John. Buyer #2 can still buy the item while buyer #1 has it in their basket, so it's not tying your stock up. Plus as long as it's in buyer #1's basket, they might still buy it too. Win-win.

Sue Bailey • 22nd August 2010 •

Oh, that makes more sense. So will the seller know it's in anybody's basket, or does it only reveal that when actually bought?

JohnC • 22nd August 2010 •

No, you have no way of knowing that it's in anyone's basket.

Sue Bailey • 22nd August 2010 •

This eBay announcement will meet with favour in some quarters, possibly not in others. https://www2.ebay.com/aw/uk/201008.shtml#2010-08-24101929

JD • 24th August 2010 •