Shopping Cart Buttons: Who Is Testing?

Last year we posted cart buttons from over 100 top online retailers. Just over a year later, I spotted 46 out of the 111 retailers using different button designs. But does that mean they’re testing? Not necessarily. According to Bryan Eisenberg and Future Now, 75% of retail sites don’t test anything. So, many of these examples below could be the result from a site redesign. Also, there may be tests that I missed if I am included in the control group of a test (being shown the original button). If you’re not testing, you’re leaving money on the table. If you think it’s too expensive or complicated, please join us on September 11, 2008 for a live webinar with Bryan Eisenberg, the author of Always Be Testing to learn how easy it is to get started with Google Website Optimizer (free tool!). Come ready with questions, we’ll have time for them during the call. So sign up today! Until then, please check out these cart buttons and leave a comment on which are your favorite redesigns, or which ones you suspect are testing.

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25 Responses to “Shopping Cart Buttons: Who Is Testing?”

  1. [...] some creative ideas for your site’s "Add to Cart" button? Linda Bustos takes a look at a bunch of before and after designs for popular [...]

  2. ed.c says:

    I like…
    -Urban Outfitters: I’m guessing that they’re original scribed “Add To Cart” was a little too edgy, they did some testing, and decided to go more basic. Good choice. Edgy is fine, but there are better places on the site to express that.

    -Palm: The company’s in trouble, but their “add to cart” button is nice. They used the same font and color as the ones in their logo. Big improvement.

    -Oriental Trading Co.: Literally a change from “Add to Cart!” to “Add to Cart”. The dropping of the ‘!’ seems really minor, but I like it. When I go grocery shopping, I seldom jump for joy when I add a carton of milk to my cart; why should I online? It’s the little details that make a big difference.

    Most of the other ones look like pretty minor changes to me. Some of the new designs (e.g. Williams Sonoma) are an improvement in design imo, while others are pretty neutral. Personally, I like buttons that have a ‘+’ on them.

  3. I’m not surprised to see the changes in buttons.

    E-commerce stores are constantly working to stay up to date with the latest trends and styles that their customers are “hip” to. I’d be willing to bet that at the very least the same percentage of sites will have changed their buttons again by next year.

  4. I was disappointed to see Target change their button as it was the best of the bunch from last years button analysis. Curious if it was a testing change or not?

  5. Wow, what an assortment!

    I think both of the Avon buttons are weak.

    The left JC Penney button doesn’t even look like a button. In fact, if it weren’t blue, it wouldn’t even appear you could click it.

    Spiegel’s right-hand button seems awfully long and wordy. If I felt I needed that many words on my button, I wouldn’t have made it all caps.

    The right hand buttons on Tiger Direct and CompUSA would be rather hard to miss…

  6. Robi says:

    According to me, the best button is the Zappos one because:
    - orange is a very visible color (than good for highlight)
    - it includes an icon very known (shopping basket)
    - it looks like a button (3D)

    Petsmart & JC Penney are interresting one too.

    Eddie Bauer is the worst one, grey is not attractive enought.

    Just my opinion ;-)

  7. Robi says:

    Oups, I’m not sure anymore if the right buttons are the newest. Is it the case?

  8. Birdhouse says:

    American Eagle

    Still needs work:
    LL Bean

  9. I am ready to start testing now. How can you determine what to test first and get the biggest gain for a test?

    No sense in testing something that brings little overall gain, right? What should I look at to begin testing on? Bounce rate of page? Persuasion? Etc….?

  10. I would say the best improvement would be the “PC Connection” one.

  11. The ones that went from not looking like buttons, to now being obviously a button, are good – especially Urban Outfitters and Talbots. But when it comes to a critique, it’s hard to take these out of context. For example, the CDW button looks pretty bad in terms of the pixelated text, until you realize that it’s for a computer site and they are going for something a little “techier” than other sites.

  12. Great responses!

    @Audio Bible, re:

    “I am ready to start testing now. How can you determine what to test first and get the biggest gain for a test?”

    Try something radically different, then refine. Like FTD or Musician’s Friend did. Once you have a clear winner, test another radical design. After a while you get enough confidence in one design against others, then you can test wording, size, color and placement. It’s a continual process.

    “No sense in testing something that brings little overall gain, right? What should I look at to begin testing on? Bounce rate of page? Persuasion? Etc….?”

    You’re looking for a lift in conversions – the call to action being add to cart, you want to measure the increase in visitors taking that specific action.

  13. @Jason,

    I totally agree about the target, and I’ll throw in petsmart’s redesign as I think they had great branding with the original button.

    Northern Tool’s button has the plus sign like Target had and I think it’s BRILLIANT since it also resembles a screw head…

    Agree with Michael Straker that both Avon buttons are weak. Especially since they’re going with a pink theme, having a tiny pink button – it blends in too much. Avon, save your blending for your blush!

  14. I wonder how much affect the little shopping cart icon has on the button, 5 of the above removed the icon, while 9 added it. If there is some testing going on it would be great to see any trends that people are noticing especially around the use of a graphic (cart, bag, or even a plus sign) in that button.

  15. Interesting observation!

  16. It looks like a number of the buttons have gotten worse since last time, based on Web Design 4 ROI’s guidelines. They may have won in tests, but I’m betting those buttons that are smaller, changed to less standard language, became flat rather than “embossed” etc. are the result of redesigns and not marketing testing.

    J Crew’s change in particular looks terrible, as do Eddie Bauer’s and Coldwater Creek’s. Petsmart looks way better! Likewise PC Connection and CompUSA (betting those were tested).

  17. I would bet that most of these changes were not based on tests. Since only about 20% of retailers test, maybe 9 of them were from testing and the others were from product page and brand changes.

  18. You got it. Most of these are not tests, including CompUSA who got bought out by Tiger Direct (but don’t quote me on that one) and ended up with the Tiger Direct button ;)

    I’m still waiting for someone to test the world’s largest add to cart button, a la

    Urban Outfitters, I’m looking in your direction…


  19. [...] est le bouton d’ajout au panier. Le site Get Elastic nous propose une collection de plusieurs dizaines de ces boutons en nous montrant pour chaque commerçant son [...]

  20. [...] Le blog publie l’évolution de plusieurs boutons de sites commercants entre un “avant test” et  un “après test” d’ergonomie. [...]

  21. DJ Waldow says:

    Reviewing these buttons through the lens of an email marketer, I’d wonder how many of them are “bullet proof.” Based on the author of this post – – I’d bet Williams Sonoma’s button is designed for images on and off (HTML…bullet proof).

    Linda – do you have this info based on any of your testing?


  22. [...] En complément du webinar du 11 septembre, voici un petit livre pour accompagner vos démarches de a-b testing … plus de 250 idées de tests à mettre en oeuvre, en commençant par votre bouton “ajouter au panier“. [...]

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