Can Unusual Shaped Buttons Increase Conversion?

Though small, the call-to-action button (add to cart, begin checkout, continue, submit, etc) can have a major influence on conversion. The size, placement, color, wording and even shape matters, but you don’t know what’s optimal until you test variations of each variable.

In a recent interview, conversion optimization legend Bryan Eisenberg recently shared one of his secrets for great call-to-action buttons, using irregular shapes (rather than typical rectangle or oval shapes). This includes buttons with icons like big plus signs or shopping carts. It’s the “unusualness” of the button that catches the eye and captures the click.

There is no shape proven to work best (remember, everything must be tested as every website’s design and target customer is different). Your website may even convert better with a conventional button shape. But if you’re daring enough to test an irregular shape, here are some shape ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

(All these button shapes were created with Microsoft Power Point’s shape tool!)

And here is a collection of outside-of-the-box call-to-action shapes actually used by online retailers:

Going funky can be risky, however. Unusual shapes may not look like cart buttons at all – users are conditioned to look for something rectangular. So you may not want to go too crazy with your test designs.

Have you tested irregular shapes? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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11 Responses to “Can Unusual Shaped Buttons Increase Conversion?”

  1. Great post. Never thought of testing different shapes. Thank you for this. It has always been two shapes with different colors and different font, now we add really different shapes to it. Going back to testing……:)

  2. As you say, going funky can be risky. It’s interesting to see that you also have several examples of non-standard copy in there — “add to bag”, “strike a chord” etc.

    I wonder what the impact of that is?

    I’ve heard it claimed, for example, that you should stick with “add to cart” rather than “add to basket” on UK sites even though the word “cart” is seldom used in British shops. And what about “buy now”? Again: that’s often said to be a conversion-killer but came out about equal in one test here. Time for us to re-test, I think!

  3. Wynne says:

    Well thought out post. It must have taken you forever to write this.

    The thought of testing different shaped buttons had never even occurred to me. Good tip.

  4. You have a great post, and it shows your keenness in relations to site design and a call to action.

    With regards to a call to action “button shape” vs. call to action “text” I believe they should compliment each other, i.e. name the call to action button, using a name/word you’ve used within your call to action text.

    Remember: Failure is success if we learn from it.

  5. @Tim Leighton-Boyce “Buy Now” a conversion killer? It’s the best performing copy from my experience.

  6. Tim Leighton-Boyce says:

    @Tony Anici That’s very interesting, thank you. When we were comparing, it came out about equal and was certainly far from a conversion killer. I suspect this may be affected by the kind of products being sold and how considered a purchase is likely to be.

  7. Jonas says:

    Here you will find more button inspiration: http://www.dragnet.se/webbdesign/button_collection.html

  8. Linda-great post!

    We at Performable.com recently created a site you might be interested in. It’s called SuperConversionButton.com (http://www.superconversionbutton.com/) and it helps people create Conversion Buttons.

    Cheers,
    David

  9. Julia says:

    the last one on the left side is my favourite :D

  10. I ran a test with the discounted amount written inside the add to cart button itself. my regular add to cart button out preformed the discounted amount one by a good bit. has anyone else ran this test on their website?

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