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107 Add to Cart Buttons of the Top Online Retailers

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14 minute read

Add to Cart buttons – they may be small, but no online retail store can do without them. These little, rectangular, sometimes colorful clickables connect the product to the shopping cart and are an extension of your branding. It’s important to put some thought into what your “Add to Cart” icon looks like in your shopping cart.

We’ve collected over 100 Add to Cart buttons from the top online retailers of 2006 to give you some design inspiration. And we’ve summarized some usability guidelines that you can apply to your own Add to Cart button. Ok, there are actually 111 shopping cart icons, but 107 just looked cooler.

1-800-Contacts 1-800-PetMeds 1-800-Flowers
AbeBooks Abercrombie Fitch Alibris
Amazon.com American Eagle Apple
Art Avon Barnes and Noble
BassPro Bath and Body Works Bed Bath and Beyond
Best Buy Blair Bloomingdales
Blue Nile Buy Cabelas
Cafe Press CDW Chadwicks
Circuit City Coldwater Creek Comp-U-Plus
CompUSA Costco Crate and Barrel
Crutchfield CVS
Dell Disney Shopping Domestications
Drs Foster and Smith Drugstore eBags
eCost Eddie Bauer eTronics
Follet Footlocker FTD
Furniture GAP Gateway
Harry and David Hickory farms Hallmark
Home Click Home Depot HP
I Buy Digital JC Penney J Crew
JC Whitney Lands End J Jill
Lillian Vernon Liz Claiborne Linens n Things
LL Bean Lowes Macys
MLB Musicians Friend New Egg
Nieman Marcus Nordstrom Northern Tool
Office Depot Office Max Omaha Steaks
Oriental Trading Company Overstock Palm
PC Connection PC Mall Peapod
PetSmart Pro Flowers QVC
Radio Shack Ralph Lauren REI
Ritz Camera Scholastic SAKS
Schwans Sears Sephora
Shop NBC Smart Bargains Sony Style
Sportsmans Guide Staples Spiegel
Talbots Target The Sharper Image
Tiger Direct Toys R Us Urban Outfitters
Victorias Secret Walmart VistaPrint
Walgreens Williams Sonoma Zappos

And now for some stats, because percentages make it cooler.

Button Text Button Graphics
Add to Cart 58.0% None 48.2%
Add to Bag 9.8% Arrows 17.9%
Add to Shopping Bag 9.8% Cart 14.3%
Add to Basket 6.3% Shopping Bag 7.1%
Add to Shopping Cart 4.5% Plus Sign 5.4%
Buy 2.7% Combo 4.5%
Buy Now 1.8% Unique 1.8%
Add Item(s) to Cart 1.8%
Add Item(s) to Bag 0.9%
Add to My Bag 0.9%
Add to My Brown Bag 0.9%
Add to My Shopping Cart 0.9%
Order Now 0.9%

How the Add To Cart Button Can Reinforce Your Branding

At first the “Add to Cart” button may seem like a minor detail, but it has the potential to create an emotional connection with your brand. Your choice of shape, color, font and button text all affect that connection.

Urban Outfitters’ felt pen lettering echoes the brand’s edgy, street persona (it may however be at the expense of findability as it does nothing to stand out on the screen). Northerntool’s plus sign icon resembles a screwdriver head. Petsmart’s little red doggie ball is fun, playful and instantly recognizable. Bloomingdale’s signature “big brown bag” icon captures its cachet. And Polo’s timeless, deep navy blue button brings harmony between its online and offline identity.

Button text is also of great importance. “Add to Shopping Bag” sounds more appropriate for high end department stores than “Add to Cart,” which is more believable for a WalMart or Target. “Order Now” may work for long time catalog brands now accommodating online orders. In the UK, “Add to Basket” is more prevalent terminology.

Button Design and Usability

Button Text

Web copywriting emphasizes scannabliity — perhaps the golden rule of web copywriting is don’t use 5 words when three will do. How much more should this rule apply to a small button? Nevertheless, we found 15% of the top etailers going long. Harry and David’s “Add To My Shopping Cart” — though personal — is a mouthful.

“Buy Now” may be a stronger call to action than “Add to Cart”, but may subtly suggest the user is finished shopping or is making a commitment to purchase without time to review the order. The beauty of “Add to Cart” is that it is non-committal and assumes the user is still looking around. And if you’re a good e-salesperson, you’re showing suggested products and a “continue shopping” link from view cart page (or you are using an in-line cart with Ajax’y goodness).

Text Formatting

General web usability guidelines recommend sans-serif fonts with high contrast color selection (high-contrast white on black or dark blue rather than low-contrast like Chadwick’s blue-on-blue).

All-caps are generally discouraged in web copywriting. Mixed case is the easiest to read, although all lower case is also easy. We found 45% of “Add to Cart” buttons using all-capitals. Walgreen’s slaps white all-caps text on a light colored, tiny button with a gradient and an icon, forcing some users to squint.

Button Placement

If you offer helpful features on your product pages like wishlists, enlarged photos, color switching, alternate product views, email to friend, size chart, view cart or check out buttons, make sure the “Add to Cart” button is obvious, bright and prominent in comparison. Less important functions can be lighter colored buttons or simple text links.

Stacking Text

Stacking text is not a good idea for links or navigation buttons, and the same goes for “Add to Cart” buttons. Users have come to expect some form of rectangular shape, and when quickly scanning a page, it may take longer to distinguish button from decoration, and even become frustrating. No need to reinvent the wheel, stick to the convention.

What if You Use A Button From a Template?

Even if you don’t use a custom designed “Add to Cart” button for your shopping cart, choose a button that complements your site’s theme (complements does not infer it must be the the exact same color). And make sure you pick one design and stick with it. Ecommerce thrives on trust, and random buttons erodes customer confidence.

What do you think is the best button in the collection? What about elsewhere on the web?

Linda Bustos
Linda Bustoshttp://www.elasticpath.com
Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.
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