Reducing the number of buttons on shopping basket pages can provide an instant boost to conversion rates, according to the results of an A/B test.

By simply removing the 'update shopping bag' button and replacing it with a slighlty less visible link, Laura Ashley managed to increase conversion results by 18.87%, an impressive result, which shows what the kind of effect a slight tweak here and there can make.

The Laura Ashley shopping basket previously had three buttons of equal size:

According to this article, this was changed to a version where the 'update bag' option was displayed in a text link, though having had a look at Laura Ashley's website today, this has been altered again. 

In the newest version, all three links are buttons once again, but the 'continue shopping' and 'update bag' buttons are in less eye-catching colours and are smaller, making the checkout link stand out more:

Laura Ashley new shopping basket buttons

While reducing the size of the other buttons clearly has the effect of making the checkout link stand out more, the colour, size and wording of the call to action is also important.

River Island's shopping basket page could benefit from some A/B testing; neither of the two buttons for continue shopping or checkout catch the shopper's eye more than any other item on the page. 

Both are in a dull colour, and have not been made big enough to really stand out. A bigger checkout button in a brighter colour (orange is a popular choice for etailers) could make an impact on conversion rates.

There is no room for such confusion on Tesco's shopping basket. The retailer has opted for just one prominent button, and as a result, there is no chance of missing the checkout link:

Tesco shopping basket

Whether retailers choose to have buttons for 'continue shopping' or not, the important point is that, as Laura Ashley has realised, the call to action needs to be the most prominent link on the page.

Graham Charlton

Published 28 August, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (12)

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Rob Jackson

Rob Jackson, UK Managing Director at Elisa Interactive Ltd

Hi Graham - Good post!

We've been doing a lot of MV and A/B testing lately and the methods you've mentioned have worked for certain clients but not others. But you can't discover this until you run a test!

Before deciding what to test we analyse the analytics data to see which aspects of the funnel are causing most users to bounce. We then use session replay tools and form analytics to see what the users are actually doing on that page before they exit.

This allows us to construct hypotheses about which tests to run, removes some of the guess work, and results in tests that are much more likely to succeed.

We'll be discussing this and more at our free event next month.

almost 9 years ago

Adam Tudor

Adam Tudor, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at The Black Hole

Shopping process optimisation is something we have also been focusing on a lot recently, it's one of the most profitable usability projects you can undertake on your site as it's such a win-win; all improvements apply to all visitors that intend to make a purchase.

Every single visitor that wants to make a purchase has to go through this process, so through analysis and optimisation of this you can easily end up increasing overall conversion rates, AOV, & total revenue across all visitors to your site.  Increases of less than half a percent can easily translate through to a healthy boost in overall sales, and over time this work easily pays for itself.

As well as improving overall sales, it can make ppc campaigns more affordable and profitable, increase the ROI of  email marketing campaigns, as well as other marketing activity.

almost 9 years ago


Chris Hill

"shortest route to purchase."

Always, always, ALWAYS keep that in mind when planning an ecommerce system.  The faster you get someone to the checkout, the less time they have to change their mind.

I notice the article above overlooks the differences in how 'quantity' is handled on the basket pages.  Its very easy to use a bit of AJAX behind +/- buttons which negate the need for an 'update cart' button completely.

With reguards to the prominance of the 'checkout' button, I think the problem with Laura Ashley and River Island is one of form over function.  Its all well and good having a strict style guide, but not when its to the detriment of the user experience.  You're not there to look good, you're there to sell.

almost 9 years ago


David Sealey - Director at Quba New Media

Colour is an important consideration for call to action buttons. Psychologically red implies danger, risk, caution or for some adventure and excitement. Green is a much better call to action as the psychological attachment is go, good, safe. This US article on the subject is very good:

David Sealey

almost 9 years ago



Before what is determined to test, which respect is causing most users to jump our analytical method data are seen in this funnel.   Then we use the meeting to show tools and establish the analytical method to see before they withdraw again, what on P those user those make in fact. 

almost 9 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Chris, good point about AJAX. No real need for an update quantity button at all.

almost 9 years ago


AceFlex eBusiness Software

Usability of AJAX in the shopping cart improves the conversion rate, indeed. This makes sense regardless of the audience and works well for all Web shoppers. Of course, the check-out button is better off being prominent, and its color usually depends on the lay-out design used on the Web site.

almost 9 years ago


Stephen Cobb

Nice post Graham -- really appreciate the screenshots!

This is an area where we are working closely with our clients right now, some of whom are struggling against technical limitations (for example, it can be quite challenging to remove the coupon box from the checkout page on some back-end systems and some I.T. departments are not sympathetic, so we developed a tool to cover the box for targeted traffic segments).

What Adam so nicely termed "shopping process optimization" is one more area where the opportunity for improvement in Internet retailing is still wide open. Unfortunately, while the more imaginative and innovative minds in marketing are eager to move forward, internal limitations can make this difficult, frustrating at best.

Obviously one way to meet and beat these internal challenges is to outsource shopping process optimization, for example, via a cloud-based SaaS. Nevertheless, it will always be the sharp minds that drive the most successful retail sites, relying on a mix of machine automation and human insight (you can get a free taste of that mix at our upcoming webinar.

Thanks again for some very instructive pointers to the way forward.


almost 9 years ago


Discount Electronics

Good post.  Not only do the colors make a difference, but so does the text.  We have changed around the text on the checkout button as well as the colors.  We found the most dramatic increase was when we put a lock on the checkout button.  We are still A/B testing the colors to see which works better.

almost 9 years ago


Alex Craven

Great post and some good comments here.

It does of course vary from example to example and is affected by the site design, colours etc so really needs testing in each case.

Incidentally i've just posted to our blog about how to best run a user centred design process and would be interested in comments.

Are wireframes the death of creativity?

almost 9 years ago


Marcela Shine

Great article.  Screenshots really drive the point home!  Thanks for the link David Sealey!!

over 8 years ago


harekrishna patel

"More Buttons" means "More Options". If all buttons available in same size, color and closed to each other, there is no importance of any button.

over 7 years ago

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