TESTED: Buy Now, Order Now, Add to Cart... Which is best?

55 replies
I have been doing a lot of research in the last several months on type of order button gets the best conversions. I tried and tested three button types “Buy Now” vs. “Order Now” vs. “Add to Cart”.

Traditionally, “Add to Cart” means you are just adding something to the cart and may keep shopping and checkout later. But about a year ago I noticed more and more people using “Add to Cart” option when going straight to the checkout page.

So I decided to run some tests over several months keeping everything else the same, only changing the button text.

I ran this test on three different websites, each button getting a full month, then after three months I ran the same test again starting over from the beginning.

I was somewhat surprised by my results…

Which button text do you think won?

I started off with “Buy Now” and tested this text in months 1 & 4. I then switched to “Order Now” in months 2 & 5. Finally, I tested “Add to Cart” in months 3 & 6.

1. “Buy Now” was my control for this test and the other text was compared to it.

2 . “Order Now” had a positive conversion rate on two of my three sites and negative on one.

Site 1 had +1.4% conversion rate.
Site 2 had +2.1% conversion rate.
Site 3 had -.03% conversion rate.

Overall “Order Now” was slightly better.

3. “Add to Cart” was the wild card and the results were somewhat surprising. All three sites had much higher conversion rates with the “Add to Cart” text on the button.

Site 1 had +11.6% conversion rate.
Site 2 had +9.4% conversion rate.
Site 3 had +13.3% conversion rate.

Why is the “Add to Cart” text so much better? I am going to take a stab at this even though it is a pure guess. I feel like “Add to Cart” text is not a final commitment. You can add the item to the cart and then change your mind later. So when a person clicks the “Add to Cart” button they are not putting as much thought into it, it’s not the final decision. Where as if it said “Order Now” or “Buy Now” they may have had to think about it more before deciding to part with the money.

However, they are still taken directly to the checkout page. The customer is in a buying mood even if they may not have been dedicated to buy, you have helped push them along through the checkout process. Maybe now the customer is subconsciously thinking “I am here at the checkout page, I might as well checkout”.

The “Add to Cart” button has somehow pushed the customer passed one of the biggest road blocks to buying.

This is my two cents. Does anyone else have thoughts or have personal experience on this?
#add #buy #cart… #order #tested
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  • Profile picture of the author baldandwrinkly
    What an amazing and useful bit of split testing! Never considered the implications of the different buttons.
    Thank you for posting about it, rather than just testing and using the results for yourself.
    I think I'll give this a go myself!
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    That is cool to learn that the Add To Cart button gets more people to buy.

    I am not sure why but thanks for sharing that with us.
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  • Worth noting - Amazon use 'add to basket'

    + 'buy now with 1 click' (if signed in)
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  • Profile picture of the author zenxseo
    Good Case study ,
    even some can after sales as up sell
    add a Add to Cart with what ever Extra product your have PLR etc,, and Cash that buying mood
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  • Profile picture of the author XponentSYS
    Good post. My experience aligns with your findings, which is why we use "Add to Cart".

    I've been using it for so long I've forgotten my results using other buttons so if I may, let me put a question to you....

    You did a fantastic job tracking your sales page conversions. Did you also track your order page conversions? If so, did you find a slight increase in your order page bounces with the "add to cart" button being used?

    I can't be sure because it's been so long since I switched to "add to cart", but if memory serves me, I seem to recall a SLIGHT increase in order page bounces.

    For me though, the increased sales page conversions FAR offse any negative impact a higher order page bounce, so we still came out ahead.
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    • Profile picture of the author ChrisDouthit
      Originally Posted by XponentSYS View Post

      Good post. My experience aligns with your findings, which is why we use "Add to Cart".

      I've been using it for so long I've forgotten my results using other buttons so if I may, let me put a question to you....

      You did a fantastic job tracking your sales page conversions. Did you also track your order page conversions? If so, did you find a slight increase in your order page bounces with the "add to cart" button being used?

      I can't be sure because it's been so long since I switched to "add to cart", but if memory serves me, I seem to recall a SLIGHT increase in order page bounces.

      For me though, the increased sales page conversions FAR offse any negative impact a higher order page bounce, so we still came out ahead.
      I did not look at sales page load, although I am sure they would be much higher as well with the "Add to Cart" option. Probably by the same percentage or more, I may end up looking that up. It would make sense that there are more bounces, but the end results of more sales is ultimate what I am after.
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  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    That is great that you verified some test results.

    Here is a web site that had it all tested in 2008:
    The Belcher Button | Perry Belcher

    He already found out that "Add to card" outperforms all others.
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  • Profile picture of the author RyanLima
    In "MY" testing... I have found that Add To Cart, Get Instant Access and Sign Up Now work Great!!

    Hope this helps.
    Good luck!!
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  • Profile picture of the author GamerZag
    I've been selling software for years and can say that a "Buy Instant Access" seems to work best. It gives the impression that a user can buy and gain immediate access.

    That said, put multiple buttons on your site, with multiple wordings, and check their performance, and move them around and recheck as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author AndhikaWijaya
    "Add To Cart" still the best, but in my country "Order Now" have a good conversion.
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    • Profile picture of the author ChrisDouthit
      Originally Posted by AndhikaWijaya View Post

      "Add To Cart" still the best, but in my country "Order Now" have a good conversion.
      Did you split test that too for your country?
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      • Profile picture of the author larryboy03
        Originally Posted by ChrisDouthit View Post

        Did you split test that too for your country?
        Do you use an add to cart button or just in page content CTA?

        Also, did you test this with Amazon?

        Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Moneymaker2012
    I feel like “Add to Cart” text is not a final commitment. You can add the item to the cart and then change your mind later. So when a person clicks the “Add to Cart” button they are not putting as much thought into it, it’s not the final decision. Where as if it said “Order Now” or “Buy Now” they may have had to think about it more before deciding to part with the money.
    I was thinking that choosing text of button is up on my choice but you share a great thoughtful info with us thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    That is why split testing is so important. Every thing depends on everything else. the way your page reads, the colors, the content the market ect.

    Split testing with the right softare can propel you, no split testing or split testing with cheap software will just make you want to quit.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Even though i use "Add to Cart".... shoot, i could care less as long as i get my minimum $5,000 a month. I dont touch a thing.

    I used to run Amazon Payments on my site... outstanding sales and conversion rates. But i dont trust Amazon with my money, so i stick to Paypal.
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    • Profile picture of the author seoboyz01
      Hi,
      I think Buy Now button is more converting than order now and Add to cart.

      Add to cart button is good if you have lots of other products. This way you can push the visitor to buy other products. This way he will keep shopping.

      Also make the button more attractive and eye catching.

      Thanks
      seoboyz
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  • Profile picture of the author actionplanbiz
    Just Made a Belcher Button for my sales page. thanks to this post.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Delos
    This is surprising. If I clicked an "add to cart" button and there was no cart this would set off a BS detector. Though maybe people don't consciously notice this kind of thing with an "add to cart" button.
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    • Profile picture of the author ChrisDouthit
      Originally Posted by warriordanny View Post

      This is surprising. If I clicked an "add to cart" button and there was no cart this would set off a BS detector. Though maybe people don't consciously notice this kind of thing with an "add to cart" button.
      If you click add to cart and go to a checkout page I don't think it appears as BS, it is just a one product cart. Customer an always hit back.
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  • Profile picture of the author midolyon
    This is a really good split testing, i'll try it on my own and see if the results match. And i notice this about myself that in general if i see the Add to cart button i'll click it because i know that if i change my mind later i can still delete my choice but in general i'll procedd with the checkout after the Add to cart.
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  • Profile picture of the author TJTrux
    Thank you for sharing this!
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    • Profile picture of the author LastWarrior
      ChrisDouthit,

      So, let me guess...

      You're selling a brand new never offered to the Warrior Forum 50+ custom made <Add To Cart> graphics package for $9.99? Of course the upsell is that buyers get the PSD files along with an additional 100 graphics for only $19.99!

      LOL! Anyway, my guess on why it works better is pretty much the way you described it. Some psychology going on that triggers a buyer knowing clicking that button is not necessarily a full commitment to buy instantly, but then they've been led to water so they might as well take a drink... so to speak.

      =========================

      As for the bounce rate, I'd guess without looking at any statistics is it would be higher as you're getting a higher percentage of buyers through the door without making that last final commitment with many backing out.

      Good post! Thanks.

      LastWarrior
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  • Profile picture of the author vedremo
    Banned
    Good job! I also use Add To Cart. I guess it works best since there's no pressure in buying. Subconsciously, online buyers are being enticed and programmed to give in to their wants.

    Thanks for sharing your thorough test on these buttons.
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  • Profile picture of the author bwh1
    Thanks for sharing - will change my Buy Now buttons to see if conversions improve.

    By the way, your stats are for sales or order form impressions?

    G.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    Yep, 'Add to Cart' has been a proven winner for years.

    Here's a tip. One of the biggest marketplaces online, Amazon, has what text on their buy buttons? Yes, 'Add to Cart'. Do you think maybe they have spent a LOT of money and a LOT of time split testing things over the years? Hell yeah.
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  • Profile picture of the author winddragon
    Originally Posted by ChrisDouthit View Post

    I have been doing a lot of research in the last several months on type of order button gets the best conversions. I tried and tested three button types "Buy Now" vs. "Order Now" vs. "Add to Cart".

    Traditionally, "Add to Cart" means you are just adding something to the cart and may keep shopping and checkout later. But about a year ago I noticed more and more people using "Add to Cart" option when going straight to the checkout page.

    So I decided to run some tests over several months keeping everything else the same, only changing the button text.

    I ran this test on three different websites, each button getting a full month, then after three months I ran the same test again starting over from the beginning.

    I was somewhat surprised by my results...

    Which button text do you think won?

    I started off with "Buy Now" and tested this text in months 1 & 4. I then switched to "Order Now" in months 2 & 5. Finally, I tested "Add to Cart" in months 3 & 6.

    1. "Buy Now" was my control for this test and the other text was compared to it.

    2 . "Order Now" had a positive conversion rate on two of my three sites and negative on one.

    Site 1 had +1.4% conversion rate.
    Site 2 had +2.1% conversion rate.
    Site 3 had -.03% conversion rate.

    Overall "Order Now" was slightly better.

    3. "Add to Cart" was the wild card and the results were somewhat surprising. All three sites had much higher conversion rates with the "Add to Cart" text on the button.

    Site 1 had +11.6% conversion rate.
    Site 2 had +9.4% conversion rate.
    Site 3 had +13.3% conversion rate.

    Why is the "Add to Cart" text so much better? I am going to take a stab at this even though it is a pure guess. I feel like "Add to Cart" text is not a final commitment. You can add the item to the cart and then change your mind later. So when a person clicks the "Add to Cart" button they are not putting as much thought into it, it's not the final decision. Where as if it said "Order Now" or "Buy Now" they may have had to think about it more before deciding to part with the money.

    However, they are still taken directly to the checkout page. The customer is in a buying mood even if they may not have been dedicated to buy, you have helped push them along through the checkout process. Maybe now the customer is subconsciously thinking "I am here at the checkout page, I might as well checkout".

    The "Add to Cart" button has somehow pushed the customer passed one of the biggest road blocks to buying.

    This is my two cents. Does anyone else have thoughts or have personal experience on this?
    Great bit of split testing . did you try "Get Instant Access"? that seems to be the latest trend and I've had some success with it but have not rigorously split tested it so I'm wondering if you (or anyone else) has tried it and gotten significant results
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  • Profile picture of the author ErinWalsh
    This is great information. I already use "Add to cart," but had no idea of the conversion. Thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author garmahis
    I'm wondering if "add to cart" should lead to actual shopping cart page or directly to PayPal checkout?
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  • Profile picture of the author lgibbon
    Banned
    Speaking as a buyer, I buy if I like the product.
    I couldn't give 2 hoots what colour, or what the buy button says.
    In fact I probably couldn't even describe it 2 minutes later.
    I think your time could be better spent.
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    • Profile picture of the author wilks3y
      Originally Posted by lgibbon View Post

      Speaking as a buyer, I buy if I like the product.
      I couldn't give 2 hoots what colour, or what the buy button says.
      In fact I probably couldn't even describe it 2 minutes later.
      I think your time could be better spent.
      Whilst its nice to see someone sharing some absolutely brilliant information, I have to agree with you.

      If I'm buying something, I couldn't care less whether it said "Add to Cart" or "Buy Now" etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
      Originally Posted by Randall Magwood View Post

      Even though i use "Add to Cart".... shoot, i could care less as long as i get my minimum $5,000 a month. I dont touch a thing.

      I used to run Amazon Payments on my site... outstanding sales and conversion rates. But i dont trust Amazon with my money, so i stick to Paypal.
      So you don't care about improving conversions and split testing to see what makes more money?

      You just do whatever you feel like and take whatever money comes?

      You're supposed to be a marketer aren't you? A marketer tests things, gets data and goes with the best results.

      And you don't trust Amazon yet you trust Paypal? A company with a history of f*cking people over?

      Originally Posted by lgibbon View Post

      Speaking as a buyer, I buy if I like the product.
      I couldn't give 2 hoots what colour, or what the buy button says.
      In fact I probably couldn't even describe it 2 minutes later.
      I think your time could be better spent.
      You think that it doesn't matter but it does.

      Subconsciously these things matter.

      We don't realize it most of the time but we can be put off from buying / clicking etc because of colours and text and all sorts of other things even if we like the site / product.

      Doesn't matter if afterwards you can't remember what the button said. The point is certain things influence or decisions and anyone running a website / business has to be testing these things and putting the best results into action.
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      • Profile picture of the author lgibbon
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Stuart Walker View Post

        Subconsciously these things matter.
        Rubbish.
        If you've got a crap product, no one is going to subconsciously buy it
        just because you've got a pretty button.

        If you've got time to waste on this nonsense go right ahead.
        I suspect any savvy competitor will be spending his time
        improving the product rather than a button.
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        • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
          Originally Posted by lgibbon View Post

          Rubbish.
          If you've got a crap product, no one is going to subconsciously buy it
          just because you've got a pretty button.

          If you've got time to waste on this nonsense go right ahead.
          I suspect any savvy competitor will be spending his time
          improving the product rather than a button.
          And how will you know a product is crap before you buy it? :rolleyes:

          The fact is SERIOUS marketer split test everything and base their decisions on data.

          Others just "go with their gut feeling" and what they "think" or "believe" works and really have no clue what they are doing.

          Or in your case "suspect"...which proves you don't really know.

          REAL marketers DO NOT "suspect" anything. They TEST!

          And different text on buttons, colors, positioning and many other things can make a HUGE difference on conversion rates.

          DMIX increased conversions by 72% by changing the colour of their button (Source)

          QuickSprout increased subscriber rates by 22% by adding a value to their course (Source)

          One headline change saw Vizual Websiter Optimizer get a 127% increase (Source)

          Quicksprout found by asking for less information they saw an increase of 26% (Source)

          By removing distracting content from their page Conversion Rate Experts increased conversions by 25.9%
          (Source)

          But it's not worth wasting time on this 'nonsense'....right?
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          • Profile picture of the author lgibbon
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Stuart Walker View Post

            And how will you know a product is crap before you buy it? :rolleyes:
            One would expect the sales copy might be sending out a few clues.
            A few more than the buy button anyway.

            And what is a "Real" marketer?
            Someone who has some kind of diploma in marketing,
            or another of the many self appointed experts?
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Earle
    Great post Chris,

    I'll start split testing the 3 myself and see if I get similar results.
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  • Profile picture of the author anders83k
    great work guess that "add to cart" does not feel so "pushy" and feels more comfortable to click than the more agressive buy now or dodgy sounding "buy for free"
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  • Profile picture of the author warrior2008
    Wow! Brilliant Split Test!

    regarding... "Add To Cart Is Not A Final Commitment!"

    Yes, you probably NAILED IT! Great Job; Keep Going!

    Cheers,

    Warrior2008
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  • Profile picture of the author onlinebizgiant
    To be frank, I don't mind what's the button used on a sales page once I need the product and the sales copy could convince me enough.
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  • Profile picture of the author jessicah
    I stant by your theory. "Buy now" sounds more like an ultimate step and people are afraid to throw away money just like that if they feel like they are constraint. What if they find something better after?
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    Originally Posted by ChrisDouthit View Post

    I feel like "Add to Cart" text is not a final commitment. You can add the item to the cart and then change your mind later. So when a person clicks the "Add to Cart" button they are not putting as much thought into it, it's not the final decision. Where as if it said "Order Now" or "Buy Now" they may have had to think about it more before deciding to part with the money.

    Chris,

    I agree with you. However, I think there's another factor involved, as well.

    In marketing, it's often said that people "love to buy... but hate to be sold." In this age of skepticism, I think that's even more true.

    "Buy Now" and "Order Now" are pushy phrases, whereas "Add to Cart" is not. "Add to Cart" means the prospect is making the decision; with those other phrases, the prospect is being coerced into buying. Big difference.

    I think these two factors account for the conversion boost.

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Were the buttons all the same size, color, and graphic style, with only the verbiage on the button changed?

    What about the traffic sources? The quality of the traffic sources and their expectations before they arrive on your page can make a bigger difference than any button text.
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  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    I think your experiment could be improved by testing all of the buttons concurrently instead of having each button being the only one used during the months it was tested. For all you know, months 3 & 6 could have been the best months for sales regardless of which button was used.
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    :)

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  • Profile picture of the author angelosKy
    I didn't realize before that this different on button can affect my decision but i put my slelf in place of potential buyer with the three buttons (Buy Now, Order Now, Add to Cart) and I think Order now can make me push easier than the other two. Interesting!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Maxima123
    Good Information thanks for sharing. It is interesting to see that "Add to cart" has more reponse than other two.i.e buy now and order now.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      An interesting side note to the subject... Ebay uses BOTH " Add to Cart " and " Buy It Now ". Most " Retailors " use " Add to Cart " but as you start looking at retailors that have a very specific product line such as DJI ( Drones ) they use " Buy Now "

      Regardless of what ever results the OP got... you SHOULD NOT just assume that is what will work for you. You need to test this for your site, and your traffic.

      I personally run multiple sites... and there is in no way a clear winner on this.. and regardless if there was... to say that 5 sites this works, so I will do it for all of them... is plausibly cutting your self short.
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  • Profile picture of the author cearionmarie
    Your research sparked my interest. So the "add to cart" option converts more, Thanks for this valuable content. I did't actually mind these things as I thought they were really irrelevant when it came to sales. You study is awesome!
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    This is actually a very good demonstration as to why you need to test all of this. Many people would just pick one (sometimes randomly), this just shows how testing is critical to maximizing your potential earnings.
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  • Profile picture of the author FreedomBlogger
    Very interesting split test data!

    I believe it is because of the psychology behind what the buy button says. Your guess is most likely right. People don't like to be sold a lot but love to buy. So, having a button that has a strong call to action can seem too salesly, right. On the other hand, the "add to cart" is more of a passive way of selling. Plus, you also gotta keep in mind that most buyers online are really used to the 'Add To Cart' buttons because these are the same on Amazon and other ecommerce sites.

    Think about that one!

    It is all psychology here.

    So, now we know what works best!

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiment here!
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  • Profile picture of the author Authony Clark
    Good Case study ,
    even some can after sales as up sell
    add a Add to Cart with what ever Extra product your have PLR etc,, and Cash that buying mood
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