An add to cart button is a simple website element that can transform your online conversion rate. Your shoppers may not remember what your button looks like or says — that's how intuitive it should be — but an effective button can inspire a click and lock in their internal commitment to buy. Thanks to the power of psychology, even the smallest design changes can turn casual browsers into buyers.
Keep reading for nine tips for designing add to cart buttons that lead to sales.
1. Opt for Rounded Corners
When you take a look at the top ecommerce stores in the U.S. — Amazon, Walmart, and Apple — you may notice their add to cart buttons all have one thing in common: rounded corners.
User interface (UI) elements with rounded corners are proven to attract consumers more than those with sharp ones. It's a psychological concept called contour bias. Our brains are conditioned to avoid sharp objects, even when they're digital.
Choosing rounded corners for your add to cart buttons will make your product or service pages feel much more friendly and positive.
2. Select Your Add to Cart Button Color Wisely
Image credit: REI
To stay consistent with the rest of your online store, the color of your add to cart button should match your brand colors. However, it's important to select a shade (or even a gradient) that makes it stand out.
For example, REI's website uses dark green add to cart buttons on top of its white background. All other buttons and hyperlinks on its product pages are much lighter shades, too. This creates the contrast needed to draw shoppers' eyes toward the button.
On the flip side, choosing a light gray button could blend into a white background, which could hurt your conversions.
3. Use Style Elements to Make Your Button Pop
Once you choose a color that fully contrasts your website background, you can customize your add to cart button further with more attention-catching design elements. For example, adding a thin border and light shadow around your button can make your button look more three-dimensional.
You can also add an arrow after your button text. This signifies to shoppers that, once the button is clicked, they'll move forward in the process and one step closer to a solution.
4. Consider a Button Hover Effect
Image credit: Target
Responsive buttons — those that change colors or move when you hover over them — can draw even more attention to your call to action (CTA). Beyond getting more eyes on your button, these hover effects can indicate to shoppers that your button is usable and will take them to the next step in the buying process if they click.
Target's add to cart buttons, for example, turn a darker shade of red when you hover over them. It's a subtle change that makes their product list pages feel more engaging and interactive and makes their buttons feel more clickable.
You can find plenty of button hover effect examples, including CSS and HTML code to inspire your web team, on sites like CodePen.
5. Automate Button Changes for Out of Stock Items
If an add to cart button shows up on a product listing, shoppers expect that item to be purchasable. It's a poor customer experience when shoppers finish looking through photos, reading your product description, and tapping your add to cart button before your webpage tells them the item is out of stock.
To improve the user experience on your online store, consider making your button text automatically change to "out of stock" and making your button color fade when a product isn't available. While this customization won't have an effect on your immediate conversion rate, this will prevent a poor shopping experience that keeps shoppers from returning.
6. Cut the Clutter
A large add to cart button size can certainly make the button stand out, but it will only look appealing if there's enough white space around it. When you have a messy product or service page — for example, one that has too much text or isn't well-organized — it draws attention away from the button you ultimately want shoppers to click.
Give your add to cart button a little room to breathe, and avoid sticking any of your page elements too close together. The less clutter you have, the more noticeable your CTA will be.
7. Track Your Conversion Rate
Optimizing your add to cart buttons isn't just about making design changes. It also requires you to track the performance of your buttons, so you know if your updates are actually driving more sales or if you need to make more adjustments.
Tools like Google Analytics, as well as some website builders like Squarespace, can help you track button clicks and conversion rates on your site. Regularly tracking this data — especially after you make changes to your add to cart buttons — can help you understand how your shoppers are responding to new colors, design elements, effects, and more.
Pro tip: Make adjustments slowly, so you can test separate button elements that have a positive impact from those with negative effects.
8. Experiment With Your Add to Cart Button Text
Image credit: Adobe
Different calls to action (CTAs) can be successful for different businesses. In addition to testing the conversion rates of unique button styles, try experimenting with your button text.
The standard "add to cart" can be an effective CTA when you want visitors to continue shopping and increase their purchase value (like on Amazon). This CTA can also work well for high-ticket sales, as it can minimize the sense of commitment customers feel.
However, not every ecommerce site needs a shopping cart page. The average shopping cart abandonment rate is about 88%, so some businesses benefit more by eliminating the extra pre-checkout step. If you expect users to only purchase one product or service, or your prices are more affordable, a CTA like "buy now" can add a sense of urgency and lead to a faster close.
Adobe Creative Cloud, for example, uses "buy now," since it primarily sells software individually or as bundles without massive upfront fees. Their button also gets shoppers to quickly commit to their ideal pricing option (monthly, with annual commitment) before they consider monthly, no-commitment plans or cheaper annual plans paid in full.
9. Regularly Test for Usability
Whenever you make changes to your add to cart button, make sure you test it thoroughly for usability. The checkout process should be easy and intuitive for shoppers, so get feedback from your end users about how obvious the button's function is and how efficiently it works.
Even if you're not making any changes, keep an eye out for any bugs with your add to cart button. You can easily lose a client due to poor functionality.
Design a More Effective Add to Cart Button
Updating your add to cart button is a simple change that can strongly boost conversions from your product or service pages. Whether you're using the power of contrast, tracking your metrics, or implementing all the best practices above, you can ensure your buy buttons stand out and are attractive and usable.
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