Could Your Shopping Cart Be Hurting Your Sales?

Got shopping cart or call to action buttons on your web site? Want people to click on them and buy your stuff or sign up for your newsletter? These common shopping cart design mistakes may be killing your conversions.

broken shopping cart

Image by jfrancis via Flickr

Small things can make a big difference in your conversion rates (that’s the percentage of people who click through and sign up or buy or whatever you want them to do).

Here are some examples of how your shopping cart and call to action buttons may be hurting you, and how to fix them.

Poor wording

If your call to action is weak, it will reduce the number of clicks you get. Test different options, such as “claim your copy”, “add to cart” or “sign up here”. See which gets more clicks. You can use Google’s Content Experiments or Unbounce for this.

Dull colors

Brighter colors work better (ever wonder why paypal and Amazon buttons are orange?). Red is good too, but some people can’t see it. Also, make sure whatever color you use stands out against the rest of the site. Light green buttons on a dark green background won’t help.

Small buttons

Here’s one place you can make something big! Bigger buttons are easier to find and easier to click on.

Buried buttons

Have at least one button “above the fold” (meaning without scrolling down). If it’s a product page, have the button right up top (think Amazon again). If it’s a sales letter, put at least one button near the top. Some people decide after a few paragraphs, others need more information.

Blinking buttons

They’re annoying (who wants their site to look like a neon sign?) and distracting.

Illegible type

Tiny font sizes won’t help. Online, a sans serif font (like Helvetica) is easier to read than a serif font (like Times Roman).


That’s just a fancy word that means something is well-designed for its intended use.  In other words, your buttons should look like buttons.  You want something that looks as if it should be clicked, is a link with a different color, or has a shadow.  It’s hard to describe without a visual, but luckily unbounce has a video on button affordances.

Bonus tip:

Use a burst (think sunburst). It’s an old direct marketing trick, but it works online too. It draws attention to what you want people to do.