Add to Cart OR Buy Now?

Published: November 6, 2008

Updated: August 8th, 2020

add to cart OR buy now

What call to action should online retailers use on product detail pages to attract more clicks on such buttons? Is it Add to cart OR Buy Now? Which one do you think it works better?

If you look at what top etailers are using as text on the call to action buttons, you will find it obvious that the right call to action to be used on this type of buttons should be Add to Cart.

Button TextButton Graphics
Add to Cart58.0%None48.2%
Add to Bag9.8%Arrows17.9%
Add to Shopping Bag9.8%Cart14.3%
Add to Basket6.3%Shopping Bag7.1%
Add to Shopping Cart4.5%Plus Sign5.4%
Buy Now1.8%Unique1.8%
Add Item(s) to Cart1.8%
Add Item(s) to Bag0.9%
Add to My Bag0.9%
Add to My Brown Bag0.9%
Add to My Shopping Cart0.9%
Order Now0.9%
Source: Get Elastic-The Ecommerce Blog

But, like any other element of a webpage, and especially with the call to action button, it will be more beneficial for you if you can customize a bit based on your business rules and customers’ expectations. It should persuade them to take different actions in different places based on your business objectives.

Let’s get into a bit more details.

Add to Cart

  • It somehow implies that the buying process does not start by clicking on the button
  • It is not imperative
  • It creates the subliminal idea of a cart (you don’t use a shopping cart to buy one product)
add to cart button

Add to Cart button

Buy Now

  • It’s very strong and imperative
  • It suggests that once you click on it you will start the checkout process
  • It suggests somehow an emergency

My suggestion is to display both of them (not both at the same time, on the same page, of course) depending on the goal of the pages/website:

  1. If you wish to increase your average items per order, use the “Add to Cart” button.
  2. Analyze your average order value, also. Does the visitor meet your desired value? If so, make him start the checkout process by switching to a Buy Now button.
  3. If you have reliable data about your average order size and for years that number was 1.1 items/order you should use Buy Now and not Add to Cart.

In the next post I will give a great tip for those trying to improve the conversion rates of their websites about dynamic buttons’ text (changing the text button on the fly), so stay tuned.

Thoughts? Reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn.