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ecommerce CTA success factors

Ecommerce CTAs: Six Success Factors


Ecommerce calls to action (CTAs) should make it clear to shoppers the action they next step they should take to add an item to their shopping cart, or perhaps complete a purchase.

A strong ecommerce CTA can help to increase conversions, by offering clear signposts to users.

There’s no perfect formula for a CTA. What works for one site may not on another, but whatever the size, shape, wording or color, it needs to be noticeable on the page.

Here, we’ll look at some things to think about when designing or tweaking CTAs.

CTA Size

Calls to action shouldn’t be too subtle, so make them big enough to catch the attention of your shoppers.

It makes sense for them to be the largest button on the page, to help it stand out from the background and underline its importance.

CTA Color

The choice of color used on a CTA can help to make it stand out on a page.

There’s a lot of talk about color psychology and how the choice of color can affect whether someone clicks.

Certain colours are said to have different connotations and can increase or deter clicks.

The more likely affect of colour choice is in how it matches brand design, and how the contrast between CTA and background helps to catch the customer’s eye.

In this example from Polar, the contrast of the red CTA against a white background makes it unmissable.

Here, Hertz changes CTA colours to ensure contrast with the background, ensuring that the calls remain visible.

Hertz ecommerce CTA contrast

Wording of CTAs

This is about clarity. People scan pages and absorb information quickly so the purpose of the CTA needs to be conveyed in just a few words, the less the better.

In the Greenpeace example above, ‘act now’ works as it matches the topic and gives the CTA added urgency.

In other cases, it helps to use wording that describes what the CTA does, such as ‘proceed to checkout’, ‘book now’ or ‘add to bag’.

CTA Placement

Exactly where you choose to place a CTA can affect how noticeable it is.

Many ecommerce sites now use multiple CTAs to ensure that shoppers can see them no matter where they are on the product page.

This can help when some ecommerce product pages are long and detailed. Some Amazon pages contain 10 or more calls to action, some repeating the original CTA, others for product bundles or cross selling options on the page.

Another option is to have a sticky CTA which shoppers can view as they scroll further down the page.

AO.com has one, so shoppers can choose to add items to their basket when they’re ready, perhaps after checking out reviews from other customers.

Use Large Mobile CTAs

For mobile sites or apps, CTAs need to pass the ‘thumb test. That is, they need to be easy to tap without the user making an error.

It helps to make them large enough to be unmissable, as well as ensuring they’re far enough away from other links.

Show Key Messages Around CTAs

The CTA is designed to capture the shopper’s attention, and so this makes it a useful place to add key messaging.

This could include:

  • Size guides.
  • Delivery and returns information.
  • Stock indicators and other product trends info.
  • Alternative payment options, such as instalments.
  • Urgency information. Countdown timers can be used to highlight nest day delivery windows, sales end dates etc.

In Summary

The main job of the CTA is to ensure that, when visitors are ready to make a booking, a purchase, or some other conversion, it makes the next step obvious.

Effective CTA design is about finding (and testing) the right combination of size, colour, placement and wording which ensures that shoppers have no difficulty in finding them.


Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.