Results: With or without the add to cart buttons on mobile?

With "add to cart" buttons

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Without "add to cart" buttons

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With or without the add to cart buttons on mobile?

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Difference Between Versions:

Version A – With “add to cart” buttons on category page
Version B – Without “add to cart” buttons on category page


Key Performance Indicator (KPI): 

Add to cart conversions


Test Goal:

Increase the number of mobile users adding items to their carts

 

Traffic Source:

Mobile uses coming through direct, search, referral, organic, paid, and social channels

 

Audience: 

Mobile shoppers, in Australia, shopping for stationary products

 

Organization: 

Officeworks: Australia’s largest stationary supplier

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Test Run By

Officeworks

Test Run For

Officeworks

Test Run On

Optimizely

WINNING VERSION

A

Poll Results - The Best Guesses:

With or without the add to cart buttons on mobile?

  • Version A
  • Version B
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With the added “add to cart” buttons worked best!


Test Details & Background:

Officeworks is Australia’s largest supplier of office and stationery products.

Conducting this superb stationary study, in-house, on their own site, Officeworks’ testing team wanted to determine whether placing “add to cart” buttons on the category page would improve, or hinder conversions, for mobile shoppers.

Originally, the mobile view did not feature any add to cart buttons on the category page.

To purchase a product, customers had to click on the thumbnail graphic of the product of interest. Shoppers were then brought into a product page, which displayed additional images, and offered more information about the item.

On the product page, shoppers had to click the “add to cart button” to move to the next step in the funnel, and get to the checkout.

The Officeworks team intentionally created this navigational flow so interested shoppers could easily gather more details about the item, on the product detail page, before adding it to their cart.

However, the testing team wondered if this multi-step process was inhibiting conversions. Especially for simple stationary products, like highlighters and pens, which didn’t require customers to intimately read product details, before feeling informed enough to make a purchase.

Instead, the basic details, like item name, a picture, and the price — available on the category page — were probably sufficient — particularly for busy office workers and shoppers, in a rush, browsing on their mobile devices.


 

Hypothesis:

The team suspected they could potentially optimize the customer experience by enabling shoppers to bypass the product  page — going straight from adding the item to the cart to the checkout.

Doing so, the team figured, would make the purchase process easier, improving add to cart conversions, and ultimately revenue.

However, they also acknowledged that adding an add to cart button under every item on the category page could backfire, creating visual clutter, especially on small-screened mobile devices. This visual clutter could create distraction, or confusion, leading to reduced conversions.

So, they decided to test which approach worked best for mobile users: with or without the add to cart buttons on the category page.


Test Set-up:

To determine which version worked best, the team set-up and ran an A/B test on Optimizely.

The study ran for 3 weeks. During this time over 56 thousand visitors either saw version A or B. Traffic was evenly split 50/50.

The category page with the added add to cart button looked like this:

On the original category page, there were no add to cart buttons. Visitors had to click on the product of interest. They were then brought to a product detail page, with an add to cart button. The category page, without the add to cart buttons, looked like this:

without_button

Add to cart conversions — either on the category, or product page — were tracked across both versions. Subsequent revenue was also assessed.


The Real-Life Results:

Winner: Version A with the added add to cart buttons added up as the big winner.

Comparing add to cart clicks, the winning version, with the button on the category page (as opposed to the deeper funnel product page), saw a 6.5% uplift in conversions.

This gain resulted in an incredible 11.5% in revenue, compared to the version without the add to cart buttons on the product page.

Results achieved 99% confidence.


How Trustworthy Are The Results?

Given the study was tested across a large sample population (56 thousand visitors), ran for a sufficient time period (3 weeks), and achieved 99% confidence, results are likely highly valid.

However, this result doesn’t show it’s always best to have add to cart buttons on category pages. Just because this test achieved positive results, doesn’t mean the concept is generalizable to all websites.

Amazon, for example, doesn’t have add to cart buttons on their category pages.

Here’s a screenshot, showing highlighters on Amazon:

amazon-highlighters

Notice how there’s no add to cart buttons?

Given Amazon’s eCommerce prowess, we can only assume they’ve tested this aspect, and have a data-driven reason to not use add to cart buttons on their category pages.


Analysis:

So, why did the version with the added add to cart buttons win on Officeworks’ site? There’s likely a couple reasons:

1. Reduced extra, unnecessary steps in the funnel

Shoppers were looking at simple stationary products, like highlighters and pens, that didn’t require a lot of research, or comparison shopping.

Users were probably coming to the site with a vague idea of what they wanted. So, didn’t need to know extensive details about the product. Rather, they just needed to see the item, and get the price.

Presenting an add to cart button, along side the product picture, and price, better served users’ needs. It meant shoppers could more quickly and easily click to begin making the purchase – without needing to go through extra steps in the funnel.

2. Catered better to mobile visitors’ needs

Reducing the number of steps to checkout better also best catered to busy to mobile users, with small-screened devices, who were likely on the go, and just needed to buy the product, and move on.

But, was the conversion impact really about the buttons? Or something else?

Had the products been big-ticket items, like electronics, or expensive office desks, it’s likely visitors wouldn’t have been as apt to shop so hastily.

In this case, product pages, with additional pictures and information, likely would have been well-received, and desired by most visitors, looking for more information to make an informed purchase decision.

The question, therefore, seems to be not whether you should use add to cart buttons on the category page? But, rather how much information do your shoppers need about your products before they’re ready to click to buy?

Lower-intent, less-informed shoppers, making big-ticket item purchases, likely need more product details to feel comfortable  making an informed buying choice. This category of shoppers likely responds best to dedicated product  pages, detailing the item attributes.

Conversely, higher-intent, more informed visitors, and return shoppers, probably don’t need as many details to buy. And, may, therefore, favor an add to cart button, on the category page, that enables them to bypass the product page, reducing the steps to checkout.

This postulation is likely most true when the item is less expensive, and more of an impulse buy, like pens and highlighters.

On Amazon, it’s likely most customers need a bit of information about most products of interest, before feeling ready buy – even if it’s just to see other customer reviews. And, that’s why a dedicated product page is used.

But, it would be interesting to know whether Amazon has actually tested this element.

And, what would happen if the placement of add to cart buttons was responsive to visitor type, and the type of product being viewed. Perhaps in the future, websites will have advanced enough personalization technology to enable this sophistication of testing.


Tangible Takeaway & Immediate Application

For now, to decide whether to use add to cart buttons on your category page, or to have a dedicated product page, for each item, it seems there’s two elements to consider:

  1. How much information your shoppers need about your products, before they’re ready to buy. This aspect will be influenced by shoppers previous exposure to your products, and whether or not the item is a “big ticket” purchase.
  2. What the A/B test results say you should do for your site. You can speculate all you want. But only the data will point you in the right direction. So make sure to test! 🙂

What Do You Think?

Why do you think the version with the add to cart buttons won? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Poll Results - The Best Guesses:

With or without the add to cart buttons on mobile?

  • Version A
  • Version B
Loading ... Loading ...

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