A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Amazon’s Secrets to Ecommerce Success

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I came across a pretty old (2008) article about the evolution of Amazon’s shopping cart and, especially, their “Add to Shopping Cart” button over the years.

You can read the article at grokdotcom, but the main points are pretty straightforward: Amazon has evolved over time, and Amazon pays a lot of attention to the details.

So the Add to Shopping Cart button has evolved from a button that said,

Add to Shopping Cart
(you can always remove it later)

to paired buttons that said,

Add to Shopping Cart
(you can always remove it later)

Buy now with 1-Click
(you can always cancel it later)

Now dispenses with the (you can always remove it later) and the 1-Click button entirely, but includes a pull-down for quantity, and a variety of wish list and gift registry options.

What’s important to note here isn’t that you should run to your ecommerce team and tell them to hurry up and add a gift registry feature, but that you should recognize that subtle differences can have in impact on the effectiveness of your site. (Amazon wasn’t playing with button designs because they had a designer sitting around with nothing to do.)

You should also recognize that Amazon wasn’t guessing about these buttons. They may have made wrong decisions and gone back and changed them later, but you can bet that they were acting based on research and analysis, doing A/B tests and usability testing, and tracking performance for various options.

You should be doing the same.

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