UIEtips: The $300 Million Button

Jared Spool

December 5th, 2011

Back in January 2009, we published an article that received quite a bit of attention, The $300 Million Button. This article quickly became our most popular article and was often found on other web sites. The interest was around how a major retailer dramatically increased their e-commerce site’s revenues with a couple of simple changes.

What’s really fascinating about this article is the back story. The client had hired us because they were concerned about checkout-process abandonment. Their analytics were showing a 13% drop off in sales, which, based on the average value of the abandoned shopping carts, was worth about $1.2 million a year in additional revenue.

Checkout-process abandonment is common in e-commerce sites and something that you can easily detect with your site’s usage logs. You just look at the number of people who get to the first screen and then the number of people who actually complete the transaction. Everyone who doesn’t make it is considered an abandoned cart.

When the team contacted us, they’d already pretty much decided what the problem was and how they were going to fix it, even though they had never watched any shoppers make purchases. And they were dead wrong. Not only was their fix not going to help, our research showed that it was going to increase abandonment.

Two weeks of usability testing on the live site (and on competitors’ sites), followed by two weeks of iterative paper prototype testing produced a streamlined checkout process, which, once implemented, showed a dramatic increase in revenues. It’s amazing what you’ll learn when you actually watch your users.

Today’s article talks about the bulk of that increase — how a simple change to a common screen produced $300,000,000 of additional revenue over the next year. I’m sure you’ll find it interesting.

You can also read more on the back story of the $300 Million Button on the Brain Sparks blog.

Have you seen results from changes to your forms? We’d love to hear your experiences. Share them with us below.

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