The $300 million button

I came across an interesting story today that every e-commerce merchant can learn from.

Jared Spool a UX designer for a $25 billion retailer, managed to produce a massive lift in revenue for the company by making a ridiculously simple change to the checkout process.

Here’s what happened…

Initially their checkout form had the following:

  • “Email Address” and “Password” fields
  • “Login” and “Register” buttons
  • A “Forgot Password” link

The checkout form appeared before the user entered their payment details to pay for the product. The purpose of it was to enable repeat customers to purchase faster… without having to keep adding their details in the future.

Funnily enough, the designers of the site had no clue there was even a problem. But they had the sense to do some usability tests and find out what visitors thought about the site.

Turns out they discovered the biggest issue was first time users resented being forced to register when buying. Some of them couldn’t remember if it was there first time of not, and this was creating friction when trying to figure out the correct email and password combination.

And repeat customers weren’t any happier and experienced similar problems too.

Further analysis then revealed 45% of all customers had multiple registrations in the system as well. Not good!

So with this in mind, here’s what they did to fix it.

They removed the Register button, and replaced it with a Continue button with this message underneath:

“You do not need to create an account to make purchases on our site. Simply click Continue to proceed to checkout. To make your future purchases even faster, you can create an account during checkout.”

What happened following this simple change was spectacular:

  • 45% more customers purchased
  • This resulted in an increase in revenue of $15 million in the first month
  • They experienced an increase in revenue of $300,000,000 (yes 300 million) in the first year.

Best of all, the extra revenue was generated by simply changing one button.

Amazing but true.

So what’s the moral of the story?

It’s to not force your visitors to register in the checkout process. Instead give them an option to either create a guest checkout, or to register if they want to.

And the best part is that most merchants are ignoring this and forcing people to register.

You can be one of the few who does it right.

Speaking of forced registration, this is one of the 25 things I cover in my free website audit. If you’d like to take advantage of this (while it’s still free), then here’s where you need to go: