Where’s the Banana?

Okay, so I know this is a pretty basic topic, and not nearly as buzz worthy as Andy’s product extensions or Facebook’s credits, but it seems to me by far the easiest and most productive thing one can do to increase web store transactions. And even though I’ve told people at every cocktail party I’ve ever been invited to, it’s hard to believe how many web stores still don’t do it, even after all those parties.

My big secret is this: if you want people to buy stuff, you’ve got to get them to click the “proceed to checkout” link, so make it the biggest, bestest action item on the page.

It’s that simple. But try this experiment. Go visit a dozen online stores and count the ones that still use just a text link for the “proceed to checkout” action. Or if they use a button, they make it the same size and color of the “continue shopping” button. You’ll be amazed.

So to update an old Seth Godin theory for our purposes, your shoppers are (no offense) gorillas, and when a gorilla gets to your view cart page, what do they ask themselves?

Where’s the banana?

That’s right. You want it to be super clear to shoppers what you want them to do next. If they aren’t done shopping, they’ll know what to do, or take the time to figure it out. If they suddenly realize they’ve got the wrong size or color, they’ll take the time to figure out how change it.

But when they’re confused, or they start to slow down with their shopping, or they just aren’t sure what they want to do, that’s when we want to help them, that’s when we want to show them the banana.

Make it a big, bright green image button. Or do some fancy CSS and round the corners. It doesn’t matter what technology you use, it matters that it’s the most noticeable call-to-action on the page.

So why do so many stores not consider implementing this? It certainly can’t be a conscious decision. We’ve certainly never done an A/B test on a checkout button that suggested we should use the tiny, blue text version. I think a lot of it has to do with the way designers often mock up home, category and product pages, and programmers then interpret these designs for the rest of the site pages. Most e-commerce platforms, even CommerceV3, use text-based checkout links by default. It’s easy to replace, but someone has to remember to do it.

So take a fresh look at your own efforts and make sure you (or your testers) can immediately spot the banana. While you’re at it you may want to review the rest of your site pages using the same technique. But start on the view cart, where you’ll see the best return for your efforts.

Cinny’s is Creative Director at Timberline Interactive and can usually be found on the phone, in Photoshop or hacking CV3 templates... sometimes all three at the same time. She has over 15 years of commerce design experience and lives in Middlebury, Vermont.

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