There’s one thing all ecommerce sites have in common. You have to click a button to select the items you want to purchase. But the text labels on the buttons aren’t always the same.
Some sites offer users an ‘Add to Cart’ button while other sites offer an ‘Add to Bag’ button. Does this difference in button label terminology affect user purchasing behavior?
Conversion rate testing results have found that ‘Add to Cart’ buttons perform far better. The button label significantly improved the rate of products added and purchases completed. The results prove that users perceive the two labels differently.
Shopping Cart Convention
Since the advent of ecommerce, the shopping cart concept has been a familiar convention on most sites. Users have no trouble understanding what the ‘Cart’ means.
Designers confuse users when they start to take the interface metaphor in a literal way. Their store may not use any shopping carts. So it doesn’t make sense to use ‘Add to Cart’ in their eyes. But users don’t see it the way that designers do. They follow naming conventions to understand what an action means.
‘Add to Bag’ Causes Confusion
Users can read the ‘Add to Bag’ label and interpret it in many ways. If they’re shopping for handbags, they could interpret that as adding another handbag to their purchase. They can interpret the bag as an extra shopping accessory they don’t want. Or they can interpret it as a feature that’s separate from the checkout process.
The attitude that users have towards bags and carts are also different. A bag is an object where you place your items after you have made a purchase. Bags give users the impression that they already bought an item and can’t change their minds.
A cart is an object you use to collect items. It gives users the impression that they are free to put in and take out items if they don’t want them. There’s less pressure on the user when they add items to their cart. But when they add an item to their bag, it makes them question whether it’s final or not.
Imagine if designers changed the labels of other naming conventions users are familiar with. What if the label for site searches became ‘Find’ instead of ‘Search’? Or if the label for home page became ‘Main’ for main page instead of ‘Home’? Designers should use labels that have the highest familiarity with users.
The alternative labels are confusing because users aren’t as familiar with them. This creates confusion and stops users from complete their task. If users are uncertain, they won’t feel comfortable completing a transaction. This is not what you want when users are shopping on your site.
Cart vs. Bag Icon
Users aren’t just used to the word ‘Cart’, they’re used to recognizing the icon too. The shopping cart icon is distinct and unmistakable. A cart has a strong connection to shopping because it’s a common object used in stores. But the bag icon is easy to misinterpret. It’s not an icon that has a distinct shape or meaning. This makes users uncertain when they look at it.
Location Appropriate Term for Cart
In the U.S., ‘cart’ is the term that describes the physical shopping cart in stores. But in other countries, such as the U.K., they use the term ‘basket’. The button label for U.K. users should say “Add to Basket” instead to avoid confusion. Call the shopping cart whatever is appropriate for the location of your target users.
Changing your button label from ‘Cart’ to ‘Bag’ isn’t helpful if the former is what users are more familiar with. Designers think ‘Bag’ is more technically correct if their store doesn’t use carts. But being legalistic doesn’t get you the high conversion rate. Speaking the user’s language does.