How One Button Increased A Sites Revenue By $300 Million

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Few stories within the web design world are as interesting and impactful as the story of the 300-million-dollar button. Let’s take a deeper dive into this topic to find out how a very simple change led to such an insane increase in revenue and completely shifted the way how an entire industry approaches design.

The Most Expensive Button In History

Up to this point, a common practice when designing a customer checkout system was to make the customers register or log in before completing the purchase. The thought process behind this was that the extra step will not pose a problem to new customers that have already decided to complete their purchase, while it would make the checkout process significantly easier for repeating customers as it wouldn’t require them to enter any new data.

One more benefit of making your customers register was that you could send them promotional material from time to time, increasing their lifetime value by bringing them back to your store.

From a marketer’s perspective, this approach was a complete win and, in theory, led to an increase in profits. However, as we will see, they couldn’t have been more wrong in their estimation.

No One Wants To Be Bombarded By Promotions

Despite all the wishful thinking, once a usability analysis was applied to the site, the downright disastrous consequences of this layout were starting to be more apparent.

The first presumption that the designers got wrong was that the first-time customers wouldn’t mind taking an additional step to register. They did mind it, and very much so. As one of the customers that responded to the usability survey noted: “I’m not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something.”

One more reason that first-time customers dislike registrations is that they expect to be bombarded by promotional material. Nobody likes to see spam in their inbox so the customers choose very carefully where they will register and do so only on sites which they trust the most.

It seems pretty logical that both of these factors have led to a great number of potential customers giving up on their purchase mid-checkout for one or the other reason.

Losing Repeating Customers

The most shocking thing about the mandatory registration or login procedure was that it also caused a lot of losses in sales from repeat customers, even though its main selling point was that it made their checkout process significantly easier.

What no one had anticipated was that repeating customers would often need to change their delivery, credit card, or contact information, meaning that they would have to update their profile instead of simply entering new details at the checkout. This meant that a number of them would simply give up on the purchase or would at least lose as much, if not more time on updating their profile than they would with a non-register checkout.

It also didn’t help that the customers would often forget their passwords or even forget the email that they used to create the account, making it impossible for them to retrieve it and forcing them to make new ones. An astonishing 45% of customers had more than one account, with some customers having more than 10.

The number of customers that clicked on the Forgot Password button reached up to 160,000 a day, while 75% of the customers that requested a new password never completed their purchase after they got a new password.

From all this, we can only try to imagine how many sales were lost and how many customers were disappointed.

The $300 Million Change

After finding out about the faults in their system, the designers made a very simple change that made a world of difference. They removed the Register button and instead of it placed a Continue button with the text that reads: “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.”

This tiny change meant that the users could go through their purchase undisturbed and ultimately increased the number of customers by 45%. In the first month, it led to an additional $15 million in sales and by the end of the year, this number increased to over $300 million, making their Register button the most expensive button in history!

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