Calls to Action – Not to be Overlooked

How do we get customers to click buttons on a website that result in online purchases? The almighty Call to Action (CTA for short), if used correctly, is a key element for your ecommerce user experience. When a potential customer arrives they need relevant information, available options, and a sense of how to purchase your product(s). A shopper’s basic intention is to purchase a product you are selling, so it’s your responsibility to help them reach their goal.

Let’s start at the beginning of the process and have a look at the Homepage. It often consists of a unique combination of the following: your logo and brand colors, main navigation, product images, a few words of marketing magic, and general information about current products. A Call to Action can be as varied as the products you sell. It can focus on a new season, a set of related products, or an individual items. A lot of the terms you use to characterize and advertise products can often apply to CTAs as well.

Below are some guideposts we use to help define and focus the CTAs for a given project:


Primary, secondary, and tertiary. Pick out a few key products and prioritize several to be featured. Add some secondary options and possibly a few standards or moderate sellers to present a healthy mix. There is no right or wrong in terms of amount. Fewer options will offer focus and more will offer variety.


Bigger is not always better.  The key is to direct users to your clickable content areas, but not pressure or beg them to interact. Primary CTAs can be designed with a button-like presence, secondary ones can be a slightly smaller button style, and tertiary options can be a basic, text-based link.


Click Here? No! Even though this is the intended action item for your customers your CTAs should never mutter those two words. Potential customers are already at your doorstep. They don’t need remedial instructions on how to open the door. “Click here” doesn’t describe the end result. What is “here”? How do you deal with multiple “click here” options? Use descriptive, active language that describes the CTA’s intention. Incorporate compelling action words and be unique while staying within your brand guidelines.


Place CTAs in a location that doesn’t compete with your product images. Ideally, you want your CTAs to have some breathing room (or white space) and prominence on your page.  Give them a strong relationship to your product images and marketing messages. Avoid dead ends; include at least one CTA on every page of your site.


Chartreuse is a must! (Kidding) Current branding guidelines or your style tile can dictate options. You may need to improvise or get creative!  Contrast and alternate colors are often good solutions.  As a final check, I like to do  the “squint test” CTAs should stand out but not overpower the page or design in general. Ecommerce projects are complicated and have many moving parts. If you want to know where to apply some effort, having your CTAs focused and properly defined is a good place to start. Doing so will enhance a user’s shopping experience and lift your bottom line.

Brittany Wheeler

Brittany is a huge foodie and you can find her searching for the best 'anything' in town. When she's not eating you can find her spending time with her family or traveling.