[E-commerce Calls to Action] What they are, types, and how to optimize them to increase your sales

If you were suddenly asked what calls to action (CTA) are, you might not know how to answer.

One thing’s for sure, though: they’re on every website you visit.

Calls to action are those elements of a website that ask users to carry out a particular activity.

They usually come in the form of buttons or links.

And they’re actually quite important, believe it or not.

For instance, a well-designed CTA may have led you to purchase a product you weren’t sure about buying at first.

Still don’t believe it?

Well, read on and see for yourself, then. 😉

We’re going to tell you:

  • Why calls to action are so important for your e‑commerce.
  • The most common types of CTAs for online stores.
  • Tips to optimize them and increase your sales.

Are you ready? Here we go.

👉 What are the different types of calls to action for e‑commerce?

If the previous definition didn’t help you wrap your head around the concept, check out these examples:

Look familiar?

Those examples are all typical CTAs found in online shops. We could go on and on, but now you know what we’re talking about. 😉

Although you may now be asking yourself…

“What’s the big deal about a simple little button?”

Let’s put it this way – imagine that you want to get a tennis racket and decide to go to a physical store but, since the place is quite big, you don’t quite know where to go to find one.

What would you do?

You’d go ask an assistant, right?

Once you have your racket, you ask another assistant where the checkout is.

And, before you pay, the cashier tells you about a 2‑for‑1 offer on tennis balls in case you want the full package.

The problem, however, is that online stores don’t have assistants.

So no one can tell your clients “Go this way”, “Here’s how to pay”, or “Get this now because it’s on sale”.

And CTAs are, to some extent, the ones fulfilling this function.

The calls to action in your e‑commerce are like signs that guide your users through your shop.

So if you use them properly, you can:

But how can you do all that?

That’s precisely where we’re heading. 😉

👉 5+1 tips to get the most out of your CTAs (with examples)

Now that you’re clear on the difference well-designed CTAs can make in terms of sales, let’s move on to see how they can be optimized.

✅ 1. Make them visible

This is essential.

The last thing a customer wants to do is spend time scanning your website to find the “Buy” button or guess at how they can subscribe to your mailing list.

Calls to action must be easy to see.

And there are a few tricks for this:

  • Give them a contrasting color: our vision relies heavily on tonal differences, meaning your call to action will be easier to spot if you give it a dark color contrasting with the white background, for example.
  • Make it “clickable”: you must have seen how some buttons have a 3D effect and seem to “stick out” of the screen on many websites.
  • Size them up: Don’t be afraid to make your buttons noticeably large. They must stand out (plus, small CTAs are difficult to click on if you’re shopping on your phone).
  • Make use of whitespace: in general, calls to action stand out more when there’s nothing surrounding them.

For instance, check out the simple (but effective) CTA design they use at Rubiks, one of our clients:

cta e-commerce que es

✅ 2. To be or not to be… original – that is the question.

And it’s no easy one either.

As you must have noticed by now, creativity plays a huge role in some websites’ calls to action.

That’s the case of Mr. Wonderful.

call to action for e-commerce

On their website’s footer, they encourage you to download their phone app, but instead of using typical “Download our app”, they give it a personal touch that suits their brand image.

Etch this one into your permanent memory:

Rather than original, calls to action must always be easy to understand and clearly indicate what’s going to happen.

There’s no point in having a fun and catchy message if, after reading it, readers ask themselves, “Right, but what happens if I click here? Is the product added to the cart? Do I buy it straight away?”

You’ll see this clearly, again, on Mr. Wonderful’s website.

e-commerce call to action example

For the most important CTAs, such as “Add to cart”, they use the same text as any other online store.

Predictability is sometimes worth it. 😉

✅ 3. Your main CTA must be above the fold

Most of your website’s pages will have at least one call to action.

For example, the “Buy” button on product cards or an invitation to use an offer on your homepage.

Whatever the case, that CTA should always be put above the fold, which is to say, on the top section of the page so users see it as soon as the page loads without having to scroll down at all.

For example, this is what you see right after landing on Rose’s homepage.

e-commerce call to action

They include a “Buy now” CTA to tell you about an active offer.

And if you pay close attention, you’ll see how this holds true for almost every online store.

✅ 4. Organize your calls to action hierarchically (so your clients don’t feel overwhelmed)

Can I put many different CTAs on the same webpage?

Well, you can, but you must display them in an orderly manner.

If you put them all close to one another, it can confuse your users and they won’t know where to click (which will have a negative impact on your site’s usability).

Going back to the previous example of the physical store, it’s as if three different assistants came and spoke to you at the same time. You’d be overwhelmed and even more confused. 😉

But everything’s clearer with a visual example.

que es cta e-commerce

This is Makari’s homepage. They have more than fifteen CTAs on this page alone (including the “Subscribe” button).

But they’ve organized them hierarchically as follows:

  • The most important is a banner showing the active offers.
  • Right below that, there’s a section where you can see the best products for you depending on your skin type.
  • Then, there’s a section with featured items and each of them includes a CTA leading to their respective product card.
  • At the very end, in a smaller font, there’s the box where you can subscribe to their newsletter.

This allows users to tell the most important CTA (the banner) from the secondary ones, as they’re put in different sections in different parts of the page, which makes it easier for you to decide where to click.

✅ 5. Important information should be put together

The text surrounding your calls to action can serve to instill confidence in your users.

For example, you could add this information on top of the “Buy” button:

  • Warranty info
  • Estimated arrival date
  • A free shipping offer

Check out what they’ve done at ITS, another client of ours.

call to action en e-commerce

Each product card has a green (big and flashy) call to action: the “Add to cart” button. And next to those buttons, they tell you:

  • Different delivery options
  • Accepted payment methods
  • How many people have purchased the product recently (as social proof)
  • How long it’ll take to get to you if you order before X time
  • The minimum purchase for free shipping

Another option is to use scarcity in your favor with messages like “Only X items left on stock” (we have a whole post on how to use this mental trigger).

✅ Extra: Make adjustments and track the results

One last tip.

You’ve already seen how important it is to properly set up your calls to action and how to do so.

But that’s not the finish line.

Once you’ve created the basic design for your calls to action, run A/B tests to try different versions and find out which ones work best.

Here are a few ideas of small variations:

  • Use different colors.
  • Try different text versions.
  • Change the wording slightly (instead of “Add to cart”, try “Add to my cart”).
  • Use the first person for the text (“Yes, I’d like to download this guide”).
  • Change the text surrounding the CTA (try adding details about the warranty, shipping details, or the product’s scarcity).

Believe it or not, making just one of these small adjustments could have a huge impact on your conversion rate.

👉 CTAs are also necessary somewhere else

You guessed it – in your online shop’s search results.

But that’s only possible if you use an intelligent search engine, such as Doofinder, which allows you to include advertising banners and products on offer in the results.

This is something that, according to our clients, helps increase sales (a lot).

If you’d like to see for yourself, you can download Doofinder and use it on your website at no cost for 30 days.

Try it (make sure to put these tips into practice) and you’ll thank us after seeing how much your sales have increased in just a month. 😉