We have a simple platform where readers can buy ebooks. Previously, readers could only buy one ebook at a time and we have finally added a cart feature but I think we are ruining our previously simply buying process.

This is what a buy page looks like:

enter image description here

When you add an ebook to the cart you get this view:

enter image description here

The problem here is that the "Add to Cart" link is very small and can be ignored. Also that area looks quite busy even with that small link.

We plan on launching this and getting feedback but I would really appreciate your thoughts and any ideas or tips to improve this?

  • 3
    What's the difference between "Buy Now" and "Add to Cart"? It looks like you don't want people to use the "Add to Cart" option.
    – Matt Obee
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 15:03
  • "Buy Now", if clicked takes the customer directly to the check out page without seeing the cart box. We thought about just calling the "Buy Now" button "Add to Cart" but we're afraid the messaging will confuse some buyers?
    – Abs
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 15:09
  • Buying a single virtual item for two dollars should not require any check-out process indeed. Make them easily refundable for a short period of time instead. Buying several such items in sequence should automatically collect them in a bundle with a shared invoice.
    – Crissov
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 0:12
  • What happens when you hit 'Checkout'? What does that screen look like? I ask because in order to streamline your add to cart, the process may need to be redesigned more holistically.
    – tohster
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 2:32
  • I just want to buy now. Add to cart prolly secondary action which is why its styled that way
    – colmcq
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 17:22

4 Answers 4


I don't think there is any great benefit in having both "Buy Now" and "Add to Cart" options, if the only difference is that one takes the customer straight to the checkout. I think it's an unnecessary complication that forces the customer to think about which route they should follow. The traditional paradigm of adding products to a cart and then checking out is so well understood, it's probably not worth deviating unless there is a clear benefit.

Instead of two buttons on the product page, I would have a single prominent "Add to Cart" call-to-action (like the big green "Buy Now" button in your screenshot) that adds the product to the cart, displays inline confirmation, and include a prompt to go to the checkout from that point.

  • I think that's a good option. "Add to Cart" isn't as crisp and clear as "Buy Now" but that just seems like my opinion/bias. What do you think of turning the "Add to Cart" button after it's clicked to "Checkout", this may even render the cart popup obsolete! Might be a bit extreme but I like having very little on the page.
    – Abs
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 15:34
  • 1
    @Abs Possibly, as long as you make it obvious enough that the previous button has now changed. That wouldn't normally make sense because you'd want the customer to be able to add another unit of a product to the cart but I assume that doesn't apply to ebooks. When I mentioned including a prompt, I wasn't necessarily thinking of a popup but rather including confirmation that the product has been added to the cart and a link to the checkout within the page itself, just below the 'Add to Cart' button.
    – Matt Obee
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 15:44

Actually many sites nowadays provide this feature. And it's useful not because it's a trending one but people feel that it saves them time as it avoids minimum of 2 page reloads.

But the idea of having add to card as very small text is a bad one.

It would be better if both are buttons. 1. Add to cart can be bigger and the primary option 2. Below that can be the buy now button in a contrast color. (size may be same in some cases according to the UI)

For Example, see this feature on flipkart.com the best online site in India.


Hope that helps!!


See this example of Amazon.in Example for share, buy now and add to cart In this example, the share options and the the other two buttons (buy now and add to cart) are below.

In your case, you can have your share button on one row (since it has long text) add a separator below it and in the next row have both buy now and add to cart buttons taking half the space on the same row.

  • But then it is likely we will have three buttons in a row if the ebook has "Share and Get 25%" option. This isn't ideal.
    – Abs
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 15:21
  • Why can't you go for a checkbox for that "Share & get 25%" option above the 2 buttons. That way it will help both !! Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 15:23
  • Because the share button opens a popup to share on twitter or facebook. A checkbox won't work for that flow.
    – Abs
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 15:25
  • I get it Abs. But the pop-up can happen before the page is redirected to cart or checkout page. So that you can apply the offer if the share is successful Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 15:26
  • This flow does not match the customers intentions. If they click buy now or add to cart, they expect to be taken to the checkout not for an intermediary pop up to share.
    – Abs
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 15:30

In general, the add to cart button is meant to enable users to buy multiple items with a single checkout action. When you enabled buying one ebook at a time, this option was redundant, however, now it does enable:

  • purchasing multiple items using the same payment method and same shipping address (or same email address for download links)
  • reducing shipping costs by shipping items together (not relevant to ebooks)
  • changing items if you find something your prefer e.g. a bundle of a series of books instead of two separate books

You could emphasize the add to cart option by giving it a button instead of a link and emphasizing the difference between the two with different icons (e.g. full cart + check mark for buy now vs single item in cart for add to cart), the question is how commonly do people want add to cart vs. buy now.

Comparing with other sites you can see on eBay:

Buy It Now, Add to cart

and on Amazon:

Add to Cart, Buy now

So clearly, both sites treat add to cart and buy now as options of equal importance.

You could go with two buttons underneath each other as the other sites do:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Or side by side:


download bmml source

The second option, however, do make the share for discount action seem too dominate in my opinion.

The cart view is a good experience, however, you should make sure it has an edit option (e.g. for removing items, changing quantity) and that it can be refreshed (ideally automatically) if cart is stored on server (so if a user adds an item via a different tab, current tab will reflect the change). You could do this by changing the cart title into a link and/or adding an edit button/link to it.

You should also consider launching a few options and A-B testing them to see which is preferable with your users.

  • Great suggestion on the A/B testing and we will certainly be doing this.
    – Abs
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 10:47

Add to cart is a good option if you would like to sell multiple items at one purchase. This strategy works well with physical goods in order to increase the total amount of acquisition and reduce the price of delivery cost for the company.

I think that if the user clicks on add to cart, the page should provide some extra books that are similar to the purchased books. You can make their pricing a bit different, like the second book is become cheaper...This will have a better influence rather than showing that the book is added to the cart.

If you just click on Buy Now button the page should be directly flow into purchase action - which is probably can be connected to checkout button.Make it as quick as it can be...

Just an idea that you can make the share button a bit smaller than the other action button. There are studies that prove size is also an important variable.

Social share buttons can be perceived as sharing the main page or the product because of its place. I think that social share can be also used with completing buying action like "Please keep quiet, I am going to read my new book - [book title]."

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