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This question is inspired by some UX choices at Groupon which are by design, but seemed odd.
The examples below are the first two items listed here, both right next to each other on the same page.

Certain items can be added to the Cart and there is a Remove button next to the quantity, which one would be required to click if one wanted to remove the item. Here is an example:

For other items, like the next one on the page, there is no Remove option. Here is an example, zooming in on the part with the item list:

On first inquiry, a rep will still tell you to click the missing Remove option.
On second inquiry, (pointing out with screenshot etc. that the option isn't there) they will check and see that it's a different offering; the only option is to purchase the voucher and redeem it.
On third inquiry, they will tell you that you can just click the word Groupon in the upper left which returns to the homepage, leaving and apparently therefore also clearing the cart.
As far as the user can tell, there is no way to know which items would be the remove-by-remove-button kind and which would be the remove-by-clicking-main-logo kind.

However, having these two different procedures for item removal is explicitly by design, the rep says that's by design, and it might even be more costly from a software maintenance perspective to have the difference than be consistent. What are they gaining from this design choice?


Speculative hypothesis (to demonstrate effort): It may be that this is more profitable because few people will reach the third inquiry and most might just feel forced into making a purchase.

  • How do you know that the experience is by design? On a quick visit to the Groupon site, it seems like the Deals section (e.g. get $50 of food for only $25) uses a different shopping cart software than the Goods section (e.g. buy a $50 purse for $25). The experience may be caused by inconsistencies between the two systems. – mhick Jan 18 '16 at 18:05
  • I agree that this may just be a poor implementation not a design strategy. I can't imagine any logical reason to force users into buying anything, it would drive away far more customers than would give in and purchase it. My only thoughts are perhaps it is a voucher that you can only have one of, so they purposefully left out the quantity changer but didn't notice that got rid of the remove option as well. – DasBeasto Jan 18 '16 at 18:14
  • @DasBeasto then you have the same question I do. No, they did not get rid of the quantity changer. In the second, if you try to change the quantity to 0, it automatically resets to 1 as soon as you make the change and leave the field. – WBT Jan 19 '16 at 2:39
  • Also, screenshots added and information about how I know it's by design is added. – WBT Jan 19 '16 at 2:46
  • Could be the result of an agreement with another company or a third-party integration. Sometimes with things like that, designs can be limited or altered because of having to use a different platform, terms of whatever deal the companies have, design-by-committee, etc. – Nate Green Jan 19 '16 at 14:10

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