You’ve found your target audience, refined your brand message, and chosen the right marketing channels. Now, it’s time to write the perfect call to action to persuade your customers to take your business’s desired steps.
A compelling ecommerce call to action (CTA) can increase conversion rates for your online store. Whether you’re crafting CTAs for product pages or newsletters, effective call-to-action buttons convince hesitant shoppers to continue along the customer journey.
Below, you’ll learn how to write more effective calls to action and take a look at 15 ecommerce call-to-action examples.
What is a call to action?
A call to action (CTA) is a button or links on a webpage that prompt users to take a specific action. They play a crucial role in guiding the user journey, driving conversions, and achieving business goals. Examples include "Buy Now", "Sign Up", or "Learn More" buttons.
A call to action (CTA) is a button, link, or interactive element on a webpage that tells users what to do. It's a key tool in converting visitors into customers, guiding them towards actions like Buy Now, Sign Up, or Learn More.
Ecommerce calls to action engage users with products or encourage them to learn more about a brand or service. Merchants use CTAs to convince shoppers to move through a customer journey and perform actions such as making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter.
What are the different types of ecommerce calls to action?
Calls to action differ in the action they attempt to get shoppers to make. Typically, there are three different types of calls to action:
A Buy Now call to action urges shoppers to complete a purchase. Because of that, it’s the most aggressive of the CTA types. Your goal with this CTA is to place relevant offers in front of buyers that persuade them to complete their purchase.
A Shop Now CTA invites people to take a look at your collection of products. This type of CTA works well when you’re reaching out to people in your target audience who may not have heard of your brand.
For example, if you’re targeting an unfamiliar audience on Instagram for a shoe campaign, a Shop Now CTA makes more sense than a Buy Now CTA. The potential customer has the freedom to explore your collection rather than feeling forced to buy right away.
Marketing wisdom says that shoppers need to make contact with an ecommerce brand around seven times before they feel comfortable making a purchase.
That’s where strategic CTAs can target customers who are less familiar with your business, inviting them to spend time with your product, brand, and ethos.
How many CTAs should you include in marketing content?
For email campaigns, it’s best to use one call to action. A single CTA keeps your message focused, helps readability, and makes gathering analytics easier. You might include a secondary CTA button in a blog post. For example, aside from telling readers to purchase your product, you could ask them to download an ebook, read a blog post that complements the page they’re on, or sign up for your email newsletter.
An essential part of optimizing a call to action is A/B testing new CTAs on your site and taking note of which work best.
How to write an ecommerce call to action
Writing a compelling call to action is a bit more strategic than scattering instructions across your online store or email marketing campaigns.
Using active language, considering the customer journey, and keeping your call to action above the fold are just a few copywriting techniques to consider:
- Consider the funnel stage
- Make early offers low risk
- Use urgency to increase conversions
- Test different colors
- Use a simple CTA button and copy
- Use captivating hero images
- Keep it above the fold
1. Consider the funnel stage
A marketing funnel describes the journey that customers take from first noticing your brand to purchasing a product and beyond. Funnels represent your interactions with customers and define their needs at each stage of the relationship.
The goal when planning funnel stages is to map out the route to a conversion. CTAs encourage the appropriate action at each stage along the funnel.
At a high level, a marketing funnel consists of three parts:
- Top of the funnel (TOFU) is the awareness stage, where people learn about your product.
- Middle of the funnel (MOFU) is the interest and decision stage, where people are looking for solutions.
- Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is the action stage, where people are ready to buy.
Knowing what stage of the funnel a webpage or ad is designed for will help you select the right call to action. First-time blog post readers, for example, will respond differently to a call to action aimed at making a purchase than an engaged email subscriber or loyal customer.
Here’s how Shopify merchant Pura Vida uses CTAs in a marketing funnel
CTAs in timed pop-ups
When you land on jewelry retailer Pura Vida Bracelets’ website, a timed pop-up shows an offer for a 20% discount in exchange for your name, email address, and phone number.
It’s a low commitment and engaging call to action for first-time buyers—because who doesn’t love 20% off?
SMS message CTA
After completing the form in the pop-up, Pura Vida sends a confirmation email and SMS with the discount code. The SMS message uses a text-based CTA to click the link and use the coupon. The email uses the call to action Treat Yourself to encourage clicks.
Customers are now deeper into the marketing funnel and in the decision stage. They are familiar with your brand and its offerings, so a more direct call to action is acceptable.
Pura Vida makes it easy to add products to your cart. You can read about an item on the product page and add it to your shopping cart from there or directly from the category page using an Add to Cart CTA.
After choosing your desired product(s), you can check out in your shopping cart by clicking the checkout CTA.
These targeted CTAs are used to engage visitors with the right call to action based on their intent and where they are in your funnel. When you’re creating a call to action, think about engaging your customers based on their behaviors and mindset. It can help get your message across and encourage people to act on your offers.
2. Make early offers low risk
It should be easy for prospective customers to engage with your business. People are more likely to click on a button that won’t cost them time, money, data, or effort. Afterward, you can lead people to a landing page that gives you another chance to make a sale.
By offering something of high value in return for something of relatively low value or effort, you give your customers the incentive to engage. For example:
- You can offer customers a free-with-purchase item or a discount.
- You can pair your offer with a call to action that asks for a social follow or email sign-up.
A great example of a low-risk CTA is Colourpop’s offer of a 15% discount in return for an email address. This is a low-risk offer to the customer because they don’t even have to commit to anything beyond giving out their email address for a good discount.
3. Use urgency to increase conversions
When shoppers feel an opportunity is limited, they’re more inclined to purchase. It creates a sense of urgency, which tests show can increase conversion rates.
You can apply urgency to sales and offers for your ecommerce store through CTAs.
For example, you might highlight when an item is low in stock on its product page or via an email campaign, or create time-sensitive offers with wording like, “Buy now—only on sale until midnight.”
Notice how Pura Vida uses urgency in the example below. At the top of the checkout page, the retailer has a countdown message.
4. Test different colors
While there’s no definitive button color that converts best, it’s important to make sure you’re using a color that resonates with your visitors and reflects your brand. One way to figure that out is by using A/B testing.
Create a few versions of the same CTA button using different colors to see which one generates a higher click-through rate.
Here are a few tips to consider when determining which color to use for your CTA:
- Use white space around your CTA to make it clear where to click.
- Select a high-contrast color that stands out on your web pages.
- Consider font, drop shadow, and other design features.
5. Use a simple CTA button and copy
It takes 50 milliseconds for a visitor to form an opinion about your website or ad. That makes simplicity a must. One of the ways you can make your call to action simple is by using buttons to direct visitors’ attention to actions you want them to take.
While most Shopify themes already include call-to-action buttons, make sure to place buttons at appropriate points in your customer journey.
💡 Tip: Cater your button copy to your product category and target market. For example, if you sell coffee, try changing the copy on your Buy Now CTA to “Get brewing” and see if that helps with conversions.
6. Use captivating hero images
You can use hero images—the main, featured images on a website—to highlight a product or collection. Images are often leveraged as visual calls to action. Be sure to have your hero image link to a product page or collection to get visitors to check out faster.
Here’s video game store Gamestop using hero images as CTAs on its homepage. The page uses images to compel shoppers to find out more about the games, and clicking on the hero images takes them to a product page where they can complete their purchase.
7. Keep it above the fold
The phrase “above the fold” comes from the newspaper industry, as the most important stories appear on the top half of a paper’s front page—the half you see when it’s folded on the newsstand.
Above the “fold” of a storefront is the area of a website you see before you scroll or swipe down. It’s the content that visitors immediately see upon entering your online store.
If you can grab a visitor’s attention above the fold, chances are they’ll continue to click and navigate through your store.
In this example, Shopify merchant Dr. Squatch puts all the information customers need in the first scroll depth of its homepage. It includes a call-to-action button in a prominent position, as well as all the menu options at the top. The copy is simple and the hero picture shows the brand’s best-selling products.
15 examples of effective ecommerce calls to action
Let’s take a look at businesses that use effective CTAs across social platforms, on their websites, and in your email inbox. The following list is broken down by channel:
Ecommerce call to action examples for Facebook and Instagram
hideAWAY’s catchy homepage pop-up uses emojis throughout the copy and invites visitors to engage with Ashy, an international fitness coach, to motivate people to sign up for its Messenger and SMS marketing list.
The button is effective for two reasons: the Messenger icon informs a subscriber that the conversation will open up in Messenger. And, using words like “my” and “me” instead of “your” and “you” has shown an increase in conversions by up to 90%.
Canva template creator Ladystrategist promotes a mini-webinar to grab the attention of potential customers in its Facebook ad. There’s a short video clip of ways to optimize social media, which details the value proposition for customers. Ladystrategist then uses this piece of content to promote an 80%-off sale on its product.
The brand uses action words like “design,” “say,” and “spend” in its CTA copy. This urges potential customers to take advantage of this opportunity to make their lives easier.
Slidequest grabs its target audience by using its own product to create an ad. A video shows the available templates and infographics in the digital marketing campaign.
Within the video, Slidequest uses a combination of bright colors to gain attention and a muted white background to enhance contrast. The brand uses phrases like “unlimited downloads” and “lifetime updates” to pique interest, and also mentions popular programs such as Adobe Illustrator and PowerPoint.
The cherry on top is the 50%-off deal that Slidequest offers if viewers act now. This creates urgency by making the deal available only for a limited time, encouraging clicks.
Sephora uses Instagram Stories to create a sense of urgency. Sephora has kept this ad simple, with only a handful of words on a yellow background, with a prominently displayed CTA button in white. The action phrase Don’t Miss Out is displayed front-and-center, and because it’s a Story, viewers only have 24 hours to click this link before it disappears.
Even though we don’t know what the offer isyet, the time limit sparks urgency. This encourages followers to continue to check Sephora’s IG page every day, just in case there’s another offer posted on Stories.
5. 5 Napkin Burger
5 Napkin Burger is a burger restaurant in New York City that wanted to attract new local customers and generate a database for future marketing efforts. So 5 Napkin Burger ran click-to-Messenger ads with a CTA button through which potential diners could receive a two-for-one burger special.
It’s clear that Lyft’s goal is to get you to download its app. Beside promoting a great deal (50% off your first five rides), it uses a photo of a person in a face mask, subtly communicating you’ll be safe and secure when riding with Lyft. The description and CTA clearly encourage you to tap the download button.
Walmart ran a Facebook ad campaign to promote its sustainability leadership during Climate Week 2020. It used a Facebook carousel ad to showcase a series of videos promoting its work and encourage viewers to overcome any cognitive bias about its brand. If shoppers wanted to get additional information, they could click on a call to action that sent them to another landing page.
Ecommerce call to action examples for websites
8. Mattel Creations
The homepage of toy brand Mattel’s collectibles store includes several CTA buttons labeled with Shop Now, each accompanied by a hero image and a short phrase that appeals to fans of movies, sports, and toy series.
By adding calls to action for popular products to the homepage, Mattel targets visitors who enter the site looking for a specific item. This reduces the time people spend browsing and moves them further down the funnel.
An unexpected deal can do several things. First, it can prompt a visitor to actually buy something from Fashion Nova’s landing page when they may have been only curiously browsing. Or, it can cause a customer to buy more than they’d intended to best make use of a good deal.
Fashion Nova’s pop-up window is simple but bold. It uses gold to make visitors mentally link it to something valuable, and it’s made to look like a scratch-off lottery ticket. This intends to make customers feel lucky and like winners for visiting the page and getting an offer.
When browsing the store, a small pop-up containing a call to action appears at the top of your screen. Viewers can click “I’m in!” to subscribe to the push notifications and get access to news and deals.
11. Pura Vida
While this section of the list contains several examples of successful ecommerce CTAs embedded in pop-up windows, not everybody loves a pop-up. They appear everywhere online, often showing up as soon as you land on a website.
To combat this, Pura Vida uses an embedded CTA that blends into its category pages. As you’re browsing, you can easily sign-up for its SMS list and get 20% off your order. It uses the CTA Sign Me Up! to encourage action.
Men’s jewelry shop Craftd uses a pop-up to grab your attention, share a targeted message, and build its email list. If you’re a new shopper, Craftd offers you 10% off your first order in exchange for an email address. The CTA module is well designed and relevant to its audience. There are no distractions because the store fades into the background, winning more conversions.
Email CTA examples
13. Cotton Bureau
Cotton Bureau, a shop that sells graphic tees and prints custom designs, uses an email ad that hits a lot of CTA best practices.
The special offer is in bold, so there’s no chance of overlooking it. Cotton Bureau’s ad copy creates urgency, as this is a “while supplies last” opportunity. The call-to-action button is big and unmissable. Importantly, all of this is accomplished above the fold in a customer’s inbox.
14. Buck Mason
This email from Buck Mason, a California-based clothing brand, uses multiple CTAs that fit with the surrounding content. For a “Field-Spec Cotton Surplus Crew,” the email uses the CTA Shop Field Spec.” For a music playlist, the call to action is simply Listen.
Context-specific CTAs can help emails feel more relevant and personal than a generic button. If you want to promote different products or services in an email, create different CTA buttons that connect to each distinct action.
15. Magic Spoon cereal
Readers can instantly relate to the subject-line CTA of Magic Spoon’s email: “How to cure a case of the Mondays.” It helps the content compete with other emails sitting in customers’ inboxes.
Magic Spoon’s email design also makes it simple to understand what’s being promoted and how to take action. An eye-catching pink palette and creative imagery jump off the screen, leading you directly to a purple CTA button that prompts you to “Order Now.”
💡 Read more: 21 Email Marketing Examples to Follow.
Create engaging calls to action for your ecommerce campaigns
You need a clear, persuasive call to action in order to improve your ecommerce metrics. Put the tips and tricks in this post to the test with your ecommerce website or social media campaigns. Test what works, and make adjustments to what doesn’t, then watch as your sales grow.
Ecommerce call to action FAQ
How do you write a call to action?
- Consider the funnel stage.
- Make early offers low risk.
- Use urgency to increase conversions.
- Test different colors.
- Use simple buttons and copy.
- Use captivating hero images.
- Keep it “above the fold.”