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I am currently working on the design for a product detail page with a few other people. The product is a piece of software that has an outright purchase component as well as a subscription plan associated with it. There are a few options on the table for when to ask about the subscription component of the software purchase:

  • On the product page: Show a list or a grid so that the user can add the software and the subscription all at once.
  • Use an interstitial: The user adds the software to the cart, then is prompted for a subscription plan choice on the next page.
  • Ask in the cart: The user adds the software to the cart. From the cart, they see a list of "add-ons" that represent the subscription plans that they can add to their purchase.

In discussing this, two viewpoints have arisen:

  • We should start out by simply enticing them to add the product to the cart and ask about subscription plans on a separate page. In the back of their minds, the users know a subscription choice is coming as it's a required component for the software. Asking for everything up-front may decrease the chance that the user will actually add the product to the cart, and we're not hiding anything from the user since they know a subscription is required.
  • Asking for everything up-front reduces the number of clicks the user has to make to purchase the product and subscription and makes the overall experience more user-friendly. Since users are aware of the subscription aspect of the product by the time they reach the product page, we won't have a lot of people who get to the page, see the subscription options, then decide not to add the product to the cart because we ask for both at once.

One solution would be to implement an A/B test of the workflow, see which one performs better, then stick with that as the final workflow. This will likely be what we end up doing. However, my thinking is that we can't be the only group who has wondered this before. I know that extensive analysis has been done on eCommerce site design, but I am having issues finding results of previous A/B tests related to when to ask for subscriptions. Any insight on what has worked best in previous tests of the timing of prompting for a subscription decision during a retail purchase would be very much appreciated.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you are unsure which is better you should use A/B testing to figure it out. A/B testing allows you to show both options to your users (some see option A, some see option B) and see which one has a higher conversion rate. Google's Website Optimizer offers this functionality.

Since it seems that no one has either done this testing, or at least published their results, why not do the testing and post them here so we all can learn from your experience. :)

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Indeed, I mentioned that in my question: "One solution would be to implement an A/B test of the workflow, see which one performs better, then stick with that as the final workflow. This will likely be what we end up doing. However, my thinking is that we can't be the only group who has wondered this before. I know that extensive analysis has been done on eCommerce site design, but I am having issues finding results of previous A/B tests related to when to ask for subscriptions." –  Shaun Jun 2 '11 at 22:58
    
@Shaun, I skimmed the question and completely missed that. –  John Conde Jun 3 '11 at 2:06

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