CD Delivery and Priority Support – Opt-in or Opt-out?

Delivery on CD and Priority Support options, do you offer those up-sells “opt-in” or “opt-out”? In other words, when users click your Buy button, do you put these extras in their shopping cart automatically?

CD delivery companies (we have worked with SwiftCD and CustomCD) are always pushing us to have “Delivery on CD” pre-checked. Understandably, because this is bound to sell more CDs and thus bring them more business. And automatically adding a $10 Priority Support subscription is sure to result in more subscriptions to that service.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Making more money on each sale, who can say no to that?

… the sudden addition of extra costs is putting people off. Some customers may even feel cheated. Sure, one can easily (?) remove the extras from the cart, but that’s all extra steps in your checkout procedure. Overall, making people opt-out on your up-sells may cost you sales.

Of course, it’s all about the bottom line: Will the extra profits per sale compensate for the lost sales?
Now we can all have long discussions about what will happen. And I could easily write several articles about the expected effects.

As always, there’s only one way to find out for sure: An A/B split test.

The test: Cart A vs Cart B

The test is pretty simple. The big blue buy buttons on my product pages (see below), either take the customer to cart Version A or cart Version B.

Version A is the opt-in version. The initial cart only contains the software the user select, then he can optionally add extras like the Delivery on CD and Priority Support.

Version B is the opt-out version. The cart automatically contains both extras, but these can be easily removed using the little red “X” buttons.

The results

After one week of testing and 232 sales counted, these are the results:

  • Sign Ups: -2.4%
  • Sales: -17.8%
  • Average First Purchase: +5.6%
  • Total Profits: -12.8%

As you can see, it confirms the expectations: the Average First Purchase went up and Sales decreased. But the extra money made per sale is not nearly enough to compensate for the loss in sales quantity.

What does this mean?

So does this mean we should not automatically add or pre-check extras like CD-Delivery and Support subscriptions?
Well, not like I did it in the above test. But I have not given up yet. Here’s a couple of ideas I would like to test later:

  • Test with just the CD or just Support auto-checked. Maybe one of them is causing the lost sales. Looking at last week’s sales I am seeing a lot of CD Delivery sales, but very little Priority Support subscriptions. So most people are removing the support option. Is there hope for a design that has just the CD Delivery auto-added to the cart?
  • Make it even easier to opt-out, e.g. by making the “remove from cart” buttons clearer and bigger.
  • Offer both options as pre-checked check boxes right in the big Buy box on the product page, so that users can uncheck them even before clicking my big blue buy button.
  • Offer a “Premium Pack” option on the product home page, that has both extras included in a bundle, with a separate Buy button and the total price of $69.95 listed right there. We have used a similar solution before for a barcode scanner bundle and that was working well.

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