How to Sell Paper in a Digital World

Bryan Gudmundsonproduct abandonment, website abandonment, Website Abandonment Tips, Website Bounce RateLeave a Comment

Website Abandonment Analysis:, Part 1

Once in a while, even the most digital companies need to restock their paper supplies. As the reams began to run low, UpSellit decided to make the most of the opportunity and draft up a brief website abandonment analysis of This blog follows the purchase journey businesses across the U.S. take every month, from entrance page to checkout. In this week’s article we’re going to take a look at the different techniques Staples is using to reduce website abandonment.

Fighting the Site Bounce


What’s Working
A few things were immediately clear upon arriving at The site has clearly been tested to move people efficiently through their varied stock to find what they need. The image carousel on the front page puts all of their deals in the spotlight and small radials let the user know exactly how many images are hidden and allows users to advance and rewind. Visually, the design of the landing page is simple, flat, and professional – establishing trust, a crucial first step in reducing website abandonment.

There’s no confusion as to how to proceed from these early moments on the page. Staples’ clear wayfinding gives you a few of their featured products right away, putting the spotlight on the best deals, while allowing users to search for specific products or use categorical navigation. Giving users a clear first step is essential when fighting website abandonment; a user with no direction is likely to go nowhere.

mobile website abandonment

What’s Interesting
Out of curiosity, we decided to stop by on a mobile device to see how the company handles the ever-expanding mobile segment. Although the mobile version functions perfectly well and makes great use of touchscreen controls, the deals don’t mirror those found on a desktop version. While the desktop homescreen shows office-oriented products, the mobile site features travel-related products. While we appreciate this predictive shopping experience, an incongruent experience can be a little confusing for shoppers using multiple devices, which is an increasingly common practice.

Following Best Practices
Although it’s not the main tactic in play, does a great job of putting the psychology of color to work. Special sales and items on limited-time clearance are made prominent with a vibrant yellow, which is used to grab attention and entice window shoppers. The loyalty-building value propositions (free shipping and rewards) are featured in ‘Staples Red,’ ensuring these incentives don’t go unnoticed. Items placed on teal backgrounds typically appeal to the frugal, safe office-shopper–it’s no coincidence that paper and toner are backed by teal. Through clever color usage, guides a visitor’s eye across the website and entices the user to click deeper into the website.


Reducing Product Abandonment

What’s Working
Luckily for us, Staples was running a promotion on printer paper right when we needed it most, so we followed the promoted link from the entrance page straight to the product page. Here, Staples implemented another round of tactics to reduce website abandonment. Immediately, our eye is drawn to the three important, red elements on the page; user reviews, price, and the call-to-action. By carefully considering space in design, Staples draws attention to the elements most important to conversion.

Both positive and negative user reviews are displayed and links for social sharing are front-and-center. This invitation to openly discuss Staples’ products establishes a bond of trust between the shopper and the retailer. The product copy is robust and features all the information a buyer might need before purchasing paper. On the right side of the page is a deal-expiration indicator to let the user know exactly when the discounted price is set to regulate. This little tweak to the site can reduce website abandonment by incentivizing an immediate purchase as the deadline draws nearer.

In Need of Improvement
The product pages on hit most of the marks, so finding shortcomings becomes an exercise in nitpicking. At first glimpse, it’s very easy to lose the name of the product. The standard, non-bold text doesn’t quite stand-out, taking focus off of the name of the product. While this may not be important to shoppers who land on your product organically, displaying the product name is exceptionally important for anyone following links or ads to specific products.


A Missed Opportunity
An odd quirk to is found just beneath the social icons. As a sort of “quick look,” a few factoids are laid out in bullet-point to gives customers a quick glimpse at the important details. In theory, this helps readers make quicker decisions and move on to deeper levels of consideration, which is great. However, in this instance, the top two bullets simply reminded us to grab some ink and told us that we can’t order more than 10. If you’re going to automatically highlight features of a product, be sure that your algorithm is grabbing the best ones!

After a moment of deliberation, we determined that this paper was fit for the job and we added it to our cart. In our next post, we’ll take this box of paper through to the end and continue analyzing website abandonment through to checkout. For more information on tweaks you can make to reduce website abandonment, stay tuned to the blog or contact us with any questions.


Written by Bryan Gudmundson

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