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Come, grab your pizza! OR Flat 15% off on pizzas!

Now before you start wondering if you clicked the right link or begin to indulge in a food fantasy (applicable to pizza lovers only), take a pause. Imagine you were in a foodies’ paradise or something and there were two food joints selling similar pizzas of standard quality. Shop A had a sign outside saying ‘Come, grab your pizza’ and Shop B displaying a ‘Flat 15% off on pizzas’ board. Which one would you go for?

You would probably take long strides towards Shop B (or run if you were me) with a healthy glow on your face. Now just remember this healthy glow for a while and read on.

The Company

The company in question is Billund Airport, West Denmark’s International Airport. They have five call to action buttons pretty much consuming their homepage – Book Tickets, Book Parking, Arrive Home, Shop Online and Questions and Answers. This is how it looked.


 The Test

The company decided to A/B test the fourth button. They used Visual Website Optimizer to determine the best text to get customers to enter their shopping page. They added a variation of ‘Buy Tax-Free’ to the ‘Shop Online’ button. Following is the variation.


A/B test results

If you haven’t guessed it by now, the variation won hands down. It outperformed the control by a handsome 49.85% clickthroughs and had a 99% chance to beat the original. Billund Airport ran the test for 17 days before executing the changes (translated from Danish using Google Translate).


What worked?

The exact same thing that worked for Shop B in the pizza example. Remember the healthy glow of getting to devour a 15% discounted pizza? A ‘Come grab your pizza’, however enticing it may sound, could never make you feel that way.

The same way, a ‘Shop Online’ doesn’t do anything. It just stands there and states the obvious. It’s a bad value proposition. It’s like saying ‘I can run’ when I can do marathons. The phrase ‘Buy Tax-Free’ has multiple advantages over “Shop Online”.

Here are some of them:

1) Desirable value proposition

A business or marketing statement that summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service.

If one is to go by this definition of value proposition, then ‘Buy Tax Free’ knocks it out of the park. It effortlessly conveys a clear benefit to potential shoppers which a ‘Shop Online’ can’t even hope to communicate – a strategy that also finds a mention in Content Verve’s 10 case study takeaways. By announcing on its homepage that it offers duty-free products, it is telling the international flyers that shopping with them could potentially mean substantial savings.

2) Competitive advantage

Visitors like to compare. Unless and until you have done something remarkable to make them love you, they will go to the length and breadth of internet (not possible but tempting usage) to find out that best price, offer or whatever instant gratification they are looking for. So if you have a clear competitive advantage, please flaunt it the way Billund Airport did.

The variation copy tells international travelers exactly why shopping at Billund Airport is a better deal than local stores. The ‘duty-free’ part gains it a competitive edge over other shops or eCommerce stores that might be selling similar products. Take this Shiseido Benefiance night cream displayed on Billund’s category page for instance. It is priced at 500 DKK as it is duty-free. The same cream is being sold for 640 Dkk at Matas store, a prominent chain that operates drug stores across Denmark. Now, that’s what we call a substantial edge.

3) The word free

So let’s get this straight, Billund Airport is definitely not on a philanthropy-spree here. They are not giving out stuff for free. They are at best saving customers money on taxes. And how do they do that? By introducing the word ‘free’. It’s that endorphin-inducing word that makes shoppers go weak in the knees and makes the world look all-so rosy. From behavioral economists, neuro marketers to copywriting experts – everyone has vouched for the power of free. So, a little clever usage won’t hurt anybody.

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Do you have any interesting thoughts on this case study in particular or A/B testing in general? Do share your insights in the comment section below.

About The Author

A lover of the written word, I plan to be the planet's first sit-down comedian. When I am not rethinking a misplaced comma, I write about conversion optimization and website usability. You can follow me @mohitanagpal

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