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The Impact of a Stronger 'No' - Fusion

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The Impact of a Stronger 'No'

‘No, thanks.’

We say it all the time.

Many times, we are so pre-occupied with what we’re doing that we don’t take a moment to consider what it is we are actually declining.

Since we were children, we’ve been taught to be polite when declining things we’re not interested in. This tendency is reflected in the design of many web interactions as well – designers often give us a choice to decline politely. Websites will often give us the option of politely saying ‘No, thanks’ if we’re not interested in what they are selling.

Sometimes, the ‘no’ isn’t explicit – you simply say ‘no’ through inaction – whether that is not adding anything to your cart, or just leaving the site entirely.

Yet other times (as is often the case in ancillary sales), you are progressing through a purchase funnel for one item and an offer is presented to you with a simple Yes/No option for another item.

If the design is ‘required choice’ (meaning you must select ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to continue), then the website forces your attention on the decision – if only for a brief moment.

This brief moment is an opportunity for some persuasive marketing, and adding the right content here can make a big impact on sales.

If you can briefly grab the user’s attention, you can use some persuasive marketing to get them to reconsider your product.


Let’s use the travel insurance product offer above as an example. This type of offer is commonly found in airline booking funnels and event ticket purchase funnels. As you would probably expect, most customers simply say ‘No, thanks’, with little thought about how the product might be of benefit to them.

But if the user is forced to click on ‘No, I’ll take the risk.’ or ‘No, I already have protection.’ then a small seed is planted in their minds and they may reconsider why they might want to purchase the product.

The goal is to capture attention with something that is meaningful and relatable to the customer. For high volume websites, influencing even a small subset of your customers to reconsider can result in huge gains in revenue.

Here is a successful test we ran on a very high volume website that applied this principle. Adding a stronger ‘no’ to the offer increased take rate by 28% and revenue by 59% (note: the yellow wasn’t part of the test, I’m just highlighting what changed):

As with all persuasion techniques, you need to be careful with your content to not cross a line with customers. Too strong of a message can turn off more customers than it gains. And of course, deceptive techniques are never worth the risk in the long run.

But if you can capture a prospect’s attention with a benefit or feature (or even a risk) they might not have considered, you just may be able to convince them to purchase.

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Will Plusch

Will Plusch is a Director of Optimization Strategy who is passionate about conversion rate optimization and data driven decision making. He enjoys educating clients on how the optimization process works and loves to use real world examples to simplify the science. He has over 15 years of experience in marketing and merchandising analysis and optimization testing in both brick and mortar and online sales channels. He holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, a Masters of Business Administration and is a Certified Usability Analyst (CUA).

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