Buy Buttons: What They Are and How They Work

Learn about this important mobile commerce feature

Buy Buttons Are Designed to Get Your Attention

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Internet retailers are always looking for ways to make the shopping experience quicker and easier for you, and the "buy button" is one part of that strategy."

These buy buttons are exactly what they sound like. When you select them, you buy whatever they're attached to — no checkout, no waiting. Selecting the button signifies you authorize the purchase, and the seller will start to fill your order.

What is a Buy Now Button?

Since we starting buying things on over the internet, we've been used to a process that mimics real life. In a brick and mortar store, once you've selected your item(s), you place it into something until you can pay for it. It might be a shopping cart, or just a handheld basket, but the point is you collect these things first, then checkout with them later.

While you can certainly follow this process online, most sellers also offer buy buttons that bypass the "cart-and-checkout" process. Their e-commerce systems already store shipping information like your name and address, and you must also trust they can securely store your payment information. With these in place, retailers have all they need to quickly process a requested transaction.

But why would rush into a purchase like this? Well, for a few reasons:

  • Focus on essentials: Buy buttons let you focus on what you need, not what else you might want. You've certainly seen it when you add something to your cart, like additional product listings titled, "People also purchased these" or "Often bought together." If you let yourself get hung up in the cart, you may be tempted by these suggestions.
  • Mobile shopping: The buy button fits much better with purchasing something on a mobile device. If you're on the move, you don't want to bother with a long checkout. These buttons let you quickly tap, buy what you need, and go.
  • Speed: Once you reduce the buying experience to a single tap, the seller has captured enough information to automate your purchase in other useful ways. Take Amazon's subscription purchasing, for example, which is basically Amazon pressing the buy button for you once a month. Their Dash buttons are another example, which are physical or virtual buttons capable of immediately re-ordering a specific product.

How to Use the Buy Now Button on Amazon

As mentioned, Amazon is one of the most common examples of this with its Buy Now buttons. These are located below the Add to Cart option, so be careful you're selecting the right one.


If you select Add to Cart, you'll get a confirmation screen and notice your cart now has one or more items in it, depending on how many you added and how many were there before.

In contrast, if you select Buy Now, you'll see a screen confirming your shipping and payment information. Select Place your order, and you've purchased your item.

When You

If you buy something you didn't mean to, you can always try to cancel your order, just as you would any other Amazon order.

Alternative Buy Buttons

Having taken a look at Amazon's main buttons in the previous section, here are some other examples of places where you'll find buttons that let you skip the cart.

Amazon Dash

First is Amazon's aforementioned Dash Buttons. These small devices were connected via Wi-Fi, and you'd configure them to purchase a particular product when you press of their button, typically the same product on the device itself.

Amazon's Physical Dash Buttons, Recently Discontinued

The physical buttons have been discontinued, but you can still configure "virtual Dash buttons" to display on PCs, mobile devices, or smart devices like an Echo Show.


Audible uses the same Buy Now label as its parent company, Amazon. In fact, Buy Now is the primary option you have with Audible, and what you'll see when browsing available titles.

Audible Lists Its

Social Media Buy Buttons

One type of button to be especially wary of is the "Buy now" or "Shop now" buttons on social media. Instead of immediately making a purchase, these will instead forward you to shopping sites containing the pictured product.


While these can lead to some great buys, some lead to scams. Consider the example in the above screenshot: this is a small, "netbook"-style machine retailing for around $800 on Amazon and other retailers, but this promotion shows a price of $69.99 for it. This is likely too good to be true and you're better off avoiding it altogether.

Use Buy Buttons Wisely

Ultimately, "Buy Now" buttons are shortcuts allowing you to immediately purchase items. If you have an account with the retailer, and have payment and shipment information saved, you can probably skip the shopping cart and buy your item with one click.

They offer the benefit of getting you around some other promotions that may lead to impulse buys, but they also take away your chance to really think through your current purchase. Use them wisely!