On the surface, e-commerce is a simple industry to master. You buy some stock, stick it up on your website, churn out some advertising and before you know it you’ve made some sales. Online shopping is so popular and the process so straightforward that it’s harder to fail than succeed? In reality, the most nuanced elements of e-commerce are actually extremely difficult to get right.
Product pages are perhaps the best example of this. They are the most crucial part of a buyer’s journey and something we all see regularly, yet there is a huge difference between a good and a bad one. Getting them right is the key to making your eCommerce store a success. So, what steps do you need to take to make your product pages outstanding?
Visuals are becoming an increasingly important part of the online experience. This can be attributed to the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest, which have dramatically changed the way we shop and view products online. If a shopper is now making a decision to purchase based on one promoted Instagram post, images and videos have become the most pressing concern for an eCommerce store looking to develop its product pages.
Imagery plays a huge part in grabbing and keeping customers’ attention. They need to be instantly striking, engaging and informative. Users will now look to get all the information they need about a product from its imagery, so it needs to be a priority when you’re building a product page.
Standing out on Google Shopping with hundreds of competitors requires developing product imagery that feels different and unique to your brand. Rather than using generic shots provided by a supplier, aim to create something bespoke that shows you care and appeals to your unique audience. Look at how Fitbit product pages are structured around their imagery and feature the product in lifestyle situations, allowing customers to image themselves with the product.
Even more so than images, video plays a huge part in convincing the shopper to invest in a product. Video allows a retailer to give the customer more information about a product and demonstrate its features and value. Getting this information across early and clearly is vital. Video can provide a user with more detail than an image could ever hope for and is often a crucial element in winning over a customer from a competitor.
Contemporary website design demands sleek, sophisticated and smooth. That same theory should apply to your product pages, in the sense you should know what to put emphasis on and what clutter should be tucked away.
The use of white space in contrast to great product imagery and a minimalistic display can give your product pages a modern feel and guide the eye towards the most important information. Cutting out distractions allows you to streamline and have greater control of the buying process. Despite having multiple product listings on one page, StarTech manages to cut out the clutter for anyone browsing KVM switches. They manage this by limiting the amount of information listed. One image, a title, two maximum lines of copy, a price and a CTA button to start the purchase. Despite being a specialist product there is no attempt to overcomplicate the issue.
This is all you need to make a product page successful, and while moving away from this structure can have added benefits it should always be the centerpiece of your design.
Businesses will often make the beginners mistake of cluttering their product pages with too much information and too many ideas. The chances are nobody is going to read all that information anyway, it’s just not relevant to them. One way to get around this is to have the information automatically hidden and only readable if the user expands it.
Product pages are as much about where the customer has been and where they’ll be going, as they are about their actual content. These pages need to play into expectations and act as a launching pad to upselling and purchasing.
Consider how your customers arrived on your product page, and whether or not it matches what they were expecting. While you should build your ad and social media copy around what you’re trying to sell, sometimes the language reflects what the target user wants to see. With this in mind, your product pages need to play into these conventions and be ready to grab a customer quickly and deliver on promises. If your ad is built around a unique deal, this deal needs to be displayed prominently. If it’s highlighting a specific feature, your first image or video needs to display that feature.
Then you must analyze how prepared your product pages are to take customers in the next step of their journey. Is the button to purchase or add to the basket clear enough and feature the right branding colors? You can run A/B tests to see what customers react to best. Is your page prepared to upsell? Any related products should also be included as extras below the product that can be added to the purchase with one click. American tool manufacturer Leatherman succeeds at this, putting prominence on accessories they’re looking to upsell to the extent they feel like a requirement to get the most out of the initial tool purchase.
Customers are often looking for their hands to be held through the process, as much as they may deny it. So don’t be afraid to guide them, or else a competitor will. Clear calls to action are a must on any product page.
As imagery and video have risen in importance, product copy has somewhat lost its place. That’s not to say it’s something you should do away with, but rather look to play into your overall design.
Keep the amount of product copy you have to a minimum, so as not to distract from the imagery or buttons needed to complete the purchase. Generally, users will go to this section of a product page for technical information, rather than a description of something they can already see. Part of making this presentation success is learning how to write for the web. One long paragraph trying to tell people about the hundred-year process of crafting your product is much harder to read than some key bullet points.
Product copy is another extension of brand building, and that needs to be unique to your customers. If you know you have an audience more engaged with imagery and video than reading a long product description, then why waste your copywriter’s time developing it? Fashion and skateboarding brand Palace does an excellent job of writing on-brand product copy that subverts expectations in the best possible way, using the space that would usually be filled with material and manufacturing process information to develop a unique tone that appeals to their younger audience.
No matter how slick your website looks or how engaging your advertising that led people to the website is, users will still question the legitimacy of a website without certain key triggers. It’s vital your product pages are able to build confidence in your business within the first few minutes.
The social proof phenomenon has shown that customers value the opinions of fellow customers above all else. This is why it’s essential your product pages include reviews from customers who have previously purchased with you. These reviews should be displayed clearly as star ratings for maximum visual impact, and ideally managed through a trusted review website such as TrustPilot or FeeFo. This can help on-the-fence customers come to a decision about your product.
You should also include any official seller badges and certificates you have from major brands. Some customers will be wary of third-party sellers who have recognized brand products on their website, especially if there is a discount attached to it. To help convince them you have the right to sell these products and stock genuine ones, request an official seller seal to place on your product pages.
These are just a few ways you can develop outstanding eCommerce product pages. We haven’t even touched on how to accentuate discounts or include links to alternative products. But hopefully, these suggestions should help your pages see improved purchase rates.