The Next Generation of Visual Website Optimizer is launching in April 2014 See What's Coming

14 Best Practices For Your eCommerce Product Pages

Posted in How To on October 9th, 2013

So folks, the customer has landed on your website, wandered around a little on the various category pages and finally clicked on a product among the sea of choices. It’s the moment of truth and you ought to be having an awesome product page for the customer to make you any richer. You want to make sure the page is neither too simple nor stuffed with information. So here is our list of 14 best practices to make your product pages shine.

1) Big and beautiful images

 Ecommerce product image

A picture tells a thousand words and more so when it comes to the product page. Let’s get this straight. The image on your product page is the hero of your movie. It’s the lead singer of your rock band. It should be enticing, zoom-able, definitely be placed above the fold and must be of jaw-dropping quality. This is especially true when the product image is a very important part of the decision making process (as in this case study by the Nielsen group). Larger product photos even worked for Hyundai Netherlands, who used Visual Website Optimizer to run a multivariate test and increase requests for test-drives by 62%.

Small product images, on the other hand, should be treated like anathema. For example, this vacuum cleaner image could go down in history as one of the ‘most bogus images ever used on a product page’.

bad image

2) 360-degree view

360 degree product view

DueMaternity saw that conversions from products that featured 360 degree views increased by 27% when compared to the original, two dimensional product images. Golfsmith.com also added 360-degree spin photography on its product pages and saw conversions increase from 10 to 40%.

3) Prominent call to action

 CTA

If the photo is the lead singer of your product page, the call to action (CTA) button is your front guitarist. It could say ‘add to cart’ or ‘buy now’ or anything else, but it has to be easily recognizable and compel the customer to act. Try different variations, because when you get it right, you too can realize the 6.3% increase in sales like RIPT Apparel did.

4) In trust badges we trust

trust badge

Save the modesty for some other page, blow your own trumpet here. The customer has already made up their mind about the purchase. All they need is a little reassuring nod before they enter that all-important checkout stage. Any small message or safety logo can boost customer’s confidence. Take Express Watches (a UK based online watch retailer) for example. They ran a simple A/B test by replacing an image that initially said ‘Never Beaten on Price‘ to ‘Seiko Authorized Dealer Site‘. And do you know what happened? It registered a whopping 107% increase in sales!

5) Scarcity compels action

urgency1

It has been scientifically proven that people pay more for stuff that is about to disappear. Airlines often follow this principle to sell their last few tickets. Don’t give your customers unnecessary time to mull over the purchase. Create a sense of urgency to make them act now. Your scarcity weapon could be the last day of offer, last 2 hour of free shipping or last 3 items in stocks. Create your own arsenal.

6) Jazz it up with a video

Remember that the customer can’t touch or feel your product and a demo video is one of your best bets at displaying it in all its glory. A nicely done video can have huge recall value and instructional videos assume even more importance when you are trying to sell something rather complicated. Zappos’ sales went up significantly (between 6 to 30%) by using video demos on product pages. Similarly, Stacks and Stacks found that those shoppers who saw videos on its product pages were 144% more likely to add to cart.

7) Compare the price

Price

If you are offering awesome discounts, show them the numbers. If you are not offering awesome discounts, still show them how much they will end up saving by making that purchase. Always, always give a comparison of the actual price and the discounted price. Don’t give your customer even the slightest chance to leave your site to check out prices at other stores. Also, position the price as well as other information related to the buying decision as close to your CTA. Scattered information would just put the customer in limbo. Trinity Insight understood this and increased sales for its client Taylor Gifts by arranging all relevant information in one section on the product page.

8) The stock meter

stock-info

If you are running low on stock, don’t wait till the check-out page to break this news to the customer. That will be a sure-shot way to be at the receiving end of expletives that never find verbal expression. Your product page should correctly inform the visitor if the item is available or not. When the “Not-in-stock” information is out there in the open, visitors have the choice to move on and look for an alternative. But if you wait to inform them when they’re filling in credit card information, it’s almost certain they’ll abandon the cart and move elsewhere.

9) Customer reviews

review1

If you have them, flaunt them. According to an iPerceptions study, 61% of shoppers go through reviews before deciding on a purchase. It also says that 63% of users prefer buying from a site that has customer reviews. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go all guns blazing. Reviews, despite all their virtues, deserve a place lower down the page. So make do with a summary of average scores above the fold and let the customers scroll down for the heartfelt letters of appreciation.

Best Buy gives detailed customer reviews as one scrolls down the page.

review

10) Product description for real people

product description

Don’t restrict the product copy to cold facts and standalone impersonal sentences. Of course you need to tell the customer all about the fabric, fit, size, style and other important details. But since you are addressing real people and not aliens, do it in a manner they speak and understand. Throw the manufacturer’s product copy in the virtual garbage bin and create a compelling story equivalent to a charming salesperson. A good product description is an art that needs practice.

11) Make them spread the word

share

Encourage customers to generously share your product page. Have icons that allow users to share the product on social platforms and if possible, provide incentives for that behavior. You never know, you just might Pinterest your way to more-than-you-can-handle publicity.

12) Enable live chat

ecommerce-livechat

You might think you have made your product page as user-friendly as possible with all FAQs answered, and left nothing to the imagination. But you never know. There’s no harm in investing in a couple of polite support executives and enabling that live chat feature to enhance customer experience. A recent BoldChat report found that 65% of US online shoppers went for a live chat – up from 50.4% during 2009.

13) Clear shipping and return policy

freeshipping

Don’t keep your customers in the dark when it comes to shipping charges. In an ideal world, a customer shouldn’t want to shell out any money on shipping. But if you charge them must, be honest about it and don’t try to sneak in the expenses in the checkout stage. Your customers will be mighty annoyed and abandon the cart as well as your hopes of optimizing the checkout. This study shows how 43% US online shoppers abandoned a cart because of high shipping charges. Be clear on the return policy as well. Do they have 10 days to return the product, an entire luxurious month or no such privilege at all? Spell it out please.

14) Need for speed

page-load

So you are inspired and thinking of embedding that high-end video, including multiple shots of your products and introducing live chat feature. Great going, but so many features might leave your product page overwhelmed. Don’t ignore the loading time of your page in the pursuit of new goals.

A recent QuBit study found that an average homepage takes 3.50 seconds to load and product pages are the slowest – taking twice as long to load as homepages. Peep Laja at ConversionXL has an excellent post on the 11 easiest steps you can take to increase website speed.

What product page practices do you employ?

What does your product pages checklist look like? What did you learn after running A/B tests on your product pages and what insights did you derive? Talk to me in the comments!

Image credits
Brown boot – Nordstrom
360 degree view of shoe – StyleCampaign
Google Nexus – Kogan
“Every second counts” – KISSMetrics

Mohita Nagpal

Online marketer, writer, grammar Nazi and an author in progress

The Complete A/B Testing Guide

Know all that you need to get started:

  • What is A/B Testing?
  • Is it compatible with SEO?
  • How to start your first A/B test?
Show Me The Guide


Tags

9 Comments
Metz
October 9, 2013

Nice tips on how to make your eCommerce product pages more tempting. I like the first number shared about big and beautiful images. As a buyer, you want to see and observe a certain product that interest you. So this one is very helpful and that’s why I concur that a picture tells a thousand words and more so when it comes to the product page.
The second thing that got me glued is the number eight. I think this is self-explanatory, stock meter is really useful for you to know if the product that you want to buy is still available.
Great tips!

I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing social networking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

Vernessa Taylor
October 10, 2013

Hi Mohita,

Like Metz, I saw this on Kingged.com too.

You hit it out of the ball park with these tips!

#10 “Product description for real people” made me laugh– I have *never* heard that recommendation before but in our overwhelmingly social world, where informal language is the norm, this is an excellent tip.

I’ll be implementing that one immediately on a website I’m designing. :)

Mohita Nagpal
October 10, 2013

Hi Vernessa, Glad to make you laugh :)

Original product copies totally gives you an edge over other companies selling similar products. You should check out Woot, they do nice little stories for each product.

All the very best with the website!

Benjamin Beck
October 14, 2013

Mohita,

These are great examples! Thank you for taking the time to not only give suggestions on how ecommerce sites can improve, but actually showing several examples of each!

I can tell a client an idea, but it’s so much easier to sell it when I can show them several examples.

Thanks again!

Mohita Nagpal
October 15, 2013

Happy to help Benjamin. Thanks so much for the kind words!

Dustin Heap
October 16, 2013

Nice tips Mohita.

Not surprisingly Amazon is part of a few of your examples. They do an amazing job!

It’s ironic that you use Best Buy for reviews. I agree 100% reviews are super important. Though after a recent personal shopping experience I have serious doubts about Best Buy’s reviews. During the process I compared the different models of a product across various online retailers. Some products were very poorly reviewed on all other sites but Best Buy always had 90%+ 4 and 5 star reviews. I obviously have no proof that they are faking reviews but I have my serious doubts.

Point being – reviews are important but if they seem too good to be true they can have the opposite effect and permanently destroy consumer trust!!

Matt Smith
October 22, 2013

It is always great to hear others promoting the idea of great 360 product photography on product pages, what better way is there to have a customer hold the product in their hands on screen!!!

Enes
October 31, 2013

I need to disagree on social sharing on the product page since even in the bigger websites, number of shares in a product page is very low which can lead to trust damage IMHO.

Sreepriya
December 20, 2013

Great article. And definitely encouraging to know that 360 views is one of the top rated feature for a product page. We are providing 360view Solutions in India currently and hoping to see adoption from a lot of ecommerce players.

Leave a comment
Required
Required - not published


8 − four =

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

I ♥ Split Testing Blog


Stay up to date

Recent Posts

Write for this blog!

We accept high quality articles related to A/B testing and online marketing. Send your proposals to contribute@wingify.com