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
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’.
2) 360-degree 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
10) Product description for real people
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
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
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
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
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!
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