Till now, you’ve taken all the necessary steps to get visitors on to your eCommerce store.
But that’s not where it ends, remember?
You still have got to land a sale. And for that, you’ve got to optimize your product pages.
While all the previous steps will build your visitors’ interest and satisfy their curiosity, but your product page is what’s going to finally convince them to take ACTION!
Put simply, if your eCommerce business is looking to make it big, it needs to pay consistent attention to how its product pages are doing.
So why do product pages, despite being so critical to business success, often don’t perform well? The results from Baymard Institute’s research reveal that only 18% of the popular US and UK eCommerce sites have been able to record good or acceptable product page UX performances. The rest 82% are lurking in the range of mediocre or poor.
The dots are color-coded with red representing poor, yellow representing acceptable, and green representing good. The black dots denote the benchmark. The dot chart clearly represents the scope for improvements in product page optimization.
Baymard Institute’s study is proof of why your eCommerce business could and perhaps should prioritize product page optimization.
The rest of this article throws light on how to optimize your eCommerce product pages for more sales.
But before that, let’s take a look at what are the essential components of a product page.
Crucial elements in a high-converting eCommerce product page
Whether a consumer is looking for a swanky pair of shoes, an antique bed, or DIY gardening kits, the parameters that make up a product page remain the same. They are:
1. The product and/or service
No prizes for guessing what takes center-stage on a typical product page! The one and only product and/or service — the nature and presentation of which decide how consumers behave. It’s absolutely essential to put most of your focus on the product and then build a strategy to rank it high and get it sold (more).
2. The brand
The second most important thing in a product page information hierarchy is the brand. How you brand your business on every page has a direct impact on the way visitors are able to recall your brand. Showcasing your brand is also important to create a level of trust in the minds of visitors. This ensures greater chances of them not just returning but also re-purchasing.
3. The copy
What comes in the form of writing on your product page, instantly decides what visitors get to know about your product and its USPs. The copy featured on your product page brings together information and emotion to heighten the browsing & buying experience of visitors.
4. The design and UX
As per a survey by DigitalCommerce 360 in 2019, around 61% of people don’t bother going to another website to compare shops once they’ve found something they like. And it’s a given that the design and UX of a product page have a huge impact on the customer’s decision-making. If the design and experience are visitor-centric — promising the latter a form of in-depth engagement even before a real purchase has been made — it can ensure repeat business.
How to optimize your eCommerce product pages for better sales
1. Product and/or service optimization
Make your product and/or service offering so appealing that your visitors are compelled to make a purchase.
Without the advantage of actually seeing and feeling the product (brings back memories of brick-and-mortar shopping days, doesn’t it?), it becomes imperative for visitors to get as close to a real-life experience as possible.
a) Product photography and video
Feature image & other gallery photos
The feature image is essentially the main image that a visitor sees when they land on the page. Ideally, you should aim for an eye-level, mid to long shot, crisp, and clear image.
A well-shot image offers multiple advantages at the same time — it offers a clear visual experience, acts as an indicator of brand value, and ascertains what the product will look & feel like once it’s shipped. The same rules apply to the other images in the gallery because the idea is to give the visitor a wholesome tour of the product as they swipe through the photos.
A key element of good product photography for an eCommerce product page is a 360° view. Elaborating on the product tour aspect, a 360° view enables a visitor to closely inspect the product before they decide to buy. The takeaway for the consumer then is clear — what you see is what you get. Below is an example from Mulberry of how tastefully a 360° view can be created.
As an extra step to ensure a visitor gets a full view of the product on display, incorporating the zoom option into photos is a must. It’s the closest a shopper can get to experience the product in real life. For buyers who are more discerning and would quickly switch to a different website, this feature could build additional trust.
Representative image of every product variation
Let’s say a business has four colors of the same print T-shirt. Sharing representative images of each will clarify any confusion and exactly depict what the consumer may be opting to buy. With heightened consumer awareness and decision-making, gone are the days when users would be happy with one representative image.
In Apple’s iconic way, the above shot shows all the color variants of the iPad Air without cutting out on the brand’s signature minimalism.
Purchases are often emotional decisions. This is why if eCommerce photography can establish the human connection with a product, then that’s half the battle won. User-generated content (UGC) of customers actually using the product offers a glimpse of what it may be like to actually use the product to potential buyers. This can convince visitors that they would actually be better off buying the product.
Sourced from the Victoria’s Secret Sport & Lounge page, the above image speaks a thousand words. The fall of the products — as well as the mood they are best suited for — are beautifully captured.
How-to & unboxing videos
Videos go a step further than images and text to convey an experience to potential buyers. If you do intend to use videos on your eCommerce site, let them have the function of deepening the virtual product experience. How-tos and unboxing videos often help people arrive at buying decisions more quickly and with increased conviction.
Connection through dynamic storytelling
For a moment, think of what the use of video can do beyond talking about product features and benefits. A video can help weave a story about the product in question and in the process, establish an emotional connection with potential buyers. A memorable script and a well-shot video can also be an excellent value-add to brand identity.
b) Product recommendations
In time, eCommerce has come to mean more than selling random products to consumers who want them out of need, fancy, or desire. Thanks to big data and the use of algorithms, personalized product recommendations are now a great way to convert repeat visitors to repeat customers. They tell your customers that you care about their individual tastes and experiences. With technology to assist in culling out insights on past purchasing behavior and preferences, eCommerce personalization now is a necessity to build a sustainable connection with customers.
Here’s how you can make the most of product recommendations:
Improve upselling and cross-selling
Tapping into reams of data based on previous shopping behavior, you can personalize the experience a step further for potential buyers. The idea is to make them feel understood enough for their needs to be preempted. Creating recommendations that feature products that are complementary to one another is a good tactic. The same can be done with products that amplify user experience in an integrated way.
MeUndies does its cross-selling with a subtle flair, personalizing the experience for the visitor at checkout.
Display credibility overtly
In the absence of physical buying experiences and the presence of endless brands, shoppers can experience greater choice but lesser trust. One way to tackle this is to use display badges and ratings. Showcasing these will almost always make potential buyers feel less alone (and hence, less indecisive) in the purchase process. The fact that others have tried and tested the same product offers a reassurance that can’t be matched by anything else, not even what the brand claims about itself.
Increase engagement through product recommendations on 404 pages
Error or 404 pages can create an annoying interruption to a buyer’s online journey. However, if you turned broken URLs and expired links into a navigable step, it could prove to be worthwhile. For the buyer: it would be possible to find a connection with what your website has to offer; for your business: you would still be holding their attention and retaining them on your site.
c) Real-time inventory updates
In a scenario where the product is of utmost importance to the buyer, its absence can be sorely experienced. This is why real-time inventory updates are ideal on every product page.
d) Dropdown menu alerts
It’s always disappointing for buyers to realize a product they have bought is not available after they’ve added it to the cart. In case of the unavailability of certain sizes or variants, drop-down menu alerts can be helpful.
e) Out of stock messages
Clear out-of-stock alerts alongside the vital information of the product can save customers second-guessing. “Notify me when in stock” alerts are also helpful.
f) Stock meter
With stock meters, you can go a step further in clarifying where your stock stands. Stock meters typically display messages such as “only 5 left in stock” to create an added sense of urgency in the website visitor.
2. Brand optimization
The values an eCommerce brand stands for have the best chance to be reflected across product pages. It’s through the brand and how it shows up that customers know how far to trust it and then based on that trust, how much to buy. The following are a few brand elements that can truly uplift the identity and presence of your eCommerce business.
a) Customer reviews
In the absence of opportunities to feel and test a product before buying, customer reviews save the day. Put simply, reviews are confidence builders. Without saying it in so many words, they actually indicate a product has already been bought & tried (liked too, in case of favorable reviews).
The above example from the Whole Truth Foods website shows how review stars and testimonials can be combined effectively (along with precise attention to details).
b) Refunds, return & shipping policy
A survey conducted by UPS in 2019 declared that 73% of buyers associate repeat buying with their experience around returns. Hassle-free returns and refunds increase the chances of customers returning to buy.
What you see below is the ingenious way Ikea has crafted its return policy. They say if you have to beat the eCommerce biggies, you’ve to do something better with your return & refund. Few examples as good as Ikea.
Similarly, a clearly explained shipping policy can go a long way in earning trust and favor. GOAT, which acts as a marketplace exclusively for buying and selling sneakers, achieves this with a clear FAQ section that covers all vital information from returns and shipping to fee and drop-off policies.
c) UGC content
What can you do to win the trust of new customers in real-time? Show them what old customers have got to say. That’s right. UGC content is one of the most suggested ways to tell visitor traffic that you’re transparent and also have the goodwill of loyal customers.
Take one look at Cluse’s unique UGC-backed look-book and you’ll know how this simple technique can be amplified by creativity. The brand allows users to upload their social media content onto the site’s look-book to add to the existing inspiration.
3. Copy optimization
If we’ve thrown light on product and brand before this, remember that it was possible only because copywriting exists. With copy that focuses on product & brand while outlining the benefits clearly, telling a story at every turn, many eCommerce businesses have turned around their game. Here are the various aspects of copy you need to focus on.
a) Headline & CTAs
The importance of copy on a product page becomes intensified when it comes to the headline and the several CTAs. What a headline essentially does is draw a visitor’s attention to what the brand is about and what’s in it for them. A good headline is concise but not at the expense of sounding dry and detached. In fact, sometimes all it takes to hook a visitor’s deeper emotions is a power-packed headline that’s rich in information and feeling.
A great example is Airbnb, which clearly explains that their business won’t exist without hosts. Their headlines instantly connect with hosts and their CTAs are lucid.
b) Not just information, but a story
Features, benefits, and specifications are all non-negotiable parts of a product page. However, given how fast visitors want to scan through such information, it becomes vital to bring some flavor to the facts. Consider the example of Firebox, an online retailer that’s centered around unusual gifts.
You can easily figure out the effort they make to build a connection between the products on sale and people browsing through them. There’s a story, there are the facts and before someone knows it, a whole world has been built through words. This engages the imagination of the visitor while transporting them through a virtual experience.
c) Title and meta description
In an age where brands fight ceaselessly over Google rankings, titles and meta descriptions are key to ranking well. How well they are written decides which Google result a visitor will be adequately convinced to click on. It’s really a hit or miss unless you try and secure certain fundamentals.
GQ India seems to do their title and meta description well enough for users to click and read the rest of the piece. A summary of what’s to come makes their meta descriptions rich and informative.
Writing the FAQ section of your website well can open up whole new possibilities for visitor engagement. Offering questions and answers in a systematic, orderly way will ensure visitors don’t abandon the page simply due to confusion. And keeping the language commonplace and every day will make sure anyone reading does not feel overwhelmed or bored.
One look at Pinterest’s help center and you’ll know why millions around the world flock to this website. Easy mobile navigation and self-explanatory sections make their FAQ section a breeze to go through.
e) Use selling language subtly
Whether you’re upselling, which is essentially a tactic to increase the customer’s cart value either by suggesting an upgrade or add-ons, or cross-selling, through which you can mobilize related products, language plays a big role. Many eCommerce websites make the mistake of going all out to promote, creating a kind of pressure through the language. But this seldom works because consumers today are intensely aware of such manipulation.
The following example of Ikea captures how language can effectively communicate a benefit. While showcasing multiple products, the brand brings focus to the context they can be used in.
4. Design & UX optimization
“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
You can see why Mr. Bezos makes a great point because when it comes to eCommerce, design and UX form the crux. Every little detail adds up and the sum of the parts either culminate in a memorable experience or one that’s best forgotten.
a) Large & clear fonts
No matter what font you choose, it’s essential to present it in a size that’s clear and legible. The idea is to save the extra effort for the user to enlarge or reduce text size after they have landed on the site — both are signs of a poor design experience.
Berghaus, an outdoor clothing brand, does this well by choosing text and backdrop colors to match the font type and font size. In totality, it’s a good experience for visitors (also potential buyers).
b) Color psychology
Many of our subconscious triggers and preferences come alive in the world of color. This phenomenon is best described by Robert Plutchik with his wheel of emotions.
This experience is intensified when the context is that of shopping online. According to Loyalty Square, an analytics company, 84.7% of respondents consider color to be the most important while considering a purchase. Again, a report by HubSpot discovered that when Performable changed the color of its main CTA, it led to 21% more conversions. So studying color psychology and then applying its tenets is absolutely essential in the eCommerce context.
The above example shows the use of each one of the three colors usually preferred by women – blue, green, and purple.
c) Page load time
In a 2017 global consumer report, KPMG stated that a majority of people shop online because they can do so throughout the day. Now as much as this is the truth, what’s also true is people browse in the middle of other work and get impatient if a website loads slow or does not load properly. In fact, a website could lose 40% of shoppers if its pages do not load within 3 seconds.
How simple or complex you make your navigation decides the visitor’s overall experience is. There’s a reason why many high-ranking sites use simple menu templates that cut out the clutter. In the case of many labels or products, it’s essential to incorporate precise naming conventions. This can ensure sub-categories are not entirely lost and can even be found using simple logic. Similarly, prioritizing search is essential if you want users to explore your website with more ease.
Incorporating psychology into your product page optimization strategy
1) Sense of urgency
Noticed how some websites use terms such as final, now, ends, etc. in their CTAs? What they are essentially doing is creating a sense of urgency which acts subconsciously to make people believe they will be better off if they made the purchase right away. Here’s a good example from the brand ASOS:
2) Social proof
First coined in the book “Influence: The Power of Persuasion” by the social psychologist Robert Cialdini, social proof represents the notion that people prefer to go with what others have done when they don’t have experience or are afraid of making a wrong choice. In the eCommerce context, social proof can be established through reviews, testimonials, and star ratings. This example from Basecamp actually carries numerous reviews from leaders vouching for the brand’s expertise.
3) Pricing strategy
Psychological pricing is a pricing strategy that’s used in eCommerce to convert more visitors into buyers. The idea is simple. Price the product in a way that it’s numerically not a round figure. For example, with the simple tweak from $100 to $99, the subconscious message is relayed that something is no more priced at a three-digit number.
4) The Scarcity Principle
A principle used both in economics and social psychology seems to have taken a huge bearing on the way eCommerce works. The scarcity principle essentially helps businesses market their products hard-to-get. They may be positioned under a limited period offer, or under limited stock, or even heavy discounts applicable to only the first few purchases. The idea is rooted in people desiring anything that is not easily accessible to them. When applied with contextual intelligence, this can make eCommerce sales soar instantly.
5) Live chat
While this strategy is essentially a way to get more customers, at its core, it also packs in the genuine desire to be of more help. However, how it’s applied to your eCommerce website could make all the difference. You may have to consider which pages would convert more and placing live chat on those. If it’s a proactive live chat — where the business approaches the customer before they do — you’ll have to ensure you don’t end up interrupting their natural browsing behavior.
6) Aspirational content
Aspirational content and branding focus on the consumer more than many other strategies. It strikes a seamless balance between establishing your brand as relevant and trustworthy and creating a consistent connection with consumers. Through aspirational content, your eCommerce business can reach a number of other goals including establishing what the brand stands for, what experiences it would like to create and how it would make a difference in people’s lives. Think of brand Apple and you’ll know what we’re trying to say.
7) Intent-based popup
Intent-based popups, also often referred to as exit-intent popups, amplify the concept of the last window of opportunity. Placed strategically and meaningfully, they can show your consumers you are truly aligned with what they are looking for. Whether it’s a last-minute discount or a reminder to sign up for more information through a newsletter, these popups can lead to increased email signups and reduced cart abandonment.
Interested in applying more of consumer psychology to drive better eCommerce conversions? Read this blog.
A/B test and optimize
As a final measure to round off all the steps mentioned before, don’t forget to A/B test and optimize your e-commerce website. A/B test is a tactic where two versions of the same page are randomly shown to users and based on their behavior, data is gathered to then make relevant changes to the page. Irrespective of which industry your business is, A/B testing and optimization can transform the way traffic to your website works by:
- Improving the user experience
- Measuring the rate of improvement
- Enhancing marketing measures in desired directions
- Applying learnings across your website