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Conversion Optimization

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

Too much advice on product pages is already out there. In this post, we focus on 8 lesser-known ways to improve your product page conversions.

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

Getting your product page right is the most crucial aspect of increasing eCommerce conversion rates.

You may have the best products, flawless checkout process, aesthetic layout, and targeted ads—but without correctly optimized product pages, the shopping cart will continue to remain empty.

It’s not surprising that despite a lot of information on how to perfect product pages, most small and medium businesses struggle with low conversion rates. Most of these problems boil down to either poor UX or poor motivation to purchase.

This post offers 13 reasons why online retailers struggle to improve product page conversion rates and how they can fix it. 

Reason #1: Your page has too much information

The human memory can be tricky to handle. Before information is stored in the long-term memory, it is processed through the working memory, which is extremely limited. 

This has profound implications for UI/ UX design. Recalling product details for comparison or discounts to apply at checkout can lead to higher cognitive loads. Other common culprits include confusing page layouts, fast-rotating image banners, and checkout processes with too many steps. 

Product pages that take a lesser toll on the working memory are understood faster and see higher engagement. It has an immense bearing on conversion rates and repeat visits. 

Here are a few ways to design product pages that eliminate cognitive overload:

  • Instead of asking customers to remember product features, provide quick and accessible product comparisons. Line up the categories and attributes side by side to help the customers compare faster and make an easy decision. 
  • Coupon codes and discount codes can be auto-applied at checkout. Stores can have a coupon overlay screen that opens during checkout and customers can choose the coupon they want to use and it can be applied automatically to the cart. 
  • Highlighting clickable links and showing visited links in a different color. Customers should have no difficulty in being able to spot clickable links and differentiate the ones they’ve previously visited.
  • Using universal icons and call-to-action phrases that customers are familiar with. Customers should be able to understand the icons for search, go to the home page, view cart, etc.
Read More: 18 UX hacks to combat cognitive load

Don’t:

Most online stores visually clutter the product page with too much text and takes much longer to process.

Do:

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

See how Better Booch shows product information with appealing visuals to create a unique product page layout.

Reason #2: Your page has too many options

When there are too many options to choose from, customers get overwhelmed. It takes longer for them to make a decision or they completely avoid making one.

Most eCommerce stores struggle with deciding which options to display and how to categorize them. Too many products in a category can overwhelm customers. Too many categories can also be confusing. eCommerce stores that provide fewer options see faster decision-making and ultimately, higher customer satisfaction rates. 

How a store designs its product filters thus becomes immensely important.

Here are proven ways to eliminate the problem of choice and improve conversions:

  • Use column layouts optimized for screen sizes for better readability and faster comprehension. A large desktop screen can fit a 4 column layout; the same page on a laptop should have a three-column layout, two on a tablet, and one on a mobile phone. 
  • Add the most popular products in separate sections. Etsy does this really well. A prominent place on their homepage is devoted to the “Popular gifts right now” section. This is a subtle way of showcasing their bestsellers. 
  • Hide some options while displaying only those that match closely to the search terms. Search results should be prioritized by how closely they match the search terms and how popular they are. The lower rung results can be hidden from the drop-down menu results. 
  • Use thematic product categories for festivals and special occasions. The store Uncommon Goods does this really well. Not only do they have thematic collections for various occasions like weddings and birthdays but they also do a topical theme like Black History Month.
Read More: 13 smart ways to reduce choice paralysis

Don’t:

Online stores have too many categories on the page which can be overwhelming for a new customer who may not know what they want. 

Do:

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

Try thematic categories which gives customers different ways to explore and discover products.

Reason #3: Your copy is not persuasive enough

Success in online retail is correlated to persuasion. 72% of marketers believe that persuasion is invaluable for boosting sales. Emotionally connected customers are 3 times more likely to buy or recommend a product. 

Unless there is an emotional component in the store’s copy, customers have no opportunity to connect with the business. 

Most generic copy makes no effort to create an emotional connection with the audience. It skips on talking about the human side of the business and does not address the pain points the brand is solving.

Here are a few ways to inject persuasion into your product page copy: 

  • Mention stories that customers can identify and relate with. The store Fabletics uses social media influencers who craft a personal narrative around the product and their experience of using it. 
  • Create authentic content celebrating the people behind the business. Yellow Leaf Hammocks celebrates the fact that each of their products is woven by hand and signed by its weaver. Their weavers’ stories and lives also add authenticity to the brand’s claims.  
  • Certain words work better than others when it comes to persuasion. Words such as—free, instantly, new, you, and because evoke a reaction and cater to primitive instincts such as instant gratification, personalization, and exclusivity, which ultimately helps to boom your conversions.
Read More: 13 invaluable persuasion techniques for better conversions

Don’t:

Stuffing the product page with keywords takes away any authenticity from the copy and the product offering.

Do:

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

Use persuasive copy to get customers to click the CTA.  

Reason #4: Your page fails to resolve customer objections 

It’s not necessary that customers trust your brand if they’re coming to your site. 

Trust is something the product pages should create in the customer. It should generate confidence and credibility in their purchase decision. It should display reasons for customers to overrule the doubts and create the conviction that the products will surpass their expectations. 

Not only is trust important for first-time customer conversions, but it’s also essential to build a repeat customer base. The value of repeat customers in the eCommerce business is enormous. Ecommerce businesses with 40% repeat customers have 50% more sales than those with just 10% repeat customers. 

Here are a few memorable ways to build customer’s trust via product pages: 

  • Display social proof. Social proof consists of endorsements by customers and impartial third parties. This can be in the form of ratings, reviews, awards, and mentions by experts and influencers. A good example of this is the shoe store Allbirds which highlights all the press outlets that they have been featured in.
  • Credibility can also be built through certifications. These can be displayed to highlight brand values and product features. The self-care brand, Caldera + Lab, backs up its sustainability claims through third-party certificates and badges. 
  • Offer good shipping and returns policy. This signals transparency and goodwill. Snocks offers free shipping and a 6-month free returns guarantee on their customers' orders.
  • Free samples are also another way to win customers’ confidence. Warby Parker offers a free trial kit to their customers. Customers can use their products for a few days and then pick one from the trial set and return the rest. 
Read More: 10 scientific ways to build customer trust

Don’t:

Most product pages don't resolve customer doubts or objections and therefore may fail to convert customers.

Do:

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

Solve customer objections and doubts through FAQs, comparison charts and chat widget.

Write product pages that customers love. Read the comprehensive product page guide and learn from examples, best practices, and templates.

Reason #5: Your image carousels are underperforming 

According to research, only 1% of visitors clicked on image carousels whether they were static or rotating. Out of the 1% that click, 86% click on the first image itself. 

A well-performing image carousel requires a design strategy and must be used for the right purpose. Here are some reasons why image carousels fail:

  • The images on the carousels move too fast. Fast movements distract the eye and reduce the probability of customers processing what they read. 
  • They’re mistaken for ads. Most customers have gotten used to ignoring ads. Image carousels are often similarly tuned out. This is also known as banner blindness. 
  • Carousels that work well on desktops fail on smaller screens if they’re not customized for vertical viewing. 

Despite the complaints, there are several scenarios where image carousels work exceedingly well. Apart from solving specific design needs, they also help to reduce time and effort when used optimally. 

Here’s how you can use image carousels on your product pages to improve conversions:

  • An image carousel makes perfect sense when presenting a timeline, presentation, or a slideshow on a singular subject. They work best when the intent is to create a buildup around a certain product. 
  • Image carousels shine when the layout of products is mostly visual. A good example of this is Mercedes Benz. They use it to showcase stunning images of their products with very little text. Their image carousels have precise control buttons which make them easy to control. 
  • Image carousels also work better when there are few images and they’re not on auto-play. Including a progress bar is a good idea. Ikea follows these rules. Their image carousels feature individual CTAs and large scroll buttons on the side. 
Read More: The right (and wrong) ways to use image carousels

Don’t:

Most product page have too much text and the visual clutter making it hard to process.

Do:

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

Use zoom-in features to help customers to see the product clearly.

Reason #6: Your product bundling strategy is outdated 

Product bundling is usually a win-win for both customers and stores. Customers get more value for their money and stores can sell their slow-moving inventory. Research has shown that bundling can contribute between 10 to 30 percent of total revenue when done correctly. 

There are several types of product bundling strategies. Stores need to find the one that works best for their products and customers.

This is usually the part where most stores fail. When the bundle is presented as the only choice instead of buying the components individually, the customers might not go for it. At the same time, if it only includes slow-moving products, it might not be lucrative for customers to take the option. 

Customer data can help stores choose their product bundles—whether it’s complementary products, alternate options, mixed product bundling, etc. Their goal should be to create combinations that customers find valuable. 

Here are a few rules to keep in mind while creating high performing product bundles: 

  • Product bundling is a good strategy to upsell. The perceived value of the combination becomes much higher than the sum of the individual products. Think of McDonald’s and their various meal combos. That’s one of the most successful examples of how you can bundle products to both customers' and stores’ advantage. 
  • Another great trick to use while bundling is to allow customers to choose or make their own bundles. This makes it appealing to a wider audience. Manbox offers a lot of flexibility in its product bundling. They ask customers to choose the products they want in their customized Manboxes. 
  • Bundling can also be topical and seasonal. Festivals are a great time to create special bundles for the occasion. This helps customers save money and also creates FOMO as those bundles won’t be available throughout the year.
  • Sometimes bundling can also be with discounts. Some of the best-performing product bundles are buy-one-get-one. Another form of discount bundling is when free shipping is offered for surpassing a certain order value or product quantity. 
Read More: 20 product bundling ideas for inspiration

Don’t:

Some eCommerce stores offer bundles where customers cannot buy the items separately. If they need those specific products they need to buy the whole bundle. This may not work when customers only need to buy a few things from the bundle and can end up backfiring in the long run.

Do:

Example of product bundling that works

Here’s a thought-out example of a bundling strategy by Alpkit. It creates a bundle specifically for female marathon runners. They show the amount saved in purchasing the products together instead of buying them separately, and why a customer might go with their bundling strategy. 

SHORT ON TIME? HERE'S A QUICK SUMMARY OF THE AREAS TO LOOK AT:

Reason #7: Your above-the-fold content is weak

Research has shown that users scroll when there is reason to. When they fail to see the information of any value, they don’t scroll further. This means if a store’s above-the-fold content isn’t persuasive, users will not scroll down.

A lot of store pages cram their above-their-folds with too much information. That’s not advisable. Another common mistake is when the below-the-fold content doesn’t complement above the fold and ends up confusing the customers. What about the CTA? Well, for maximum visibility, the CTA should be on above the fold. For longer exposure, below the fold works better. The first one maximizes reach, the second exposure time. 

Below are a few content hacks that will make your above the fold unmissable: 

  • Have certain elements such as a USP, targeted branding, and clear navigation to make your page stand out. Chipotle does this really well. They have a well-structured layout for navigation, prominent branding, and a strong USP. 
  • Simplicity and clarity are essential when it comes to the top fold. Hitting customers with too much information such as design elements, images, text can be jarring. An uncluttered and minimal layout works best to create a quick first image. 
  • A good product page caters to new customers as well as returning ones. The above the fold section needs to have content categories that appeal to both. A good example here is Jackie Smith. Their page sections include new arrivals, special collections, and our community. These add value for new and existing customers. 
  • Provide value upfront. Warby Parker in their top section communicates “try our products at home” service. This is attention-grabbing and hooks customers in. 
Read More: Everything you wanted to know about above the fold content

Don’t:

Most product pages confusing above-the-fold sections. Perhaps, the navigational headers are too small and there’s too much text on the side and the images. It’s hard to figure out what the brand is saying. 

Do:

Clean and high-converting above the fold content

Here’s a great example of a simple, minimal, and highly effective above the fold from Clarks. They have a sale right up top, clear categories for navigation, and the images are given enough space to breathe. 

Reason #8: You are overdoing scarcity marketing

Usually, scarcity marketing conveys the perception that a product is popular and of high quality. It takes the form of exclusivity, rarity, excess demand, and urgency. 

However, most eCommerce stores tend to overdo one or more of these forms. Overusing urgency and exclusivity after a point makes the customer realize that they are being played with. It makes the brand look desperate and scammy. 

Stores also lose customers when they hype up popularity and quality only to have products that don’t match those expectations. The brand takes a huge hit in these cases. 

Overdoing reminders, sales nudges, and emailers can also come across as annoying and it discounts the brand value substantially. Another tactic that creates the perception of a scam is always extending deals. This devalues the urgency of purchase and customers then have no regard for scarcity marketing. 

Here are some learnings on how to get scarcity marketing right every time: 

  • Doing the right kind of limited editions. Scarcity marketing works best when it’s used for products that are not of the regular kind. The clothing brand Supreme does this really well. They release unique products, enter into quirky collaborations, and release limited products for limited times. These products are quite different from their regular stock. 
  • Exclusivity is a great tactic to borrow and use for scarcity marketing. Adidas does this well by having exclusive collaborations with superstars from various industries. These are limited edition collaborations, including the Yeezy line with Kanye. 
  • Sometimes just having a single instance of scarcity marketing is enough. Groupon does this well. When they display coupons, there is a single line that says limited time remaining. There are no pushy tactics involved. 
Read More: Are you making these 6 scarcity marketing mistakes?

Don’t:

Sending incessant email reminders is surest way to put off customers.

Do:

Scarcity messages that work

Amazon is one of the few brands that use multiple forms of scarcity marketing together and they complement each other quite well. The example below shows the number of quantities remaining to prompt purchase. They also tell the customer how many minutes they have left to order if they want to get the item by the next day. 

Reason #9: You probably have too many intrusive interstitials 

With the average popup conversion rate at 11.09%, intrusive interstitials aka pop-ups might be an obvious strategy to attract attention. 

But are your customers really interacting with them? 

Google says that page ranking might be affected if it detects the following signals:

  • Pop-ups that cover the main content, when a user immediately lands on a mobile page
  • A standalone pop-up that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content
  • If the pop-up layout is similar to the above-the-fold portion of the page, but the original content has been inline underneath the fold.

Here are a few ways to decrease your pop-up problems and improve conversions:

  • You can avoid Google's penalty by not showing the pop-up as soon as the user lands on the product page. Instead, utilize a scroll or time to trigger pop-ups.
  • Next, focus on intent rather than auto-applying pop-ups across product pages. Analyze which product pages are performing well and which aren’t. Create intent-based pop-ups for both sets and decide the triggers. For example, on the product pages that don’t convert, offer a promotional pop-up. For product pages that do perform well, you can attract potential customers who drop off a loyalty program CTA.
  • Popups with images have an 11.09% conversion rate, while those without images have an 11.08% conversion rate. So image or no image, your pop-ups will only see conversions when you offer real value. 
Read more: Overcoming exit intent pop-up mistakes

Don’t: 

Pop-ups are annoying. Especially when it takes up the whole page. A full-screen pop-up covers the details of the product page and can compel the potential customer to close the tab instead of the pop-up. Furthermore, a full-screen pop-up on mobile is the surest way to get penalized.   

Do: 

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

Tease customers with a preview. The teaser can simply show the offer title. When clicked, the preview expands to show the entire offer and relevant CTA.   

Reason #10: You get a little too inspired by Amazon

eCommerce grew by X% in 2021. There are over 5,300 Shopify Plus stores. Even mainstream brands have ventured into online stores. eCommerce has become the top choice for everyone looking to buy anything.   

All the facts say eCommerce is booming. 

The only problem? 

Amazon has cracked the code to get more sales through its product page design and UX. However, most brands have taken it as the blueprint for their product pages. 

While replicating elements might work, most often it just makes your product page look the same.    

With customers browsing and shopping on multiple eCommerce sites, it’s important not to get lost in the crowd. A study found that 94% of negative website feedback was design-related.

Here are a few memorable ways to build product pages: 

  • You can differentiate your website (and your brand) with design. Invest in creating typography and design that are unique to your website. 
  • Think visual, with an image gallery that shows how the product is used or how it looks.         
  • Ask for feedback. No matter how pretty an element looks, it’s a subjective opinion. Your customers will offer an honest response with regards to the page elements. If you introduce a new page element, you can do a quick survey to see if it helped customers in their shopping experience.     
Read more: Looking for product page inspiration?

Don’t: 

In default mode, most brands use templates to create their product pages. And if they don’t see any conversions, eCommerce brands just replicate what other stores do. But most of the time,      

Do: 

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

Create your layout based on the target audience’s interest and problem statement.  You can experiment with different element positions and more. See how Twice lists information that compellingly matters the most.   

Reason #11: You're optimizing for mobile—not building for mobile

Most eCommerce business owners regularly optimize product pages for mobile. 

But since it needs more investment in terms of cost and effort, most brands try to adjust the product page copy and visuals for mobile instead of building for mobile.  

It’s essential to strike the perfect balance and design mobile product pages that convert. Your main goals are to keep your customers around longer and click ‘buy now’ with minimum distractions.   

However, many eCommerce business owners struggle with mobile conversions. 

Below are a few ways you can design mobile to improve the experience: 

  • Include product information differently. While bullet points and running sentences work well on the desktop, it’s difficult to read so much on mobile. You can use vertical drop-downs to add extra information about the product without overwhelming customers. 
  • Make sure your font size is legible on a mobile screen.
  • Product options such as size, colors, and other variants can be shown through icons rather than copy. 
  • Think visual with symbols ✓ or ✕ to save space and for ease of communication. 
Read more: How to design mobile product pages

Don’t: 

While it’s necessary to adapt for mobile, there’s no need to apply everything.   

Do: 

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

Bring in mobile gestures - swipe features, define the size of the CTA buttons, and pinch and expand.

Reason #12: Your page doesn’t build trust

Product pages need to convince customers to ‘buy’ the product. 

It’s not necessary that customers trust your brand if they’re coming to your site. 

Trust is something the product pages should create for the customer. It should generate confidence and credibility in their purchase decision.

Not only is trust important for first-time customer conversions, but it’s also essential to build a repeat customer base. The value of repeat customers in the eCommerce business is enormous. Ecommerce businesses with 40% repeat customers have 50% more sales than those with just 10% repeat customers. 

Reviews are one of the main selling points for many eCommerce brands. Think of reviews as a guide for customers that helps them make better choices. 

Here are a few memorable ways to build customer’s trust via product pages: 

  • Write copy that creates a sense of community. Help customers feel that they belong. This can be done by creating content of value and interest to the customers around the products. Allowing room for dialogue is also important. Customers should be able to share their thoughts and feedback. 
  • Display social proof. Social proof consists of endorsements by customers and impartial third parties. This can be in the form of ratings, reviews, awards, and mentions by experts and influencers. A good example of this is the shoe store Allbirds which highlights all the press outlets that they have been featured in.
  • Credibility can also be built through certifications. These can be displayed to highlight brand values and product features. The self-care brand, Caldera + Lab, backs up its sustainability claims through third-party certificates and badges. 

Don’t:

68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad ones. Negative reviews might make an eCommerce brand conscious. But deleting or hiding them makes customers suspicious. Instead, you can address the negative reviews and use them to improve the product or the shopping experience.      

Read more: How to get customer reviews

Do: 

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

See how Solmate uses searchable reviews to help customers can read reviews. Solemate also has filters such as a rating meter and reviews with images/videos so customers can read reviews that suit their requirements.  

Reason #13: You’re testing the wrong elements 

eCommerce business owners can see data from an A/B test to see which variant performs better with their live traffic, and they can use this data to make necessary adjustments to their websites.

However, most of the time online brands don’t have a valid hypothesis. They also often test irrelevant page elements such as CTA button colors. Really, there’s no best color.   

Here’s how you can A/B test product page elements and increase conversions:

  • You need to segment between first-time visitors and repeat visitors before A/B testing elements.
  • Understand the concept of statistical significance and how it helps you to analyze the results from A/B tests.   
  • Multivariate testing allows you to test the effectiveness of multiple different changes to your website, and it provides data that shows the relationship between these changes and which individual changes will be most beneficial for your site.
Read more: What's the difference between A/B testing & Multivariate testing

Don’t: 

Most of the time, brands test without a valid hypothesis. 

They also test without identifying a problem statement which makes it difficult to understand what exactly works on the product page.  

Some brands test elements such as CTA button colors. While these elements are important, they don’t really offer any real insights and can vary from store to store.   

Do: 

eCommerce: Why your Product Page isn't converting (+ proven hacks)

As an eCommerce business owner, you will be looking to consistently increase average order value and revenue. A/B testing is a crucial part of constant improvement. On the product page, we have seen brands test different elements that nudge a customer to click that buy now button.   

We love how Tarte Cosmetics uses videos and UGC content on its product pages to convince customers of the product’s effectiveness.    

To Wrap Up

When it comes to creating product pages that are high in conversion, customer experience is key. Stores need to stop overdoing some of the points mentioned above because they have a counterproductive effect on the customer experience. 

When designing product pages, stores need to: 

  • Not overload the customer with too many stimuli. Simple designs work best. 
  • Reduce the product options/ variants presented to the customer. 
  • Create authentic content and build an emotional connection with customers. 
  • Overcome customer doubts by projecting credibility, confidence, and trust. 
  • Optimize image carousels and use them for the right design goals. 
  • Use the right product bundling strategy based on customer data. 
  • Design above-the-fold content to suit the goals of their product page and ensure the CTA is placed for exposure or duration. 
  • Use scarcity marketing wisely and in a unique way that justifies its purpose. 

When a store manages to optimize all of these, they create a product page that works on multiple levels. It affects a customer’s memory, cognitive processing, emotional relatability, decision-making heuristics, and recall. 

When a page works at all these levels it’s impossible to not see conversion rates peak. 

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