Online retail brands devote an incredible amount of time to the creation of a polished and attention-grabbing homepage. The splashy hero image, a video on autoplay, a carousel of images for a new collection — getting these visuals right plays a huge role in influencing shoppers.
Then there’s the website navigation, web accessibility, mobile friendliness and the checkout experience. Everything is tried and tested thoroughly to guarantee a seamless experience.
But I’d argue that product pages often aren’t given the attention they’re due. Product pages are the one aspect of an ecommerce website that can make the difference between a shopper browsing and leaving, and a shopper that can’t help but click the “add to cart” button.
Skyrocketing ecommerce adoption means that consumers today browse an endless number of websites. And when they’re not beholden to one brand, they might land on Amazon or another online-only marketplace. Taking a page out of marketplaces’ playbooks, retailers and brands today can create product pages that make exploration and product discovery incredibly simple.
Writing great website copy can be a tricky balance. You want enough quality content and keywords for strong SEO, but not too much that it overpowers the true star of the show: your product.
The more detail you can include on the product page, the better. But more detail doesn’t mean longer text. Make content succinct and easy to navigate. You can incorporate collapsible sections of content that a shopper expands to read further. Dimensions, materials, product compatibility, sustainability information, frequently asked questions — these details can be expanded when a shopper is ready to take in that information, and not a cluttered moment sooner.
Shoppers should be able to quickly locate pertinent product information. They want to be certain they’re making the right purchase, so help them arrive at that decision with full confidence. The last thing you want is someone to abandon your site entirely because an adjacent Google search for product details led them directly to your competitor.
While you’re making your product details easily referenceable, make sure your calls to action (CTAs) are super clear too. There are some aspects of ecommerce that are inherent expectations of shoppers. The “add to cart” button is one of them. Don’t cause ecommerce users to exert too much effort trying to find the “add to cart” option. Taking that next step should be intuitive, and shoppers shouldn’t have to scroll or backtrack to move closer to checkout.
Use Merchandising Tactics to Communicate Urgency and Product Affinity
There’s an art — and a good deal of psychology — to merchandising products online. In a brick-and-mortar setting, high-margin products can be displayed prominently on a shelf. Time-sensitive or exclusive items can be promoted on an aisle endcap. The same visual cues can be replicated online if a brand is smart in its ecommerce merchandising strategies.
An item’s popularity or novelty can be communicated via badges that read “best seller,” “newly added,” or even “new markdown.” A real-time stock indicator can be leveraged to show how few might be available. A similar sense of urgency can be conveyed with simple text indicating how many people are currently viewing an item or have it in their shopping cart. As a shopper gathers information on a potential purchase, these tactics add fuel to the fire, compelling them to make a move before an item might sell out. Plus, these tactics can reinforce the idea that other customers are interested in the same products.
Make product reviews prominent on product pages to provide social proof, including user-generated content to provide more context. Seeing a jacket on the model is one thing. Seeing photos of actual customers wearing the coat in candid shots, as if you’re scrolling your friends’ posts on social media? Now that’s the best kind of peer pressure. That sort of influence leads a shopper to enthusiastically purchase the same product from you. If you struggle to collect this content, consider incentives such as discounts or other loyalty perks in exchange for a shopper’s review with an attached image.
Product pages should cross-sell and upsell items too. Show complementary or compatible products, or something labeled “Shoppers Also Purchased.” Lastly, if a shopper doesn’t find what they’re looking for, provide other options, showcasing recommendations for similar items.
Watch Ecommerce Conversions Increase When you Refine your Product Pages
The design and user experience (UX) of your ecommerce product page plays a major role in how likely a shopper is to convert. The end goal of product pages is to make that item — be it an electronic, a piece of apparel or a pair of shoes — as irresistible as possible.
An exceptional product page can turn a passive “window shopper” into a returning ecommerce customer. To improve the ecommerce shopper experience, brands today must create intrigue, provide contextual information and serve up visuals that help a shopper see themselves with that purchase. Then brands should be sure there are no UX roadblocks in the customer’s way as they race to the checkout.
Peter Messana is the CEO at Searchspring, a global leader in site search and merchandising.