Today’s shopper can get all the information they need about a product online if they seek it out, but individual retailers often drop the ball when it comes to aggregating sufficient product content, information and reviews all in one place.
While shoppers expect six images per product page on average, even the best-selling products on Amazon don’t live up to this standard, according to a consumer research report from Salsify. Across the top 10% of products by Amazon Sales Rank in six categories, only electronics and grocery approached four images per product. Retailers seeking to compete with Amazon on presentation can take advantage of this by delivering more detailed product images at numerous angles.
Why Reviews Matter: ‘Consumers Don’t Want To Be Guinea Pigs’
In the age of Amazon, product reviews are vital to getting a shopper to strongly consider buying a product — and the younger the shopper, the more product reviews they demand. Shoppers in the 18- to 24-year-old range expect an average of 203 reviews per product when they search online. This total dips at each higher age bracket until a slight rise for those aged 65+, but it illustrates just how important reviews are to generating consumers trust:
- Shoppers aged 25 to 34 expect 159 reviews;
- Shoppers aged 35 to 44 expect 141 reviews;
- Shoppers aged 45 to 54 expect 91 reviews;
- Shoppers aged 55 to 64 expect 38 reviews; and
- Shoppers aged 65+ expect 46 reviews.
“Consistently, the top 10% performing products on Amazon, regardless of price point have substantially more reviews than its poor-performing products, and it’s not even particularly close,” said Andrew Waber, Data Insights Manager at Salsify in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’re talking in the hundreds versus the single digits. Consumers are really looking for that extra degree of validation and it’s not even necessarily the star rating. Those ratings are pretty similar between the top performers and poor performers. The difference is the average review count. Consumers don’t want to be guinea pigs.”
In total, consumers anticipate 112 reviews on average across all age groups. Retailers and brands can use the reviews to adjust product page content, better understand what features to highlight, and develop new products for the market.
Want An Informative Product Page? Answer At Least Eight Shopper Questions
Retailers shouldn’t rely only on consumer reviews to gain shopper trust; they also need to volunteer product information on their own. As many as 69% of consumers said not having enough information or details about the product was their first or second reason for abandoning a product page.
This percentage exceeds the number of shoppers that called a high price tag a deal breaker, or even concerns that the product is possibly fake or counterfeit. Additionally, shoppers would leave if there was not enough rich media included, or the media’s quality was low.
“This was the first year where we saw that the top reason was not enough information or details provided,” Waber said. “This crystalizes the idea that in order to win sales now, it’s not about competing on price anymore. Consumers are willing to spend a little more if the product speaks to their needs and gives them the answer to their questions.”
Regardless of age, most shoppers expect an average of eight to 13 questions to be answered by the brand itself on the product page, according to the Salsify study. The takeaway for retailers is to consider a customer’s questions when designing their product content. In particular, retailers can provide packaging shots as well as images that address common questions about size, materials or use of the product.
“One option is to put in more textual descriptions that reveal what a specific product feature actually does, or have common Q&A questions literally right on the product page that can be interactively displayed,” Waber said. “You can have richer content like 360-degree product spins. We’ve been working with retailers to deliver a live, on-site chat function.”
The chat feature has a meaningful impact in terms of actual conversion, according to Waber. Salsify examined sales of a retail client’s laptops, priced at over $100, for a six-month period. Salsify measured the view-to-add-to-cart rate upon implementing on-site chat, discovering that if there was a chat interaction over the six-month stretch, those laptops converted at a 26% higher rate than those lacking the chat option.
Shoppers Willing To Select Unknown Brands If Product Content, Reviews Are On Point
While shoppers will leave a product page if they don’t know about its contents, an “unfamiliar brand” is actually the least frequently cited reason a consumer left a product page. Consumers are more willing to take a chance on newcomer products if the product detail page satisfies their questions. Done right, this can provide an enormous opportunity to launch new product lines and build an audience. It’s also a marked vulnerability for well-established brands that are not telling the full story of each of their products online.
“[Consumers are] looking for that extra degree of personalization via the search bar, or they’re picking exactly what they want and only look at the first three or four options,” said Waber. With unfamiliar products, an investment in product information can even combat a comparatively higher price, he added: “Maybe [customers] don’t recognize a brand name, but this one product from a brand they never heard from just speaks to them and gives them a ton of information, and even if it costs a little more, I’ll give it a shot.”
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