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What Makes a Great e-Commerce Product Page?

What Makes a Great e-Commerce Product Page

Published by

October 16, 2017

e-Commerce product page one an online store, they’re more important than any other pages on your website – even your homepage (Your homepage, after all, primarily directs traffic to product pages). Product pages are your workhorses, the ones primarily responsible for closing the sale after your marketing efforts have delivered visitors to them.

They also bear much of the responsibility when you lose a sale.

When you do them right, product pages increase conversions, differentiate you from your competitors (even when your products are similar or identical), engender trust, and even create brand advocates.

In short, a great e-commerce product page will:

  • Sell more.
  • Stand out.
  • Win fans and influence people, creating brand advocates.

But here’s the thing: There’s no single precise formula for what makes a great e-commerce product page. Each store is as different as their target audience, and product pages that succeed are those that best capture that originality. That said, we’ve identified 14 elements that have proven to increase conversion rates for our e-commerce clients.

14 Elements We’ve Seen Increase Conversion Rates of e-Commerce Product Pages

An accurate product title

Product titles have to set up (or reinforce) an accurate expectation for the lead, an expectation that begins the second that lead sees your ad on Facebook or your snippet on their search engine results page. This month we’ve started seeing ads, especially on Facebook, that try to catch people by setting them up for one expectation, and delivering something entirely different. Consumers are sensitive to the possibility of being scammed, and nobody wants to feel like a dupe. But even perfectly legitimate e-commerce stores can look sketchy if their ad, landing page, website, social media presence, and product pages aren’t consistent (in design, content, and product titles).

The title of this product from Paddywax couldn’t be clearer. Expect to smell leather and oakmoss.

Paddywax e-commerce product page
Paddywax e-commerce product page

Ditch meaningless adjectives

Get rid of’em. They don’t belong anywhere on your product page, on your website, or, dare I say, in your life (you can use them with your spouse – that’s it). Once again, you’re coming up against the natural distrust that the consumer has towards vendors, and just because you say “Fantastic Vacuum Cleaner!” doesn’t mean your moniker is convincing. What you really need are specific details that support why your vacuum cleaner works better, lasts longer, sucks up more dirt, debris and dander and leaves a room so clean, your mother-in-law can’t even criticize it. Copy like that sells because it focuses on the features and benefits that speak to your lead’s primary pain points. Who needs adjectives when you’ve got all that?

Write for the reader first, Google second

SEO is important, but it’s not the most important thing to consider when writing your product title and description. Your reader is the one hitting the buy button – write for them first. But, you also need to get on their radar, which SEO enables you to do. First, have an accurate, descriptive product title, and check Google Analytics for the keywords people use to find products like yours. Use those keywords in your description copy. We’ve also noticed that including the product SKU in the product title is beneficial to leads searching for that exact item.

Include the long and short of it

I think every product should have a short description, of 100 words or fewer, in addition to the longer product description. The shorter description isn’t just the long version shortened, it’s a brief, original outline that works like the extract in WordPress – the little blurb that pops up on search results pages that tells searchers what they can find when they click. The short description gets people on the page, and the long description is where you have the chance to convert them into buyers. Include what the product does, how it’s used, and any other relevant information that sets up the lead to successfully use it. This is where you can really stand out from your competitors, because very few e-commerce companies bother with really good product descriptions. The ones that do tend to rise to the top.

The N’Finity Pro wine refrigerator sold on Wine Enthusiast uses the short & long technique to great effect. See their short description at the top, which is, technically, a value proposition: “a hybrid of the most sought-after wine cellar features in one complete unit. All the convenience of higher-end wine cellars at half the price.”

Nfinity pro e-commerce product page
Nfinity pro e-commerce product page

We’re not done with this product page, because taken as a whole, it’s got everything you need and then some.

Write stand-out descriptions on your e-commerce product page

Some brands positively capitalize on the ingenuity of their product descriptions. The J. Peterman catalogue reads like a choose-your-own adventure novel, drawing as many readers as buyers (and their clothes aren’t even that great). But they’re not just selling clothes. They’re selling a fantasy, which can be very lucrative. Check out the product description under this perfume from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself. . . . This blend is an artful deception: a sweet gilded blossom lying over a twisted and corrupted core.” Somewhere in there is an actual description of the scent, but it’s the emotion they’re selling more than anything.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab e-commerce product page
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab e-commerce product page

Your product descriptions don’t have to take quite that much artistic license, but here’s what they should do: They should reflect the personality of your brand. Personality stands out, and when it’s authentic, it can’t be copied by your competitors (at least not well).

No matter how artistic your product descriptions may be, do make sure that they clearly state what the buyer will get. An e-commerce study by NNgroup found that 20% of failed purchases (purchase process started but not completed) could be attributed to incomplete or unclear product information that leaves shoppers questions unanswered.

Make your BUY button clear as day

It should go without saying, but there are many, many vague Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons on product pages. Make your button big, easy to spot, and place it above the fold near the product image for best results.

Place your benefits top and center

The best place to list e-commerce product benefits, according to ConversionXL Institute’s heatmap survey, is above the BUY button. That arrangement resulted in the highest number of people seeing the benefits and recalling them afterwards.

Bullet it

Also according to ConversionXL Institute’s research, “people read bulleted text for a longer amount of time than paragraph text.” Though, they note, this depends on your buyer persona. Technically-minded buyers tend to read more text than other buyer types, who would rather have the important points bulleted.

This Livescribe product page cleverly places benefits under the “Features” column in bullet points, while putting “features” under “what you get.” Either way, the combination of these bullet points tells readers exactly what they’re getting. (For an in-depth explanation of features vs. benefits in copywriting, read this).

Livescribe e-commerce product page
Livescribe e-commerce product page

Improve & add more product photos

In the world of Pinterest-as-marketing, you must have professional quality product images. Even hobby-bloggers have professional quality photography these days, and businesses have no excuse for shoddy pictures. We recommend including 6-8 photos of each product from different angles, as well as in use by actual people. Even this chopstick – the simplest product one can imagine – has 3 photos on this Etsy page.

Etsy e-commerce product page
Etsy e-commerce product page

Photos can also be used to do the equivalent of the artistic product descriptions mentioned above – they can sell not just an item, but a fantasy of the lifestyle that goes with it. Modcloth does an incredible job of this on their home page.

Modcloth e-commerce product page
Modcloth e-commerce product page

Add videos, if possible

Videos work well for demonstrating how a product works and giving people a clearer picture of what to expect – which can drive up conversion rates. The more a consumer feels they know exactly what to expect from your product, the more they trust you, and the more likely they are to buy. Videos go a long way in garnering trust, which is why Zappos uses them in nearly every shoe product page. Shoes are notoriously difficult to sell online because every foot is different. It’s an uphill battle to make people believe a shoe will be comfortable and look good on them, but videos bridge that gap.

Zappos e-commerce product page
Zappos e-commerce product page

FAQs & User Reviews

Amazon debuted an interesting feature on their product pages a few years ago: Frequently asked questions from customers that other customers were prompted to answer. This ingeniously served two purposes: It answered questions AND provided social proof from other customers who bought the product. Social proof is also why posting user reviews on your product page work to increase conversions (even if not all of the reviews are positive). It’s a psychological phenomenon where people, essentially, go in the direction they see other people moving in. On the internet, that often means buying the product that has the most purchasers (or reviewers).

One study found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from people they know; and 72% of consumers trust businesses more when they read positive reviews. According to a Harvard Business School article, reviews (and FAQ answers, presumably) “fill in the gaps by providing a tremendous amount of information on which to base decisions.”
That wine refrigerator from Wine Enthusiast includes both lower down on the same product page:

Wine Enthusiast e-commerce product page
Wine Enthusiast e-commerce product page

“Have a question about this? Ask people who own it.”

Related products & upsells

Pop quiz: What do you need to buy if you’re also buying a wine fridge? Wine, of course! And maybe a bottle opener, and a decanter, and an aerator, and new Riedel wine glasses (get the picture?). When selecting “related products” to feature on each product page, ask yourself: What other products would be useful additions that enhance the experience?

Nick Offerman’s “Build Your Own Damn Stool” kit combines a brand-personality-fueled description with upsell options (personalizing the product with initials) and a related product offered at a discount, the Spokeshave Kit (for shaping wood legs – like the wood legs that come with the stool kit).

Build your own damn stool e-commerce product page
Build your own damn stool e-commerce product page

Social proof & social media sharing

Social proof a concept as old as marketing itself. It’s a psychological phenomenon listed in Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence that refers to people relying on the feedback and actions of others to inform their decisions. If they see other people doing something or buying something, they’ll be more inclined to follow suit. Which is why you’ll see more and more product pages including user reviews and testimonials – they prove that other people are trying, buying and enjoying the product.

Hey, you’ve put a lot of work into making your product page not just informative, but downright entertaining. People are going to want to share it – so make it easy. Because what you’re building here isn’t just a customer base, but a fan base. Besides improving conversions, we’ve seen more people sharing product pages because they’re informative, interesting, funny, and useful – or because they’re beautiful. Pinterest is a powerful tool when your images are “pin-worthy.” Adding a widget to your product pages that allow for easy social sharing is simple and well worth the effort.

Notice the simple “Share” icons on the right side of this page, just under ratings and reviews (which is more conversion-raising social proof).

Lucky Scent e-commerce product page
Lucky Scent e-commerce product page

Ensure safety

This is very simple, very basic, but essential: Include language that details how safe it is to order from your site, and use a recognizable, reputable payment system. This heirloom seed company below has a CTA that reads “Proceed to Secure Checkout,” a claim that is backed by the four major credit cards they accept, as well as PayPal “The safer, easier way to pay.”

Secure e-commerce product page
Secure e-commerce product page

Shipping costs, shipping policy & delivery details

From the beautiful to the banal – yes, your product page needs both, because while people will spend money on the dream, they want the details when it comes to shipping methods and cost. Clearly state them on the product page so buyers know what they’re getting, how they’re getting it, and when they can expect it to arrive. If you offer free shipping, say so. What you don’t want is for the buyer to see any surprises once they’re in their shopping cart.

One strategy I’ve seen work very well is to include a message like, “Purchase now for free 3-day shipping” – everyone wants immediate gratification!

Zulily product pages tell you when a product will ship, with an option for more details on shipping via pop-up window.

Zulily e-commerce product page
Zulily e-commerce product page

 

 

 

 

 

 

e-Commerce product page summary

In short, great e-commerce product pages are:

  • Accurate
  • Clear
  • Informative
  • Trustworthy
  • Brand-personality driven (in a way that fits with your target audience)
  • And, most importantly, written to ensure customers ultimately find success with the product

If you have those basic elements in place, you don’t need all the bells and whistles – but the bells and whistles can help you differentiate your brand from all the others out there.

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