Getting the basics right
It doesn’t matter how great your product is if your potential customers are never going to find out about it. With this in mind, there are certain ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of your product page that need to be taken care of to maximise your online visibility.
40% of visitors abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Cramming your product page with lots of images, videos, and content could slow it down, so be wary of going overboard. Test your page for load times on your PC and mobile to see if there’s an issue with speed.
You can sometimes be faced with a dilemma when giving a name to your product: on the one hand you want to make sure it stands out from the crowd. But if the name is too obscure, it increases the chances of customers and search engines failing to notice it.
Let’s say you print retro-style t-shirts, and you’ve put together a classic car range. For your ‘mustang’ t-shirt, your inclination might be to call it simply ‘Ford mustang t-shirt’. Before you do this, go to Google AdWords Keyword Planner and find out what terms people actually use when they search for this type of item. In order of search volume, the most popular terms could be as follows:
- Retro t-shirt
- Classic car t-shirt
- American car t-shirt
- Ford mustang t-shirt
Next, use this data to re-work your title. Try and blend what your specific product is all about, at the same time as capturing broader search terms (i.e., the more general terms people would use to search for your product, such as ‘t-shirt’). Just as an example, the end result here could be, ‘Ford mustang classic car t-shirt’, as it touches upon two different searched-for terms, whilst giving the customer a more specific idea of what you’re actually selling.
Layout: don’t stray from what your customers expect
Look at sample product pages from some of the UK’s top retailers. Ignore the branding, and what have you got left? For one thing, they’re all pretty similar. The tone alters from site to site: as does the look and feel of the design to reflect the fact that the sites are aimed at specific markets, but the basic structure remains.
There’s a very good reason for this: we’re so used to online shopping that we know what to expect from a product page without even thinking about it. Assuming you’re interested in turning visitors into customers, your product pages aren’t the places to ‘get creative’ with unfamiliar layouts.
- Display tiered information. Most ecommerce situations allow you provide two or more layers of product information, so make the most of this. This might consist of a short description field (ideal for a bullet-point list). Most visitors to your site will want to check the essentials first of all, so consider providing a list of key characteristics, i.e. size, weight, construction, suitability, care instructions.
- Sell benefits: not features. This is especially the case if yours is a practical or technical product. The technical spec is less important than how those technical features are going to make a difference to the customer in real life. Focus less on telling your customers how ‘fantastic’ it is, and more on what it actually does.
Invest in quality photography
Thanks to affordable digital cameras and smartphones, high-resolution imagery is no longer out of bounds to up-and-coming ecommerce entrepreneurs. Customers want as accurate an idea as possible of what your product consists of, and looks like in real life. What’s more, grainy, tiny imagery can be taken as a sign that your website is not to be trusted. Bear in mind the following:
- Think big. Images should be at least 2000 pixels on the longest side.
- Provide multiple images to show your product from all angles.
- Zoom. Customers want to get up close and check the finer details. Your e-commerce platform should have a zoom plugin, so be sure to install this.
Use reviews to promote trust
More than three-quarters of UK shoppers read reviews before buying online. Your e-commerce platform should have a facility for customers to leave reviews, along with the option of displaying selected reviews on your product pages. Make the most of this feature.
Clear CTA: with no hidden surprises
The call-to-action (CTA) is the button that invites the visitor to take the next step and make a purchase. Make sure it stands out clearly on the page, preferably with a bright, eye-catching colour that sets it apart from the background, and from any other imagery on the page.
So you’re not requiring visitors ‘dig’ to find out how much they’ll have to pay, display the price directly next to, or below the product name. It’s estimated that almost half of online orders include free postage. Rather than hitting your customers with an extra charge at the checkout stage, consider factoring in this expense when you price your products, and offering ‘free’ delivery.
Think of each product page as a work in progress and once your site is live, you’ll begin to get a feel for what works best for your market. Pricing strategies, different colour checkout buttons, the best order to display photos, precise titles for products: keep on experimenting and tweaking your pages to find the right recipe for your market.