One of the most critical areas to optimize within your user experience is without question the PDP, otherwise known as the Product Detail Page. This is the “money page” on your site – the page that does the selling and takes the customer from research and evaluation to purchase.
Few digital marketers get excited about eCommerce product pages though. Owners and executives who manage tens of thousands of products see these pages as essential for driving sales but incredibly tedious to maintain. From detailed product descriptions to high-res photos, it is easy for good product pages to become stale or repetitive without a site manager who is focused on quality.
Your customers will likely only look at a few product pages while they shop, but the information they find is incredibly valuable to them.
- More than 75% of customers rate product specifications as incredibly important when online shopping.
- Additionally, 98% of customers have been dissuaded from buying a product because of incomplete or incorrect content.
If even a few of your product pages aren’t meeting your quality standards, then your company is leaving sales on the table.
Follow these nine best practices to develop product pages that engage customers and really sell your products.
Balance Branding With Information in Your Copy
Some brands get hyper-creative when they develop their product names or descriptions, choosing titles similar to paint swatches than actual colors most people recognize. Instead of selling something that is light blue, they call the color “early morning mist.” While these descriptions are engaging and in-line with how you sell your products, your customers expect you to clearly describe what the items are in ways anyone can figure out.
Not only will this make your product descriptions and titles more effective (increasing customer knowledge and interest) clear copy will also give you a search boost because of the targeted keywords and informative language.
Let Patagonia serve as your example. They certainly sell the idea of going outdoors with the best gear, but they are also clear about the items that they promote.
Create Unique Product Descriptions
It should go without saying that your product descriptions need to be unique to your brand, not copied from a vendor — especially not without their permission. However, this is common enough that it bears repeating.
Also, remember that your product descriptions are read by actual customers, not just search crawlers, so focus less on keyword stuffing and more on creating content that sells.
Brands managers who want to go above and beyond with their content will develop engaging product descriptions that resonate with customers and keep people reading. They don’t see product descriptions as a burden for the content team or an SEO means to an end.
See below how lush sells an idea while providing information. Customers want to relax in citrus-luxury and know exactly how to do it.
Develop Guidelines for Your Product Images
Like your brand style guide, you should have a photography style guide for your products. This ensures product quality, but also product unity. Each product should be shot in the same light, with the same size ratio and the same online layout.
If you develop and sell all of your products, great. You should have no problem creating a unified model for your product images. However, this gets tricky when you sell items from dozens of vendors. It’s not uncommon for brands on a budget to accept the product images from vendors to save money on photography costs. As a result, one shirt might be featured on a white background, while the other is advertised on a model. The quality of one is higher than the other and customers are going to have a harder time objectively comparing the two.
Let’s put it this way, you want to look like a professional eCommerce business, not a third-party marketplace. If your categories look like eBay or Google Shopping results, then it’s time to unify your product images.
Show Multiple Images and Angles
Another way eCommerce brands keep their budget low is by only showing one or two images per product. What these retailers save in the short-run they will pay for in the long run with lower conversion rates and sales. Your first image wins over customers, but they want to see more. They want to know how the image looks from different angles and see if there is greater context for its size and weight.
Camping World’s pages need improvement. They took one image and then photoshopped the different rug colors to create different photos. Plus, some brands have their logos plastered all of the product images, while other photos just have the products.
Display Product Alternatives and Recommendations
Your product pages are meant to fill a need that your customers have. You should do whatever you can to offer solutions and guide shoppers to complete the sale. One way to do this is with product recommendations.
Showing similar products helps customers figure out what they need and what their options are. If they are on the fence about a product, they might find the perfect fit in your recommendation section.
You can also use your recommendation section to cross-sell items. A retailer can promote accessories or shoes to go with prom dresses, while an outdoor eCommerce store recommends additional camping gear for customers looking at tents.
Product alternatives increase the chances that a customer will convert, while product recommendations increase the average ticket.
Timberland actually uses both recommendations and alternatives. As you can see, they promote other jackets, but also hiking boots and work shoes to shoppers.
Give Customers Product Customization Options
Your customers have specific features in mind with the items they want. While you can’t accommodate everyone, you can showcase various customization options and choices when selling your products. These options address customer concerns and give buyers more control over the items.
Your customizations don’t need to be complex. Couch guitar straps nails it. They offer wallets with snaps or wallets without. This way customers who find the color and model they like aren’t detered by a snap (or lackthereof).
Your product pages are there to lower the risk factors when buying something from your brand. Why not add different details, add-ons, and color options to give people a strong sense of control?
Engage Your Customers on Your Product Pages
Ideally, you would dedicate at least half of a resource to customer engagement and encouraging buyers to review their items and share insights on your product pages. You may decide that this falls under the customer service umbrella or lives at the meeting point of customer care and marketing.
More than 90% of customers don’t trust items that lack reviews, and the more reviews a product has, the more customers trust it. Typically, a customer reads one or two good reviews and then reads the negative ones. They want to see what the worst case scenario is before they buy. Knowing this lowers their perceived risk and motivates them to move forward with the purchase.
There are multiple information points that existing customers can provide to promote your products to new buyers, a few include:
- A star rating of the product and their satisfaction with it.
- Information about the sizing (whether it runs small or runs big).
- Ratings for the quality of the product and value.
- Images of the product in customer homes or offices.
- Reviews and advice for how to use the product.
If you have someone on your team dedicated to asking customers to share this information, then you can build a steady stream of fresh content on your product pages to boost your SEO. You will have new images, engaging copy, and advice that sells new customers on your brand.
Ad ModCloth, for example, customers can upload photos of the items they bought. This helps customers see how the items fit, what events they are appropriate for, and how to accessorize them.
Consider Adding a FAQ
One of the benefits of involving your customer service team in the product page process is gathering insights and questions that they likely field all day. You can use these questions to improve your product descriptions or you can create a frequently asked questions section on your product pages.
FAQs instill more confidence in customers. They show how you anticipate and address concerns that past buyers have had. Plus, a FAQ section takes the burden off of your CSRs. If they have fewer calls with questions they can spend more time with customers solving their problems.
The best place to go for FAQ examples is travel sites. From Expedia to Royal Caribbean, these brands have to address dozens of concerns ranging from food to local activities. The more questions they can answer, the greater a chance of getting a booking.
Improve Site Load Speed — Especially for Images
Look at your Google Analytics data to see how many product pages, on average, your customers look at before they buy.
You may discover that your customers are scrollers, moving to the second, third, and even fourth page of product search results.
You may discover that your customers compare two or three items to make the best possible choice, causing them to toggle back and forth between the same few pages.
Whatever the behavior pattern, slow load times will push customers away. It only takes one or two slow-loading pages to annoy shoppers to the point where they find another brand to buy from.
These best practices highlight some of the most important aspects of your product pages. They won’t fix every problem on your website, but they will help you start to develop your product content with customer care in mind. Strong product pages reflect your company’s values and quality, so don’t brush them aside as a technical necessity.
This post is a continuation of our eCommerce best practices series. To read other parts of the series, check out our best practices for shopping carts and checkout, homepage, and category page design. If there is a part of the eCommerce user experience that you would like to know more about, don’t hesitate to reach out to our user experience team directly. Check back soon for the next chapter in this series.