Retail in 2021 doesn’t look quite like it did before COVID took over eCommerce. Online shopping is at an all-time high, even after lockdowns have eased. In the modern digital era and the sudden development of eCommerce due to recent events, a brand’s conversion rate is greatly affected by its website and therefore its product page design. A company’s digital image speaks volumes to the consciousness of the consumers, with regards to trust, quality, and overall experience. As a result, businesses need to make the most of this by implementing product page best practices and conversion rate optimization (CRO) campaigns to achieve optimal results, increase their profit margin and improve their return on investment (ROI).
With the pandemic-prompted expansion in digital retail comes a greater need for optimized product pages. Websites that fail to implement product page best practices risk low rankings on search engines, high bounce rates, and fewer repeat purchases. In this article, we’ll delve into the best strategies for avoiding this problem, as well as opportunities for making the most of each and every product page.
What are the key elements of a product page?
Product page design and content can vary dramatically from one website to the next, but a few key elements remain essential for all pages. By now eCommerce has its own set of rules and conventions. Below we list some of the most common tactics used for better results and, eventually, better balance sheets.
- A clear, succinct title. Even without reading the product description, customers should know exactly what is being sold, who the targeted consumer is, and how the product should be used. Short but explanatory, titles are preferable, as are highly descriptive adjectives.
- Relevant and attractive photos of the product. Visuals resonate better with consumers, meaning that the majority comprehends visual information better than oral. Accordingly, many consumers pay far more attention to product photos than to any product information conveyed through text. Photos may be of the product alone or may feature people wearing or using the item.
- An easy-to-find call to action. CTAs provide direction and incentivize the visitor. On a product page, a call to action might involve a button with a simple phrase, such as “buy now.” No matter what form it takes, this device should create a sense of urgency, convincing the customer to continue to the shopping cart or take some other action that will produce a conversion.
- Navigation tools to help customers move between pages. A customer choosing not to buy a specific product should not represent the end of the shopping experience. With help from simple navigation tools and correct pagination, customers can continue to browse similar products until they find something they’re more interested in purchasing. These tools can help customers view dozens of products within a single category or similar items that other shoppers have previously purchased.
- Additional product details. If any information about a product cannot be accurately conveyed within the image or the title, it should be included in a brief description or succinct bullet points. This portion of the product page should strive to answer any benefit-oriented questions that the customer might ask a salesperson if shopping within a physical location. This section might reference the materials used in the product, maintenance instructions, or sizing specifications.
Why is the structure of your product page so important?
How you structure the product page determines whether it makes a strong first impression — and whether customers feel compelled to make a purchase or move on. It also determines whether those customers actually find the page in the first place.
Layout and design are increasingly crucial elements for search engine optimization (SEO). Strategically designed pages are often easier for search engines to crawl and index. As such, these pages are more likely to land near the top on search engine results pages (SERPS)
Research highlighted in Search Engine Journal reveals that the first organic result on Google boasts a click-through rate (CTR) of over 28 percent, compared to just 15 percent for the second result and 11 percent for the third. The CTR gets substantially worse as you move from the first to the second page of results.
When designed and optimized with product page best practices, your product pages are more likely to be discovered, therefore proving more impactful. This can unlock not only an immediate sale but also years of follow-up purchases if customers are impressed by what they find. A customer’s first sale can easily turn into a meaningful relationship between your brand and your target audience if you play your cards right.
The value of a well-crafted product page can be seen in the ongoing success of retail giants such as Amazon. From product titles to product features and keyword density, Amazon has mastered the art of presentation and content optimization. Customers feel confident that, when they visit such a major retailer, they’ll find all the information they need, presented in an intelligible and easily digestible format. This model can be replicated on a smaller scale, but it takes effort. Hence, the importance of abiding by product page best practices.
Product page design best practices
From layout to calls to action, structural elements determine how customers interact with your page and whether they stick around long enough to produce conversions. Avoiding crucial common mistakes is important, and retailers should heed these design-related product page best practices:
- Optimize product pages for mobile. These days, the majority of online shopping takes place over mobile devices. Despite this, many eCommerce pages are still developed with desktop users in mind. Without a responsive design, smartphone shopping may involve endless scrolling or annoying adjustments to make the text more readable, eventually driving a potential customer away.
- Incorporate minimalist design principles. From product descriptions to reviews and even trust indicators, a variety of elements need to be included on your page. If not arranged carefully, these can make even the simplest product pages feel cluttered. Minimalist principles can prevent this problem. Perform A/B testing to determine which elements actually deliver a higher ROI — and get rid of anything that fails to produce discernible results. Make ample use of white space, as this builds contrast and draws the eye to the most essential elements on your page: product titles, photos, and CTA buttons.
- Develop a prominent call to action button. Whether they convince customers to “buy now” or “add to cart,” CTAs help shoppers make the important switch from casual browsing to active purchasing. These buttons should include succinct phrases that encourage website visitors to take the next step and convert. Use bold text and contrasting colors to make CTA buttons easy to pinpoint. Regardless of its color, this button needs to be large and easy to click. Avoid including multiple buttons in the CTA area, as this will diminish the power of this feature as a focal point.
- Pay attention to design practices on other pages. A cohesive retail experience is essential, as it keeps customers invested in your brand and boosts your overarching omnichannel strategy. As such, the designs on your product pages should feel relevant to other areas of your website and even to your social media accounts. This will streamline navigation and make it less jarring when customers move from one page to the next, offering a seamless customer journey.
- Use of sticky elements: Now this is Product Page Best Practices 101. Sticky headers are important for retail and eCommerce websites since they provide a sense of control and certainty to the consumers. Additionally, they add consistency to the brand’s overall image and aesthetic, making for a smoother user interface.
Product title best practices
The product title offers a succinct introduction to each item, conveying the essence of that product long before customers bother to examine the photo or read the description. The title can also provide an instant SEO boost. Selecting a product title can be surprisingly difficult, but these product detail page best practices should help.
- Keep titles short and simple. When in doubt, opt for brief titles that instantly convey what your products are all about. Ideally, these titles will fall below 100 characters. Remember: if your goal is to get your product featured on Google, a portion of the name will automatically be cut off if the title is too long. While brevity is generally better for product titles, do not take this concept too far. When titles are too short, products can be difficult to distinguish from one another or even those sold by competitors. Typically, the most effective product titles include somewhere between 70 and 80 characters. Balance is crucial.
- Use evocative language. While product photos are important, titles should be detailed enough that customers can discern exactly what you’re selling before they view any images. Include the name of the brand, the specific model, and, if relevant, the model year.
- Add the product’s SKU. In some situations, an item’s stock-keeping unit (SKU) can be a valuable addition to the product title. Typically used for internal inventory tracking, the SKU sometimes plays into customer searches.
- Identify the proper keywords for your product titles: SEO can be a very powerful ally when it comes to your webpage. Make sure you have done the proper keyword research and have examined your competitors’ moves.
Product photo best practices
The cliche about a picture being worth 1,000 words applies to product pages, where high-resolution photos allow you to showcase top items. Not just any pictures will do, however. These suggestions will help you select the right image based on the product you want to sell and the consumer you want to target.
- Create an inspiration board. Before you move forward with taking high-quality product images, it’s important to understand how these pictures will fit with current and future branding efforts. A cohesive brand is essential but is impossible to achieve if the style of your photos fails to match the general look and feel of your website. If you’re struggling to come up with a vision for your photos or page design in general, try an inspiration board. This digital collage includes ideas from several sources, which, together, will help you define the preferred aesthetic for your web presence.
- Provide 360-degree photos. Regardless of your product page photos’ style, it’s important to provide a view from every angle. Shoppers want to see what products look like from a variety of perspectives. This can be achieved with large, clear, 360-degree photos, making customers feel as if they’re observing or even handling products in person.
- Add videos. While photos — especially 360-degree versions — are excellent for conveying certain types of products, they don’t always capture the essence of these items. Video footage may provide a more comprehensive look at displayed items, especially if they are typically used in motion. Instructional videos, in particular, can be helpful for products that initially seem complicated. These clips break down the process of using such items so customers don’t feel overwhelmed.
- Tell a story with lifestyle images. In addition to basic photos that display products on a white background, provide at least a few that demonstrate how these items might be used in the real world. These images should tell a story without needing a caption. Details such as clothing, setting, and lighting can make a difference.
- Allow user-generated content: Encouraging your customers to upload their purchased goods on your product page serves a dual purpose. At first, it provides real-life proof of your brand’s credibility and secondly it increases word-of-mouth. Making customers sell your products for you is a very effective marketing strategy to increase revenue.
Product description best practices
If you’ve done your job with the product title, photo, and page design, consumers should be motivated to buy before they read any additional details. That being said, the product description can provide an extra incentive. It can also serve as a powerful differentiator if the same product is sold by several online retailers. Jazz up your descriptions with these helpful tips.
- Define your target market. Which types of customers are most likely to respond to specific products? If you’re not sure, develop a buyer persona to determine who will view your product page and which strategies will produce the most engagement among these specific consumers.
- Pay attention to the font and text size. The copywriting within the product description matters, of course, but customers will never bother to read it if you use a font that’s difficult to read or a text size that’s too small.
- Make descriptions easy to scan. Few customers have the patience to read long blocks of text on product pages. Most prefer succinct information, displayed in short paragraphs, or, better yet, with bullet points. Strategic use of headers, bold text, and italics can further improve readability.
- Optimize descriptions for voice search. Solutions such as Siri and Alexa encourage a hands-off approach to modern shopping, in which customers verbally ask their phones for information about top products. Keywords should be selected — and product descriptions are written — with this increasingly popular search tactic in mind. With voice search, longer, conversational keywords tend to be the most effective, as these reflect how consumers actually speak.
Product cross-selling best practices
Cross-selling and personalization are eCommerce essentials in 2021. When today’s customers view product pages, they expect suggestions for similar items that will seem compelling. This is a great opportunity to promote bundle purchases or even upsell consumers with higher-quality, higher-investment products and boost your revenue. Make the most of modern cross-selling with these product page best practices for targeted recommendations.
- Don’t display random products. Shoppers may be willing to purchase alternate items, but these should be closely connected to the product they initially expressed interest in. If suggested products feel random, customers will assume their needs won’t be satisfied on your website — so they’ll be quick to jump ship and check out your top competitors’ pages.
- Draw on customer data to produce more relevant suggestions. Why guess at what a specific type of customer might purchase when the answer is already available? Data-driven segmentation has long been a top tactic for eCommerce titan Amazon, but it’s also increasingly adopted by smaller retailers. Analyze purchasing behaviors among various consumer groups to determine which products appeal most to certain shoppers. Display these options prominently, alongside thumbnail photos and prices so customers can immediately conduct a side-by-side comparison.
- Highlight complementary items. While suggestions for alternative purchases work well in some situations, other customers prefer to learn what they might buy in addition to the originally viewed item. For example, a product page highlighting a formal button-up shirt may also include a dressy pair of slacks, a blazer, or a tie to wear with it. Similarly, end table product pages could also include table lamps or similarly styled coffee tables. Encourage customers to purchase multiple items within a single transaction by offering bundling discounts.
Product reviews best practices
The most successful eCommerce pages share one major element in common: they include a wealth of reviews. These provide a valuable element of social proof, demonstrating that numerous customers are pleased with a particular product. A report from Trustpilot reveals that 89 percent of consumers look at reviews prior to purchasing products. How reviews are organized and displayed matters, as you can see in these best practices.
- Display rating indicators high on the page. Customers should not need to scroll endlessly before seeing product ratings. Often, ratings are the primary reason they visit pages in the first place. As such, if evidence of ratings isn’t immediately visible, many shoppers will leave your page and look for feedback elsewhere. This problem is easy to prevent: simply place evidence of ratings above the page fold. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to include all rating text at the top of the page; rather, product pages should feature easy-to-spot indicators that highlight the average star rating of the item in question.
- Mention the number of reviews. A five-star average rating is more impactful across hundreds of reviews but might mean little if only three or four customers have shared their opinion. Be sure to highlight the total number of reviews above the fold. This will encourage potential buyers to keep scrolling.
- Include a price comparison. Well-intentioned customers often leave eCommerce websites because they want to see what various products cost when sold by other businesses. Convince them to stick around by providing a price comparison on every product page.
- Encourage customers to submit photos. Today’s savvy shoppers know that you will only show products in their best light. Building trust with these skeptics may be easier if you allow other customers to take photos and submit them alongside their reviews. Not all customers will be eager to take the extra effort to provide photos, but they can be swayed with coupons or other rewards.
Product page SEO best practices
SEO represents one of the core functions of the modern product page. Keyword selection and integration can determine whether customers find your website when completing searches on Google. Look to these helpful strategies to level up product page SEO across the entirety of your customers’ conversion funnel.
- Complete keyword research before defining product titles. Determine early on which relevant keywords are ranking and whether they can be naturally integrated within product titles. With keyword research, sooner is always better, as this may influence every other aspect of product page design and content development.
- Balance the need for long-tail keywords against the value of short titles. Targeted search terms tend to be the most effective and attract customers who are more likely to buy. Long-tail keywords featuring at least four or five words are most effective for this purpose. That being said, it’s still important to pay attention to product title length. The sweet spot? Keywords that are long enough to limit search competition and short enough to produce a concise product title.
- Differentiate your product descriptions from the competition. Take some time to observe descriptions for similar products on competing websites. As you proceed with your own descriptions, avoid anything that too closely resembles the content you’ve viewed on other pages. Ideally, your descriptions will be richer, easier on the eyes, and far more enjoyable to read.
- Pay attention to the product page’s meta descriptions and title tags: Your click-through rate (CTR) will automatically improve if your page is SEO compliant. Including title tags in your product catalog will be a tiresome job, so consider auto-populating at first and then fine-tuning the results. Title tags should be suggestive for the search engines and alluring for the customers. The same principles apply to the meta descriptions as well; describe your products in short, but explicitly, state the benefit for your customer and address their pain points.
Other eCommerce product page best practices
Sometimes, the most unexpected strategies produce the most impressive eCommerce results, as evidenced by these oft-forgotten tactics. Following off the beaten path, but unique, techniques can make your brand stand out and effectively define your positioning.
- Reassure customers by including trust badges. As new security threats emerge, some previously trusting customers are now wary of making purchases online. They want to know that their personal information is safe. Give them instantaneous peace of mind by including trust badges from respected third parties. Examples include indicators from PayPal, the Better Business Bureau, and VeriSign. These are especially important for small eCommerce businesses, which might otherwise struggle to establish trust with new customers.
- Provide live notifications. Create a sense of urgency and scarcity with live notifications, which alert customers to recent purchases. These let consumers know that your products are in high demand, and humans are competitive creatures by nature. This tactic can be particularly useful for products that are currently in limited supply; customers may be less inclined to wait when they feel they’re competing against someone else for a product or service.
- Allow customers to add products to wish lists. If customers aren’t ready to purchase specific products right away, they can add them to wish lists and review them later. This provides a powerful reminder of the items they’ve previously expressed interest in. Wishlists can also be a very valuable weapon in your remarketing campaigns arsenal. Like cart abandonment, wishlist abandonment automations can further nurture your customers’ likelihood of returning to your webpage, actually making a purchase, and converting. Your campaigns can include product recommendation features that customers might be interested in, increasing the process’s checkout AOV (average order value).
- Compress large files to help pages load faster. Don’t forget the value of user experience. Today’s shoppers are notoriously impatient, and few will wait long for pages to load. To streamline website navigation without leaving out rich media, compress any files that are large enough to slow the loading process.
Convert inspiration into action
There’s no denying that specific design, layout, and content needs vary significantly from one eCommerce website to the next. Tactics that work wonderfully for one business could prove disastrous for another. That being said, every retailer can benefit from designing and implementing excellent product pages. Take some time to experiment and explore different ideas and practices, figuring out along the process what works best for your brand.
The best practices highlighted above should provide ample inspiration. Now, it’s time to put them to the test by carefully selecting the solutions that are most likely to appeal to your target audience. The more options you test, the more likely you are to determine which strategies are most suitable for your eCommerce store.
Of course, do not forget that your strategy should be coherent and extend across all your digital channels. Omnichannel is the new black and a product page is just the tip of the iceberg; After product page optimization is completed, category and checkout pages also should follow, with customer engagement and brand loyalty being the main focus for every brand. A powerful ally with eCommerce expertise, specifically designed for the retail sector, will aid you to keep up to date with the latest trends. Appreciating how important brand-consumers relationships are, will boost your brand’s image, make your website competitive and, ultimately, unlock higher revenues.
ContactPigeon, being recently named as a High Performer company by G2.com, is one of the leading omnichannel customer engagement solutions for retail in the Eastern Europe region. Book a free consultation with our marketing automation experts today and let us show you how we can help your venture grow.