A winning retail strategy wouldn’t be complete without both an online and offline presence. If you’re currently running an offline-online business, it’s high time consider integrating your POS with an ecommerce solution. Doing so will enable you to have a storefront that’s open 24/7 and help you get in front of a wider audience.
Of course, creating a website is just the first step. Once you’ve set up shop online you need to optimize the different parts of your site to give your business the greatest chance for success.
Which part should you optimize first? Consider your product pages.
It goes without saying that your product pages are among the most important parts of your site. A study by Monetate revealed the product pages make up a quarter of all ecommerce landing pages. What’s more, visitors who land on a product page view an average of 3 products, while those who land elsewhere view an average of 1.8.
Your product page can also drive conversions. After all, many web shoppers make and finalize their buying decisions while they’re on a product page. For these reasons, optimizing them should be at the top of your ecommerce to-do list.
To help ensure that your product pages effectively turn web browsers into paying customers, we’ve come up with a detailed guide to super-charging this critical component of your online store.
Listed below are the key components that your product pages should have, along with tips and examples on how to optimize them for conversions.
Specifically, we’ll talk about:
- Product page URLs
- Ecommerce product titles
- Product descriptions
- Add-ons and extras
Product page URL
Making your product pages more compelling isn’t just about improving their look and feel, you also need to enhance some of their technical aspects to optimize them for search. One of the best ways to do this is to improve your product page URLs by taking the following steps:
1. Make your URLs search and reader-friendly
Avoid structuring your URLs using numbers and letters that don’t make sense. Opt instead for search- and reader-friendly URLs that contain keywords about the product. (Just be sure not to stuff your URLs with too many keywords.)
A well-crafted URL should look something like this:
Why use these types of URLs? Aside from being easier on the eyes, clear and concise URLs can communicate—both to search engines and to shoppers—what a product is all about. It makes it easier for visitors to navigate your site, while helping you rank better in search.
One company doing this well is Apple. The retailer keeps its URLs clean and organized and they clearly describe what page the user is on.
2. Have one unique URL point to each product or use canonical URLs
A lot of experts recommend that online merchants have only one unique URL pointing to each product, so if you can manage to do this then great.
However, having just one URL for every item isn’t always possible, especially for more complex stores, where a product can belong to multiple categories, or if the same product page can be accessed through different URLs or methods (like searches or site maps).
For cases like these, Google recommends that “you define a canonical URL for content (or equivalent content) available through multiple URLs.” Doing so tells search engines what your preferred URL is.
Indicating a canonical URL will make it easier to determine the URL that you want shoppers to see, and it also enables you to get consolidated metrics for a specific page, so you can track your KPIs more effectively.
To learn more about canonical URLs, check out Google’s article on the topic here.
Ecommerce product titles
Getting your product names right requires balance. They have to be descriptive but concise, and they have to contain keywords, but not too many that they’re overstuffed. Below are some guidelines to help you achieve that balance when you’re coming up with product names:
3. Be descriptive (in 55 characters or fewer)
Your product title should give customers an at-a-glance description of an item, so be sure to include need-to-know attributes in your title. These attributes will vary depending on the product.
For example, if you’re selling engagement rings, then the “need-to-know” aspects could include the diamond cut and carat. If you’re selling tops, then you’ll want to include attributes like neckline, material, and sleeve length.
That said, while a good product title should adequately describe the item, it should do so concisely. It’s best to keep your product titles within 55 characters.
Have a look at this product page on Net-a-Porter’s website. The retailer included important product details like the brand name, shirt type, and material while keeping the title succinct at the same time.
4. Incorporate words your customers would use
When cooking up product titles, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and incorporate words that they would actually use. Avoid the urge to be overly clever or fancy.
For example, if you’re coming up with a product title for a red shirt, don’t try to be flowery by using words like “carmine” or “scarlet”. Stick with “red” because chances are, your customers are using that very word when searching for your product.
Take note of the keywords that you find and try to include them in your titles. Just be sure not to overdo it. Remember, you need to keep product titles brief. They also need to make sense and not look like just a bunch of keywords strung together.
5. Use the “brand-model-item type” format
Not sure how to arrange or word your product titles? A good rule of thumb is to follow the “brand-model-item type” format. Let’s go back to the Net-a-Porter example above. Notice how the retailer started its product title by naming the brand (“Isabel Marant”) followed by the specific product variety/model (“Felipe”) and ended with the product type (“T-shirt”)
Or consider this example from Nordstrom, in which the retailer begins the product title with “Michael Kors” (the brand) followed by “Slim Runway” (model), and then “Bracelet Watch, 42mm” (type).
Looking to sell online and offline? Keep all your product details in sync by integrating your POS with your online store. With Vend + BigCommerce, you can import your entire product catalog from BigCommerce to Vend, or vice versa. Changes to your products in Vend sync to BigCommerce in real-time, so your offline store and ecommerce site are always up-to-date.
Images can make or break people’s purchase decisions online, so make yours good great. Follow the tips below:
6. Avoid manufacturer-supplied images and use high-quality ones instead
Try not to use the manufacturer-supplied images, as they’re usually generic. Not to mention, other sites could be using them too.
It’s best to come up with your own images by taking unique and high-quality photographs.
Tmbr, an online store that sells sunglasses and other accessories, does this incredibly well. On their product pages, you’ll see high-quality photos showing each item in various settings and environments.
7. Showcase various product angles
Be sure to capture multiple product views to enable shoppers to see what the item looks like from the front, from the side, and up close.
Check out this example from Adidas. To give shoppers a thorough view of the Pulseboost Sneakers, Adidas took photos of the item from different views, allowing shoppers to see what the product looks like from all angles.
8. Show the products being used
You could also photograph products while they’re in use. Do this by having people model the clothes you’re selling or by taking pictures demonstrating the product at work.
Check out Northern Tool’s product page for its Ironton Retractable Cord Reel. Instead of just showing the item as is, the retailer added detailed images of the different parts of the cord reel, and even had a photo of what the product looks like when it’s in use.
9. Keep site speed in mind
While providing rich, high-quality images can certainly increase conversions, be sure to implement the tips above with site speed in mind.
“Having very nice product shots is a given, but make sure the image sizes are minimized to a level where the quality of the photographs aren’t lost,” says Jerry Lee, founder of StoryLeather.com, an e-tailer specializing in premium leather goods.
“The goal here is to optimize on page load time,” he adds. “Many retailers love to stuff the product details page with great images to showcase their products, but as a result these pages end up being heavy and take a long time to load.”
The description is the meat of your product page and is essential both for converting users and ranking well in search. Here are some tips to optimize your product descriptions:
10. Make sure they’re unique
Again, using the material supplied by the manufacturer isn’t a wise decision. Aside from being generic, copying what the manufacturer sent could lead to duplicate content—a no-no in SEO.
Take the time to produce unique copy that describes the product in a way that engages your target customers.
Also, be sure to include product specs and other helpful details such as the material, whether or not the item runs true to size, care and maintenance tips, etc.
One retailer that does an amazing job at this is Luluemon. Each product description on their site is thoughtfully written and contains insights into what went into the design of an item — e.g. “We designed this super soft long sleeve to help keep you cool and comfortable after your workout”
Lululemon even includes fabric care tips, along with key product specs and details.
11. Include details that aren’t evident in photos
“Don’t waste time describing what’s clearly depicted in the photos,” advises Sheldon Perkins, senior account executive at Vreeland Marketing. He says that retailers should instead “use valuable copy space to describe what can’t be seen.”
Perkins offers the following guide questions that you should consider asking when writing product descriptions.
- Is the fabric rugged and heavy or light and drapy?
- Does the item feel smooth or is it textured?
- Is it windproof? Waterproof?
- Is it heavy or light?
- Is it stiff or flexible?
- Is weight important?
- Are dimensions important?
- What’s it made of?
- Is it easy to care for/clean?
- What can it do?
- How will it make my life better/easier?
12. Test different writing styles, tones and lengths
While retailers like Lululemon can pull off casual tones in their product descriptions, this style isn’t for everyone. Ditto for the length of your product descriptions. Some stores or products may call for detailed and lengthy descriptions, while for others, a sentence or two would suffice.
The key is to identify what works by testing your descriptions and asking for feedback, then refining your style until your copy is fully optimized for conversion.
A study by PowerReviews found that almost 94% of shoppers consult reviews before making a purchase. Reviews have become a significant factor in people’s buying decisions, and they will become even more important going forward.
As TrustPilot’s Jordan Garner told SmartMail, “There’s visible conversion uplift from adding product reviews to product pages. Research shows that consumers trust product reviews more than product descriptions.”
Reviews are clearly a critical part of the shopping journey, so be sure to enable them on your product pages. How reviews are displayed on your site will depend on its layout and your ecommerce solution, so take the time to go through your platform’s features or plugins and figure out which review system works best for you.
That said, here are some examples of retailers doing an excellent job presenting product reviews.
13. Give shoppers an overview
Depending on what you’re selling, it may be helpful to give shoppers a summary of what other customers think about the product. Add a section on your product page that complies the most common feedback about an item. Doing so not only enhances the shopping experience, it also helps your customers make a more informed buying decision.
Check out what the shoe retailer Skechers is doing. Skechers has a “Review Snapshot” section on its product pages, which sheds light on each product’s ratings distribution, pros and cons, size and fit details, and more.
14. Let users upload product photos
Did you know that 88% of shoppers actively look for user-generated content (UGC) like images and videos? And they’re not just doing that out of curiosity. Today’s consumers consider UGC as an important component of their buying decision, particularly for products that they would wear (e.g., clothing and accessories). Shoppers want to see how different items look on real people because it gives an indication of whether a product would look good on them.
That’s why you should consider incorporating user-generated content into your reviews. Allow your customers to upload photos together with their reviews, so they can give other guests a better idea of what the product looks like in the real world.
We can see this in action on SHEIN’s website:
Product page add-ons
What we discussed above are the standard components every product page must have. But there are other product page extras you can add to increase engagement and sales. See if you can do the following:
15. Add videos
Videos have proven to increase conversions for a lot of retailers.
Liveclicker, a provider of video commerce solutions for brands, surveyed its retail customers (some of which include Best Buy, Newegg, OnlineShoes and Under Armour) and found that “over half (57 percent) of retailers surveyed reported average order value (AOV) increases of at least 50 percent for customers that watch video on a product page. The remaining 43 percent reported no negative impact.”
Northern Tool makes use of video really well. They’ve embedded videos in some of their product pages (particularly the ones for equipment and power tools) to show them in action.
16. Enable live chat
Live chat is an ecommerce add-on that can improve customer service while increasing sales in the process. Online printing company Next Day Flyers told Practical Ecommerce that they tested the feature on their site and saw conversion rates increase by 47% when they had the capability turned on. Online florist BloomNation also told the site that “shoppers are 11 times more likely to convert when engaged in live chat.”
We can see live chat in action on American Eagle’s website. AE has a live chat button on every page of their website, so shoppers can strike up a conversation with a customer service rep whenever they need help.
The final word: shower your product pages with love
You’ve worked hard to drive people to your website, and the last thing you want is to lose them because of lackluster product pages. So, keep them in top shape by following the ecommerce product page best practices we’ve outlined in this post.
And don’t forget to test and track your efforts. If you’re tweaking your product descriptions, changing up your images, or making any type of change, always keep a close eye on your numbers to ensure that you’re moving in the right direction.
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About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.