By: PJ Howland

The Essentials of a Product Page that Says, “Cha-Ching!”

August 4, 2016

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So you’ve got a nice website, decent traffic, and a full inventory of products to sell. Here’s the thing, you need users to click that button with the three magic words, “Add to cart.” That’s the challenge, right?

And it is a challenge. While we’d all like to believe there’s one magical tweak that will yield the conversion rate you’ve been dreaming of, the reality is much more complicated. Simply put, there’s many factors that go into a spot-on product page, and it’s the successful execution of each of them that will give you the conversion rate you’re looking for.

Let’s say your site is not an e-commerce, and your conversion is capturing or qualifying a lead. The principles are the same, but the execution may vary a bit. At the end of the day, you know your business the best, and it’s the successful integration of your business knowledge with best practices that will lead you to a greater revenue stream.

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Images

Okay, let’s start with the obvious. If you want a page to convert you need good images, right? Right! Glad we’re on the same page. Moving on.

Actually there’s more to it than slapping an image on a product page.

Images are where most users’ eyes go first. I can at least say that’s true for myself. So not only should your images be in good locations, but the text near the images should clearly identify and callout the most critical information. Users look at images (and occasionally standout text) to make their decision on whether or not to give the page a chance. Then, if your copy is good enough, they’ll stay.

When speaking of images you should keep in mind your goal for the user. The user is gathering information about a product, so your image should assist them in every way possible.

Maggie sottero image

I love how Maggie Sottero gives the user options to view the same dress in two different settings. On the left we see a playful outdoor bride, and to the right, the same dress in a more refined environment. Knowing how much time goes into a photo shoot, it would be really easy to just take photos of a single dress in a single location, but wouldn’t give the user options.

Make sure each image is high quality, and that you are capturing multiple angles. Your images should clear up any confusion about your product, so that when the product arrives on your customer’ doorstep on in their inbox, there are no surprises. Bonus points if you can do that when you’re selling a service or a software.

Product Descriptions

We live in a world where everyone is looking to buy, but no one wants to be sold. The challenge is then creating engaging copy that doesn’t overtly sound like a sales pitch. Oh yeah, and if you can do that while throwing in a keyword or two, that’d be great.

The SEO in me loves product descriptions because they’re an excuse to add some juicey copy to an otherwise bland page. I’m not talking about keyword stuffing; I’m talking about a place where there’s no shame in adding a few more words to the page, and if we happen to get a few keywords in there, so be it.

Many wonder about word count when working on a product description. I don’t have a magic number to give you, but I will say a general rule of thumb is the more technical your product or service is, the more time your should give your product description. For example, selling a keychain doesn’t demand much bandwidth to write a description on. If your product is robust CRM that will save a business thousands of man-hours each year, take more time and use more words to explain it.

Remember that you’re not only explaining the product to the user; you’re explaining it to Google, too. Typically Google will better understand, and give better rankings for deeper content. But beware not to hash out drivel just to meet a word count. When you do, you’re not doing anyone any favors—be it Google, the user, or your pocketbook.

Ultimately, a product description should be carefully thought out with competitor data to guide you in the execution of the work. The good news is that 80% of the time, your competition will have poor product descriptions. Use that to your advantage and crush them with on-page optimizations with carefully crafted product descriptions.

The Add to Cart Button

The best part about digital marketing is the data. We love data, we have data, and we share data. Lucky for us, there is a lot of data out regarding add to cart buttons.

There’s some interesting data on add to cart button found in a study conducted on the top 50 e-commerce sites:

  • The most used color is orange (32%)
  • Rectangles with rounded edges are more popular than sharp corners (64%)
  • The average button size is 144px by 34px
  • The phrase add to cart is the most popular option, as opposed to add to bag (54%)

Data is great, and it gets us started, but your own testing and intuition beats data in the long run. For example, the data says that orange buttons perform best, but in reality you should be using the color that will contrast the most with the dominate color of your page.

If you are a clothing e-commerce, you may want to experiment with changing the button to add to bag despite the fact that most don’t. It may make you stand out above your competition in a unique and playful way.

Title Tags

The title tag is the first signal you give to a potential customer, and therefore it should balance keyword usage as well as user-friendliness. This is another area where we walk the fine line between what users want, and what Google needs. If you have a propensity to load a title tag with keywords, you should use this rule of thumb:

[(product or brand) + (keyword)] | (company name)
DeWalt Cordless Power Drill | Drill Co.

It is possible to have SEO-optimized titles that deliver your message. Don’t get carried away, and don’t overthink it.

Video

I’d like to make one point before I get into videos for product pages: When I refer to videos, I am speaking only about high-quality, well-executed videos. Those cheap videos that you can whip up in an an hour will not cut it, and neither will using software that makes “anyone a video editing expert.”

Videos take the most resources to produce, and therefore are viewed as a risky investment for your pages—and maybe rightly so. A good video requires loads of man hours if done internally, and thousands of dollars if outsourced. However, the returns can be substantial.

A video describing a product or service is almost always a boon to the user.

In a perfect world, each product page should have unique video. You’ll have something that will engage, delight, and ultimately educate your next customer.

Pricing Structure

Sales 101: People buy products based on the perceived value of the product.

What they don’t teach in the introductory sales class is that you can greatly influence or even change entirely the perceived value of a product by how you price it.

With most small B2C products, the game is simply to undercut the competition. And while that’s not always an effective strategy, the truth is we’re in a user-savvy world where the buyer has the power to find and compare the same product on multiple sites within minutes. And unless you offer free two day shipping or video streaming, you’ll have a hard time selling products for a penny higher than the competition.

When pricing out larger B2C products or a B2B service or platform, you should be considering the value of the product or service to the user. Don’t think about the bandwidth it’s costing you to provide the product or service; instead price your product or service with the user’s benefit in mind.

Etsy Terrarium

Take, for example, this terrarium on Etsy. At the end of the day, it’s some glass and metal welded together, probably en masse in a factory overseas. It doesn’t even include the plants. But it’s being sold for $85—triple the cost of similar ones next to it. This seller obviously understands the value something like this could be, marketing it as a wedding centerpiece (which is something that someone might gladly pay $85 for, versus the $25 coffee table piece it’s competition is offering).

If you are interested in really refining your pricing structure, I suggest becoming familiar with Tom Whitwell’s article on Medium. The article explores when, how, and how much to charge customers, and is especially useful for B2B companies struggling to find the right price.

Among the valuable tips shared in the article, I find the following advice particularly valuable: “People can’t tell you what they think about pricing, because they don’t think about pricing. They feel it… There’s one easy way to find out what customers think about prices. By selling them things.”

Other Areas to Consider

As the Internet evolves and digital business practices progress with it, there’s an ever-increasing pace of product page optimizations that we as digital marketers need to stay on top off. Here are a few that I didn’t cover in this post, but should also be considered when optimizing a product page.

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Page load time
  • Third-party endorsements (ex. BBB)
  • Live chat
  • URL structure
  • Cross selling
  • Customer reviews

Most of these optimizations are not top of mind for every digital marketer working on a product page. Use that to your advantage and rise above the competition with the perfect union of user intent, and search engine optimization.

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Written by PJ Howland on August 4, 2016

PJ is an Enterprise Campaign Manager at 97th Floor, overseeing a team of marketers, content managers and designers.

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