Characteristics of Good Product Pages

By Eric Leuenberger

Characteristics of Good Product PagesThe product page is one of the most important pages on an ecommerce site, and a place to display new items. Unlike brick and mortar stores which naturally possess a hold on the customer, due in part to the time it would take to leave and seek a similar or same product at another store, buyers online can move from store to store in just a few seconds. What might take one offline shopper several hours, hundreds of miles and gas expense, only takes seconds for the online shopper. This means that in order to sell online, one must be fully aware of customer needs, and not waste any time providing the answers they seek. All good product pages have a number of elements which help deliver the best experience possible to the audience.

Shipping information

All Internet consumers want to know “how much does shipping cost” and “how soon can I get it”?  Naturally, many begin to first ask this question at the product page. Providing the answer to that question at the precise point during their buying cycle is critical to moving them closer to conversion. Giving easy access to the shipping rates and shipping options will improve the customer experience, and set a store up for success.

Product availability

Even if a product is in stock, do not assume the customer knows that. A customer who sees a product listed as “in stock ready to ship” is more likely to put that item in their cart and proceed forward.

Add to cart button

No matter how good a product page may seem, it is certainly no good if the customer cannot figure out how to add the item to their cart. Developing an “add to cart” button that is larger and more visible is an essential element toward increasing conversion.

Presence of payment methods accepted

Indicating the types of payments accepted can be achieved in a variety of unobtrusive ways. A good test is to try adding small icons of the payment methods accepted, just under the “add to cart” button.

Product photo

On the Internet, the product picture is just about the only element that can show clearly what an item really looks like. Make sure photos are clear, crisp, show detail and are large enough to provide plenty of visual appeal, yet are optimized for fast download times. Using tools such as Lightbox effects for showing larger photos, and even zoom type effects, often with jQuery or Ajax, can provide a very nice professional touch.

Customer assurances

Building trust and confidence with customers is at the forefront of any strong ecommerce site. Although customer assurance elements should be present site wide, they need to be obvious on the product page. If offering warranties or guarantees, make sure these are in plain site on the product page. For example, letting the customer know that a product comes with a 90-day guarantee will help move them toward placing the item in their cart.

Product price

Customers want to know the price of a product before they commit to moving forward, yet there are sites that still state, “add the item to your cart to see the price.”  In the majority of cases there is no reason for this, and here are two reasons this tactic could hurt conversion. First, doing so adds another step to the customer’s buying process, and the more steps they have to go through, the greater the chances of losing them. Second, customers like choice. Forcing them to add an item to the cart in order to get information, which should be in plain view from the start, discourages any action at all.

Customer reviews

With the enormous growth of social media, it should be no surprise customers are indicating in surveys that the presence of peer reviews is playing a bigger role in their decision to buy products. Store issued product reviews can appear biased at times. However, consumers feel that peer ratings provide a true picture of the worthiness of a given product. These should be included on every product page, and the ability for a customer to write a review should be in plain site.

Product pages are where most information is gathered and questions are answered, ultimately leading buyers to add items to their carts. Proper placement of elements such as shipping, photos and customer assurances will result in visitor action.