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25 Ways to Improve Your Product Pages

by Justin Palmer - September 20th, 2007

I’m constantly astonished at how many large e-commerce sites have seriously deficient product pages. Many large companies, especially click-and-mortar retailers, seem to forget that products cannot be touched, tasted, or tested over the internet. While the internet will never perfectly mimic the in-store experience, there are dozens of tactics that can be implemented on the product page to increase customer engagement and convert visitors into buyers. Below I’ll describe 25 methods I’ve either used or seen used by other online retailers.

  1. More / Better Product Photos: It’s important to remember that unlike you, your customers may have never seen nor handled your products before. Therefore, take pictures of every possible angle a customer would want to see. Also, make sure the quality is acceptable. If you’re still using a 1 megapixel camera you got for Christmas 10 years ago, it’s about time to upgrade.
  2. Flash Zoom with Different Angles: Many advanced e-commerce customers have implemented flash technology to allow zooming and changing angles. If you have the expertise and the resources, this is a killer add on feature for any product page.
  3. Include Info about Where the Product was made: People care immensely about this. Whether they are concerned about ethical working conditions, or just for quality reasons, be sure to tell them where your products are made. If they are made somewhere besides the US, be sure to put a link to your fair labor policy, so your customers don’t think you’re using sweatshops.
  4. List benefits, not just features: Don’t rattle of an endless bullet list of technical specifications. Tell customers specifically how this product will improve their life.
  5. Show product measurements or weight: Remember, they can’t actually touch and hold your product over the internet. Give them the next best thing with the measurements and weight.
  6. Make “Add to Cart” Impossible to miss: The “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” button should reach out and grab your attention. Avoid tiny, vague “Add to Bag” buttons such as the one on Gap’s product page.
  7. Allow customer generated product reviews: This will both increase the amount of trust your website receives and add valuable content for the search engines. Worried about negative product reviews? Don’t, the experts say it can be one of the greatest tools to show your customers you are transparent and trustworthy.
  8. Ask a Question Link: Don’t leave your customers hanging with nagging questions about a products. Add a link that emails your customer service department so customers can ask a specific question about the product. This also serves as a great feedback tool so you know what information needs to be put on the product page to prevent questions. For an example of this, checkout C28′s product page.
  9. Show Related (cross sell items): Having a “customer who bought this also liked…” section is a great way to cross sell. Remember, a product page can be a dead end if the customer is not interested in what they are viewing. Always give them somewhere else to go.
  10. Show Related upsell items: Add to your average order by suggesting an upgrade to what they are currently viewing.
  11. Show add on items: Selling shoes? Don’t let your customers checkout without socks! Customers will appreciate the suggestion, and you will increase your average order.
  12. Include possible search query terms in the title and meta tags: If you sell moisturizer cream, don’t just put the product name in the title tag. Create an extra field in your product database that people will likely search for such as “Cure for Dry skin.”
  13. Foreign Currency converter: Have you ever been to a site that showed currency in something other than US dollars? I have, and I usually leave because I am too lazy to convert it. Including a currency converter link near the price will help encourage your international business. If you don’t want to clutter up your product page, you can even program the link to only show if the user has a non-US IP address.
  14. Add a Wishlist: Wishlist’s are a great way to create stickiness and possibly even reduce shopping cart abandonment. People tend to use shopping carts as wishlists, so giving them to real thing will allow you to more accurately track your true shopping cart abandonment.
  15. Email Me When It’s Re-stocked Button: Many sites, especially apparel retailers, may sell out of a certain size or variety of a product. Rather than throwing up a “Out of Stock” notice on the product page, why not allow people to be emailed when the item is re-stocked? In my experience, this is one of those features that really surprises and delights customers who are otherwised already frustrated. Checkout an example of this on C28′s product page.
  16. Email Me Before It Sells Out Button: People tend to wait to the last minute. But what if you warned them before the item sells out? There’s no greater way to create a sense of urgency then by sending an email saying “Hurry, it’s about to sell out!”
  17. Email Me When Products Like this are Added: Customers are tired of generic, one size fits all email newsletters. Give them something they really care about by creating a system where they can request to be notified when product within certain categories are added to the site.
  18. Social Bookmarking Links: Although its not typical to see a Digg or Delicious button on an e-commerce site, it may work well for certain buzzworthy products, such as t-shirts from Threadless.
  19. Bread crumb navigation: It’s easy to get lost in a myriad of product categories, so always keep visitors informed about where they are with Bread (aka Cookie) crumb navigation. Bread crumb navs typically are located in the upper left hand of the page and look something like this: Home > Top Category > Lower Category > Product Name
  20. Customer Generated Photos: Allow your customers to upload pictures of them using your products. This works great for apparel retailers, or anything where people take pride in using a product.
  21. Audio Testimonials: This is becomming common as sales pages for ebooks or other informational products. A testimonial that can be listened to will probably hold more weight than simple text on a page.
  22. Video Testimonials: Even better than just audio, allow for full video testimonials. If you have the videos hosted by You Tube, you can also spur a viral marketing campaign.
  23. Back Button to Product Category Page: This allows customers to navigate more efficiently and return to where they just were.
  24. Browser Bookmark Button: Don’t let them forget your site. With a simple javascript command, you can trigger their browser to bookmark your product.
  25. RSS Product Feeds: With the integration of a feed reader into Microsoft’s IE 7, Rss feeds will likely move out of the early adopter stage and become more mainstream. With the abundance of SPAM in the inbox, receiving product updates through an RSS feed is a great alternative for keeping your customers informed. Checkout how Threadless displays the RSS icon at the bottom of their product page.

I hope some of the ideas above have given you some inspiration for your site. Be sure to leave a comment if you’ve successfully used any of these tactics. Also, you might want to checkout my post on 25 Ways to Improve Your Shopping Cart.

Like these 25 tips? Here’s 192 more.

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9 Responses to “25 Ways to Improve Your Product Pages” by Justin Palmer

  1. 25 Ways to Improve Your Product Category Pages > Palmer Web Marketing Blog Says:

    [...] suppose this post is a good prequel to 25 Ways to Improve Your Product Pages. An extremely crucial step in the buying process occurs on the product category page. Basically, [...]

  2. Seo Tips by ISM » Blog Archive » 25 Ways to Improve Your Product Pages by Palmer Web Marketing. Says:

    [...] Below I’ll describe 25 methods I’ve either used or seen used by other online retailers.” Click here to read these 25 [...]

  3. links for 2007-10-09 | The TDog's Blog Says:

    [...] 25 Ways to Improve Your Product Pages (tags: ecommerce webdesign marketing conversion web website) [...]

  4. James - Visualized.Feel.Abundance Says:

    Awesome tips you have here. Number 4, “List benefits, not just features” is still a common mistake :)


  5. Hotel Paris Nord Says:

    Really useful, not only some common knowledge.
    It’s free and better than some expensive reports.
    Thank you for that.

  6. The Nofollow Tag…. the Secret to a Deep Crawl Says:

    [...] site. You’ve got your important pages like top level product categories, and lower level product detail pages. However, the navigation for most websites also includes links to “less important” [...]

  7. Accept ACH Payments Says:

    This is a good one. “Email Me When It’s Re-stocked Button”. Instant sales!

  8. Fatbuddha Says:

    Another possibility is to show customers what they already checked out, i.e. a running history of the items they browsed, so that they may go back and add those items to their shopping carts.

  9. eCommerce Advice - Top 10 eCommerce Startup Mistakes Says:

    [...] on the homepage, particularly the graphics, and woefully neglect other critical pages such as the product or category pages. A recent company I work with was surprised to learn that total pageviews of [...]

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