Practical Ecommerce

10 Most Important Features of Ecommerce Product Pages

Editor’s Note: We welcome Pablo Palatnik as our newest contributor. He is director of search marketing and search engine optimization for Fortune3, a shopping cart company. Palatnik’s articles will address strategies for improving ecommerce product pages. His first piece is below.

Internet merchants have many challenges when it comes to turning visitors into customers. One element that is often overlooked is the product page. These pages are what will really drive visitors to make the purchase.

Here are the most important and critical features to have on your product pages to improve conversions.

1. Quality of Image

When you go shopping at an actual store, you may talk to someone about the product in person — although ecommerce sites often have more accurate and in-depth descriptions of a product than someone who works at the store — but the visual process of shopping is the most crucial. For the web, it’s really the same and just as important. Image quality is king when it comes to ecommerce. Invest in quality images of your own products. Don’t use the same images as other retailers.

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Apple uses careful product photography to present its products, including the iPhone in this image.

Apple uses careful product photography to present its products, including the iPhone in this image.

2. Alternate Views

As important as it is to have quality images on your product pages, it is also important to display the product in as many angles and details as possible. Remember, the sale is in the details. People want to see exactly what they are getting. Having alternate views will likely decrease your return rate as you’re showing customers exactly what they are getting. If you are selling expensive goods, alternate views are a must. Remember that online shoppers are concerned about product authenticity — alternate views can help.

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On the lower right of this product detail page, TigerDirect.com provides multiple views of this computer monitor. TigerDirect is a terrific  website to analyze when it comes to product pages.

On the lower right of this product detail page, TigerDirect.com provides multiple views of this computer monitor. TigerDirect is a terrific website to analyze when it comes to product pages.

3. Zoom Feature

Related to alternative image views, the “zoom” feature on product images has become increasingly popular. This helps consumers get a better view of the product.

4. Consumer Reviews

Shoppers care what others have to say. If your product pages have consumer reviews, you’re helping shoppers make a final decision. Not all products have positive reviews. In fact, many have both positive and negative reviews, which,makes the shopping experience that much more authentic and real for the shopper. There are many great review platforms to choose from, if your cart doesn’t provide one.

5. Product Comparisons

Product comparisons can improve a shopping experience — and increase sales. Consumers typically shop for similar features. A product comparison feature on product pages can help them view features side-by-side, instead of flipping through many pages. Many shopping carts are starting to incorporate this feature into their platforms.

6. Live Chat

Live chat is very important to an ecommerce site. This feature should be site wide, but especially on every product page. Live help can help close the sale. Customer questions can be answered immediately. There are many live help platforms in the marketplace to choose from.

7. Product Demos

Product demos are increasingly popular. They inform the consumer and can really help decrease return rates. Employees of Office Depot recently displayed that company’s product demonstration feature at an Internet Retailer conference, stating it sharply increased sales. Also, TigerDirect.com uses product demos to show, explain and educate consumers about that specific product.

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TigerDirect offers pop-up product demonstration videos.

TigerDirect offers pop-up product demonstration videos.

8. ‘Email a Friend’ Button

It wasn’t until the holiday 2011 season that I actually analyzed the live Google Analytics — recently launched a few months back — on an ecommerce site. I looked where shoppers were going to get a better feel of user navigation. I couldn’t believe the amount of people that hit the ‘email a friend’ button, a great feature to have in all your product pages. It helps spread the word in a quick and efficient way.

9. Show Products on Human Models

For sunglasses, t-shirts or anything that fits on a human, it can really help consumers to see it on someone. Showing products on models is very effective. It lets the online shopper have a much better understanding of the product.

10. Share Buttons

Social buttons are a great marketing tool for your product pages. These buttons allow users to post and share your product with their network of friends and family through Facebook, Twitter and countless social networks. I recommend using individual social buttons — such as the Facebook Like or Share button, the Tweet button, or Google +1 button — instead of an aggregate one. Individual social buttons are easier for shoppers to use, rather than clicking on an aggregate button and then choosing a specific site.

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Pablo Palatnik
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Comments ( 5 )

  1. Richard Stubbings March 5, 2012 Reply

    I would put a good product description in the top 10. I would also suggest a good product title. Not to mention a clear call to action, like BUY NOW above the fold on the page.

  2. Alison Wren March 6, 2012 Reply

    I agree Richard. A good product description is key. I’m amazed how many sites forget to tell you basics like dimensions, number of items in a pack etc. Or simply copy and paste the manufacturer’s blurb.

  3. Richard Stubbings March 10, 2012 Reply

    The problem with any list of 10 most important ….. is that they can be challenged. They are simply an opinion and may not be correct for all web sites and for all price points. Where the average item value is in the hundreds then I can see the need for lots of good images, but for many sites where there are thousands of products all priced below $30, the huge cost of multiple professional images does not make sense.

    Descriptions however are a must. Not only does it help Google index the site, but more importantly it is your chance to stamp identity on the site. To demonstrate product knowledge, and to accurately describe an item, its good points, its bad points.

    Customer reviews are OK but unless you have good reviews on ALL the products why would a customer return? A great description on all products provides a resource, a reason to return.

  4. Kimberly M Smith March 20, 2012 Reply

    @Richard: I think the article was speaking in generality when recommending multiple high quality images. Certainly some products (i.e. a thumbdrive) don’t require alternate views. And, as you stated, the cost for taking and publishing additional images should always be factored in first. Still many product groups, well under $100+, need multiple images in order for a consumer to get the full "feel" of the product. Apparel and accessory items are a good example of that.

    Customer reviews, good or bad, are becoming an increasingly critical element in ecommerce. Of course e-tailers want the smallest number of negative comments, but this presents an opportunity for them to publicy address the concerns of their customer and take control of the situation. Not only does it show the authenticity, but it let’s others customers know that the e-tailer understands the importance of consumer satisfaction and is willing to set things right. Shoppers have reason to be wary of a website that only displays glowing reviews, as if to say "What are they hiding?"

    Consumer generated content is also fantastic for SEO and SEM.

  5. makeonlineshop November 8, 2012 Reply

    My DSLR camera can tape up to 18 millions pixels but I guess that it’s stupid to take so heavy photos to reduce them later, so will the result be the same if I take VGA quality (screen quality) photos ? Thank you.

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