Yielding significant profit from selling online is hard — don’t let anyone shilling a get-rich-quick course tell you otherwise. If you’re anything less than exceptional, your task is to offer up an assortment of products in a virtual landscape full to the brim with people selling essentially the same things in basically the same way and at roughly the same prices.
That’s why you need an edge, and finding it is a matter of looking for all the things you can do differently. There are plenty of ways to be distinct, but presentation is the easiest and most reliably effective, so it’s the smart route to take.
And the key to eCommerce presentation? It has to be the humble product page. After all, it’s the culmination of the lead-generation process, right? You can have ads, blog posts, and landing pages, but the product page is the point of action. So what does the ideal product page look like today? Let’s go through the 8 vital elements:
1. Text & Metadata Polished For SEO
SEO is hugely important for a product page, because ranking in organic search (despite ongoing and questionably-intentional work by Google fundamentally compromising it) is the most reliable and cost-effective path to eCommerce prosperity. And to give a product page the best possible chance of ranking, you must ensure that the text and metadata are excellent.
What does this mean, practically? Well, it means writing copy that’s based on relevant keywords and addresses popular topics that prospective customers might be interested in, and creating a title and meta description that will make the page stand out in SERPs. The perfect product page will immediately catch the eye in a field of similar results.
2. A Mobile-first Design
The call to move to mobile-responsive designs is rapidly receding into the past, and today’s smart approach is adopting mobile-FIRST designs. This involves starting with a mobile layout, choosing the navigation and content accordingly, before setting rules for scaling up to suit larger screens when necessary.
Since eCommerce is increasingly driven by mobile purchases, and it’s much easier to scale a mobile design up than it is to scale a desktop design down, it makes total sense to work this way — and a website that was originally designed for a mobile screen will be significantly easier to use (if only because a layout must be clean and simple to be intuitive on a smartphone).
3. Dynamic Suggestions
Upselling and cross-selling are invaluable accessories. No matter how compelling you make your product page, the reader might decide that they don’t want that product, or can’t afford it. Alternatively, they might want the product but also want to spend more. You can’t fight against the tide, but if you implement dynamic suggestions well, you’ll have no reason to.
Using dynamic suggestions involves setting aside sections of the page to be seamlessly populated with suggestions based on filters applied to that particular product. For instance, you could have a section of products frequently bought alongside that one, or bought instead of it — possibly a cheaper item of a similar type, or a more expensive one.
4. Robust Search Functionality
There’s no guarantee that someone who landed on a particular page actually wants to be there specifically — they might have mistaken it for another item, or made flawed assumptions about what it actually is, making it a stepping stone in their quest to get elsewhere. As such, you want to make it easy to go from one product page to another, and search is the key. Plenty of online shoppers use internal search functions to find products and gain useful context.
If someone looking at a product is curious about what other products of that type are available in the store, being able to simply type a few characters into the search bar will greatly improve the level of convenience. If they still want that one, their eagerness to convert will have increased — if they spot another they prefer, it’s still your store, so you’re still benefiting.
5. In-depth Social Proof
We habitually take cues from our peers and society in general when it comes to the decisions we make, and retail is no different. This is why social proof is a core part of an excellent product page. Reviews and testimonials show that we’re not being hoodwinked: that the products we’re looking at really are worth our time and money.
An excellent product page will work in a believable mix of reviews (not hiding any negative reviews, since the occasional negative review makes positive reviews more convincing), giving the reader plenty of opportunities to learn more about real-world reactions.
6. High-quality Visuals
Particularly in mobile eCommerce, excellent imagery is essential for selling. The trust gap inherent to online retail (you’re buying physical items, but you can only assess them virtually) means that shoppers need to be convinced of the legitimacy and quality of the products they’re looking at. This is something that glossy product photos can achieve.
Every product page should offer a solid selection of product photos, showing the product in good lighting from several distinct angles so the shopper can clearly see what it looks like and how it was built. It can also be useful to include at least one shot of the product in standard use, if only to reinforce its fundamental purpose.
7. Trust Indicators
Buying anything online is taking a gamble in a sense, because there’s no guarantee that you’ll get what you paid for. Scams are still far from uncommon, and an online store — unlike a real store — can disappear overnight, leaving you in the lurch with no clear path ahead. If you want your product page to be fully credible, you need to offer trust indicators.
What are trust indicators? Well, they’re small elements included to lend proof that the page (and the company behind it) can be trusted. What they should include will depend on the context. Some websites bring up specific protection services or standards, and some just offer basic statements of protection. I’ll give you some examples of how sites do this:
- Bath & Body Works, a home beauty and health product store, uses its own created trust badge stating “Happiness guaranteed or your money back!” alongside a heart logo. This homemade approach can actually work very well.
- Monzo, a popular online banking service, states that “Every Monzo account is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)”. This reassures the reader that they can trust the company with their money.
What type of trust indicator will work for your product page will depend on various things. For example, is your business B2C, B2B, or some combination of the two? A B2C trust indicator needs to be immediately meaningful, often calling for added clarification — it’s no use being endorsed by a governing body that customers won’t know about.
But trust indicators for B2B can be very niche — in fact, that’s the ideal scenario, particularly for companies that use specially-designed B2B software to provide each customer with a distinct website version. You don’t need to worry about mass appeal. You’re likely aiming your content at someone with some expertise in your field (or a related one), so you can prioritize a certification from a well-regarded business over one from a widely-recognizable one.
In the end, of course, how you use trust indicators — and what types you use — is up to you. Just be aware of the need to present your brand in the best light, factoring in context and the specific requirements of your target audience.
8. An FAQ Section
Sometimes the technical details and creative content on a product page (no matter how comprehensive) aren’t enough to answer a shopper’s questions. This can drive the shopper to contact your customer support service, which is reasonable but can take up a lot of your time, or even push them away from your site, having determined that there isn’t enough information.
This is why a top product page will have an FAQ (frequently-asked questions) section, created to cover all the main concerns and information gaps that can’t be addressed in the main content without completely ruining it. Since the content can be expanded when needed, it doesn’t get in the way, and the titles will provide a bonus SEO boost.
Wrapping up, it may be slightly misleading to talk of the “perfect” product page because there’s no such thing — but if you include all of these elements, you’ll certainly end up with an outstanding product page that gives your competitors something to think about.
Patrick Foster has many strings to his bow, of which content marketing is just one. With experience in design, business development, technical SEO, and more, Patrick knows his way around the world of eCommerce. He writes for Ecommerce Tips, sharing his experience with fellow entrepreneurs looking to get ahead in the business. For all the latest, find him on Twitter @myecommercetips.