How to optimize your product page design

|February 18, 2017

Regardless of what products you sell or whether you sell them through your own branded site or an online retail channel, a key marketing strategy should be to optimize your product page design. Website Builder Expert argues that if you optimize only one thing in your online store, it should be your product pages.

Once a shopper has landed on one of your project pages, you’ve already earned their consideration. Now you need to capitalize on the opportunity to turn their browsing into buying. Ah, but how? There isn’t a single recipe for success -no ring to rule them all. Different buyers have different expectations and needs when shopping, but there are some attributes of well-designed product pages that consistently surface. Here are some helpful tips to think about the next time you’re ready to optimize product pages on your brand site or retail partner site.


Tip#1 Clearly and quickly convey value propositions

Oh boy. “Value proposition.” That’s the kind of marketing talk you hear at Fortune 500 conferences, right? For small to medium-sized businesses, this doesn’t have to consist of months of marketing research and product strategy. Start by simply answering a few questions. Shoppers want to know how your product will meet their needs, and they are looking to your product page for answers.

          How will your product make their experience better?

          Why is your product better than the status quo?

          How will your product work?

It’s important to anticipate your shopper’s questions, but keep the details clear and concise. This is a tough balancing act. A study by Nielsen research states that 20% of abandoned online transactions are due to incomplete or unclear product information. If you can’t distinctly describe your product, you have little hopes of earning a shopper’s consideration. Time is also a factor. Research from VoucherCloud states that consumers make purchasing decisions within the first 90 seconds of landing on a product page.

Mighty Leaf Tea has great examples of clear product descriptions that quickly inform and attract potential customers. Check out this example for their Coco Chai Rooibos. Using less than 50 words, they distinctively and creatively describe the taste, caffeine level, ingredients, and unique benefits of this tea. They also have a graphic display of how to prepare the perfect cup, which brings us to the importance of the next tip…


Tip#2 Bring your product to life with imagery and videos

Conveying value and setting expectations go far beyond the written word. The expression “a picture is worth 1,000 words” exists for a reason. VoucherCloud found that 92.6% of online shoppers use visuals as the top influential factor affecting purchase decision. Hence, you should have stellar product imagery.

Videos require a bit more production budget but can have a higher impact depending on the complexity of your product. PoweredbySearch claims 50% of customers have more confidence in a product after watching a video online and nearly 31% of online shoppers bought a product after being influenced by video.

Crate & Barrel does a great job of incorporating photos and video on their website. Take the product page for this pot. Now, you may be thinking, “how can you make pots exciting?” Well, Crate & Barrel does by including pictures of the product in a typical kitchen setting to showcase the product’s beautiful aesthetic. Additionally, they have a 2-minute video of how the pot was made. Who doesn’t like a behind-the-scenes look at a process that has been in existence since 1925?

And these visual assets do not just have to be professional studio photography or big budget videos produced by your marketing department. Shoppers are also very responsive to consumer-generated photos and video submitted by real-life product owners. The authentic and transparent nature of showing your products in use out in the world gives your brand credibility and influences consumers.


Tip #3 Bring the consumer voice to life by incorporating reviews

90% of consumers read online reviews before buying. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. It might feel scary to invite your customers into the conversation with your potential buyers, but the payoff can lead to lucrative results. DS Laboratories, a health and beauty brand, saw a 235% revenue increase in just four months by publishing review content on product pages. You can learn more about how they took advantage of consumer reviews here.

Customer reviews not only help back your product claims, they set expectations and provide real-life feedback that will help your online shopper know what to expect once they’ve purchased your product. They can also help boost your search engine rank. Click here to dive deeper into the impact customer reviews have on SEO both on a broad search level and on retailer websites.

You can start by collecting reviews and ratings from your current customers, manually and ad-hoc. But eventually, you’ll want to consider capture and publishing tools that can streamline this process for you.

Home goods store CB2 features a lot of customer reviews on their product pages. For example, check out the customer reviews on the Changes rug. CB2 isn’t afraid of non-5 star reviews either. They want their buyers to be happy and value theirfeedback on merchandise. After all, every 3-star review is the secret to a 5-star product. As you can see in the comment below, this user loved the rug, but admitted it sheds a lot. By being transparent, CB2 builds their credibility with potential buyers. CB2 is a great example of how integrating reviews directly on your product pages can strengthen your brand.


Tip#4 Place prominent calls to action

“Calls to action” provide answers to “what’s next” once you’ve convinced your customer why they should try your product. Common terms for this are:


          Add to Cart/Add to Bag

          Book now

          Request a demo

Treat this as the most important click on your page. Design elements such as placement, font, and size can play a vital role in whether your visitor continues on the buyer’s journey. Even the color of your call-to-action buttons can be a dealmaker. Studies have shown certain colors can get more clicks, but be sure you are choosing colors that appeal to your target audience.

CutCo knife company has very clear call-to-action buttons, including Add to Cart, Add to Registry, and Add to Wishlist. Through their clean design and use of color, they make the “Add to Cart” button stand out.


Tip#5 Show inventory to drive urgency

The Baymard Institute calculates the average online shopping cart abandon rate is 69.23%. People can abandon the shopping experience for a variety of reasons, but studies show that conveying urgency and scarcity of inventory can often push a timid buyer to buy now rather than later. One online commerce store improved conversion rates by 332% using this single tactic.

Scarcity is one of the most powerful sources of driving urgent behavior because when an item is perceived as being scarce, it’s perceived value increases. Many websites have tapped into this primal human behavior. Hotel sites show how many rooms are available. Travel sites show how many airplane seats are left. Retail sites will show scarcity by size or color of their product. “Only two left in stock? I better make a decision quick!”

A great example of using inventory scarcity to drive purchasing decisions is from Adidas. When they partnered with rap icon Kanye West, they created a very limited number of shoes that sold out quickly.

Now, they are using that scarcity to get people excited about the next edition of the kicks (as well as build their marketing database with prospects!).

And you don’t just have to show scarcity of inventory to get people to buy quickly.

One of our favorite examples is the “countdown clock” prominent on Best Buy’s Deal of the Day page. It’s clear how much time is left to buy the product, what the pricing discount is on the deal, and how to purchase online.


In a Nutshell:

Be sure to answer your visitor’s questions when they come to your product page

Use quality imagery and video to help explain your product’s value

Let customer reviews help make your case

Put extra thought into the design and placement of your calls to action

Evoke a sense of urgency to help drive buying actions

But what if you don’t have your own branded e-commerce platform? No worries, many of these same strategies can be leveraged, even if you only sell through online retailers. Check with your retail partners to see what is possible on their sites. Most allow for the display of ratings and reviews, as well as photo and videos. Check out our latest e-book if you’d like to learn more about leveraging consumer reviews and how they can improve your retail presence.