If you’re in the e-commerce business and looking to increase your conversion rates, you’re in the right place. In this article you’ll learn 16 tips for optimizing your e-commerce product pages and the mindset you need to achieve explosive business growth.
Why Your Product Landing Pages Need Optimization
As an e-commerce store owner, you should constantly be optimizing your conversion rates and – most importantly – profits. From the landing page to the payment confirmation page, you have to optimize the flow of your visitors through each step. And one critical step is your product pages.
In this article I’ll focus on how to optimize your product landing pages’ usability and conversion rates by testing and following best practices for e-commerce pages. But remember, while conversion rate optimization best practices can guide you in improving your profits, there are no hard and fast rules.
When it comes to e-commerce conversion optimization every store is different, and what worked for somebody else might not work for you. The only way to be sure is to use A/B testing to statistically test if a best practice increases your conversion rates and sales too.
So make sure to A/B test your new product page template against your old one. Never make changes to your e-commerce store without testing if they make you more or less money. That’s what I call the publish and pray technique, and it rarely helps your business grow.
Let’s get started!
1. Feature High-Quality, Dynamic Product Images of Every Product
Your product images can make or break your e-commerce conversion rates.
People like to see things before they buy them. But when you’re shopping online, you can’t hold or feel a product, all you can really do is look at it. So to make up for these shortcomings you need to work really hard on making sure your product images rock.
Use large, high-quality large images with multiple angle shots
The first key to image success is the size and quality of your images. In this case study Mall.cz tested larger images on their product pages:
They saw a 9.46% increase in sales when they used the larger product images. Try testing bigger product images on your category and single product pages.
Here is a checklist for other things to consider when creating your high-quality product images:
- Clean and consistent background (white space or consistent background design, no clutter)
- Consistent image lighting, contrast and saturation (make sure your images have the same look and feel)
- Consistent padding around the edge of the image (minimum 30px)
- Show the context of the product where appropriate (e.g. people wearing jewelry to understand scale and sizing)
- Offer detailed, alternative views and 360-degree rotating images of your products where budget allows (or do this for your best-selling products)
2. Implement a product zoom feature
Since people can’t get a hold of a product when buying online, getting up close to it in the images to see details is essential.
Make sure visitors can zoom in on your products and see the finer details in HD.
World Of Watches does a great job of this, offering contextual images of the watch on a wrist and high-quality zoomable images from alternative angles.
3. Increase trust and conversions with user submitted reviews
According to Marketing Land, 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. And 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendation (Search Engine Land). So it’s really important to test how adding reviews to your product pages affects your conversion rates.
If the reviews are in-line alongside your products, the visitor doesn’t even need to leave your page to go looking for reviews around the web.
In this case study Express Watches added customer reviews right into their product pages and saw an increase in conversion rate to sale of 58.29%.
Test adding on-page reviews (impartially submitted by users) to your single product pages and see if your conversion rates improve.
4. Use wish lists to drive traffic and increase sales
According to BigCommerce incorporating wishlists or “want” buttons helps customers remember a product they liked but couldn’t buy straight away.
Shopify offers an app for the Want button – these post to people’s Facebook timelines too and drive more social traffic to your store. The traffic is also primed for conversions as people love to buy what their friends recommend.
A/B test adding wishlists and want buttons to your store to drive referral sales and traffic.
5. Don’t hide out of stock products
In this case study by Marketing Sherpa, they leveraged a mixture of transactional emails and segmented email lists to increase sales and conversions.
The first step was to show out of stock products with the option to get notified when they were back in stock.
This added the lead to a per-product lead email list. When the products were back in stock the lead email list got sent a transactional “back in stock” email, inviting them to return to the store and checkout.
In this case study these emails converted at 22.45%!
In this case study BettingExpert did just that, and saw a 19.47% increase in their form conversions.
7. Link to product sizing charts on page or in a pop-up
When it comes to products like jewelry, sizing can make or break a conversion. So it’s worth testing if placing sizing information alongside the product affects your conversion rates.
You can place a link to a sizing page as seen on the product page above, or have the sizing chart pop up as seen below:
Always anticipate the questions your prospects will have and make those answers available to them. Test adding sizing information to your product pages to improve conversion rates.
8. Personalize your related product recommendations
You all know recommending related products is a great way to increase your average basket value and conversion rates. But to take your selling to the next level, you can add personalization to your recommendations.
According to a case study by Smart Insights: “Compared to average site conversion rate, conversion rates were increased by 332% on Millets.co.uk and 277% Blacks.co.uk where a visitor selected a personalized product recommendation.”
They looked at two types of personalization, “What customers ultimately buy recommendation” and “Rule-based cross-sell personalized recommendation.”
For example, when checking out hiking equipment, visitors were shown these personalized rule based recommendations below:
A/B test using personalized product recommendations to increase your average basket value and conversion rates.
9. Use live chat transcripts to find product information gaps
So you all know the benefits of using live chat on your e-commerce websites; as long as you’re tracking those chat conversions, it’s convenient for the customer and cheaper than phone-based customer service teams.
But the real value of live chat, in my experience in testing with Olark, is in the transcripts.
With Olark you can review and even export your live chat transcripts for analysis – this is a powerful conversion tool!
For example, we used live chat in this e-commerce CRO case study and found there were information gaps on the e-commerce store’s product pages: things about the products the visitors wanted to know but couldn’t find answers to.
When we analyzed the transcripts from customer conversations we learned these insights:
Customer: “Hey guys, Could you please tell me if your sterling silver jewellery will tarnish if worn in salt water? Thanks”
Customer: “I was looking at the Gold ‘You are blessed’ tan bracelet and was wondering if it’s durable enough to wear everyday?”
From this we were able to create a hypothesis to A/B test: More detailed product info (perhaps behind a tabbed system for people looking for in-depth information) will mean less reservations around the purchase and more checkouts.
Analyze your live chat transcripts for product information gaps and add the missing information in-line alongside your products on the landing pages.
10. Leverage visual hierarchy to improve your product page conversions
Visual hierarchy is about guiding your visitors step by step through the different elements in your page design. The path they take and the order in which they experience your design and copy can be the difference between a bounced visitors and a checkout.
In this case study Underwater Audio improved the visual hierarchy of their landing page by changing the order of the different elements of their value proposition: the headline, features and benefits section, image and call to action.
By changing the visual hierarchy they increased sales by 35.6%.
Test changing the order in which visitors read the different elements of your product landing pages. For example, don’t ask them to add the product to their cart before teaching them enough about the product and its features. You can ask for the sale too early and lose it.
11. Get the length of your product page copy just right
In this guide David Crowther suggests long copy works best when your product is:
- Complex with many features
- Part of a specialized sector
- Not unique
He also says short copy works best when your product matches these points:
- Your product or offer is very simple and requires little explaining
- Your price is inexpensive
- Your call-to-action costs no money: taking a free trial, signing up for a newsletter, etc.
Make sure to test your product copy length and be more explicit and detailed for complex and expensive products.
12. Use product videos to increase conversion rates
You hear a lot in the conversion world that video sells. But the truth is, as with any conversion best practice, it depends.
For example in this case study a fitness business spoke with their customers to learn what was missing from their product pages. The main question or concern visitors had was, “How will these products look on me in a fitness class?”
This prompted the business to create better product images and videos that address this question.
They only made a small number of videos first as a cheap test. The results showed that for search traffic, revenue per visit increased between 25% and 100%, depending on which consumer segment they were analyzing.
Test adding videos to your product landing pages (if the your data suggests you need them) and only invest in one or two videos at first to test their impact on profits. If it works as well as it did for this business, it’ll be worth rolling out more videos for your landing pages.
13. Communicate shipping on all pages clearly
It seems like a no-brainer, but so many stores I see don’t show shipping costs until much too late in the buying process. It’s important to communicate shipping costs on every page (especially your product page) and where possible to offer free shipping.
Nearly half of all online orders come with free shipping, so you should at least test if you can build shipping costs into your product pricing and see if it creates more profit.
A study by E-tailing found that 44% of people abandoned a purchase process because the shipping costs were too high.
What about if you must charge for shipping in your business model?
If your product doesn’t allow for free shipping then make sure to use a flat rate fee and show it on every page. You could place it in the header and footer of your store's web page designs.
In this study 47% of people showed they would abandon a purchase if they got to buy page and learned shipping was extra. Show shipping costs upfront!
14. Show the expected delivery date on the product landing page and cart page
In the age of 30-minute drone deliveries, customer don’t expect to wait long for their products.
An infographic from Milo demonstrated that visitors are much more likely to abandon the sales funnel if they have to wait days on end for delivery times.
When asked what would encourage them to complete their purchase, 60% of respondents said a guaranteed delivery date.
Test adding expected delivery dates to your product pages or offering guaranteed delivery dates and displaying them in-line alongside your product.
15. Show an “added to cart” notification
When someone tries to add a product to their cart, you want to let them know they have been successful.
Basically, you need to constantly be giving the user feedback. This is seen as an interaction design best practice.
Essentially, feedback answers questions across four categories:
- Location: Where am I? (persistent navigation)
- Current Status: What’s happening – and is it still happening? (breadcrumbs, interface state)
- Future Status: What will happen next? (call to action)
- Outcomes & Results: What just happened? (alerts, e.g. “item added to cart” pop-up)
Here you can see when you add a product to your cart on this site, you get a pop-up notification and a call to action to continue to the cart: these represent an outcome/result and future state prompt.
Test adding more interaction design best practices to your product landing pages so your customers always understand what’s going on.
16. Leverage user testing to inform and test your product page designs
Appliances Online created 125 user testing videos (giving them about 250 hours of footage) to find problems with their product pages. From these videos they found amazing insights they could then turn into hypotheses and A/B tests.
For example, many users said the pages were too busy; others said the service information needed to be more explicit and the video experience could be improved.
These improvements resulted in a 9.5% increase in sales, and 37% more visitors viewed the product videos. Visitors who viewed the videos were 57% more likely to add items to their basket, too.
Make sure use user testing to inform your testing ideas. Constant iteration and improvement is one key element to getting killer conversion rates.
Remember: Don’t blindly copy your competitors
You must remember that just because a “best practice” or a certain test increased someone else’s revenue, it won’t necessarily do the same for you.
A/B testing is a great way to improve your product landing pages and increase your conversion rates and profits, and it’s the best way to know that a change to your site or your landing page is really going to work for you.
So don’t blindly copy your competitors – they’re probably doing the same.
About the author
Giles Thomas is an e-commerce conversions expert. He’s the CEO of Whole Design Studios & founder of AcquireConvert. He is a head marketing mentor for Google and a member of the prestigious Google Experts Program. Join his free, 5-day ecommerce optimization course here.