{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

I’ve been working on a new community-orientated startup lately, which also has an e-commerce / marketplace element to it. As such it needs some beautiful product pages

Product pages are absolutely crucial to the success of your website. They often double up as a landing page, and they must tick all of the right boxes to boost conversions (and reduce bounce rates).

However, product pages on a community-powered websites need to go the extra mile. They must help convert visitors into customers, but they must also engage and drive interaction. I want to encourage buying (a 'hard' goal) as well as rating, reviewing, bookmarking and sharing products (a 'soft' goal).

For my new site the thinking is very much along the lines of 80% community / 20% marketplace, and I believe that viral functionality (and related information) on product pages is essential. But there is now a surfeit of options from which to choose, which leaves us in a bit of a dilemma. What to leave out?

Perhaps we should start by figuring out what the essentials are. Consider what happens when you don’t have the right information on the product page. Take shipping information, as a prime example of where things can go awry.

Product pages must include shipping details, yet many online retailers hide this information in the checkout. All this does is increase checkout abandonment, as visitors enter only to find out the shipping costs and options before promptly pressing the back button (to further consider the purchase, or possibly bail out due to an unpleasant surprise relating to outrageous shipping fees). When this happens the e-commerce manager assumes that there is a problem with checkout abandonment. Forms and processes may be redesigned, yet the problem is merely about the positioning of information. Redesigning the checkout on this basis is a waste of time, effort and money.

So what needs to be on the product page? 

You’d be surprised at the sheer amount of options. There are too many elements to display in a concise, meaningful way. Some things carry more value than others, so there’s a series of decisions to be made along the lines of ‘What can we leave out?’.

There are obvious things that you absolutely must display, like price and availability. And there are less obvious things, which may (or may not) be disposable. The challenge is partly an informational one (what to place where and what to leave out?), partly a persuasive one (labels, colours, sizes?) and partly a design one (how to avoid clutter, insert space and guide the eye?).

Here’s a list of the various elements that I’d like to be able to display on my product pages. They’re perhaps not all necessary, and some may get in the way, but it strikes me that community-powered websites required more information and options than a pure e-commerce site. 

ESSENTIALS

  • Product title
  • Images
  • Add to cart button
  • Price
  • Availability
  • Payment methods
  • Shipping (delivered to / carrier options / fees / offers)
  • Location
  • Product description
  • Product detail (materials used / dimensions / weight / cleaning / washing)
  • Sizing / size guide
  • Colour options
  • Date added
  • Product tags / categories

SELLER DETAILS

  • Seller rating
  • Seller followers
  • Other items by this seller
  • Contact seller
  • Follow seller
  • Seller testimonials
  • Returns policy

RATINGS, REVIEWS, SHARING AND STORING

  • Item ratings
  • Item reviews (and / or comments)
  • Item followers
  • Rate item (‘love this’ / 1-5 stars, etc)
  • Bookmarks / sharing / tweet this / send to a friend
  • Add to wishlist (item / seller)

SOCIAL CREDIBILITY AND MERCHANDISING

  • Who loves ya baby?
  • People who liked this also liked…
  • Cross-selling / up-selling (buy with X and save £££)

RICHER, DEEPER, SEXIER

  • Video
  • International pricing / currency converter (e.g £99, EU110, $165)
  • Colour chart 
  • Trustmarks (security signs, testimonials)
  • Number produced
  • Product code
  • Flag item (spam etc)
  • Stats (views / fans / item follows / sales)

If you have experimented with adding, repositioning, relabeling and/or removing some of these elements I’d love to hear what worked for you (and what didn’t). Also, what have I missed? Please leave a comment below...

Chris Lake

Published 23 September, 2009 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (13)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

Vincent Roman

Great little piece, thanks!  Perhaps a follow up with a little talk about the best placement for information on the page would be a great idea too.

about 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

Thanks Vincent. I'll do a follow up with the product page design once the site is launched, and you can make your own mind up!

I'll also be testing and tweaking along the way to figure out what works and what doesn't, which I'll also share with you all.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

D Rogers

The one thing you need on a product page is product that people want to buy, and cannot buy anywhere else. Everything else is not worth the trouble. Absolutely anyone can put up a shop online and run it at no cost. There are vast shops online with tens of thousands of products that are copies of other shops which are copies of shops all selling nothing. If you don't have an absolutely unqiue product in demand that you are willing to sell exclusively turning down resellers, affiliates, marketplaces, my advice would be just don't bother, you will not make any money.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Fred H Schlegel

I also like to see links to support pages or reference materials to get more detail about more complicated products.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Trip Foster

Great article. This is great information for performance marketing (CPA, PL) landing page designers as well. These pages need to arm the consumer with the information they need to make a purchase decision. Our landing page designers use many of these elements to positively effect the psychology of a sale and we look to implement and test additional elements to enhance the landing pages conversion.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ada Vaughan

Would love to know if you are using a particular cart for your build. I'm wanting to switch so I can get more of these elements on my product pages. My current solution does not offer ratings/comments/reviews, and it's starting to matter.

What's your suggestion for low/no cost shopping cart software?

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jay Myers

it's also what you don't see that counts too :-) ... most of your bullets are important product data points. as we move to a more semantic web where we are giving our pages meaning, more detailed front-end HTML (using RDFa or microformats) will free this data directly through web pages, making it available to apps, search engines, parsers, and of course, humans.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Promotional Products

So many times when purchasing online I have been unhappy or confused with many product pages. I feel that they are too vague, I know its impossible to show all the benefits online that experiencing the product in real life can present, but I the more information when you are trying to sell something the more effective the page will be. Needless to say, you have listed some great add-ons and features that must be considered when deciding upon the layout of your products page.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

sara chapman

Your comment about shipping is particularly true - many retailers don't realise how vital a selling point this is. There's also the issue of brand - you often see companies trying to really push their brand at the expense of product info on a page which is primarily transactional in function.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

andy bright

what makes you think you have to have reviews and ratings on the product page?

i understand that form a number of retailers the functionality makes sense, possibly due the the nature of their products or the type of their audience. but for the majority of retailers i'd generally suggest that user-generated review are avoided or at least looked at very closely. if the motivation to include the feature is 'because amazon does it' then that's a sign that you should pull-back.

i'd cite the example of a review page i saw, perhaps on this very blog, where a product had 400 poor-quality, unsorted reviews over something like 17 pages. there's very little value in that content. what i'm saying is that handling the information architecture and interaction design a reviews feature badly will damage user experience and negatively affect conversions. if you're expecting a lot of reviews but not also investing in sorting through collective intelligence, etc. i'd not include reviews at all.

similarly, for some audiences reviews just don't work. i'll paraphrase from jared spool's design secrets from the amazon (which i'd highly recommend if you often say of hear, 'make it like amazon'). he gave the example of a harry potter book, and two retailers, amazon and target. both use the same ecommerce platform, with the same review functionality. both retailers sold and shipped similar volumes of the book, yet the amazon product page attracted 3000 reviews and the target page a total of 3. i'd say that including reviews is something you should ask your design research team before setting your expectations. if your reviews are going to be few are far between, and of poor quality, then leave them out and don't waste your users time and attention.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Mohan Arun L

Superb listing, but 'seller follow', other items by this seller, seller testimonials etc. are more for ebay sellers than for stand-alone ecommerce store pages. That said, what type of 'security signs' do people look for to build trust in shopping? SSL verified seal? How about Paypal logo? Do people really look for security seals rather than just verifying if the page begins with https:// and there is a lock icon somewhere? (I.e., anything other than https:// and lock icon check) I dont!

about 7 years ago

Matthew Curry

Matthew Curry, Head of Ecommerce at Lovehoney

Hey Chris, did you ever do your follow up post on placement for this? I'm running through a design process at the moment, and getting all this on a single page (even using the old hide/reduce laws of simplicity methodology) it ends up rather heavy!

Matt

about 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

Hey Matty,

I'm afraid not. You are the master arranger! I have some sense of where things should live, but it really does depend on so many factors. It can be an incredibly difficult balance to strike for certain product types. Image on the top left? Check. Or should it be top right? Or a big-ass central one? 

I'm currently designing a product page template to sell a consumer electronics device, and if I add everything on a single page it is going to get very messy very quickly. The site is an affiliate play, and I think affiliate product pages are somewhat different to those used by retailers, though they need to reinforce purchase intent in just the same way. For me the question remains: 'How much information do I need to give away?'. I think the answer is "just enough", but I don't yet know how much that is!

For example, do I need to display a full list of features on the product page (the detailed tech spec), or can I adopt a curated approach, and just reveal enough information to push the shopper along towards the merchant's checkout? Are 10 compelling features better than a list of 150? 

I was talking to Graham about this earlier. The single product page seems like the only sensible option, but it could get extremely long, and text-heavy, and shoppers might nod off. I think the solution might be to use lightboxes to expand some sections, as you might a photograph.

So I may wind up listing the full tech spec but not displaying all the features by default on the product page. Instead I'll add a 'full feature list' link that opens up in a lightbox, or, expands a section of the page. 

All in due course though. For now I'm just working on the copy and static pages that are good enough to allow me to launch. I'll test and finesse thereafter.

Would be good to hear what you come up with...

c.

about 6 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.