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Tackling the topic of product detail page layouts is daunting because there is no short answer. Saying one element such as large product images increases conversion, though it's proven, does not tell the full story.  

The product detail page needs to be dealt with as a whole. This article will do just that. It will focus on the 'must have' page elements, recommend where they should appear on the page, explain why, and provide tips on how to maximize the value of each.  

To support recommendations, experienced online retailers will be used as examples, known experts will be quoted, and for those who are visual, a wireframe has been put together for reference.

NB: This post was originally published in 2013 and has been republished as part of an experiment

The purpose of the product detail page is to:

  • Reduce distractions/focus a consumer's attention.
  • Appeal to various buying stages.
  • Satisfy various buying motivations.
  • Answer questions to build confidence.
  • Make the desired action simple and obvious.

Bryan Eisenberg has this to say about consumer buying motivations and how to approach:

At the most fundamental level, all people are motivated by a single, critical question: "what’s in it for me" (WIIFM)? Their dominant personality types strongly influence how they ask that question, perceive value, and consciously – or more typically, subconsciously – approach a decision-making task.

This statement leads to two fundamental philosophies for the product detail page: 

  1. The product detail page follows a hierarchy of information structured in an intuitive pattern aligned to how your target consumer wishes to view content during their buying journey.

    "F Pattern" eye tracking studies indicate typical patterns and help to form a foundation for this hierarchy.

  2. The content displayed must deliver the right messages (in the form of copy, images, video, confidence building tactics, and obvious action points) to satisfy the "what's in it for me" questions, and is why a product detail page requires considerable thought, work and ongoing effort.  

To simplify the breakdown of key elements of the product detail page, it has been broken down into four sections (see wireframe below):

  • Section 1:  Top left area of the page within the active window.
  • Section 2:  Top right area of the page within the active window.
  • Section 3:  Left hand side of the page below Section 1.
  • Section 4:  Right hand side of the page below Section 2.

Wireframe

It’s important to note some experienced online retailers have moved to a three-column layout (ASOS, Amazon).  This is not the time to delve into the pros and cons of this layout, however, if interested, make a comment below.

Section one

Bread crumbs

With all of the talk about removing distractions at product detail page level, navigation is gone from the left hand side of the page. Breadcrumbs add a necessary usability element to assist those who wish to go back a step or two.   

Product title

Product title can either sit directly above the image or at the top of the page to the right of the image. Eye tracking studies are consistent, stating the eye starts at the top left and moves left to right suggesting the ideal placement for the product title is the top left hand side in order to provide the necessary validation.

Amazon places the product title to the right of the image: 

John Lewis has the product title over top the image:

 

Product title tip one:  If you carry multiple brands, state the brand name in the title of the product.  

For example:

  • “Bose Soundlink Bluetooth Mobile speaker” (found at Amazon).
  • “Calphalon Simply Calphalon 10” Omelette Pan with Cover” (found at Zappos).
  • “Polo Ralph Lauren Custom Fit Long Sleeve Polo Shirt, Polo Black” (found at John Lewis).

Product title tip two:  do not be afraid to have long product titles. In a two-column page layout, long titles are easily accommodated.  A longer title explains to consumers exactly what the product is, it assists with SEO and there is opportunity to leverage the brand. 

Main product image

People no longer want to browse a website, they want to experience it. The old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" takes on new meaning online.  

Those with a merchandising strategy that includes an approach to displaying products in ways to excite consumers and allow them to see themselves using and benefiting from the product will have an advantage over their competitors.  

Answering the "what's in it for me" through pictures is simple and fast and is why product images build conversion.

Tip one:  How big should the main image be on the product detail page?  If the images are to a high standard and effectively tell the story of the product, the larger the better.

Zappos has adopted this to a new standard with a large main product image still making room for other content. 

Tip two: Complimentary images are exactly that, they compliment the product or merchandise the product to emphasise benefits or unique features.

Use this space to show different angles of the product, close up shots, or the product in use.  

'Sharing' Section 

The 'Sharing' section comprises both social icons and sharing functionality. Have this section close to the images and away from the buying area.  

Sharing should always be considered the 'Plan B' call to action on the page and not distract from the main purpose of the page (selling).    

Wishlist

This can be an effective tool if the functionality is built properly and the business discipline is in place.  

Tip:  Simply displaying a link titled "add to favourites/wishlist" is the easy part. To monitise this functionality, try one or all of the following:

  1. Emails are sent out to the consumer at defined intervals reminding them of their wishlist item(s).  
  2. Offer discounts. It’s not recommended to make this a regular occurrence due to it conditioning buying behaviour, but periodically offer an incentive to purchase the wishlisted item.  
  3. Provide notification of a sale where this item will be temporarily reduced.
  4. Prompt the consumer to send the wishlist item(s) to a family member, spouse or friend to purchase for you.  There could be triggers to send this message i.e. Birthday, Christmas, Valentine's, Mother’s Day. 

Social sharing 

Though every business seems to do it, the presence of social sites on the product detail page is not important.

The reason for this comes down to understanding the difference between the buying intent before a purchase, and the affinity created from the product and/or brand after a purchase.  

The expression of intent (exploring products and product content) and affinity (emotional attachment) occurs at different stages of the customer journey.  

Forrester reports 20% of customers engage after the point of purchase to express their affinity for the brand or product.  

Tip one:  Use the affinity shift in the customer journey through the tactical placement of social sites post purchase (i.e. confirmation pages, and confirmation emails). 

Tip two:  Another tactical placement for social sites is at the end of video. 

Section two

Content situated at the top right section of the page within the active window.

In order of importance from top to bottom of Section two: 

Product pricing

List the RRP, the Sale price (if applicable) and the savings.  

Tip:  Make the percentage saved obvious. Years of studies have proven the power of showing the percentage savings. Use this bricks-and-mortar tactic in the online environment.

Amazon does this effectively, by showing both the dollar value and the percentage savings.

 

Customer reviews

This is in the form of a star rating and a link to read the customer comments (link takes consumers to the bottom of the page).

Those who read reviews and/or testimonials base their buying decisions on this content. 61% of people read reviews and 63% are more likely to purchase after reading a review.  

And this is why this page element is prominently placed. Don’t make the excuse your product mix is seasonal and there is not enough time to aggregate enough reviews to make it worthwhile.  

The right customer review technology will assist in automating and simplifying this function of the business.

Product benefit copy

Common "what's in it for me" questions relate to how the product will benefit a consumer (i.e. "how can this make my life better"), making this concise message important.  

There is a shortage of good examples and this could be due to the level of content lifting in other forms such as better quality images and/or the use of video. 

Product size copy

Below the benefit copy make a statement explaining the sizing of the model wearing the garment (assuming it is an apparel site using a model): height, chest size, waist size, and the size of the garment he/she is wearing.  

The Iconic does a good job of this. Communicating sizes for non-apparel products builds average order value. For example, Florists who communicate the product image is a 'large bouquet' increases the incidence of the large size being selected (defaulting the product selection to 'large' also helps).  

SKU/product code

With the immense popularity of showrooming and general comparison-shopping with mobile devices, the presence of a product code near the top of the page assists this information/buying process. 

Delivery message

Make a brief statement about the delivery, then link off to more content. Ideally, the brief message should consist of the cost and the standard time to deliver to assist in accommodating consumers who want their products immediately.  

This message reduces shopping cart bailouts by introducing the cost at the right time.  

Tip:  Getting the delivery message right is fully dependent on how simple your pricing model is for shipping, and is why 'Free Shipping' is a conversion enhancer.  

Apart from the no-cost element, it is easily communicated site wide. ASOS has the Free Delivery message loud and proud on all product detail pages with a simple pop up communicating timelines for global regions. 

The 'buying area'

The buying area is a section of the product detail page containing all information required for a consumer to select the right product for purchase.  

The buying area is meant to draw the consumer’s eye making it obvious this is the primary action he/she is meant to take on the page and is achieved with subtle shading or colouring of the background area.

This, combined with a strong call to action button, makes this area of the page obvious. An example of the buying area in use can be seen on every product detail page of Zappos.com

The buying area contains the following content listed in order:

  1. Product availability (in-stock message).
  2. Colour options (if required).
  3. Size guide (if required).
  4. Size options (if required).
  5. The call to action button.
  6. Confidence building message i.e. security.

Product availability

Assuming you display products in stock, a simple statement such as 'in stock and ready to ship' is a confidence builder for the later stage buyer.  

Having this statement sitting within the buying area provides the perception the statement is specifically for this product or any variation of the product.

Colour options

Consumers understand the use of both swatches and drop downs listing colours, but be aware of the pros and cons for each.

Swatches can be a challenge in accurately representing the colour of the item and becomes poor merchandising practice. If there are a large number of colour variants, swatches take up a lot of valuable page real estate making the drop down a more suitable option.  

There are some very good examples of some retailers incorporating the drop down and the swatches simultaneously.   

Tip:  When a colour option is selected, have your main product image change to reflect the colour selection. This is de-risking the purchase for the consumer, and takes the reliance off of getting the swatch thumbnails identical to the fabric colour.

Size guide

Have the size guide as a link directly above the size options. As the eye of the consumer fixes on the buying area it begins to work down from top to bottom.  

If a consumer is unsure of their size it is best to educate them on the sizing before they are asked to select a size.

Tip one:  When displaying size guide content, keep the consumer in the product detail page. If the size guide is another piece of software to assist in building confidence in the size decision, make sure it is simple and usable and communicate the benefits of taking these extra steps.  

Don’t make sizing a barrier to the sale.  

Tip two:  If the size guide is content, ensure it is content for that particular garment type. For example, if the garment is woman’s jeans, do not have sizing content showing sizing for men’s jeans.

Great example of this is on ASOS. The size guide content is specific to the sub category. The Men's Jumpers and Cardigans sub category has a 'Men’s Jumpers and Cardigans' size guide. Adding friction at this stage of the buying journey can lose a sale.

Size options

Like colour, there are pros and cons of drop downs vs displaying 'size boxes'. Boxes take up space and will push the call to action down the page.  

Many will argue the use of boxes makes it easier to select a size, but consumers understand drop downs.  The true advantage with drop downs comes with planning page layouts/templates for product detail pages.  

Regardless of the number of sizes, the drop down will always be a fixed shape taking up the same amount of space on the product detail page (make sure you manage the width of your drop down box for longer titled variations).  

A strong argument against the display of boxes for size (and colour) relates to the inflexible nature of the templates driven from the ecommerce technology.  

Many ecommerce templates have limitations to their ability to display different variations of product detail pages. For example one product may have 10 sizes and another may have two, but the same product template is used meaning the product with only two sizes on offer has a block of white space, making the page look unorthodox.  

Zappos and ASOS use drop downs, Amazon uses a combination of both and John Lewis use boxes for both colour and size. If you are focused on the integrity of page layouts and want to control the placement of your call to action, use drop downs. 

Add to cart button

Since this is the primary desired action for this page, it’s worth sharing a few key characteristics of a best practice add to cart button:

  • It is a contrasting colour to your site.  If your site is green, regardless of the “green means go” mantra, do not have a green button.
  • It is large (size matters).
  • It draws the eye of the consumers; making it obvious what action he/she is supposed to take.
  • It looks “clickable” i.e. it’s not "flat".  

Many articles tackle this subject very well, the point here is, there is a science to creating this button.

Tip: Incorporate messages around the add to cart button to build confidence. 

Bryan Eisenberg:

Amazon used this strategy for years on its 'add to cart' buttons. Even though they removed it, we have still used it quite successfully for clients recently. Notice how Amazon used the words 'you can always remove it later' on the button and the use of the lock graphic and the additional words 'shopping with us is safe. Guaranteed.' 

Section three:  

Left hand side of the page below section one.

Ideally, the top of this section can be seen just above the fold to indicate there is more content to view.  This section is meant to be rich with content to satisfy those who are in information gathering mode or early stage buying.  

They are methodical in nature and work at a very slow pace to ensure they can find every bit of information to assist them in making the right purchase decision and is why this content can be safely below the fold. These consumer types are 'scrollers'. 

There are various ways to manage content in this section with the use of tabs being the most common.   

Product feature copy

Consists of materials, material breakdown (i.e. 40% cotton), dimensions, weight, cleaning instructions, assembly instructions, technical features (critical for electronics). The more detail the better!   

Tip one: Do not have this content bundled up in PDFs. There are obvious SEO reasons, more importantly it needs to be easy to read.  

Tip two:  Make sure the pixel size of your font does not get smaller as you scroll down lower on the page. The 'scrollers' are not skimming, they read everything. Make it easier on them.  

Product reviews

As long as consumers can easily read and follow the comments, this section will do its job. There are many extra functional tools that can be used such as 'was this review helpful?', but in the early days, keep things simple.  

Returns policy

This content de-risks the purchase, and is important to have sitting within the product detail page. It does not matter if it is the same content site wide.  

The time returns content is relevant, so place it in a relevant position to compliment the buying process. 

Delivery detail

Same as returns information in the sense that it’s OK if it’s the same message throughout the site, it is keeping the consumer on the page. The entire delivery story must be told. All costs for all regions.

Tip:  Mention the track and trace service if it is available. It is another method to de-risk the purchase.  

Size detail

The detailed content for sizing can be below the fold if there is a link in the “buying area” that pulls consumers down to this area of the page.

Section four:  

Right hand side of the page below section two.

Product relationships (cross and up selling).  

This section focuses on building relationships with the feature product and is below the buying area. The placement of this content is similar to how the chocolate treats are situated in checkout lanes at the grocery store. 

Consumers can and do venture into a buying mode where distractions of other product offers will add friction to their buying process. Only once the buying mode is complete with a product selection is the consumer susceptible to purchasing other items.  

The proximity of product relationships to the buying area and its relevancy improves its chances for selection. 

This enters the classic debate of taking consumers directly to the shopping cart once the add to cart button is selected vs. leaving the consumer on the product detail page with the hopes another product will be selected for purchase.  

Great topic for another day (if you are interested to read more about this topic make a comment below).  

Tip:  Displaying relevant product relationships can assist in the purchase of the main product. This is merchandising in its truest sense. Bricks and mortar retailers have perfected this tactic for decades.  

The consumer may not purchase the extra product, but it assisted the buying decision.  

The ASOS 'Complete the look' does a great job of replicating this experience online.  

Recently viewed products

When browsing through sites with large product mixes this can be helpful.

Conclusion

The product detail page is where the magic is supposed to happen. When a product detail page does its job two things happen:

  1. The consumer meets his/her goal (they have their need fulfilled).
  2. The retailer achieves its goal and acquires a happy customer.

Following some or all of the recommendations here will provide a solid starting point. Your continuous improvement process will take it from there and is why the top performing online retailers have evolved.

Product mixes and target markets influence product page layouts, however, if you don't have a foundation from which to start, evolution is slow and costly. Learn from the experience of others and expedite the evolution of your product detail page.

Our Ecommerce Best Practice Compendium contains more than 170 valuable tips to help online retailers to improve the ecommerce user experience and maximise conversion rates. 

Greg Randall

Published 17 August, 2015 by Greg Randall

Greg Randall is a senior digital consultant with Comma Consulting and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can connect with Greg on Linked In and Twitter

19 more posts from this author

Comments (32)

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Lucas

Nice tutorial, you have a great blog

almost 3 years ago

Lenka Istvanova

Lenka Istvanova, Marketing Project Manager at Freestak

Superb post, Greg!

Very useful and to the point. Effective product pages are fundamental to success. It's really sad to see that there are still many companies (small as well as big) which don't utilise them effectively.

I've recently touched this topic as well; I've looked into power of Product Descriptions and how to write them.

http://www.koozai.com/blog/branding/the-power-of-product-descriptions-and-how-to-write-them/

Excellent post!

almost 3 years ago

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Glen Maguire

Excellent article Greg, love the WIIFM lesson, it's often ignored. Are personas still the rage? Were quite the rage a few years ago:-).

over 2 years ago

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Brian Mathers

At last someone coming forward to talk about layout and how to pin together an ecommerce website. All that has been addressed here is absolutely vital to anyone considering building their next ecommerce website. The only part that has not been addressed, and I would welcome seeing comments upon is how to manage the other pages that end up in the architecure whereby you have say ladies coats and jackets and there are about 30 to a page. So you have the URL of the first page that makes sense and it lists 30 coats and jackets, but after that you have links along the bottom that go from page2,3,4,5,6,7....34

What are marketers views here as to whether you should try and optimise each of these individual landing pages that also have around 30 items on that landing page.

What has been said in this article surrounding a product page, I get and you can really optimise this page to be found and parachute the customer right into the product. But CATEGORY pages and ones that use FILTERS etc. these are I think challenging for the marketer trying then to parachute the customer into the AISLE that could meet their needs.

Now that would make a great article to debate upon, because I have not come across even big brand sites that have gotten the search marketing right in this area.

over 2 years ago

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

It's worth keeping content in mind when planning product pages. A lack of data can ruin your best laid plans. To give you one specific example, in a previous life I specified pretty much the exact sections 3+4 as your example above for a well known high street retailer only to find that they didnt have the required data to populate the up and cross sell sections. The result was a huge unsightly gap in most of their product pages. Make sure you vet those pixel perfect page designs and prototypes by plugging in real data before committing to any specific page layout.

over 2 years ago

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Oliver Bock

Great blog article. I like the wireframe and the detailed analysis of all the section plus giving recommendations on what to do.

Let's hope a lot of online-shop owners or e-commerce sites will follow the advice.

I think also people still underestimate the importance of high quality product images or 360° image or product videos to transport the product experience. We started a fixed-price service for 360° images to help shop owners out here: http://send2scan.com

Would be great to get some more information or an additional blog article only on this. We are also starting a blog on the topic product presentation and 360° images shortly. If you have wishes on topics for this I would be happy to receive them.

over 2 years ago

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Wow, this is comprehensive!

However, I would say that it should be qualified as a desktop site layout. It may make it the mother of all articles, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on how it would work on a responsive site, coming at it from a mobile-first perspective.

Given the trends in traffic, we're all going to have to get better at thinking about mobile first despite us all spending our working days in front of much bigger screens. Otherwise we risk being in a completely different place than the customers.

over 2 years ago

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Fran

Really good, perfectly explained and very useful.

Thank you and Congratulations!!

over 2 years ago

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Henry Hobhouse

This is wrong wrong wrong /rant over.

Some of this is advise is excellent practice (for everyone), some best practice (for the majority) and some plain incorrect for the majority.

What the title of the post should state is:

"Ecommerce product pages: where to place 30 elements and why IF:

1, You have a large number of SKU's
2. You have super high traffic volumes
3. You have data algortims crunching the large data input from your super high traffic volumes.
4. You are not relying on content as a driver.
5. You have an excellent on-line brand"

I.E. You are already a very large commodity eCommerce store.

For everyone else; trying to copy everything from all the major commodity players that are built on custom technology, have design from 4+ years ago and are optimised for very high traffic volumes is, at best, going to cause inefficient use of space in parts, at worst, be negative for your business.

over 2 years ago

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

@Henry, I think there is probably a lot that small businesses can learn from the bigger players. Yes, you may not have the same volume of traffic and products, but customers expectations about ecommerce user interfaces are formed by the bigger volume sites, as that’s where they have spent their time.

commerce UI patterns have started to coalesce, which I think Greg has captured very well. I think sites stray from these guidelines at their peril, they risk confusing their customers as the customers have had habits formed on other sites.

While I may have raised a question about mobile/responsive, that was more out of a desire to be forward looking, however Greg’s post is an excellent round-up of the current best practices, which not enough sites are actually achieving yet.

I find it hard to believe there are many small companies who wouldn’t be delighted if a customer said that their product page was as good as ASOS’s

over 2 years ago

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brad curtis

Love it! Can't tell you exactly how many of these touch on CONTENT & COPY. If nothing else, do your SEO research, get the right keywords in place and create great copy! That will get you half way there... Then look at optimizing Titles, images, H1, H2, H3, linking out to articles and guides, etc.... Nice piece!

over 2 years ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@Glen Persona development is still really important, however the process to develop have evolved. There is a far greater emphasis now on the insights gained from data making this process far more accurate.

over 2 years ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@Brian I completely agree with you. The ability to layout and construct effective main and subcategory pages is a great topic for another article. I am happy to tackle this one.

The ability to create main category (and sub category) pages to maintain a consumer's buying momentum can be a challenge. This involves naming convention (aligning to demand), content, layout, and the proper use of technology to name a few.

I recently wrote another article on building a customer centric navigation, this addresses some of the points:

http://econsultancy.com/nz/blog/63075-three-steps-to-building-a-customer-centric-navigation-structure

over 2 years ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@Albie Your point is really important. This article talks about the ability to capitalise on the value of 30 plus page elements, of course it is understandable not everything can be utilised.

However, this is the opportunity.

It is my hopes this article will help define the gap between what retailers are currently doing vs where they need to be in order to cover the basics.

Those retailers who do not see the value in content are the ones who will only sell to late stage buyers who buy on price. This customer type is costly to acquire and even more costly to keep. Not a very robust business model.

over 2 years ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@Gavin I have very strong views on product detail pages for smartphones and think it is a good topic for another article. But briefly:

The philosophies are the same as above with hierarchy and messages.

The three challenges are:

1. Ordering of content. The ordering of content requires thought and will vary by retailer but all the content is still important.

2. Accessing the content in a usable manner. How intuitive is the page for consumers?

3. Understanding the buying behaviour of consumers when the smartphone is part of the journey. Google talks about behaviour in the new "Multi Screen World".

For example, the information gathering process for earlier stage buyers review content, then stop, and carry on their buying journey at home on their tablet or PC:

http://www.google.com/think/research-studies/the-new-multi-screen-world-study.html

over 2 years ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@Stewart@Henry Thank you Stewart for taking the time to respond to Henry, I could not have said it any better myself. Another point I would like to make is, I come by this information honestly. Over the last 10 years I have worked closely with hundreds of small to medium retailers and have seen first hand the above recommendations work.

Henry, you are right in the sense that high traffic, high SKU base and data enhance digital conduct, but the above recommendations work for retailers of various shapes and sizes IF their focus is right. This is key.

The evolution of eCommerce plus Social, plus Mobile have many heads spinning resulting in an average level of conduct across a number of disciplines. I wrote this article as a reminder to get back to the basics.

Your comments suggest small retailers cannot follow the above recommendations because they are inexperienced, and don't have enough products or traffic. I am going to disagree with you.

My "rant" is over.

over 2 years ago

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Henry Hobhouse

@Greg I don't doubt this information is built from your own experiences. I also don't doubt you know what you are talking about, I just have an issue with the wording of your article.

This article is aimed at the SME online channel right? The enterprise market would not be enterprise unless they had already got their product page sorted.

I do not argue there is a lot to learn from the large enterprises but it has to be understood that they have built their product pages for themselves, their traffic, their merchandise, with their brand equity and ultimately their goals.

Read this: http://baymard.com/blog/just-copy-amazon-fallacy

and this: http://uxmyths.com/post/718217318/myth-if-it-works-for-amazon-it-will-work-for-you

I therefore stick to my point that the wording of your article is dangerous for SME's even if a lot of the content is useful.

@Stewart I would be happy if I could say that my product pages had better conversion than ASOS, not had customers saying they were equally as good... ;)

over 2 years ago

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Brian Mathers

@Greg
Many thanks for your response and that you will consider sharing with us your views around the areas I discussed in my earlier reply.

And despite what some others have commented here about this article not giving out the right message to smaller enterprises who have an ecommerce website or maybe are considering deploying their first site to sell products - let us remind ourselves:

Since the thought of becoming a 'shop-keeper' stirred the minds of millions long before the internet shop keeper that previously these small high street shop keepers built their business on best practice principles - learning from the big boys!

But - maybe one thing was different when you walked into the smaller shop back then - the proprietor made a point of really getting to know their customer even more than the big brand guy.

So the customer not only got the 'experience' of what they were accustomed out say at the retail park from MR BIG BRAND in those days, but they also experienced an even greater level of customer care from our smaller high street guy. And I have many of these guys today who have become clients of mine with their ecommerce websites nicely sandwiched in amongst the big brands having learned from all the massive bucks spent by MR BIG BRAND on how to get customers, convert them and keep them.

So, haven't we always learned from our peers in life, and that is why Greg's article sits well and it 'educates' newbies and some who might be wondering right now why they are not achieving conversion.

SIMPLES - as one brand puts it!!

over 2 years ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@Brian

Thanks Brian, I completely agree with you. If my article can help one retailer, then the effort in putting this information together was completely worth it. I am driven to share information and knowledge to assist retailers in "lifting their digital game" and is why I am proud to be apart of the Econsultancy family.

over 2 years ago

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James Dunford Wood

@Greg Great piece - we produced an ebook on best practise for product page design a few months ago, and have had some great feedback, which proves that many SME's are not even getting the basic stuff right. Even making some of these changes can have a material impact on conversions and revenues. Product pages are the most important pages of the entire site, so worth spending time over.
You can see our ebook - How to Create the Ultimate Product Page - here
http://content.ometria.com/the-ultimate-product-page-a-guide-to-high-converting-product-pages

over 2 years ago

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Matt Smith, Photographer at PhotoSpherix

While it is great to work and put so much energy into a product page on a site for the search engines, many designers and developers forget about the ultimate purpose of the product page. To showcase the product to the user so that they feel comfortable purchasing the product. While some products are easy, others take more kludging of the user. 360 product photography is a great way to help show the viewer the product for all of its positives. We all know that the first impressions of the product are through a visual means. It is not the text content that grabs the users attention.

With interaction with the 360 product view, users get drawn in to the product. This helps to keep them interested and ultimately converting them to a sale.

Additionally, today it is possible to have have 360 views on just about every commerce platform, bandwidth and technology are no longer a hurdle, but instead are an assistive force.

over 2 years ago

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Steve Racicot

I loved the article and agree on just about everything.

However, how do you handle a B2B ecommerce site where many products for sale have required "accessory" items. You want them to buy the product but you need to "slow" them down so they pick the correct accessories, a "Complete the Look" section that seems out the way really would not work.

over 2 years ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@ Steve

B2B definitely requires a different approach, the buying process is far more deliberate and fast paced. This is why some of my very successful B2B strategies for clients don't even have product detail pages. All purchasing is done from the sub category stage with products in a list view.

In your case where the accessory items are important I have done a few different things with great success:

1. Bundling (or kits). If you have required accessories, don't sell the product on its own. Bundle the product with the accessories. Make sure your photography and content does the job in communicating what is included and why. Also provide guidance on how to sell it all together. Retailers will be looking for you to provide the selling tips. You are the specialist.

2. Build greater prominence to the accessories on the page. A 3 column layout could prove useful with design elements to draw the eye to accessories.

3. Content. If you have content such as "retailer selling tips" you could explain why the accessories must be matched to the main product. They may not be purchasing the accessories because they don't know.

4. More content...video. I don't have the option to be pragmatic in my recommendations, but the more you can educate the retailer in the products and the relationship with the accessories, the better. There is as much pressure on B2B businesses to create content as there is for B2C.

5. More content...set the expectation before product detail page. Prior to retailers arriving to the product detail page, set the expectation that some (or all) products cannot be sold without compulsory accessories. Simple messages in strategically placed tiles is all that's necessary with links to content pages (and video) explaining full reasons as to why.

6. Functionality. This is not a fair recommendation because I don't know what technology you are working with, but your eCommerce technology can support your selling process in many ways to prompt retailers to purchase the accessories once they have selected a main product.

For example, on selecting the main product a pop up appears listing all compulsory accessories. They should not be taking to the checkout, this is a symbol of their purchase almost being done. This message just be viewed at either product detail or in an overlay.

7. Email Marketing. Educate the retailers before they purchase. Send the content in advance with how to purchase the main product and accessories when its time to restock.

8. Incentives. Provide savings if the accessories are purchased with the main product.

9. Sales training. The retailer may have a different philosophy on how to sell your products than you do i.e. they sell the accessories separately. The website can be as obvious and blunt, however, if the retailer does not sell your products as they are intended, a retailer management function is required to shift this mindset.

Good luck and I hope some of this helped.

over 2 years ago

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Phillipe Iraola, Personal at Personal

I'm running my own shop on the Internet and those tips were very usefull. Great article. Thanks !

over 2 years ago

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Anne Schofield, Owner at Anne Schofield

Here it is 2015, and what you said in 2013 still stands. This blog has all the elements of a masterpiece. Well researched and well written. Thank you so much.

about 1 year ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@Anne,

Thanks for the kind words. I wrote this article back in 2013 because I was tired of everyone writing how bad product detail pages are and no one had the guts to say how to properly do it.

You will be interested to know I am in the middle of writing a series of books for Econsultancy taking the above concept and breaking down all key pages of an eCommerce website: home page, category pages, product detail page (again), and shopping cart process. I also go a step further and include what the layouts will look like on tablets and smartphones.

If this is something you think people are interested in, let me know. It's great getting feedback on my content projects.

about 1 year ago

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Michael Bolton, Director Ecommerce Services at An Organisation

So you put the recommendations / complete the look in section 4? Complete the look is better when its placed nearer the seed product and tabbing Recently viewed / Recommendation and complete the look is not best practice. Even if you have limited space there are better solution such as those M&S / Amazon have.

11 months ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Michael I think all so-called best practice is open to interpretation, and testing and results trump theory.

11 months ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@Michael, thanks for the feedback. Graham is right RE testing takes over, but I still support the placement and treatment of this content. Let me elaborate more on the good points you raise:

Proximity for merchandising. The proximity of this content is comparable to Amazon, sitting below the buy call to action. Marks and Spencer utilise a three column layout giving them the opportunity to lift product recommendation content above the fold. However, this layout can be problematic from the perspective of content hierarchy, ensuring the product page focuses the consumer’s eye on the right page elements at the right time. Asos moved from a very similar three column to a two column layout.

I agree merchandising strategy demands the recommendation content to have an element of proximity and is why this tabbed container is located as seen in the wireframe. To lift the merchandising influence of this page element, retailers can move from the traditional row of two products to a larger single product which stacks one on top of the other giving the consumer the option to scroll through more products.

Tabbing this content. When looking at tabbing this content think of this in terms of reducing consumer interaction cost: reducing both physical and mental effort of the consumer. The variation of product detail page layouts grows by the day, making the placement of recommendation content a moving target.

By containing, clearly labeling and displaying this content above the fold on desktop and tablet screens (the landscape view is right on the fold), consumers will quickly see and understand this content with little effort. Anytime a consumer needs to look for this content you are adding effort to their experience.

The tabbed recommendation container also translates effectively to mobile screens.

Hope this helps provide more context.

11 months ago

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Peter Woolston, Director at AthitoSmall Business

Good logic but much too 'one size fits all'. It's a little different selling fashion online versus a computer versus a sofa versus a car. Creating the look, product builders/bundlers, cross-sells and up-sells, personalisation, fit guides, reviews, etc all take greater or lesser importance depending on the product type and the brand, as does the use of product imagery, 360's, page real estate, etc. So, I agree with the logic of not taking a consumer off-piste from the well trodden path to check-out, but very much disagree that there is a single template that would serve each category and brand the best. Luxury also very different to high street - think inspiration versus function. Thanks for the post though! P

11 months ago

Greg Randall

Greg Randall, Director at Econsultancy Small Business Guest AccessSmall Business Multi-user

@Peter, I understand your point of view it is common feedback. Your comments suggest all fashion retailers should have the same product detail page layout, which is somewhat a contradiction to your one-size fits all point.

The above recommendations have come together from principles and methodologies that
have taken years to develop and in fact transcends product type.

This article pulls together best practice online buying psychology and usability elements.
This is the “science”. These recommendations are not influenced by the “art”. Success
comes in pulling together the “art” and “science”. The “art” comes from the retailer’s clear understanding of the unique buying needs/behaviours of their customers. The crucial differences in product detail pages across different product types and retailers are not page layouts, its content.

The page layout enables retailers to leverage their content to sell their products. The
content is the true “art”: imagery, video, copy, consumer-driven content, product
relationships.

I have used the same (or very similar) product page layout for fashion retailers, electronic retailers, baby retailers, pet retailers and department store retailers. Each client had big successes (big sales increases). The key difference between each was not the layout; it was
their content and product merchandising strategies.

I can understand many people not feeling comfortable with this concept, but I have seen
this work repeatedly with my clients (large and small). The department store model
supports my point. One retailer with multiple product ranges using the same product page
layout.

Don’t take my word for it, have a look at John Lewis. Compare their product detail page
layout for their dresses and their large screen TV’s. The layouts are identical.

Have a look at Nordstrom’s fragrance product pages vs their men’s shirts product pages.
The layouts are identical.

Have a look at Marks and Spencer’s bed product pages vs their women’s jumpers product
pages. The layouts are identical.

10 months ago

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Thiago Santos, CEO at Site para Coach

Still very useful.. Thanks

6 months ago

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