Around half of all online purchases are preceded by a search, so landing pages can be vital to the success of your e-commerce plans. 

The trick is to consider the mindset of your visitor and provide just enough information to persuade them to purchase, but not too much so that they are distracted.

Here are ten recommendations…

1. Strike the right balance
You need the right balance between guiding and supporting the decision-making of less informed customers, and providing the technical detail expected by better-informed customers.

2. Dedicated landing pages
For popular or high-value search terms, dedicated landing pages should be developed to accomodate the different types of needs and expectations that you anticipate from customers.

3. Keep your promises
Always keep your promises to customers – if they click a link for a particular product category, don’t take them to the homepage or, even worse, to a page containing the wrong products.

4. Feature filtering
Use feature filters where possible. Feature filters are valuable tools for helping customer choose products suited to their needs.

5. But use them with care
Feature filters need to be powered by good quality product metadata and need to have helpful interactive behaviour – otherwise they can become more frustrating and damaging of customer trust than if you had no feature filter at all.

6. Purchase justification
This can be important at the product category level as well as the product level (e.g. why should I buy an LCD television as opposed to a cheaper CRT television?).

7. Provide ‘scent trails’
Always provide clear ‘scent trails’ to enable different customers to pursue different purchasing journeys.

8. Product testimonials
Word-of-mouth marketing is known to be more effective than sales messages from manufacturers or retailers. If possible, feature (genuine) testimonials for products.

9. Reinforce customer trust
Kitemarks, partners, visible customer support options. All these things convey trust and respectability. They ease the mind of the prospective buyer, who might not know your brand. Trust is very important.

10. A clear call-to-action
Display the buy it now/add to basket button prominently above the fold - don’t make your customers search for it.

Also see our

Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks 2006

for more information.