Ecommerce Expertise / Ecommerce Marketing

Improve your product pages by 35% — Ecommerce Checklist #1

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Setting up your online store is easy, especially with Bigcommerce, but it might not be immediately clear how to optimize it for the best results. In this series, I’ll teach you the secrets of successful online stores and give you a list of things you can do to improve your business.

First, let’s talk about your product pages. They’re the most important part of your store, not just because they inform customers about your products and entice them to buy from you, but because great product pages help with your search engine rankings and actually bring in more customers in the first place. Improving your product pages is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your sales, and all it takes is a bit of time.

Product Name

You want your product name to be descriptive so customers know exactly what you’re selling, and also to increase your search engine rank — the more specific your description, the fewer websites you’ll be competing with when someone searches for that product.

For example, you could use a generic product name like “Creatine Powder,” but that has more than 2 million hits on Google. You want to use a specific name like “Musashi Arouse Pre Workout Creatine Phosphate Blend,” which only has 247,000 hits. Just by using a specific product name, you’ve cut out more than 1.7 million competing pages.

An added benefit is that visitors who search for specific keywords (like those you’ve included in your now excellent product name) are much more likely to buy than those who search for generic terms. Now that you’ve got a great product name, make sure you’re putting it in your product page URL, heading and breadcrumb. If you’re on Bigcommerce, we do this for you automatically (because we love you).

Product Description

Learning to write a killer product description is key to increasing your sales. Again, you’re providing customers with the information they need to make a buying decision, but you’re also getting your products in front of more customers. Because Google loves unique product descriptions with lots of quality content, investing a little time in really fleshing out your descriptions will dramatically increase your e-commerce SEO and get your products in front of a lot more potential buyers. Here’s a good example: See all that great content? That’s what you’re going for. Don’t just throw out the basics of a product and call it a day. Really think like a consumer — identify the things that would help you buy the product, then pack your descriptions with that useful information. For key features, use a bulleted list to call attention to the biggest selling points. Like this: Just look at all those beautiful details! That’s the kind of content that jumps you up to the top of search engine results. Plus, if you’re a consumer, it offers you a complete picture of the product, giving you everything you need to make an informed purchase. Pepper your features with details that show how the product stands out against similar offerings. For clothes: is it vintage or hard to find? For art: is the artist well known? For home décor: is it a certain style like mid-century modern? These kind of details can help a shopper decide to buy from your store instead of somewhere else. Your work will pay off big, as you can see here: By writing detailed product pages, our example company has four of the top five search results. That’s a fantastic return on investment that any business would be happy to have.

Images

Because online shopping is such a visual experience, it’s important to provide your customers with big, beautiful images that really show off your products. A study of online consumers found that ⅓ of their time shopping is spent looking at images, and 67% of consumers interviewed rated image quality as “very important” when deciding to purchase. In the example above, not only does the page feature professionally shot, good-looking photos, but there are a ton of them. The pictures really show off the design and all the features of the bike. It’s also important to use big images so shoppers can zoom. Here’s how our favorite bike site handles it: What a delightfully HUGE PHOTO! If you have access to large photos like that, definitely use them. It allows your customer to feel almost like they’re shopping in person. It’s best to have professional photos whenever possible, but if you have to take your own photos, a few general tips are to make sure you have good lighting, use simple backgrounds to make the product stand out, and keep your angles and aspect ratios consistent across all your photos.

You can find more detailed advice on camera gear, shooting tips and even instructions to build a lightbox for professional results here:

Reviews

Product reviews build trust, and that trust increases conversion. It’s been shown that more than 80% of consumers consult reviews when making a purchase, and adding them to your site can help lift sales by as much as 18%. If you’re a Bigcommerce client (and in my opinion, you really should be), you have the advantage of having product reviews built right in, so you don’t have to deal with extra costs or add-ons. Good for you!

Videos

Videos are another fantastic way to show off your products and make your shoppers feel like they’re getting an in-person demo. Even better, videos will drive more people to your pages thanks to better search results, then help convert them once they’re there.

How do we know? We have facts!

  • A video makes it 53 times more likely that you’ll get a front-page Google result
  • Videos have a 41% higher clickthrough rate in search results than plain text
  • Consumers are 64-85% more likely to purchase after watching a video

So adding videos to your product pages can help you in every aspect of the online sales cycle. Product videos engage your users more, meaning they’ll spend more time on your site (increased page stickiness).

Great. So videos are a major benefit to your store, but how do you get your hands on them? If you have product demos from the product manufacturer, that’s better than nothing. But the best solution is to make them yourself. Not only do you get to fully control the content of your video, but it’s better for your search results if you’re putting out unique content rather than just adding something everyone else has.

Our awesome client YETI Coolers did an excellent job with their product video:

I love this video because it highlights the main selling points of their coolers, really showcasing how strong and durable they are, plus shows all the cool features that set them apart.

If you’re not a professional videographer (few are), it may seem a little intimidating to shoot your own product videos. But thanks to the glut of cheap cameras and easy-to-use editing software on the market, it’s actually pretty easy. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start with a script: Know what you’re going to say so you aren’t tripping over your own words. You don’t have to stick to the script exactly, but just have some talking points to help keep you on track. Make sure they include the key differentiators of the product.
  • Keep it short: In studies, some of the best performing videos are 30 seconds or less in length. And going over three minutes means performance plummets. Just keep in mind that attention spans online are even shorter than normal.
  • Show and tell: Take full advantage of the medium by showing the product in action, not just standing beside it and listing the features. When you mention a feature, show how it works.
  • Act natural: Not everyone is comfortable on camera, but you want to appear as natural as possible to set the right tone. Think of it as having a conversation with your customers, just like you would if you were showing them a product in person.

When it comes to actually shooting and editing, Vimeo has a fantastic Video 101 series that will help you with everything from camera selection to shot composition to putting together the final product.

You can see that transforming your product pages into selling machines isn’t difficult, it just takes a small investment of your time. And that investment will definitely be well rewarded. So don’t wait another minute — start optimizing your product pages today.

In future installments of this series, we’ll tackle how to write titles and tags for great SEO results, how to increase the credibility of your site, how to properly market your site, and more. Have any other topics you’d like us to take on? Just let us know!

Leave a Comment
  • Daniel Brady

    “A video makes it 53 times more likely that you’ll get a front-page Google result”

    Care to explain?

  • I will immediately snatch your rss feed as I can not in finding your
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  • Andy

    Thank you David, Your blog is very helpful.

  • Good to see video on the list here. Customer’s are able to understand the fuller picture when viewing a video, something which isn’t possible from a photograph alone.
    Some of our clients at Treepodia have witnessed up to an 88% increase in conversion rates since making the switch from images to video. Video should be on every marketing strategy this year, without it business of all sizes are seriously going to miss out.

  • David Callaway

    Rafal,

    Our CEO Eddie took a quick look at your site and had a few more questions/suggestions:
    1. Do you have Google Analytics installed? Can you tell us how much traffic you’re seeing and your conversion rate?
    2. Do you have a Pinterest account that’s active with all your products? Doing that and following a lot of people on Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic.
    3. Try adding live chat or qallaroo to the site, which will enable you to connect live with people to learn more about why they aren’t buying and what you should be trying.
    4. Do you have any abandoned orders? If so it may be a sign of something broken or not working in checkout. You can try emailing shoppers who have abandoned carts to ask why they didn’t buy.
    5. Have you added Google Webmaster Tools? They’ll help you gauge your SEO rankings and any issues with the site.

  • David Callaway

    Hi Cathy,
    Thanks for the question. I would say the one thing that jumps out at me about your site that could be causing low conversion from high traffic is requiring users to sign in to view anything. Any time you place barriers between shoppers and buying, you’re going to see a dropoff. I would suggest opening up your site, or at least allowing visitors to look at products without logging in, even if you still require them to log in to buy. That way you can add product videos and people will actually be able to see them and be enticed to buy. If you absolutely can’t open your product pages up due to a business reason, I would at least link people to Sign Up or Sign In from the message displayed on the product page. As is, I would see that message then have to hunt for the “SIGN IN OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT” link in your top nav.

    Since you have a new site, have you had a chance to meet with our Success Squad yet? They can take a look at your store and marketing and make suggestions. http://www.bigcommerce.com/features/support/success-squad/

  • David Callaway

    Hi Rafal,

    Thanks for reading! Right off the bat, I see a few things you can do.
    1) I see you mention easy returns and fast shipping in your footer. As I said in the article, those are major pain points you should address prominently. I would move them up into your header.
    2) I would flesh out your About Us page: really put a human face on it with a picture or two, plus short stories of your travels, the artisans you work with, etc. I’d also include a link to the About Us page in your top nav.
    3) While you have a lot of product images on your homepage, it’s based around categories rather than individual products. If I want to see a product from the homepage I have to make at least two clicks. Feature some products to draw interest and move the category listings further down or off the homepage completely. I think the carousel builder in of our new design templates might do a good job of really highlighting your products in a modern, professional design. It will also let you feature promotions. You can read more about that here: http://www.bigcommerce.com/ecommerce-blog/new-design-theme-classic-white/
    4) Add videos to your product pages to increase traffic and conversion
    5) You might consider adjusting your tagline to tell exactly what you sell. Something like “Buy unique, handmade crafts from around the world”
    6) Increase your social media presence and write content about your products and where they come from. Unique content is a great way to increase traffic to your site.

    Those are just a few things to try. I also highly recommend that you meet with our Success Squad if you haven’t yet. They’re e-commerce experts who can look at your store layout and marketing and suggest improvements. http://www.bigcommerce.com/features/support/success-squad/

  • Hi David,
    Our site is new and I would love to add video to my pages. As you can see we sell quite a few products so I need help on how I would do this. We have traffic but not enough interest. Unfortunately we can only sell to private people so if you have any ideas on that it would be great.
    Thanks so much.

  • Hi David, Great article thank you.
    Do you have any idea how to improve my store: http://www.uniquepedia.com/
    The store looks ok in my opinion but still have a big bounce rate and almost no sales…
    Thanks, for any advice.

  • David Callaway

    In that example, it’s actually the full-size image that is accessed by clicking on the thumbnail below, which brings up the image viewer. When I click on an image in your store and launch the viewer, your images look nice and big to me.

  • Hi Dave,
    Think I missed your response when it was posted. So, the bike in the post above is very large and looks great. Is this the actual product image size, thumbnail size?
    Thanks,
    Lorraine

  • Hi Dave,
    I agree with you that the larger the image the better, however, I can’t seem to have my photos look as large as the one with the bike. I’m using the “classic” template but my photos do not show so large? Is there some set up on the page I’m missing?
    Lorraine

  • David,

    I got more out of this article in 10 minutes than from my highly paid Web Developer over the last three months. Thankyou and well done.

  • Great Article, David! Thanks so much.

  • David Callaway

    Looks like they used some custom code for that effect. Unfortunately not my area of expertise, although I wish I knew more about it!

  • David Callaway

    Good point. Most of our clients choose YouTube for product videos.

  • David Callaway

    Hi Lori, 1280 x 1280 is the max size for the zoomed image.

  • David Callaway

    Hi Lorraine, This article from our Knowledgebase might help: https://support.bigcommerce.com/questions/944/How+do+I+change+the+product+image+size%3F

  • David Callaway

    Sorry for the delayed reply! Good question. I definitely recommend using it as part of the product name. If you’re talking about how you have “Brand:” on your page, I actually like the way you link that to a brand category page, so I don’t think it’s bad to keep it on their with your site structure.

  • This is great info. On the product images, is there a limited size for the larger image?

    Thanks,
    Lori

  • I definitely need to jump on the video band wagon – thanks for the tips!

  • very good article.thanks for sharing

  • Hi David Callaway,

    Great checklist, I liked it. and I would like to add two more points as following;

    1) Render pages as speedy as possible this will help in reducing bounce rate
    2) Serve clear header and design, this will again help you reduce bounce rate and lead visitor to appropriate page

    Thanks,
    Coreway Solution
    Ecommerce Solution Provider
    http://www.corewaysolution.com/ecommerce-shopping-cart-development-india.html

  • Nice article. I’ll be sure to include the reviews section again on my Bigcommerce website as soon as they fix the SPAM problem!!

  • David, it looks like you’re advocating using the brand name as part of the product name?

    We presently use a mixture:
    http://www.bagsinmotion.com.au/yepp-maxi-easyfit-rear-child-seat/ includes the brand name in the product name
    http://www.bagsinmotion.com.au/pasja-50cm-system-elba-rear-basket/ doesn’t

    If we do include the brand name in the product name then I guess we shouldn’t also display the brand on the individual product pages?

    Thanks for the article.
    Richard

  • Hi Gang-

    Now this is my kind of blog post :) Too many posts hit the “here’s the issue” but leave you hanging without “what to do about it” or even better an example of what to do.

    The “facts” section or bullets of your post are great – just 2 things i wanted to comment on:

    1- FREE SHIPPING – this one has almost expired for the year – but Google trends show how many people are searching for their items WITH this as an added search term (http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=free%20shipping). If you aren’t adding this as a conversion tactic from Oct to Jan1 – you are hurting your opportunity for increased conversions

    2- VIDEO – while video DOES convert better it is worth mentioning that the more relevant the video is to the product or service on the landing page the better it converts. Too many companies are using a general “About Us” video or they use their TV Commercial as their on-page video. BIG MISTAKE! If you push a video (or any message at a potential customer that that customer has NOT requested then video will FAIL as a tactic in increasing conversions and by extension – your revenue will be affected.

    Keep up the good work and if you ever want any guest blogging – let me know.

    Dustin Sparks
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/dustinsparks

  • Great advices.
    I’ll follow your advices to increase my sale. :)

  • This is a great post. Just had a question though, regarding images..what are the sizes of the images and how do you know your images will be posted that large? Are there settings someplace for this? Thanks.

  • Jane

    You can only use Vimeo for business or commercial purposes with the purchase of a Vimeo PRO account. Are their alternatives to Vimeo that you can suggest?

  • Jane

    Some really interesting info, I’m going to enjoy this series David! In the bike store example of the product description, how would the blue colour band behind the headings have been set up? Is that in the theme, an image, or have you got some magic for me please.
    Big Commerce rocks!

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