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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.
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).
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.
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:
- WikiHow — How to Take Better Product Photographs
- PC World — How to Take Great Product Photos for Your Online Store
- Mumau Web Marketing — Tips for Taking Product Photos (video)
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 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!
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