An ecommerce business lives and dies by the quality of its product pages. No product can overcome a poorly laid-out page, and it's critical to put the same amount of time into product pages that you do into curating the products themselves.

The makeup of a product page differs from store to store. However, there are some elements of a product page that are necessary no matter what a store sells or how it positions its brand:

Images

Ecommerce store owners know that if shoppers can't see the merchandise for sale, they won't buy it. Images are de rigueur as far as product pages are concerned. The importance of functional photography is paramount when it comes to these pages. Images should display the item from multiple angles in a neutral setting, preferably with a white backdrop. Store owners can certainly include more conceptual imagery, such as lifestyle photos and pictures of the product in a setting where it is in use. However, these have to be viewed as secondary to the clean, digestible and simple product photos that a potential customer first encounters when visiting a product page. All photos need to be sized appropriately and corrected in terms of color and balance as well.

Video

Videos are newer to ecommerce product pages but are no less important. The infrastructure required to create these functional, item-focused videos is somewhat more complex than that of photos, but store owners with a simple lighting setup, a neutral backdrop and a smartphone or tablet with a video camera are able to make them. Product videos focus on the functional aspects of merchandise that can't be displayed in still images, giving shoppers a more complete view of a product. For stores selling products with complicated moving parts or other functionality in need of explanation, a how-to video or written guide is needed. Store owners can provide these videos and related information on product pages as well as on a dedicated FAQ page.

Product descriptions

The description of the item for sale is, in concert with photos and video, the best chance a store owner has to make a sale and convert a visitor into a buyer. Pictures tell customers about products in ways that words can't, but the description is absolutely necessary to provide as much information as is possible. There are plenty of attributes that are hard to convey through pictures and video, ranging from thread counts and type of material used in bedding and clothing to the internal specifications and capabilities of electronics. Providing a wide range of product info in a concise, easy-to-read format increases the potential for making sales and satisfying customers.

One effective, straightforward approach to creating product descriptions is the journalist's approach. Reporters typically answer six questions - who, what, where, when, why and how - when they write a story, ideally providing basic answers in the first paragraph of a written story or verbal report. Ecommerce store owners can use a very similar approach to make sure they're providing all the necessary product information. The formatting of this content can vary from store to store, and even between different types of products. Written words are obviously powerful, but some information, especially technical details, are better listed in a tabular or similar format. Using a paragraph or two to bracket tabular or bullet points of technical information is a popular approach to mixing this kind of information.

Product reviews

The reviews of your merchandise that customers provide are powerful ecommerce marketing tools and need to be given a significant amount of space on product pages. Reviews complement the product details written by a store owner and provide a different perspective on how a product looks, feels and functions. In fact, many different marketing studies have proven the effectiveness of placing reviews on product pages. The inclusion of reviews has to be planned from the start, but they obviously can't be used until they're provided by shoppers. Ecommerce store owners need to encourage product reviews early on so that they can use these powerful tools in marketing and sales efforts. The case is much the same with reviews from publications and bloggers; these need to be sought out and encouraged to gain the most benefit.

Product names

Names are the shortest item on the list of necessities for a product page, but they are important nonetheless. Uninspired or dull names for the merchandise a store sells does little to encourage shoppers. Product names should be descriptive and unique, as a way of drawing customers to your store through searches. BigCommerce automatically includes product names in the URLs, headings and other important areas of the product page to drive the site's placement in search engine results.

Design and layout

The overall appearance of a product page doesn't have to be too involved. The focus has to be the clear display of the product itself and not the Web design or layout skills of a store owner. With that in mind, a few elements of design are necessary to make a page visually interesting. Color usage is important in background elements, and should follow along with the design guidelines used throughout the rest of the store. The logo or word mark should be visible but shouldn't take away from the prime image and focus of the page: the product description and the hero image. There are plenty of standard product page templates available that take the guesswork out of page design and let store owners focus on getting them live.

Update and improve

A final area to consider when it comes to product descriptions is updating and enhancing them. One advantage of running an ecommerce store is that there is far less printed or otherwise fixed information in this setting. Product descriptions, photos, videos and even the layout of a page can all be changed and improved with relative ease. Ecommerce store owners have to draw on the conversations and interactions they have with customers to provide the information and answers that aren't currently available on product pages.

If store owners see a question asked often about a specific product - as opposed to a store policy or other, broader concept - it has to be a sign that the information requested is missing from the product page. A quick addition to that page will cut down on repetitive inquiries from shoppers and allow ecommerce store owners to spend additional time on more proactive tasks. This concept of updating and enhancing extends to new photographs - whether product or brand and lifestyle photos - and videos as well. The length of product pages has to be kept in mind, but many store layouts allow for photos and videos to take up little, if any, space before a customer makes a decision to click and see more.

On a more basic level, ecommerce stores also have to update their product pages when they make major changes to their brand and visual collateral, such as a shift in major colors used or a new logotype.

Good product page management means more conversions

Product pages are a major touch point for customers and often present the best chance of making a sale. Once a shopper has reached a product page, store owners have to provide the right kind of information, from descriptions to reviews and photos, to maximize their chance of a conversion.


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