Because you know you like lists … (and because we want to make sure you give your visitors a great customer experience). Remember, these are just guidelines; they won’t always be appropriate, or practical, to implement.
And remember to think about how best to implement them on mobile devices as well as PCs, otherwise you may be losing out on 10% of your online market.
1. Product name
Use a short but descriptive product name that contains the most important information (e.g. “24 carat gold ring” not just “gold ring” which could mean “gold coloured ring”).
All product names should be different and ideally contain differences beyond a SKU or product number.
Think about the order of the information and the way people will read it. So for instance instead of “Acme ZXS1234 FM-Radio Ear Defenders with MP3-connection” you might want to have “Acme Ear Defenders: FM-Radio and MP3-connection” (brand, product type, product differentiators). Put the product reference number (which will sometime be important) at the end, in smaller text.
Make sure this is towards the top of the page and very easy to see – don’t make people search for it. Increasingly people are getting used to seeing it to the right of the product name, at the top of a page.
You don’t want to give people nasty surprises so include the cost of VAT upfront (it can be useful with B2B categories to give both including and excluding VAT costs). Any other extras like delivery should also be signalled as early as possible.
3. “Add to basket” button
Don’t be shy – locate this near the top of the page (if you are interested in the details, then above the 768 px depth level) so as many people as possible can see it. Next to or underneath the price is a good place.
Consider having two buttons – one at the top of the page by the price and one at the bottom of the page after any product descriptions.
Make the button look like a clickable button (i.e. give it a 3-d effect). Don’t use a graphic though: there is plenty of choice within HTML and you don’t want an “Add to basket” graphic failing to load for some reason.
4. Product pictures
Nothing sells better than good quality images, ideally with a zoom in feature; for a lot of products the ability to rotate in 3-d is helpful as well although of course this does add to production costs.
Ideally provide several images (although this won’t be necessary for all your products). With sets (e.g. table and chairs), provide a separate image for the set as a whole and for each individual item.
Product videos can work very well too – and if you have a product that isn’t video friendly (like a book or a hammer) you can always have someone demonstrating it or talking about it.
5. Product descriptions
The more expensive/profitable the product the more time you should take in crafting short, succinct, easy to understand descriptions.
Keep descriptions short and use bullet points where appropriate (e.g. if you have lists) rather than long sentences.
Demonstrate benefits (rather than features – “sell the sizzle, not the sausage”); some benefits are more important than others so focus on half a dozen of the best; you can separate these from the more detailed product feature descriptions.
6. Ensure rapid page loading
Ensure that your pages load quickly and slickly. If they take more than a couple of seconds on average you will start to lose sales rapidly. If you have to make a choice between more pictures (or bigger files) and page load speed then prioritise page load speed.
Words like FREE really sell; so does demonstrating any savings the buyer might be making. So demonstrate any cost benefits such as discounts, free delivery, loyalty points etc.
Free returns can be a big draw as well as they take the risk out of purchasing something.
Supplement the price with an indication of how many items you have in stock.
If product is out of stock the button should ideally be replaced with an “out of stock” message.
Allow people to select the number they want; use “1” as a default (unless that is inappropriate); place the quantity button near the “Add to basket” buttons.
Having a “Remove this item” option underneath quantity can add reassurance that the item won’t accidentally be added to a shopping basket.
10. Product options
Rather than having separate screens for different product options (e.g. colour, size), include product options on the product page.
Where it is relevant, e.g. with colour, provide illustrations of these options if possible.
Getting the dimensions right can be really important for certain items. Weight for things you carry around like cameras; depth for kitchen equipment; height for lamps. So when it is important, don’t hide this information under a “product details” tab.
And include the size of the package it will come in (so people know if it will go through the door/letterbox).
12. Delivery time
Online retail isn’t just about cost. Convenience is important too. So do tell people if they are able to choose delivery time and dates (don’t leave it to the checkout process).
Indicate earliest possible delivery time e.g. “Available for delivery tomorrow by 9am with our Super Delivery option” to enhance the excitement of making a purchase.
13. Tell people they can buy!
It’s a good idea to remind people that they are in a shop and can buy things! So don’t just say “available in six colours”; say “you can buy this in six colours”.
14. Easy contact details
Sometimes people will be uncertain about whether to make a purchase without advice from a human. This is especially true for certain products like insurance, holidays and consumer electronics. So give them a visible telephone number; live chat can be helpful too (and takes the strain off the call centre).
15. Alternative products
Give people a choice. They may not be 100% happy with the product they are looking at so offering advice along the lines of “people who bought this also bought this” and/or “similar products you may be interested in” can work really well.
16. Search and navigation
People will have navigated to your product page in various ways, and they may have ended up in the wrong place. So include a site search box at the top of the page; a very clear breadcrumb trail will also help people find their way to where they would prefer to be.
17. Customer reviews
Customer reviews (positive ones at least) really help to add desirability to a product. Including negative reviews will add credibility to your positive reviews overall. But o take some time to solicit reviews – in “thank you for buying” emails for instance.
18. Add to wish list
An “Add to wish list” option is important for any retailer selling products that may be bought as gifts or personal treats; this button or link should be less prominent than the “Add to basket” button though.
19. Social media links
It won’t do any harm, and may actually do some good, to provide “share” links to Twitter, Facebook etc. Note that this isn’t the same as asking visitors to “Follow” you on Twitter or Facebook.
20. Visual hierarchy
Make sure that the visual layout of your product page leads people easily to the Buy button.