Retail E-Commerce Usability Part 5: The Product PageOctober 17th, 2011
For this next installment on retail e-commerce usability, we will focus on the product page. Product pages are virtual descriptions designed to sell an item to a consumer. Since the potential buyer is unable to get their hands on the actual product, it is extremely important to relay as much accurate information as possible on the product page. What colors are available? What are the dimensions? What does the back look like? What are the shipping costs? These types of descriptive questions should be answered on the product page.
But that’s not all. Virtual shopping also entails virtual, “Do you think this will look good on me?,” “What about this one?,” and “Should we get this for Mom’s birthday?” types of questions. These questions are solved through various social tools on the product page that are becoming a standard for retail e-commerce.
This overview on e-commerce usability for the product page will cover the basics and then some. Keep in mind that your target audience and the type of product you are selling effects what the ideal set-up of the product page looks like. For example, luxury websites should not highlight the price in orange or boldly advertise savings deals, but discount sites should. For more information about product page usability specific to your company, feel free to contact us.
Product Page Information and Organization
1. What’s for sale?
To make your product pages easy to digest, it is important to organize the page so that the most important information is easy to find and logically laid out alongside the image of the product for sale. What information do your customers want to see? This partially depends on the type of product for sale, however, there are a few basic details that should also be included on the product page.
- Name of Product – The name of the product should be the title of the page, this not only allows the customer to confirm what they are looking at, but it also allows for easy bookmarking. *It is also extremely helpful to include breadcrumbs at the top of the product page so customers know how they navigated to the specific item they are looking at.
- Price – Customers should never have to search for the price of a product, nor should they ever have a doubt as to which price they will be paying for the product. The most common place for the price is directly beneath the name of the product.
- Product Images – High quality, hi-resolution (300dpi+) images of the product from various angles (front, back, top, bottom, inside, etc.)help the customers feel confident about what the product will look like once they’ve received it. If there are any small details on the product, there should be close-up images or zoom-in capabilities, so the customer is not surprised later.
- Product Description – Descriptions will vary depending on the type of goods, but they should always be thorough and include the basic information about contents, size, weight, place of manufacture, etc. Depending on the type of item there is bound to be more specifications about what’s included in the purchase, available sizes, optional colors, etc.
- Stock Availability – Be up front about available stock to ensure customer satisfaction with the website. Waiting until checkout to tell customers that their desired product won’t be shipping for a few more months usually results in an upset customer who now knows that your site is not frequently updated.
2. Building Trust
Shopping online can be risky, and customers know that things are not always as they appear. How can your website build trust? Online customer reviews can do wonders for online sales, in an earlier report, we teamed up with Relevant View to discover that “in general, 63% of users indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has ratings and reviews. If executed properly, ratings and reviews can boost the confidence in making purchases as well as foster a trusted relationship with site visitors” (Source)
- Customer Reviews = Social Proof - Customers tend to trust other customers and the online shopping world proves that customers are at least interested in what others have to say about a product. Star ratings speak volumes to consumers with just one look, often answering their thoughts, “Is this product really as great as it seems?” “Is this product worth buying?”
- Seeing Stars – Whether you use stars or some other rating system, it should be easy to understand and clearly displayed somewhere within the product description. By providing a place for customer feedback, there is a sense of transparency and openness to the customers that can make the shopping experience more comforting. Not only will the ratings help other customers, but they will provide insights as to what products the customers enjoy or prefer over others.
3. Spread the Word!
Share Options – Give customers the opportunity to share product directly from your e-commerce site with an email share option (at the very least). Depending on what merchandise you are selling and who your audience is, additional sharing options may also be beneficial, such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc.
Required Information – Don’t make the customers jump through hoops to share a product, this feature should be simple and quick! The best “Tell a Friend” email feature will include : sender’s name and email, recipient name and email, optional personalized subject line, optional personalized message, ability to email multiple recipients, ability to share multiple products in one email.
A few more examples…
4. Before the Checkout…
What if the customer needs help? – Customer service numbers and emails, live chats, etc. should be readily available for the shopper in case they have any questions about purchasing a product online. Instead of putting these on a separate “Contact Us” page it is a best practice to keep them on the main frame of the website or include them within the product description area to make it easy for the shopper.
Don’t leave S&H to the end – Advertise special offers on shipping & handling on the main frame of the website or the product page. If there are no special offers, provide a link on the product page that will at least estimate shipping costs for the customers when they enter in their zip code.
If you are interested in finding out more about how to improve retail e-commerce usability for your company, please contact us. In this blog series we are only covering the basics of retail e-commerce, shall we say, the tip of the iceberg.