In today’s omnichannel retail landscape, the influence of ecommerce is rising, and the home improvement industry is no exception. As consumers take to the internet to do more of their shopping, browsing, comparing and purchasing, there’s a growing disparity between products that show up well and those that don’t. We’re talking, of course, about retailer product pages. While they may appear formulaic, product pages are full of opportunities. By optimizing your online experience and taking full advantage of retailer product pages, you can create a branded storefront, landing page, customer service portal and retailer Like button.
If you have a product for sale at HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Walmart.com, Amazon.com or another major ecommerce retailer, you know that these sites provide access to millions of shoppers. Consider that each month, homedepot.com receives over 200 million visitors. Lowes.com averages between 100 and 160 million visitors a month. These are massive numbers. In fact, given the scale of traffic on these platforms, we ought not to think of them as retailers but as industry-specific search engines.
Like any search engine, retailer ecommerce sites present us with plenty of structure, rules and limitations. These include formulaic page layouts, limited character text fields and static product copy. The good news is that product pages can be optimized. Simply by embracing the boundaries and thinking creatively within them, your product page can become more dynamic, user-friendly and prominent.
To make the most of your product page, we recommend that you focus on three key areas: imagery, content and consumer experience.
Product Imagery Inspires Shoppers
If you can invest in only one thing, let it be photography. It’s not news to anyone that we are living in a very visual world. Shopper attention is limited and precious. As such, your product pitch hinges on your feature image. This is the image that appears in the retailer’s search results. It’s also the hero on your product page. Think of the feature image as your product’s first impression. Then, ask yourself if it deserves a click. Is the image legible as a thumbnail? Does the image quality match the product price point? How does it stack up against a page full of similar products?
Only after you’ve optimized your feature image should you move onto your product gallery. Most retailers have set limits for this gallery, allowing 12-15 assets including videos. Again, this gallery is valuable real estate to be used strategically. Imagery and video should work together to convey a compelling story about your product. To find out how we approach ecommerce imagery, check out this recent article. The point, however, is that consumers rely on imagery to spark a connection with a product. Once a spark has been ignited, you need convincing content to keep it lit.
Product Content Creates Conviction
Product pages appear stuffed with content, though only a portion of it is provided by the product owner. This includes salient bullets, the product overview and specifications. With each of these items, the key is to be concise and convincing. Most salient bullets have character counts which limit how much information can be displayed. So, it’s absolutely critical to craft these points with care. Skip the category table stakes and focus on your product’s most distinguishing characteristics. By the time a consumer has reached your product page, they most likely know the standard offering. They saw your product and clicked on it. Your salient bullets are there to confirm that click, to assure them that their instinct was right. You have what they need and more. Is your product backed by a lifetime warranty? What are its most competitive features? Is it rustproof, waterproof, shatterproof or otherwise advanced? Is your product environmentally friendly? Does your product carry some third-party or other industry rating that validates its positioning? It’s important to look at what the competition includes in their bullets, then create a version that is not only better but also distinct.
Depending on the retailer, your product overview may or may not be limited to text. Whenever possible, take full advantage of your content to validate your product positioning while also limiting content in order to make the consumer’s job easy. While it’s tempting to copy over language from sales brochures, you will benefit from getting to the point more quickly online. Lean on grammatically correct, consistently structured, bulleted statements rather than long-form content to communicate features and benefits, quality and competitive positioning. After all, shopping and reading are two very different activities.
Wherever branded graphics are allowed, we recommend including these to give your page more dynamic content. Take a look at this example which uses images and graphics to communicate the product differentiation, benefits and ease of installation. Notice as well the use of capitalization in the bulleted text to help reinforce the messaging. When these elements work together, the product page provides a more branded experience despite the structured layout.
Consumer Experience Boosts Product Performance
Perhaps the most under-optimized and most persuasive piece of the product page is the consumer experience section, which includes Questions and Answers, and Ratings and Reviews. These sections provide key opportunities for growth.
First of all, consumer feedback highlights areas of weakness in your imagery and content. By paying close attention to the concerns and questions of shoppers, you can continually refine and improve your product page. Are users expressing confusion or disappointment? If so, it might indicate that your content needs better imagery, more targeted messaging or additional clarity. Are users expressing satisfaction, surprise or delight at some aspect of your product? Perhaps there’s an opportunity to enhance or add this feature to your benefits language.
In addition to listening, this is your chance to provide loyalty-driving customer service. The ability to answer questions and respond to reviews is a tremendous opportunity. Remember to establish your professional position when engaging with consumers. Make sure that the account you use to respond includes the company name within the user name.
Lastly, consumer feedback is a valuable tool for tightening your positioning. Think of it as free research. By paying attention to the reviews and consumer questions, you can learn a lot about the actual user experience. Consumer feedback shows up in patterns. For instance, your product may consistently generate questions and reviews related to instructions, installation, quality or compatibility. By paying attention to this feedback and addressing it, whether through customer service or product page enhancements, you are adding security to your position in the category.
Have You Checked in with Your Product Page Lately?
Ultimately, the goal of all these efforts is to provide a positive shopper experience and improve sales. It starts by presenting a consumer-friendly experience through images and targeted content. But product pages are not a “set it and forget it” service. They contain valuable insights and should be tended to regularly. In doing so, you have great opportunities to hone your product assets and content, reduce returns, learn from and connect with consumers, increase sales and ratings, and validate your positioning with merchants.