There’s no shying away from the internet now. Consumers are empowered by the web — so much so that research firm Forrester expects U.S. online retail sales to top $500 billion by 2020, up from $373 billion in 2016. A vibrant online presence will become increasingly important to the success of retail businesses.
Converting eyes on the web to revenue on the bottom line requires a coordinated strategy, and it all starts with the product page. It’s where a consumer finds and learns about the product. It’s where decisions are made. It’s the bedrock of e-commerce. Product pages that are optimized for both search engines and customers are those that will return the best results.
Here are four steps to build a better product page:
1. Know the characteristics of a good product description. A product page may be the foundation of a retailer’s e-commerce platform, but product data is the thread that binds the product page together.
It begins with creating full and compelling descriptions of products. The more robust the content, the higher e-commerce success rates will be. Take it from Google’s support page: “If users are leaving after viewing product details and not adding items to their carts, it might indicate that the product descriptions are not compelling enough or don’t provide the right balance of information.”
It’s also important to think about how consumers are searching for products. Some people shop for a tape measure with a “steel blade,” where others look for a “metal tape.” Both shoppers want the same thing, they’re just expressing it in a different way. This is why it’s important to use synonyms in product data.
To that same point, remember that while a brand’s name is essential in a title (many people search for specific brands), brand jargon does little to improve a product page. Use common, simple language in product descriptions that clearly explains what a product is, what it does, what it looks like and why it matters for consumers. If a suitcase’s color is labeled as “crimson,” consumers looking for “red suitcases” may miss exactly what they’re looking for. (If you prefer to use “crimson,” be sure that the synonym “red” is also in your product description.)
2. Make sure pages are comprehensive. A good product description is only the start. Building a better product page also means uploading a complete suite of product content that will give consumers all the information they need to make a purchase. The most effective product pages include the following:
- accurate, up-to-date product specifications (e.g., dimensions, compatibility with other products, etc.);
- several high-quality, high-resolution product images;
- user reviews;
- prominent delivery/return information; and
- a well-placed call to action that makes the next step of the purchasing process intuitive for shoppers.
For an extra touch, product pages can also be enhanced by including videos of the product and any user manuals that consumers may need.
3. Build a good data harvesting process. Retailers often rely on brands and manufacturers to get the data they need to build strong product pages. Centralizing the management and collection of data makes this harvesting process efficient. Empowering one person or department in a retail organization to collect information from suppliers and key internal sources — e.g., marketing and logistics teams — helps to move data seamlessly from supplier to retailer to product page.
4. Harness the power of technology. Manufacturers continually change their products, so if data isn’t automatically updated onto product pages, retailers run the risk of distributing false information to buyers, which leads to unhappy customers, product returns and lost revenue. Still, constantly changing information in spreadsheets is cumbersome and tedious.
Using technology that automatically synchronizes data across the entire supply chain before it gets to the product page makes life easier and more efficient for retailers. More time can be spent curating content — not collecting it — meaning product pages are always primed and ready for the next online sale.
Ben Velker is the senior vice president of marketing at Edgenet, a SaaS company that provides industry-leading retailers, distributors, websites and suppliers with the ability to manage and improve their product content.