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The features every great product page should have

Written by Nicole Kohler on January 21, 2016 Blog, Managing products, Start your store.

Whether or not an online store is successful depends on dozens, if not hundreds of individual factors. Success requires that magic mixture of quality products, smart timing, effective calls to action, prominence in search engines, and so on and so forth.

One of the many factors — or, more accurately, one spot that collects many of these factors — is the product page. These pages can literally make or break an online store. If they’re great, they can boost your sales; if they’re subpar, well… you can guess the rest.

Detailed, convincing, and entertaining product pages are necessary if you want your online store to thrive. But making these pages requires much more than a few photos and a line or two of text.

Today, we’ll explain what all these necessary factors are, with some choice examples from WooCommerce shops. We’ll also offer you a checklist to help you get them all in place on your own site, time and time again.

Ready to learn? Let’s jump right in.

Possibly the most important feature: high quality product photography

Every shopper is different. Some will be drawn to visual details, while others will only care about your written descriptions. But even so, if there’s one crucial element to your product pages, it’s the product photography.

Even if some of your shoppers use copywriting or item specifications to make their final decision, product photos are what trigger their gut reactions to either learn more or back away. A poorly photographed product could indicate poor item quality. But high quality photographs say something else entirely.

Ideally, all of your product pages should have:

  • Photographs set on a white, off-white, or neutral background
  • High resolution images available (no tiny images, please!)
  • Images that can be zoomed in on to reveal more detail
  • Multiple photos of the product from each necessary angle (top, bottom, sides…)
  • Photos of details or included items, such as components, accessories, packaging, etc.

For a stellar example of these tips in action, have a look at the JOCO Cups shop. We mentioned in their case study how well their glass coffee cups are visually presented, and it truly bears repeating.

Each one of their cups is perfectly photographed on a white background in crisp, clear detail. Multiple photos are provided as well, allowing you to explore your future cup from every possible angle.

Hello, JOCO.
Hello, JOCO.

A cheerful little detail: the extra photos show closeups and special details that you might otherwise miss, like the grippy nubs on the inside of each cup’s outer cover.

Extra photos provide additional details.
Extra photos provide additional details.

Add additional photos like these as long as they add some kind of value or show details that might be otherwise missed. Keep in mind that large images can slow down your site (due to the file sizes), so multiple views of virtually the same angle can be omitted.

Most shoppers won’t make their purchasing decision based solely on photos, though — thus the need for additional features.

Descriptive, on-brand product copywriting

The next thing you should consider is the copywriting on your product pages. By this we mean the item descriptions written in full sentences, usually at least one paragraph in length.

These product descriptions are crucial for two major reasons:

  1. They give you ample space to insert the keywords and phrases you want to target on search engines, and
  2. They allow customers to get a glimpse into what your brand is about, and how any one product fits into it.

While it’s absolutely true that customers might read your copy to learn more about the product specifically, they’re more likely to skim than read word-for-word. So you should view this component as a bigger opportunity to convey your brand’s style, voice, and keywords rather than your only selling opportunity.

“Where will I sell the product, then?” you ask. Not to worry, we’re getting there. 😉

An example of branding and keywords in action: the copywriting from Hyde Yoga. Here’s the copy for a pair of comfy yoga pants:

Take note of the style, the description, and the note about proceeds.
Take note of the style, the description, and the note about proceeds. And do you spot any keywords?

Now have a look at the copy from a tank top:

Seeing some overlap?
Seeing some overlap?

You should be seeing some similarities between the two pieces of copy here — specifically the consistency in style and tone.

For customers who do rely on copy as that first starting point for information, note that details on each product’s sizing, materials, etc. are sprinkled throughout. There’s effort made to work each piece into the shopper’s life.

For some more tips creating killer product descriptions, have a look at this guide.

Important facts, features, or specifications

Product copy is written for keyword insertion purposes, for enjoyment, and for branding. On the other hand, your product specifications are for purely informational purposes, and are meant to get straight to the point.

Shoppers will be looking for a spot on your product pages where they can find the following, ideally in bullet point form:

  • Full dimensions, including height, weight, depth…
  • If item is to be worn, sizing information (with a linked size chart, if need be — don’t make shoppers hunt for it!)
  • Materials used or included
  • The product’s country of origin
  • Whether or not assembly is required
  • Whether or not additional parts are required (most often batteries)
  • Any warnings, hazards, or disclaimers

It’s best to list this information in short, straightforward bullet points below the product copy so that shoppers can skim it to get all the details they need (or are missing, if they did read the copy) in just a few seconds.

While this seems straightforward enough, there are always some interesting variations to be found, especially on more complex product pages. Thermos Malaysia takes an approach that’s ideal for product variations listed together on one page — good to note for anyone who might be in the same situation.

In this case, one thermos is available in multiple sizes, so the specifications allow shoppers to learn about and compare each size from the same area:

Product specifications listed for multiple sizes on the same page -- easy to read and compare.
Product specifications listed for multiple sizes on the same page — easy to read and compare.

How you list the specifications and item details is really up to you, but the most important thing to remember, of course, is this: they have to be there.

Links to necessary or helpful resources

If you sell anything like complex electronics, furniture requiring assembly, or software with extensive documentation, you likely already know that your shoppers crave information. It’s not uncommon for you to receive emails with questions before a purchase is made.

If you’re in this situation, you can cut down on questions (and perhaps even boost conversions) by adding helpful resources right to the product page. This might mean:

  • Adding downloadable PDFs of manuals, assembly instructions, or guides
  • Linking to separate pages of FAQs, guides, resources, or other documents
  • Providing how-tos, creative ideas, or even links to blog posts where your product is shown in use

This can both assure shoppers that they’re making a good purchase, and help customers who have already purchased from you get the information they need.

Linking to resources is something we do on our own product pages. If you’re viewing a plugin or WooCommerce extension, you’ll notice the links to “docs” or “docs & FAQs” on the top right:

Have questions? Go this way.
Have questions? Go this way.

Clicking this link will then send you in the direction of an entirely separate documentation page where you can find answers to all of your questions, plus links to a changelog, related pages, and some particularly relevant or popular spots in the document itself.

Here's an example from Table Rate Shipping.
Here’s an example from Table Rate Shipping.

Although your products might not require documents as long as ours 🙂 you should think about putting any instructions, guides, manuals, or documents on your store and linking them from the relevant product pages.

Don’t make your shoppers hunt for documents — if they know they can turn to you for help, they might be that much more eager to make a purchase.

Using WooCommerce? You can add downloadable documents with ease by relying on the Product Documents extension.

A list of related or matching products

Selling any items in the same family or set? Or have any products that pair up particularly well? Why not link them together?

Suggesting related, matching, or well-coordinated products can be a huge sale-booster. Shoppers might not know about matching items unless you tell them. If they spot a match while buying one item, they’re likely to check it out.

In the case of Happy Plugs, which allows you to filter products by asking “what color are you today?”…

Pick a color, any color.
Pick a color, any color.

… the related products shown on any given page are those that match — that is, those that are the same color as the item you’re currently looking at.

If you buy a yellow speaker, perhaps you'll also like some yellow earbuds.
If you buy a yellow speaker, perhaps you’ll also like some yellow earbuds.

While setting up related products can take a bit of time, it’s usually a “one and done” scenario that has a ton of benefits. If you have matching or coordinating products, suggest them to your shoppers and watch the sales roll in.

 

 

Last, but not least: the ability to easily look for a different item

Finally, there’s always the possibility that one of your products just won’t work for someone. Nothing personal — maybe it’s just not what they’re looking for.

In that case, make sure it’s convenient for these shoppers to start their search over or browse other parts of your catalog. This means:

  • Making your site search visible and accessible from all product pages
  • Checking for links to your most important categories, landing pages, etc. from your header (or perhaps your footer)
  • Adding breadcrumb links from each product page
  • Considering “sticky” navigation so links to your shop are always in view

Have a look at how Cable Design allows its savvy shoppers to change their minds and exit back to the product category via the breadcrumb link, or use the easily accessible search option up top:

Breadcrumb links, search boxes, and navigation options give your shoppers the ability to say "nah, I'd like to try something else."
Breadcrumb links, search boxes, and navigation options give your shoppers the ability to say “nah, I’d like to try something else.”

Again, it’s nothing personal — but with search and navigation options always in view, you can change a customer’s viewpoint from “this isn’t for me” to “hmm, maybe they have something else I’d like.”

Create high quality product pages with a free checklist

We know this has been a lot to digest. Great product pages have a lot of features and moving parts. Getting them all in place can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re new to eCommerce.

To give you a hand, we’ve condensed all the important points from this post into a reusable, downloadable checklist. You can use this checklist to make sure you’re nailing every aspect every time, from copywriting to specifications to product suggestions.

A little sneak peek, just for you. We bet this checklist will come in handy!
A little sneak peek, just for you. We bet this checklist will come in handy!

Interested? Snag it below for free.

Woo! The checklist is all yours. Download it right here. Lose the PDF? Come back to this post at any time to download it again.

cta-banner-10-product-page-v2_2x

We hope this post has given you some insight into what goes into a high quality product page, and how you can create (or improve) your own. Have any questions for us? Give us a shout below.

cta-banner-10-product-page-v2_2x

6 Responses

  1. Alex Santos
    February 11, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

    I agree on the point that photos are the single most important thing on shopping sites!
    Customers are going to made their buying decision based on what they see.

    It is said that the site of my client http://www.biscottigalletas.com is a trap because of this 🙂

  2. HB Entertainment
    February 18, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    Agreeing with the 1st point Nicole made about having a white background. I am the 1st in my industry to use white background to stand out from my competition.

    The result is a brand that is clean and professional. Interestingly I am a service but can use the points Nicole made about product descriptions. The takeaway I got was to write more personal copywrite so the customer pictures themselves using my service – brilliant.

  3. ELEVEN velo
    February 18, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

    Agree about images, good images make all the difference. A clean page that’s easy to visually navigate with a clear 1st, 2nd and if needed 3rd read is also important – basic design principles.

    Don’t agree with the copy bit though. We did that, had great copy but in our site audit this year decided on a less is more principle. This approach is a battle for SEO (though all our pages get the Yoast green light rating), but in our case our market is ‘educated’ so giving them a sharp to the point sentence or two and then the product features in a clear and simple manner has tuned out to be the best approach.

    It all depends on the target market and what one can expect from them.

    • Nicole Kohler
      February 19, 2016 at 12:00 am #

      “It all depends on the target market and what one can expect from them.”

      THIS is totally true and exactly the point we make in quite a few of our posts. Not everything is going to be a good fit for every store or every audience. 🙂

      So interesting to hear about your change in approach. We’d be curious to hear how that works out for you or if you find any great ways to compensate for the loss of keywords on a page, etc. I can absolutely understand your point about having an audience that doesn’t have the time or patience to read or even skim copy 🙂

      • ELEVEN velo
        February 19, 2016 at 1:37 am #

        We found a few things…

        Selling cycling clothing online, we generally work on the assumption that people know what they want and they have come to us from a recommendation (friend, forum whatever), press review or have bought from us in the past. If they’ve come to us ‘blind’ they want to see what we have in the simplest and quickest form possible – why is what we do good, what are the key features and, most importantly, how much? Everything else, we keep hidden in clear links that they can access as they want/need it.

        The end result, is a ‘presentation’ that keeps the core of what’s on offer front and centre. There is so much marketing fluff these day, that putting more in front of an already saturated visitor is not helping them make the conversion.

        Another factor we had to consider is we sell to a global audience, literally every corner of the globe (ok, nothing to South America). So we have to work on the basis that for a portion of our customers, English is a second language and/or they are using Google translate to help them (stats show translate is being used). Keeping the wordage simple and to the point helps in both these areas.

        As far as how it’s working, we’ve seen no drop other than in customer questions in regards to a feature or technicality that was there in front of them but lost in text. That cuts our time down on emails 🙂

        SEO… we try to make sure we have something in there and ensure the images, page slug, etc. etc. are on mark for best practice. The one thing we did find over time is if you try to abide by strict SEO theory, your text comes out reading totally cheesy and as it is was written for a 4 year old.

        Ultimately, to us it’s become about presenting what is a complex product (and concept) in the simplest, cleanest way possible; so when a visitor hits a page, there is as little as possible to cause any doubt or confusion.

        • Nicole Kohler
          February 19, 2016 at 3:57 am #

          These are some truly fantastic insights. It’d be wonderful if we could find a way to share some of these industry-specific tips and learnings from your store with our readers, maybe in a future post or even a case study 🙂 Just throwing that out there!

          Thanks so much for sharing with us, this was really a treat.

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