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The Product Detail Page: Bringing It Back To Basics For Conversion Optimization

The product detail page can make or break a sale. Not unlike a human pinball, today’s consumer has bounced between many touchpoints, both online and offline, to reach this crucial destination. By now, their purchase intent is high. The last thing you want is to lose them at the final hurdle. And a poor product detail page can do exactly that.

So what makes a good one? Full-width imagery? Interactive video? Well, yes, all that kind of immersive, high quality content can work really well (if you’ve the budget and it’s right for the product), but it’s largely useless if you don’t have the basics down first.

To get the basics right, you’ve got to go, well, back to basics. Approach the product detail page as you would the offline shelf, because essentially, that’s what it is. Which leads us to a wider point on eCommerce in general. Basic common sense is often lacking here. Matters are overcomplicated and the essentials of all retail, online or off, neglected.

And yes, eCommerce can be overwhelming, especially if your brand is still new to it.  But it doesn’t have to be. Start with the basics — those same fundamental building blocks you’d apply to a brick and mortar store — and build from there. It’s that simple.

The basics of your shelves in a brick and mortar store are:

  1. Competitive pricing
  2. Healthy levels of stock
  3. Informative, eye-catching merchandising
  4. Helpful staff and busy aisles

Without these, forget it. Who wants to shop somewhere that’s over-priced, poorly stocked, messy and lacking in information, with bad customer service and deserted aisles?

Now let’s apply these offline shelf basics to the online shelf:

  1. Price point: Pricing is one of the main influencers of conversions. Too high, you lose them. Too low, your margins suffer, and potentially your sales, as you risk giving the impression your products are poor quality.
  2. Stock: Your product can’t be bought if it’s not in stock — an obvious but common pitfall. So ensure your logistics are on-point.
  3. Content: Ensure the essential product information is presented clearly, with strong supporting imagery. Use multiple product shots from different angles and views, and the likes of lifestyle shots showing it out of box and in use. Remember that consumers can’t ‘try things on for size’ in the online store, so content needs to compensate.
  4. Conversion influencers: In a physical store, staff help customers — answering questions, alleviating concerns, and building confidence. Seeing other happy customers buying products in-store adds to that trust and confidence. The online equivalent is a product detail page enriched with as many Q&As, ratings, reviews and other user-generated content as possible. This social proof builds that crucial consumer trust that has the most impact on conversions. So lock in consumers and drive sales by answering Q&As, and encouraging and incentivizing reviews and other UGC.

Remember, you’re aiming to recreate offline, online. Your product detail page is like your online shelf. If it’s messy and confusing and lacking in information and conversion influencers, you’ll lose sales.

By the time most customers get to the product detail page, their purchase intent is high, so if conversions aren’t happening, something’s up. To work out what that might be, go through these four basics and see if the problem lies there.

The ChannelSight solution collects loads of data that can help here. Let’s take pricing as an example. Here’s a look at sales insights from our reporting portal.

This shows the price points where this client is making sales on Amazon. So say you want to make sales within a particular bracket, this report shows if you’re succeeding. And if you’re not, you can investigate why, and set about righting things.

If all these basics are in place and you’re still not converting, you need to dig deeper. And consumer distraction could be the culprit. There are many distractions along the digital path to purchase, with all its varied non-linear touchpoints. Your product needs to run quite the gauntlet to make it to checkout.

Let’s illustrate this by again comparing online to offline. So, a consumer goes to a supermarket to buy a specific brand of chocolate. They reach the checkout and see another brand on special offer, and replace the chocolate they came there to buy with it.

The exact same thing happens on the product detail page. Let’s take the example of Amazon. A consumer can land there ready to buy your product, only to be presented with a competitor’s Sponsored Product ad and you lose the sale. The trick here is to sponsor your own products. Aim to ‘brand lock’ the product detail page so that competitors don’t steal your customers at the point of conversion.

But to know if a consumer gets distracted like this, you need data giving visibility on their path to purchase, from source to check-out. Because there’s valuable data behind every click, data that allows for understanding of consumer behavior at a granular level. And you can leverage that understanding to influence thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people to do similar. Brands that build their ability to capture this data will be the winners. And ChannelSight ‘Where to Buy’ technology delivers it.

Finally, there’s a wider point on conversion optimization. Traditionally, the dynamic between brands and retailers has been challenging, if not downright adversarial. But today it’s a partnership. So, help online retailers sell your product. Deliver them the right content for your product detail page. Tell your brand story together. Make them your friend and not your foe. That’s what will win conversions, and brands need to hardwire this mentality in to their strategies in this digital-first age of giant online retailers like Amazon.

So, to summarize — when it comes to conversion optimization on the product detail pages, get the basics right first. Then build it out, layer by layer, collecting and analyzing as much data as you can, and using that to continuously optimize your eCommerce strategy. After that you can get more creative with content. And that’s where the fun stuff really begins!

But remember: if you don’t crawl, you won’t walk, and you certainly won’t run.

Now you know how to optimize your product detail pages for conversion on partner retailer’s sites, learn how  ‘Where to Buy’ technology channels large volumes of customers with high purchase intent towards them with just one click.

Cathal Jones

Head Of Brand Partnerships 

Cathal JonesThe Product Detail Page: Bringing It Back To Basics For Conversion Optimization