Baymard Institute conducted a two-year-long product page usability study to test the user experience across 60 top ecommerce sites. The study revealed that 82% of the sites tested had “severe UX issues” on the product pages. Blue Acorn iCi’s own customer experience study confirms that many brands and retailers leave customers wanting more on the product pages.
Product detail pages (PDPs) have one ultimate goal: convince the customer to click “Add to Cart.” Since Q1 2019, the average add to cart rate is 9.91% in the US, according to Monetate. However, an improved PDP will not only increase the click-through rate, but also educate new customers, provide social proof, decrease return rates, and build relationships.
We created a product detail page checklist to help you enhance your PDP with key elements.
Engage Customers With Immersive Imagery
When consumers shop online, high-quality images play a critical role in the buying decision in-lieu of the in-store experience. The types of product images your brand uses will vary by industry. For any industry, think about what the customer is missing when they don’t get to see the physical product. An apparel brand may use different models for the same piece of clothing to show the fit on different body types whereas a home decor brand may use images to display design ideas or product size as a comparison to relevant items.
Regardless of industry, product images need to have a consistent look and feel—this ensures your brand stays cohesive across all pages and channels. 360-degree product shots often assist customers who are considering a product. They are able to see all angles of the product and can zoom in to view details.
While you want your product images to be high-quality, they need to reflect the item accurately. One of the top reasons shoppers return an item is that it is different than described online.
Create Captivating Brand and Product Videos
According to Wordstream, using videos can increase the conversion rate by 86%. Similar to images, videos provide customers with the knowledge they need to make a well-informed purchase decision. Some brands include videos as part of the image carousel on the PDP to show how the item is used or how it moves.
Outside of product videos, brand videos (such as how the products are made or the story behind the brand) help educate the customer about who you are as a brand and why your products are superior to your competitor’s.
Write Product Descriptions That Sell
When shopping online, potential customers cannot touch, try-on, or feel products. The product description is an opportunity to tell the customer about the materials and dimensions. Talking about materials and dimensions sounds dull, but treat this area of your PDP as your sales pitch—get the shopper excited to buy your product. Beyond materials and dimensions, the ideal product description answers:
- How does the item fit?
- Where is the product made?
- Why are the materials superior?
- What are the benefits of the product’s features?
- Why was the product designed this way?
- Who was the product designed for?
As you would with other copy throughout the site, write the product description in your brand’s voice. For example, Le Creuset’s product description reinforces the status and quality of their products, what it was made for, and the benefits of the cast iron skillet.
Guide Customers With a Clear Call-to-Action
Adding an Add to Cart call-to-action (CTA) may seem obvious, but as you add more elements and features to the PDP, it’s easy for the button to get lost in the mix. To ensure the Add to Cart button catches the customer’s eye, avoid putting it near text-heavy areas and place it above the fold on the page. Try different button placements, wording, and colors with A/B testing to optimize for your target audience.
Educate Your Customers With Content
Technical products, such as electronics, outdoor, or even beauty, require informative content to educate the customer on the terminology, use, or maintenance. For example, Jack Black, a men’s grooming company, sells quality shaving, hair, and facial products and accessories. For men new to grooming products, Jack Black added a “Build Your Own Regimen” questionnaire and tutorial videos.
How-tos and tips can cover anything from recipes, installations, and applications. This type of content invites the user into the lifestyle of the brand, keeps them engaged during down shopping cycles, and establishes the brand as a thought leader in the industry. “Establishing a brand as a thought leader in the space is also a great way to ensure that customers will keep coming back. This can be done through original and branded text and visual content,” said Slisha Kankariya, co-founder of With Clarity.
Don’t Hide the Return Policy
Blue Acorn iCi’s customer experience study revealed that most brands and retailers hide their return policy in the footer or the Customer Service section of their ecommerce site. It might seem counterintuitive to put the return policy on the PDP when you’re trying to prevent returns. However, if you clearly outline the return policy on the PDPs, you set the right expectations with the customer and establish your brand as transparent and trustworthy.
In addition to prominently displaying the return policy, consider changing the policy to be more customer-centric and less rigid. A recent study proved that lenient return policies (e.g., extended return periods) reduce return rates due to the “endowment effect”—the longer someone has possession of an item, the more attached they feel.
Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates
95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase—making them a must for any brand or retailer regardless of industry. Showing the average rating along with a stream of customer reviews provide the customer with insight into how others use the items, and gives your brand an opportunity to engage with customers and answer any questions related to a specific product.
If you don’t have a bank of customer reviews to place on your PDP, send an email to your recent customers and simply ask them to leave a comment related to their purchase. Don’t be afraid to post both good and bad reviews on the PDP. “Candid customer reviews reinforce the trust in the brand,” said Kankariya.
Along with product reviews, pull in user-generated content from social media. “Customer content not only gives them social proof to [establish trust and communicate brand lifestyle], but it can also open up the doors to tons of types of creative they may not have considered before. We’ve heard from many brands that by looking at customer photos and reading reviews, they spotted messaging or gained ideas for aesthetics in ads or campaigns that they wouldn’t have thought of by themselves,” said Moran Khoubian, Global Head of Partner Marketing at Yotpo.
Promote Your Promotions
Adding the price to the PDP is an obvious one, but what promotions apply to the product? If there’s a discount code or promo that applies to the item, let the customer know on the PDP. To reward loyal customers, use tiered promotions for different audience segments. For example, habitual shoppers would see a 30% discount on an item, while new or infrequent shoppers would only see a 15% discount. You can also use the PDP to remind shoppers how far they are from the free shipping threshold.
Enhance Product Discovery With Recommendations
Recommended and Similar Products sections on the PDP promote items that either complement the product or are similar. Both sections optimize the product discovery phase of the buyer journey. For example, you click on a paid ad for black boots, but it’s not exactly what you need. The Similar Products section streamlines finding and shopping other products on the ecommerce site without going to the product listing page or using the search function.
To show how the item can be styled or used with other items, merchandise the product with complementary items. For these types of sections, make sure each item is shoppable on the PDP—make it easy for the user to add the item to their cart without leaving the current page.
Avoid Returns With Sizing Guides
Most shoppers know that sizing is not universal. Providing a sizing guide on the PDP, allows shoppers to determine which size is optimal based on their measurements. For international shoppers, include sizing metric equivalents based on which country the customer is from. Some brands will ask customers what sizes they wear at similar brands and use that information to recommend a size for the item they are considering.
Apparel isn’t the only industry in which sizing guides are useful. Le Creuset, a French cookware manufacturer, found that many customers were returning their items with the reason being the product was not what they expected. Initially, quarts was the only size metric the manufacturer’s PDPs. Believing the lack of size information caused the high return rate, Le Creuset worked with the Blue Acorn iCi team to determine a solution that would reduce the number of returns. They added how many servings the pan or pot size would produce to every PDP, giving customers a more relevant metric than quarts.
A few other features to consider adding to the product page design are live chat, inventory, an email sign-up form, and shipping/in-store pickup options. A/B testing any new designs, elements, messaging, or features will help take the guesswork out of PDP optimization. Your product detail pages are just one step in the customer journey. For additional tips on how to optimize the customer experience—from homepage to returns—download Blue Acorn iCi’s Complete Customer Experience report here.