Fact: An ecommerce business is only as good as its website. And the lifeblood of your site’s success are its product pages. If you want to build and optimize product pages that power significant engagement and conversion, here are 9 steps towards building the perfect pages from Business2Community that all online retailers can follow.

Discover best practices and strategies leading edge marketers are adopting and adapting to increase revenue today, and for the long-term, in our Modern Marketer’s Guide to Increasing Purchase Conversion.

What are the elements that make up a high converting ecommerce product page?

Jeff is excited about launching his online business. He’s generating a ton of traffic to his product pages, but his conversion rates aren’t so hot.

Upon further examination of his product pages, he’s noticed they’re bland. Product descriptions are copied directly from the manufacturer. The resolution of the images is low. Pages lack reviews. The list of flaws goes on.

Right now, Jeff is asking himself some questions.

How can I increase conversions?

How can I boost sales?

How can I promote my company as a trustworthy brand that sells quality products?

Have you been asking some of these questions?

Fear not.

I’m about to take you and this person I just made up on a journey to explore the key elements of an effective product page. We’ll also look at awesome examples of real product pages.

So, let’s begin.

What You Need to Know

While there is no magic formula that will turn any product page into a conversion optimization machine, research shows that a few factors heavily influence the success of a product page. Here are some points to keep in mind.

Number 1: Write Jaw-Dropping Product Descriptions

Every product description must uniquely highlight the benefits of your product while clearly explaining its features.

Keeping your product description unique will also keep you safe from Google’s ranking algorithm, which penalizes pages with duplicate content.

Write for Your Audience

Your product description needs to speak the tone that your customers expect. For example, the tone of a website selling baby products should be warm. Meanwhile, you would not want to use a tone that’s immature if you sell clothing to a sophisticated clientele.

Keep your tone consistent. Remember, you’re building a brand. Your copy must reflect the feel of that brand as it’s presented through your advertisements, your social media channels, and everything else.

Check out the copy on the product page for Fitbit Flex.

It’s a rather complex device, but it’s most important features are described above the fold: “During the day, it tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. At night, it tracks your sleep quality and wakes you silently in the morning.”

The copy also contains words and phrases that speak to Fitbit’s active audience

  • “Slim”
  • “Stylish”
  • “It’s the motivation you need to get out and be more active”

The copy on the rest of this long-scroll page maintains the same tone to explain the rest of its features such as its compatibility to sync with other devices.

Don’t Forget SEO

After you’ve written awesome copy for your product description, look it over and make sure its title and body contains the key phrases you want to rank for.

Don’t go overkill with key words. Just naturally weave keywords into your copy where they don’t sound awkward. Triple checking your writing always helps.

This tactic is also beneficial if your site has an internal search tool. Customers can’t find the products they want if your descriptions don’t contain the words they’re looking for.

Number 2: Use Vivid Imagery to Sell the Product

When customers are shopping online, they lose the benefit of being able to actually pick up an item and examine it. Eliminate this issue by giving your customers a feel of the product through imagery.

Make sure your product pages include high-resolution images of your item at different angles.

Check out the pictures used on Modcloth’s page for “With only a Wink Dress.”

The page displays images of the dress at different angles. Each can be accessed without leaving the page. Using a squared-shaped magnifier as a cursor, you can get into the detail of the dress at every spot. Modcloth also personalizes the product by offering photos of women wearing it and liking the way they look.

Go the Extra Mile

Your customers can’t miss a spot of your product if you provide an image with 360-degree view. Simply Group, which runs several online stores, reported that this feature led to a 200 percent increase in conversions and a drop in returns.

Number 3: Go Even Further With Video

Images can only go so far in showcasing the value of your products. Go a few steps further by featuring product videos.

Studies show videos are becoming particularly effective for businesses.

  • A report by Website Magazine indicated that 52 percent of customers were more confident about aproduct and less likely to return it if they watched a video about it.
  • StacksAndStacks shoppers who watch videos are 144% more likely to buy than those who don’t.
  • Several ecommerce businesses experienced conversion-rate hikes after introducing videos to their product pages.
  • Ice.com boosted conversion rates by 144 percent and dropped returns from 12 percent to 9 percent after adding videos to their product pages.
  • Shoeline.com increased conversions by 44 percent with videos
  • Zappos boosted sales and decreased returns after introducing videos.

Check out this neat, instructional video for Zoku’s Triple Quick Pop Maker, which makes freeze pops in less than 8 minutes. It’s nicely embedded into the product page preventing users from leaving your site.

It’s also accessed via a drop-down tab in case customers don’t need any further convincing.

Videos can be especially useful when you sell complex products with several features and uses.

Adding Video Can Boost Search Engine Rankings

With metadata such as video titles and description tags, pages containing videos have more material for search-engine indexing.

A video also has a better chance of landing on page one of a SERP because there are not as many videos out there as there are pages being constantly tweaked for SEO.

Here are some studies that examine videos’ affects on search engine rankings.

  • A Comscore survey shows that siteswith videos keep users’ attentions about two minuteslongerthan sites without video. Amount of time spent on site affects rankings.
  • Aimclear data shows that video results have a 41 percent higher click through rate than text results.

Think SEO when Devising Video Descriptions

  • Optimize the title of your video, the body of its description, and its tags for keywords. But, keep the title under 66 characters. Otherwise, Google will truncate it on search results.
  • Provide a link back to your website as well as the rest of your social media channels in the description of your video.
  • Keep videos short as users still have small attention spans and bounce rates negatively affect search rankings.Think of the promotional videos you commonly see online. Do several run longer than 90 seconds?

YouTube may seem like the obvious choice to post your video. But, promoting your videos through other services such as Vimeo can expand your videos’ reach and increase the opportunities for backlinks.

Make Sure Your Video Carries the Right Thumbnail

The video thumbnail is essentially the face of your video, so it can have a huge effect on whether people play it.

YouTube selects a thumbnail for your video based on three different points of your video. So, you might have to edit your video with this in mind to ensure YouTube selects the best options for thumbnails.

For a formula on how YouTube does this, click here.

Number 4: Show Reviews

Research shows customers highly value what others have to say about your products.

  • A Revoo survey indicated that 88 percent of respondents sometimes or always read reviews before making a purchase. 60 percent of them said they are more likely to buy from a site that offers reviews.
  • According to a Nielsen study, 40 percent of subjects said they wouldn’t buy electronics without having looked at reviews.

So, include user reviews on your product pages.

Amazon keeps a link to product reviews below the headline for a product. The link is cleverly placed next to a star-ranking system based on customer ratings. You can click on the link to read all reviews or click on the stars for a glance at reviews.

Including reviews can also serve as SEO because it provides your site with more unique content.Don’t be afraid to keep a few bad reviews. A study by MIT shows that including negative reviews can boost sales if there are few of them as opposed to only positive reviews.

Number 5: Experiment with Your Calls to Action

If built right, your Call To Action button launches your customer into the checkout funnel and lands them at the point of purchase.

It’s one element on your product page; however, several factors influence its success.

Its design, color, size and even copy can have major effects on your conversion rate.

Although there is no definite formula to create the most enticing CTA button, there are a few things you should keep in mind when creating one.

Place your CTA where it demands attention

Creating white space or distancing your CTA from other elements on your page creates contrast making the CTA stand out.

Say the Right Words

The most effective CTA buttons usually use action words that create a sense of urgency.

But, only your customers can tell you if they are more motivated by “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now.”

You should run several experiments with different copy. Here are a few CTA case studies to get you thinking.

  • Fitness World, a Scandinavian gym chain, increased conversions by 213.16 percent after switching the copy of their CTA from “Get Membership” to “Find Your Gym and Get Membership.”
  • Matchoffice.com saw a 14.79 percent increase in conversions by changing the CTA copy from “Order Information and Prices” to “Get Information and Prices.” Notice how the latter implies the customer will be rewarded while the former implies only a demand.
  • Counter verve and Unbounce ran a test on a PPC’s landing page by switching the word “your” to “my” in the phrase, “Start Your Free 30-Day Trial.” The result was a 90 percent increase in conversions. The term “My” may have come across as more warm and personal.

These examples are only meant to emphasize the significance of copy on your CTA’s success. Your experiments will determine what copy works best for your business and your customers.

CTA and Color

Another way to make your CTA stand out is to design it with a hue that highly contrasts the color scheme of your web page.

However, it’s important to keep color psychology in mind when designing your CTAs. Specific colors are known to generate certain emotions and perceptions. Check out Unbounce’s detailed post about colors and their meanings.

With this in mind, run A/B tests using different colored CTAs.

Number 6: Let Your Customers Know What’s Available

So, your prospect has read through your detailed descriptions and examined the vivid imagery of your product. He noticed the eye-catching CTA and clicks – only to find that the item is not in stock.

Don’t let this happen. Availability should be indicated on your product pages.

Boden cleverly does this by presenting stock information through a color-coated grid via a light box. The grid also lets you know when an item would be available if it’s sold out.

Displaying stock details can also drive sales as research shows that people tend to have more desire for products that are about to run out. Exclusiveness creates a sense of urgency that could increase conversion rates by 332 percent.

Number 7: If You Can Offer Free Shipping, Do it!

Today, most customers expect free shipping.

  • An E-tailing study revealed that free shipping is the number one criteria that subjects were influenced by when making an online purchase.
  • A Compete Pulse study showed that free shipping even made some customers want to shop more, and its absence was the No. 1 reason people reported having a negative online shopping experience.
  • A ComScore survey found that 72 percent of online customers will abandon a site not offering free shipping and search for one that does.
  • An Invesp study showed that  the leading cause for shopping cart abandonment was high-shipping costs.

How To Offer Free Shipping without breaking the bank

Offering free shipping does not have to be economically unsound. Here are some steps you can take to give customers what they want.

  • Try increasing product price by a set percent to cover the cost of free shipping.
  • Offer free shipping after a certain threshold is met. Amazon.com offers free shipping on orders priced more than $35.

2 Big Feet, a shoe retailer, boosted sales by 50 percent after offering free shipping on orders priced at $100 or more.

This move may even entice customers to buy more in order to get free shipping.

“For whatever reason, a free shipping offer that saves a customer $6.99 is more appealing than a discount that cuts the purchase price by $10” said Marketing Professor David Bell in an article published by Wharton University.

My Ecommerce devised a neat formula you can use to budget a free shipping option.

If you do offer free shipping, don’t be shy about it

Sites like Zappos make sure you know they offer free shipping when you’re on their product pages.

If You’re Going to Charge for shipping, be crystal clear about it

One of the most important aspects of a good shipping policy is being upfront about all charges.

BustedTees.com gives no surprises when it comes to fees. Its order form clearly displays each delivery option along with its price, carrier, and estimated day of arrival. One option reads “USPS Budget (4-8 Days) – 6.99.” Being the least expensive, this option is selected as the default – another great move.

Because fees such as tax may vary depending on location, use tools that calculate these costs by using your customers’ zip codes. Services such as Zippopotam.us and Ziptastic provide free zip code databases and plug-ins for auto detection.

Number 8: Not All Sales Are Final

Customers want to be confident that you’ll have their back in case anything goes wrong. As no business is perfect, you’re going to have to deal with customers who want to return their items at some point and you’re going to have to help them. You can start by presenting a clear return policy on your product pages.

ASOS, which offers free returns, clearly explains this through a “Returns Tab” on their product pages. The tab is located below the CTA. Clicking the tab displays the policy which is embedded on the page. The policy is clear and easy to understand. It also contains a link for more information in case a customer still has questions.

Of course, not every business can offer free returns. This disadvantage should not make your customer service any less superb. A clear return policy still answers several questions your customer may have such as:

  • Who is paying for the return?
  • What mail class will be used for the return?
  • Will returns be exchanged for another item, store credit, or cash?
  • What fees are involved and why are they being made? Maybe you charge a restocking fee. Be clear about all extra charges.

Good Copywriting Applies to Return Policies

Don’t clutter your return policy with legal jargon. Write it in the tone your customers expect— the one consistent throughout your product page.

Our good friend Andrew Youderian, from Right Channel Radios, follows good copywriting as well as customer-friendly language.

Don’t use any threatening language.

Practical Ecommerce examined a site that presented enticing visuals and promoted “superior products” at the “best prices.” The language on their return policy was not as flowery. It contained sentences such as “If it’s your fault, we will deduct a 50 percent restocking fee,” and “We will refuse any package without an RMA.”

In general, avoid words such as “refuse.”

You should come across as eager to help them make a return instead of sounding like you want to punish them for making the return in the first place.

Give your Customers time to return a product

An unreasonably-brief return period makes you seem sketchy. A long one, however, can boost customer confidence in you products.

  • 3rd Power Outlet, an urban-clothing brand based in Atlanta, saw sales increase and returns drop after extending the return period from 14 to 90 days.
  • Zappos is known for its 365-day return policy— a perk they proudly boast on their return policy, which even features a video!

“Extending the return period makes customers feel more comfortable about making the purchase in the first place,” said Rob Siefker, head of the Customer-Loyalty Team at Zappos, in an interview with Entrepreneur.com.

Number 9: Don’t Stop Optimizing

Remember, running an ecommerce store is a process of continuous improvement. Start by adding one of the steps outline in this post today. Then do this again tomorrow.

Soon your product pages will be converting like crazy.

Know of any other tips for creating effective product pages or have more examples of awesome product pages?

I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to drop a comment!

Author: David Crowther built his first website back in 1997 (yes the internet did exist then) and has looked back many times since and thought how ugly it was. Fortunately he’s improved since then and now works full time telling people how ugly their websites look. Does your website struggle at making leads or selling? You can hire David to convert more of your website visitors into customers.
This article was written by Spark Pay from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.