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Oct 27, 2012

Functional Website Design Showcasing the Product

In the second article of the five-part series, we will go into more depth about how to showcase products on their respective pages and as a result increase conversion rates. These solutions will aim to be as value for money as possible because few companies can actually increase their marketing budget without adversely affecting their profit.

Making an online sale is a process with two steps – 1) matching the customer to the best-fit product you have, and 2) convincing the customer that the product can satisfy his needs. The first part is accomplished preferably one level above the product pages, at the catalogue navigation, or using product comparison at the product page level. Ideally, there must be a simplistic way to guide new customers, for example, using questions and dynamic menus. Whatever you decide to utilize, always use examples for the categories as these are another source of guidance. If a significant number of your customers are returning ones, you could justify creating two separate catalogues – one with guidance and one for faster browsing. Alternatively, if product suggestion is difficult, a “similar products” section could help.

The main aim of the product page is to showcase the product and focus all attention on it and its characteristics. Less is more in this case as cluttering the page with unnecessary details simply distracts the customer or, worse, stops you from making a sale. Ideally, the page should be populated with a couple of product pictures (good quality, zoomable, and from different angles), a description and the Buy button next to the price. For example, take a look at an Amazon1 and an Ebay2 listing and see how the product demands attention from the most prominent place on the page.

Simplicity does not mean lack of product information. Most customers will not purchase a product without knowing at least some, if not all, characteristics. Usually, they will want to see if this new addition will be compatible with what they already have (for example, you shouldn’t buy the iPhone 5 if you plan on using a micro-SIM3). The best approach to this is to layer the information into Basic, Detailed, and Professional, so that different groups are not frustrated either by not understanding or not finding what they need. For that extra step, you could provide interpretations of the statistic, for instance, a 1Ghz process can do this and this, while a 1.5Ghz – that and that, or show how something fares for its class.

Customers usually visit comparison and advice charts before they purchase from you so adding unaccredited expert review could be seen as simply more marketing. However, if you quote respected sources – such as well-known bloggers, independent reviews, and industry comparison – this could greatly boost the creditworthiness of your product page. Additionally, users want to read unedited and uncensored comments from past clients. Allowing the comment feature on the product page is a double edged sword – a single unsatisfied customer could discourage quite a few other potential buyers.

Suggesting related products and offering custom features will help you boost revenue and retain loyal customers. By asking product-related questions, your software could suggest useful additions to the customers – for example, protective cases for new mobile phones or stylus pens for touch screens. An even better approach is to offer discounts for multiple products as the shipping and lead costs will be lower.

Finally, everybody wants personalized items – different coloring, size, even engravings, and these could drive up the final product cost. Nevertheless, they can be offered as an additional paid option (free for loyal clients) at the product page.



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