How important is customer experience to your store? If that sounds like a redundant question, then that’s a good thing!
Customer experience (CX) is something that the majority of ecommerce merchants understand is hugely important to the success of their business. In many cases, for customers, it’s what keeps them coming back more than product or price - 96% say it’s important to their brand loyalty. Especially when you have lots of competitors in your niche, experience is something that you can compete on and win without huge product development costs or sacrificing profit.
However if we want to enhance CX, we need to look at the customer journey and ensure every aspect is primed and ready to delight customers. One of the primary places many journeys begin and decisions are made is the product page. It's easy to create a basic product page, but challenging to create a really great one.
We’ve previously written about the do’s and don’ts of product page SEO, and today we’re exploring some do’s and don’ts you need to know about delivering a great product page customer experience.
Do - Write a clear, concise product description
Product pages have a very short space of time to make a first impression. They need to be convincing and engaging from the moment they first load to really capture a customer’s interest. The first glimpse of information about your product comes from the product description. This is what gives your customer valuable insight into what your product is, its benefits, and why they should buy it. The temptation here may be to cram as much information in as possible, but actually it makes for a better experience if you keep things concise and clear.
That means really summarizing the main points of the product in question. Describe what the product is in one sentence, then its benefits in one more sentence. This won’t work for every product of course - some products will require a little more description than others, so the description should suit the product. For example, a skincare product may have ingredients that require specialist vocabulary that you need to explain in the description, so it may warrant a higher word count. Something like a t-shirt doesn’t require as much - it’s widely understood what it is. However you may want to give information about the materials, the fit, or unique features. Give the customer enough that they have a good grasp on the product, so they’re interested in knowing more.
Don’t - Put too much information in the description - save it for later
While you don’t want to overwhelm customers in the description, you may also have a lot to say about your product. And all that information might be essential to the customer’s purchasing decision. For example, you’re selling furniture and so you want to talk about the dimensions, the materials, the after care, and more. You can’t put that all in a description - it becomes distracting and overwhelming. However, leaving out key info is also not a great look!
Instead, save it all for further down the page. Treat the description like a sales pitch - you’re using it to convince them that they want to know more about the product. Then further down the product page, give them more. Add in sections about the benefits of the materials, what makes your product different, why it’s useful, and anything else they may want to know. For example they might want extra images and videos, diagrams, or information about shipping and returns.
Do - Add descriptive, high quality images
Want to know something that really adds to a great product description? Great product imagery. After all, a customer won’t want to buy something if they don’t know what it looks like. Especially in categories like fashion, apparel, and homeware, it’s vital that customers know very clearly and accurately what the product looks like. It isn’t quite enough just to have a couple of product images, there’s a big difference between a good and a bad product image.
All images should be descriptive. In other words, images should give the customer a clear and full understanding of what the product looks like. They should be high quality, and focus on the product. For example, Skims product images have the product not on a model, then several angles of the product on a model.
These images are descriptive, as they give a really clear idea of what it might look like in real life. They also give examples of the product on different models, which adds to customer experience. Many brands use a single model for clothing, but they have diverse size ranges. This can be difficult for customers of different sizes to imagine the clothing on their body type without an appropriate image.
When appropriate, add images that show your product from different angles. Or add images of your product in use. For example, if you’re selling a piece of coffee making equipment, then it would be helpful to show the product as it comes, any accessories it comes with, and then the product in use to demonstrate what it actually does to the customer. Some products won’t require this, for example coffee beans will only need a couple of images.
Don’t - Use contextual photos with too much clutter or distraction
Contextual images are always valuable for customers. Descriptive images give them a clear way to visualize the product, but contextual images allow them to imagine more what it might be like when they’re using the product themselves. These images often also look really good on a product page - they’re engaging, dynamic, and interesting. If you sell outerwear, then it may be someone wearing a jacket on a hike. If you sell wine glasses, then photos of the glasses filled and on a table.
However, you also need to be wary of adding too much into the image. If it becomes unclear what product the image is for, then it’s confusing for the customer and the product isn’t adding value to the page. Contextual photos should still focus on the individual product, just displayed in a more dynamic setting. These can also be used as the primary product image if it’s crystal clear which product is being showcased.
Do - Have clear, obvious, and easy to use Calls-to-Action
A truly great customer experience is one which prioritizes speed and ease. You want to get the customer from A to B to Checkout with as little friction as possible. Part of that comes down to your calls-to-action (CTAs) on a product page. Keep CTAs clear, obvious, and easy to use. Let’s review each point in turn.
Clear - the language should be unambiguous, with widely understood terms. For example, “Add to Cart” is common and understood. “Throw it in your basket” is too colloquial and may confuse customers.
Obvious - CTAs should stand out from the rest of the page. It may be a contrasting color, the size of the button, and the button placement. It should be close to the top of the product page.
Easy to use - CTAs should be easy for the customer to click on and for it to do whatever action is required. That means making the clickable area of the button wide, especially on mobile.
This applies to any interactive elements on your page, not just “Add to Cart”. However, whatever the primary action for that page is should be the largest, most obvious CTA on the page.
Don’t - Overlook the importance of color, contrast, and font size
Your on-site customer experience is closely linked with user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), and how your page looks is a big part of that experience. User Experience (UX) is how a customer feels about their interactions with your site throughout their journey. Improving it means understanding how customers use and move through your store, and finding ways to make that experience easier, and more enjoyable. User Interface (UI) is about how that experience is presented, so images, fonts, colors, layouts, graphics, and more.
Sometimes, a store may become so focussed on their brand and how their brand looks on the site that they forget to think about how it translates to UX/UI. A site can look great from the surface, but still have UX/UI issues.
Poor UX/UI can stem from something as simple as your choice of colors and font size. It should be easy for a customer to land on your product page, be able to read and understand every element, and understand which elements they can interact with. Poor UI, for example, would be having very pale text on a white background, or equally having very bright red text on a dark background. It could also be your font size being too small, where it makes it difficult for a standard customer to read. Many of these principles apply in making your site more accessible - the more accessible it is to the widest range of customers, the better the experience.
Do - Make it easy for customers to get assistance in different ways
Customer support is crucial to the customer experience, and it all starts with being able to access that support. It should be straightforward and clear where customers can access support options right from your product page. It can also go beyond simply a link to contact customer support. Here are some ways to add these handy support options:
On-page chatbot or live chat - Customers can get instant answers to common queries, or talk directly to your team if online.
On-page product FAQ - Have some common questions for that product listed on the product page itself to field any potential queries.
Link to FAQ or customer portal - Self-service options are popular with customers, so make these easily and readily available from your product page
Contact Us link - When they do want to speak to a real person, make it easy to do so.
If customers can’t find the information or help they need it makes it harder for them to make a confident purchasing decision for that product. They have questions, they need answers, and if you make it easy for them to get those answers it may stand a better chance of an order being placed.
Don’t - Make it difficult to find returns and exchanges information
Returns are another important part of the customer experience, even if merchants don’t necessarily like thinking about them. There are a whole host of reasons why a customer needs to return an item. They may not have been sure of sizing, so bought two in different sizes with the intent to return one. It may have been bought as a gift, but was unsuitable. Or they simply might have changed their mind.
In any case, it should be clear before they even make that purchase what your returns policy is. This should be included as important info alongside shipping information on the product page. It doesn’t have to be detailed, in fact it can be as simple as an icon with brief returns info, or as an accordion menu item with an overview of your policy.
Do - Make use of recommended products
When a customer lands on a product page, they may not end up choosing that product. Maybe the style isn’t quite what they’re looking for, or maybe they need something similar but a little different. That’s where recommended products come to the rescue. Of course from a merchant perspective, these are valuable as it showcases other options to the customer. But they’re also very valuable to the customer experience. Just because the product they’re looking at isn’t quite right, doesn’t mean they no longer need something similar.
Therefore, be sure to include recommended products on product pages. This can simply be similar products to the one they’re currently viewing, or a “other people also bought” section, so they can see what fellow customers were interested in. You may want to include recommended complementary products - for example if it was a bikini top then matching bottoms, sandals, sunglasses etc. that match.
Don’t - Clutter your product page with too many options
With all the potential elements you can include on a product page, it can very easily become cluttered and confusing. You want to stick to the information and features that will enhance the customer experience, rather than thinking about all the information you could possibly include. If you have a lot of information to convey, think about how this can be presented in a way that’s clean, clear, and provides a good experience for the customer.
Here are some ways to include more information in an easier to consume way:
Internal links - Linking to other pages on your site is a convenient way to include more information without clogging up a product page. Customers can then read that information on another page if it’s relevant to their decision.
Expanding menus - Give the customer the option if they want to view extra information or not with expanding menu options.
Videos - Want to explain how a product works? Why not try a video? This is a much more engaging, visual way to show off your product and its use without bogging down a page with lots of written content.
- Icons - If you can summarize the information you want to convey, why not use some icons? These are easy for customers to scan and understand quickly.
These will allow you to convey more information in a more neat, concise way that doesn’t distract from the main purpose of the page.
Do - Keep the layout easy to follow, using some expected design standards
Your store is probably not the first online store a customer has ever shopped with. That means they’ve experienced many other product pages, and they’ll have certain expectations of the layout and design. You’ll likely notice some commonalities between your own product page, and that of your competitors. That’s not a bad thing - in fact it’s great for customer experience. They can focus on your product and what you’re saying about it, rather than trying to work out what’s going on with your page layout.
Stick to what’s expected, and instead play with color, fonts, and presentation elements further down the page. Customers will typically expect images, product name, price, varieties, description, and a CTA near the top of the page. How the rest of the page is presented can be up to you!
Don’t - Forget about how your layout might translate to mobile
It’s common to build and manage stores on a desktop computer, but it’s important to remember how that all translates to the mobile experience. Mobile should be top priority for any merchant looking to enhance their product page customer experience - it’s great for customers, and it’s also great for your store’s SEO.
Page layouts that look great on desktop won’t always look as good on mobile. Rather than simply allowing it to adapt to mobile, build it separately. Look at all the important information that needs to be on the product page, and then translate that using good mobile UX/UI practices. The customer will expect the same content on mobile and desktop, so find a way to give that to them in a way that’s easy to consume on mobile.
Do - Include reviews on product pages
Everyone reads reviews - well, 99% do according to some surveys. Reviews are essential to any ecommerce business. Your product pages will put your product in an amazing light, of course, but it adds credibility when your customers back that up. Reviews on product pages are powerful, some studies have shown conversion rates are up to 3.5x higher on product pages with reviews compared to those without. All this is to say, product reviews are essential to the customer experience.
Reviews give your customers an added bit of persuasion to purchase your products. Make sure these are displayed on your product page to give them all the opinions they want to read without even leaving the page. Include the star rating at the top of the page acting as a summary alongside the price and product description. Then have the full reviews further down the page. Bonus points if you can encourage customers to leave photos alongside their reviews!
Don’t - Forget about the importance of third party opinions
The reviews customers leave on your site is one thing, but they won’t be the only opinions your customers seek out. You can add an extra level of credibility by including some snippets of third party opinions on product pages also.
Third party opinions can be something like including your Trustpilot score, to demonstrate that customers on an impartial site agree with the glowing reviews on your product pages. It could also mean including where your products have been featured by authoritative sources as a worthwhile purchase. This could be simply as logos in a “as featured in” section, or attributed snippets from review articles.
With how competitive ecommerce is these days, merchants have a real opportunity to seriously compete on experience. For many customers, that experience begins with your product page, whether they’re new to your brand or a returning customer. The more you can do to really consider their experience and what matters most, the better your site will be, and the more customers you’ll bring in.