You know your online store inside and out. You have built a brand voice and experience. You’re acquainted with every product and manufacturer. But in all likelihood, your website visitors bring none of that familiarity to your store. They land on your product page and judge within seconds whether to browse or go elsewhere on the web. That’s why it’s critical to understand product page optimization and continually work to improve your listings.
What is product page optimization?
Product page optimization is the process by which you critically examine all aspects of your website’s product listings, then investigate and experiment with changes that could boost sales and affect other key performance indicators (KPIs), such as average time on site, average pages per visit, or bounce rate.
When optimizing product pages, there are two audiences to consider:
Search engines, such as Google, Amazon, or eBay.
Optimizations in your website’s code could affect whether search engines feature your listing prominently, which can have a tremendous effect on sales.
Your human customers
How your product page is designed and the content it displays will influence whether people buy your product or engage with its listing (through watching video, zooming on images, sharing on social media, adding to wish lists, etc).
As you optimize your product pages, remember that you need to consider both of these audiences. Why? Because the behaviors of one influence the other, and vice versa. If a search engine features your listing prominently, more people will look at it. If lots of people look at and buy your product, search engines will take notice and give your listing top billing. The signals reinforce each other.
Why should I optimize my product pages?
You invest tremendous resources to build your store and attract traffic to it. Why, then, would you stop working once people land on your site?
Product page optimization means doing everything you can to keep customers engaged once they’re browsing your store. After all, even small changes can have big effects on sales. And sales are the whole point of e-commerce.
What should I optimize on my product pages?
Take a critical look at every aspect of your product page, such as
- the product’s name or page title
- product photography, especially the listing’s featured photo
- the product description and any other copywriting on the page
- the call-to-action (CTA)
- pricing information
- product ratings and other social proof
- trust indicators
- page layout and design
- user experience while adding to cart or performing other site functions
- product videos
Sound like a lot? Well, truthfully, it is. But product page optimization doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Let’s take a look at how to test and optimize these various features.
Optimizing a product name
Once again, remember there are two audiences for your product name or page title: the search engines and human customers. They’re each looking for different things. Search engines think in keywords and straightforward descriptors of what a product is or does. Humans like names that are memorable, catchy, and easy to pronounce.
Your page title is likely going to be a combination of a memorable product name and some target keyword descriptors. On Amazon, for instance, you can use up to 500 characters in your title. You want these characters to be readable and appealing to humans while still including keywords that will indicate to the search engines information about the product.
For search engines, there are various keyword tools to give you insight into a keyword’s search volume, competition, and related terms. These tools include Google Keyword Planner, Amazon Keyword Tool, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and many others.
For humans, test product names by running surveys with PickFu. On PickFu, you can poll hundreds of people in minutes. Your poll respondents can be targeted to resemble your customer base using behavioral and demographic traits like age, gender, education, exercise habits, home ownership, diet, and Amazon Prime membership.
Here’s an example poll to test two potential names of a fire ant pesticide: Diatoms or Frustules. In under an hour, 50 respondents showed a decisive preference for Diatoms. Not only do poll respondents vote on their choice, but they provide a written comment that provides insight into what they like or dislike about each name, such as:
- “Diatoms sounds more scientific and tested.”
- “Frustules doesn’t sound appealing. Frustules sounds like a part of a body (I think it’s because of the –ules ending).”
- “DIATOMS sounds like a substance that will kill insects when you say the name aloud. It sounds powerful, simple, and to-the-point.”
- “The first syllable [of Diatoms] sounds like die.”
Learn more tips for testing names here.
Optimizing product photography
Your product photography is one of the most crucial factors in your store’s conversion rates. Remember, online shoppers can’t feel your product in their own hands, so photos are the closest they’ll come to experience the product before buying it. Your photos must convey not only the physical aspects of your product (color, fabric, size, etc) but also the emotional appeal you hope to impart to customers.
Once you have gorgeous product photos to choose from, test them. You could run a live split test on your website, or, for even faster results, run a PickFu poll on your featured photo.
Steve Chou, owner of e-commerce store Bumblebee Linens, tested two product photos using PickFu. In less than 20 minutes, he saw that 50 female respondents preferred a new featured photo over the old one by a 3 to 1 margin. When he updated his listing with the new photo, sales of the item jumped 209%.
The above ideas are effective in seeing how humans react to your photos. But there are ways to optimize your product photos for the search engines, too. Optimizing image file sizes, naming conventions, and meta information such as alt tags will all help the search engines understand what’s contained in your photos. Learn these 10 image optimization tips and implement them on your site.
Optimizing product descriptions
Just like your page’s title, your product descriptions should combine carefully considered keywords for the search engines and well-written copy to appeal to your customers.
Your description should not only relay the functional properties of your product, but tell a story that reinforces your brand voice. Describe the origins of the product, the materials used, and the passion of its makers. Answer your customers’ most frequently asked questions. Provide enough detail to make shoppers feel confident that they’re making the right choice. UX features such as drop-downs, overlays, and tooltips can help provide additional information to interested viewers without cluttering up the page layout.
Your descriptions should have a clear hierarchy that takes advantage of headings, subheadings, and bullet points. Making your copy scannable helps customers decide whether to read further.
Remember, your product page may very well be the first time a visitor has interacted with your brand. She may never see your website’s homepage, especially if she’s been referred through social media or an organic listing. Your product page may be her first (and possibly only) impression of your site. Make the most of the opportunity.
Try different approaches, experimenting with length and tones of voice. Then test your descriptions by split testing them on your website or creating a poll on PickFu.
One PickFu pollster tested product descriptions for a spherical ice tray with 50 Amazon Prime members. The two descriptions were similar in length, but one used all capital letters to introduce each bullet point. Respondents found this description easier to scan and more attention-grabbing. You can now see the winning description live on Amazon.
Optimizing your call-to-action (CTA)
Arguably, the most important element of your product page is the Add to cart button. You want this button to be immediately visible when a visitor lands on your product page, so keep the area around your call-to-action uncluttered. Experiment with button colors, textures, and wording.
The CTA is one of the most important elements in your design hierarchy, so take a critical look at your overall product page layout. Does the CTA reside above the fold? Is it clear and compelling?
If you are considering a redesign, poll audiences using PickFu. Ask respondents to compare screenshots from your website. Don’t forget about mobile layouts, too!
Once you’re confident in the design direction, use heatmaps or live A/B tests on your store to see what effect your new CTA has on sales and engagement.
Optimizing your pricing information
Price is, of course, a huge determiner in whether your product sells. You want the price to be easily found on your page layout, and easily understood if there are pricing variations, such as with different product attributes or subscription packages.
Your copy can go a long way in justifying your product’s price point. Is your copywriting conveying value and helping the customer understand how your product is made and what she’ll get out of it if she buys it?
Instant pricing calculators can help interested customers estimate whether your pricing is worth it to them. For example, PickFu’s own pricing calculator helps customers see what a poll will cost when configured exactly how they want it.
Scarcity tactics such as displaying when inventory is running low (for example, “only 5 left!”) or when a promotion is almost over (“Sale ends at midnight!”) might also be worth experimentation.
Optimizing social proof and trust indicators
Social proof in your product page optimization may take the form of product reviews, star ratings, social shares, or other signals to show potential customers that previous customers have bought the product, interacted with your support team, or endorsed your site in some way.
Trust indicators may be editorial reviews, customer testimonials, and third-party awards, ratings, or certifications.
Experiment with the placement and prominence of whatever social proof or trust indicators that you display on your product listing. Invite customers to review their past purchases (giving them a reason to return to your site), and see if they buy something else.
Product page optimization is an ongoing process
There’s a lot to consider when optimizing your product pages. But quick and easy tools like PickFu make the process painless. There are no tracking codes to implement, no long waits for data to roll in, and no ad campaigns or live website tests to manage. That’s why e-commerce sellers trust PickFu for testing and optimization.
Manny Coats, CEO of Helium10, said, “PickFu.com is where I go when I want to quickly split test Amazon product images to actual Amazon Prime customers, and know which images customers prefer before I make my product listing live. I get results within 1 hour with detailed ‘reasons why’ they voted a certain way. This has the potential to save thousands of dollars in lost sales from choosing the wrong image.”
Ready to try it for yourself? Run your first poll on PickFu now!