Category: UX advice / Ecommerce guides
– – –
The product page is where all the details about an individual product live. Once a user has chosen a product from the listings, they will come to this page to find out more.
The product page performs a similar role to good packaging, where the customer can't see or touch the actual item but still wants a strong sense of both what it looks like and the specifications.
Your ecommerce site might sell physical items or experiences but both can be considered products, as they have attributes to be showcased and described.
I would argue this is the most important step in the ecommerce funnel, because it has to convince users to buy. Though I don’t recommend it, the rest of the site can afford to be sloppy if you have great product pages, because these can be shared via social media, email, or get to the top of Google search results.
When shopping, the user will go through three different modes before making a purchase, and the product page must solve for each of them. I categorise these modes as dreams, details, and fears.
Not all products require all three of these to be met but the more expensive and complex the product, the more all of them will be needed.
The dreams phase is the first stage and it is where the user needs to feel excited about what is being offered. You should appeal to the senses and get the user to *want* to buy the product. Without this appeal to their desires they won’t make the effort to dig into the details of the item.
The user must see themselves owning or experiencing the product and the benefits it will bring them. Things like imagery and descriptive copy can achieve this and it should happen quickly on the page (i.e. near the top). It's the high res photos of a piece of furniture, or the lavishly written description of the guest house rooms, or the video of the bike going down a mountainside.
This stage may not apply to practical or technical items (e.g. cleaning products, DIY materials) but for almost everything else it is important. Done well, this will elevate it above sites selling similar products.
The details section follows the user’s excitement about the product on offer and helps them get into thinking about the realities of making the purchase. The user now starts to get rational and consider whether the item meets their needs.
Things like feature tags, checklists, and specifications help the user reach a decision. It could be clothing coming in the right size; food being ethically sourced; hotels having a pool or gym; or a car having the colour options you want. Every product requires this kind of information or it is incomplete.
For all products the most important 'detail' is whether it comes in at the right price. This is where most of the contemplating takes place and will determine whether this item is the right choice for the user.
This is about allaying the users' fears and it is more important the more money a user is spending. This is where they need to be reassured that the product does what it claims and the website isn't lying to them.
The website can provide a lot of information but it's also helpful for a user to consult others' experiences. So as well as things like FAQs, shipping information (will I get something by a certain date?), and returns or cancellation policies, you can assist by displaying customer reviews and ratings for the product.
All products require some level of information here but it particularly matters the first time a user purchases from a site. Reviews tend not to feature for high-end brands where the fame of the brand itself does the work of re-assuring the user that they are trustworthy—but not all companies have that kind of advertising budget.
The ultimate success metric is whether users are clicking that 'buy now' or 'add to basket' button. For expensive products you should see your page as a source of leads, so it should support the secondary action of enquiring—where the user can convert offline later.
This page must work for users who are ready to buy as well as those who want to study every detail before making a purchase. You will always get a mix of quick-buyers and users who won’t buy without spending time fully understanding an item, so if you have information for your product then make sure it’s here.
It is by organising your information into clear sections you can allow the confident buyers to scan quickly through, or the more meticulous to dig into the details.
Remember, this page is also a chance to show the most personality. It's where the product needs to come to life, so it can be less prescriptive than functional pages like search and checkout.