Category: UX advice / Ecommerce guides
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The product page is where all the details about an individual product live. It doesn’t matter whether your ecommerce site sells physical items or experiences, they can be considered products as long as they have attributes to be shown and described. The product page performs a similar role to packaging where the customer can't see or touch the actual item but still wants to understand both the specifications and what it looks like.
I would argue that this is the most important step in the ecommerce funnel, because it has to convince users to buy. It’s probably where the user will spend most of their time considering the purchase. A good product page can also be found directly via social media, email, or by getting to the top of Google search results.
When shopping, whether consciously or not, the user will cycle through three different modes of thought before making a purchase, and the product page must solve for each of them. I categorise these modes as dreams, realities, and fears. Not all products require the user to consider all three 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 their senses and get the user to *want* to buy the product. Without this they won’t make the effort to dig into the details of the item.
Ideally the user should see themselves owning or experiencing the product and the benefits it will bring them. Elements that promote this should appear obviously on the page (often near the top). This is typically done through the likes of high resolution photos, videos of products in action, or carefully written descriptions.
This stage may not apply much to practical or technical items (e.g. cleaning products, DIY materials) but for almost everything else it is important. Done well, this will elevate your site above others selling similar products.
The details section follows the user’s excitement about the product on offer and helps get them into thinking about the practicalities of making the purchase. The user now starts to get rational and consider whether the item meets all their needs.
Things like feature lists and specifications will help the user reach a decision. It could be clothing coming in the right fit; food being ethically sourced; hotels having a pool or gym; or a car having the right colour options. Every product requires this kind of information or it is incomplete and some have details that are bespoke.
For all products the most important of these realities 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 that the website isn't exaggerating.
The website can provide a lot of information here but it's also helpful for a user to consult others' experiences. As well as things like FAQs, shipping information, 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.
The ultimate success metric is whether users click that 'buy now' or 'add to basket' button. For expensive products you should see your page as a source of leads (where users go on to purchase later) as much as instant purchases.
This page must work for users who are immediately ready to buy as well as those who want to study every detail before making a purchase (any store will get a mix of these users). 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.
If you want more advice on how to get your ecommerce site converting, take a look at my book Designing Ecommerce websites.
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