All too often we see online stores that have no life to them. The pictures are either generic images that every site selling that product uses, or they are of poor quality showing the item sitting on a shelf in their store. The product titles are generic as well. Often the descriptions on the product page are of the product are either non-existent or only a sentence or two. In short, there is absolutely nothing that would make a person want to buy that product from you. The solution is not that difficult, but you must put some effort into it.
Ask yourself this question: “If I was a customer, what would I want to know about this product in order for me to make a buying decision?” It turns out that more detailed product page is better. A DemandGen Report backs this up: 95% of buyers chose a solution provider that “Provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.” The more information you provide, the more likely the consumer will have the information they need to get them to purchase from you.”
Here’s how to do it:
Create a Buyer Persona
You should know exactly who your target customer is. For example, I run a website called Cyberbase Trading Post, which is for scout leaders. But certain products might be for young mothers (of cub scout-aged boys), while other products might be for middle-aged men (who have older sons in a high adventure troop). Your product page should speak directly to your buyer persona as if you were having a one-on-one conversation with that specific person. Imagine someone coming into your store, and you are talking to them in a conversation about what they are looking for. That is the same conversation you want to have with them digitally.
Create Buyer Persona Product Titles
It is rare that you should use the name of the product as supplied by the manufacturer as your product title. This is too generic. Instead, craft your titles to speak to the person you are selling to. For example, I sell fake candles on Cyberbase (which can be useful for scouting ceremonies). Instead of a title like:
Do this instead:
The Perfect Artificial Candle that is Ideal for Fire Restrictions or Windy Outdoor Scout Ceremonies
The concept here is that you are appealing to your specific buyer. All of your product titles should do this.
Show Your Product in Context
The generic images on your product page as supplied by the manufacturer are used by every site on the internet selling the same product as you. You want your product detail pages to stand out. The best way to do this is to show the product in action. These are sometimes called lifestyle photos. In the case of the fake candles, take a photograph of a scout “lighting” (turning on) the candle during a ceremony. This could be an indoor ceremony in a building that doesn’t allow open flames. Take another photo of an outdoor ceremony showing the candles remaining “lit,” even though the wind is blowing. Use multiple images to tell your story.
Photos may be the most important part of your product page. It is critical that you use high-quality photographs to help sell your products. Consumers today are spoiled by high-resolution professional photographs and they can see the difference. Do not skimp on photography.
Ideally, your product page should have:
- Photographs set on a white, off-white, or neutral background
- High-resolution images available (no tiny images, please!)
- Images that can be zoomed in on to reveal more detail
- Multiple photos of the product from each necessary angle (top, bottom, sides…)
- Photos of details or included items, such as components, accessories, packaging, etc.
Having your original product image (not contextual images) on a white or neutral background will make your images look more professional. You can remove an image background by using a program like PhotoClip.
Make sure to keep all of your product image with the same aspect ratio, so you don’t end up with a catalog page that looks like this:
By ensuring that all of your products images are the same, simply make each of your primary images fit inside of a square, regardless of the shape of the object. For example:
The reason for showing product images “in context” is because it shows scale as well as usability. For example:
Ideally, you want both types of images to portray as much information as possible. Action shots of someone using your product are always great for supplemental photos.
In addition, not instead of, include a video showing the product being used. Video is way under-utilized on ecommerce web sites. Video is your opportunity to sell your product as if you were the salesperson face-to-face with a customer who walked in your physical brick and mortar store. People like to watch the internet much more than they like to read the internet. So, make a short 1 to 2-minute video about the product. Make sure you show how the product is being used, not just you standing there saying “we also offer these fake candles.” If you are selling a cooking gadget, create a video of you using the cooking gadget. Or hire professional video production company to do the hard work for you. Show the product in action!
There is another very good reason to create a product video for every one of your products, and that is search engine placement. Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a question that almost everyone asks about. “How can I get listed on page one of Google?” seems to be the common thing that business owners want to know. This is the answer. You should upload your videos to YouTube. You will end up with an entire “channel” of every item in your store. The video titles should mimic your product titles, targeting your buyer persona. The description of the video on YouTube must contain a link back to the product page where you are selling that item. To create this link, simply enter the entire URL string in the description, including the http:// or https:// prefix. Simply saying, “you can buy this at www.mysite.com” is not enough to generate the link. You must say “this product is available for purchase at
When you do this, Google (which owns YouTube) will follow that link using their “bots” back to the page on your website that is actually selling the fake candles (or whatever you are demonstrating). When the bot arrives at your product page, it will see that this page is in fact talking about the fake candles and will assume that the page must be really important as it relates to fake candles and will push you to the top of the search results for that search term. So, having a video for each of your products helps to not only engage with your customers, but also helps those customers find you in the first place. Take the time to do this for all your products. It is worth it.
Craft Buyer Persona Specific Product Descriptions
Most websites do not provide enough detail about their products. Don’t simply say:
Fake Candles. Can be used for scout ceremonies.
Dan & Chip Heath, NYT Best-Selling authors, tell us that after a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories, while only 5% remember statistics. The same is true with sales copy, so tell a story. Remember, you are the expert on what you are selling. Your customer may know very little about your product. This is what content marketing is all about, providing content. People come to the internet looking for information, so give it to them. Don’t hold back because you think you are being too verbose. It is highly unlikely that this is the case. So, don’t just use a short terse description like the previous example. Try to engage with your buyer persona with something like this instead:
Does your scout unit meet in a church, school or other building that prohibits the use of open flames? You want to use candles as part of your scout ceremonies, but you are not allowed to – until now!
Any scout unit can now use candles as part of their ceremonies by using these faux candles because they not only look real but are 100% safe.
These artificial candles look exactly like a real candle. They are made of real wax so they not only look real, they even feel real! The “flames” flicker and dance so you can’t tell the difference, even when close-up.
Lighting the candles can be done with the remote control switch, which allows you to make the motion as if you were actually lighting the candle. Instead, you simply push a button to turn on the flame. The flame is created by using an LED light that shines on a piece of moving plastic that is shaped like a flame. This gives it the effect of a real candle flame. These are so realistic that we’ve even had the fire department called when we were using them. Talk about creating an event that your scouts will not soon forget!
Another common problem with candles at scout ceremonies is that outdoor ceremonies make using candles almost impossible. Even the slightest breeze will usually blow out the candles. These artificial candles remain “lit” even in windy conditions. Their long battery life insures that the candles won’t go out half-way through your ceremony. Don’t spoil the effect of the ceremony by having your flames extinguished. Be sure to buy twelve of these – one for each point of the Scout Law.
- SIZE: 8” tall x 3” diameter
Made of plastic and coated with real wax
- SAFE – eliminates fire hazards compared with real burning candles, ensuring safety around children, pets and adults
- FREE REMOTE – we are currently offering a FREE remote control with every purchase
- MOVING WICK – flameless, natural moving wick simulates authentic flame movement
- 5-HOUR TIMER – environmentally conscious and cost effective 5-hour timer function
- BATTERY LIFE: 60- hour battery life (requires 2 D batteries, not included)
- CLEAN – no burnt-out wax and wicks and allows a pollution-free, pure air environment. No need to keep re-buying candles
- REAL IVORY WAX – looks and feels just like a real candle
- 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
Yes, that description appears to be long-winded, but studies have shown that longer copy sells more on the internet than short copy. In fact, the average word count of pages that ranked on the first page of Google for a given search term is a little over 2,000 words. The above copy is less than 400 words, so don’t be afraid of saying too much.
This product description follows a tried and tested formula that you should follow:
- The first paragraph talks about the problem or their pain.
- The second paragraph is courtesy Ray Edwards, one of the premier copy-writers in the world who is responsible for generating hundreds of millions in revenues. Ray calls this your unique core thesis. The structure is like this:
Any [your audience] can [describe the solution] by using [your product or service] because [how it solves the problem].
- The next few paragraphs are used to appeal to their emotions and describe the benefits they get by using your products. It is best to use real stories if you can and show how your product solves the problem.
- Conclude the body of the copy with a call to action. In the example above, I suggest that they buy 12 candles – one for each point of the Scout Law. Ray Edwards suggests making the call to action include a “what if” question: What if you don’t purchase these candles? You can continue to not have the ability to use candles at your ceremonies. You can continue to have your ceremonies be forgetful and uninteresting. Or you can choose to purchase these candles and make your scout ceremonies something that the boys will remember for years to come.
This may or may not be appropriate on all product detail pages, but a call to action is certainly recommended. This approach can be used whether you are selling on a marketplace like amazon, your own ecommerce website, or creating affiliate links where you are selling other people’s products.
- Finally, (and this is sometimes on a separate tab), you list the features and specifications for those that want this detailed information. This is especially useful for technical products like cameras or water pumps. Specifications are best displayed in a table or as bullet points. But this should never be the focus of your copy. You should always concentrate on benefits, not features.
Your product specifications are for purely informational purposes, and are meant to get straight to the point. Shoppers will be looking for a spot on your product page where they can find the following, ideally in bullet point form:
- Full dimensions, including height, weight,
- If item is to be worn, sizing information
- Materials used or included
- The product’s country of origin
- Whether or not assembly is required
- Whether or not additional parts are required
(most often batteries)
- Any warnings, hazards, or disclaimers
- Links to any technical manuals, charts or
installation instructions as a PDF.
Invest in the time to craft a detailed product description and target that description at the exact person (buyer persona) who you are trying to sell to. This will pay huge dividends.
Include a “Short Description”
Most shopping cart software allows you to include a short description as well as the long description I just described. A short description or introduction, should typically be less than 100 words. Take advantage of using both a short description and a long description. The reason is, many customers will only skim your page, rather than reading everything word-for-word. Condense what your buyer needs to know into a short description that uses bullet points. In this section, talk primarily about benefits, not features.
But, and this is important, do not only have a short description instead of the full-length description. Do both. Yes, it is more work, but we are talking about creating an ideal product listing that will significantly increase product conversions. Not everyone consumes information the same way. You want to provide all of these items: buyer persona specific title, long description, short description, high quality featured image, high quality photos showing your product in action, and finally, social proof or testimonials and reviews.
Reinforce with Social Proof
You need to let others share their experiences with your product, both by providing customer reviews and testimonials as well as posts and stories from social media. Just like Amazon, you want one customer to sell other customers on why they should by this product from you. Customer reviews are huge when it comes to influencing others to buy. People are much more likely to take the word of a total stranger about your products than they are from you (after all, you are the salesman). This is true in spite of the fact that you have established yourself as the expert and have shown that your site is all about helping them. Let your customers do the talking!
You may want to include a plugin on your website like ProofFactor, which increases the social proof on your website by displaying customers who recently purchased products from you.
If you study the product listings on Amazon, you will find that the best-selling products have a few things in common: great photos, detailed descriptions, titles that grab your attention, comprehensive specifications and great customer reviews. Follow these examples to make your online store standout!
About the author:
Greg Jameson has been at the forefront of digital commerce since the start and brings 30+ years of web development and ecommerce mastery. He is often referred to as an internet pioneer and has authored over a dozen books on ecommerce.
He has awards for international developer of the year, Colorado Small Business of the Year and listed on the INC 500 of fastest growing companies in America.
Connect with Greg at http://GregJameson.com/connect