Have you thought about how your product pages are optimized? Or have you just done a mass import of your products and called it done? If you did the second, you might want to rethink your strategy. Yes, you have your store stocked, but is that good enough?
For a moment, think about one of your favorite brick and mortar stores. Maybe Home Depot or Lowes? Not your style? How about Best Buy or the Apple Store? Neiman Marcus? Sephora? PetSmart? It doesn’t matter.
Whether you’re looking for a hot water heater or a hamster, brick and mortar retailers have something in common. They use psychology—the science of how we humans think and behave—when it comes to layout and display.
Physical store owners know consumers tend to make purchasing decisions based on emotion. Visual merchandising is all about floor plans and displays that will drive people to buy. And when it’s paired with well-trained sales associates, those retailers can expect even greater success.
Which is all great, but you’re not a brick and mortar store, are you? So how can we translate the above into something that will work for you, the online store owner?
Clear Product Titles
If you sell baseball caps, your product title shouldn’t be hats. If you sell golf balls, your title shouldn’t be balls. If you sell flip flops, your title shouldn’t be shoes.
You might wonder why since baseball caps are hats and golf balls are balls. But put yourself in your customer’s flip flops. If they haven’t found your store yet and are Googling something, are they being vague or specific?
Someone searching for golf balls is going to search by that criteria. Make sure your title contains primary keywords. The same can be said for someone already in your store.
Search criteria tend to be specific. So think of nesting products under categories and put your product titled golf balls under the category ball.
Detailed Product Descriptions
In a brick and mortar store, you typically have the help of an experienced sales person—should you want it. If you have questions, you either have to walk up and down countless isles to find a sales associate—I’m talking to you, Home Depot—or there’s one hovering right over your shoulder. Either way, you ask your question and hopefully, they can answer it.
Think of your product description as your salesperson. And since you don’t know what questions your customers might have, your product description should answer every question they might have.
That means it has to be very detailed. It doesn’t matter if you think a certain detail is insignificant, trust me, to someone else it will be a vital, deal-making or deal-breaking piece of information.
Have you ever been looking at an item online and gone to zoom in to get a better view? And there is no zoom? Or they do the fake zoom? The zoom icon is there, and you think, great. Then you click and you get an image that’s the exact same size of the thumbnail or original image? Or they do have a full-size image but only have a single image from one angle?
That makes me crazy, and I’m sure it makes a whole lot of other people crazy too.
If your customers don’t have the ability to take things in hand and turn them back and forth to get the full picture, give them the full picture. Nice, clear, vivid pictures. Pictures they can blow up. You’ll be surprised at how much more you sell.
Granted, not all products are going to lend themselves to video but use your common sense. If a customer could benefit from a video or a video demonstration, you’ll increase engagement and better yet, sales.
Since marketing claims skim fairly close to being outright lies in a lot of cases, many people like to see proof.
Add Trust Badges
With the proliferation of phishing and scam sites, gaining the trust of your customers and visitors is crucial. If you want them to share personal information with you, like their credit card information, they should have an assurance that you are legit. If you have the means to put them at ease, use them.
Do you have a problem with cart abandonment? The reason could be because customers are unsure about the security of your site and simply don’t trust you with their credit card.
In 2017, 19% of cart abandonment at checkout was due to this very reason. So calm the fears of your customers. Let them know you’re following best practices when it comes to cybersecurity and that their payment information isn’t in jeopardy. Adding a trust badge will give them this assurance.
Add Free Shipping/Fast Shipping Badges
Does your store offer free shipping? Expedited shipping? Either on your entire inventory or on select items?
A lot of online shoppers, myself included, will immediately look for your shipping and returns information before they purchase. Why make them work for it? And since I always check, I know how deeply that info is sometimes buried.
However, I’m a savvy online shopper and I’m a store owner, so I can typically dig the information up fairly quickly. But what about your customers? They shouldn’t have to search for information, especially if it’s good news, like free shipping.
If you offer free shipping on all or just a few things, add free shipping badges to your product pages.
Add Structured Data
Every product page should include structured data, also called schema markup.
Have you ever done a Google search and right at the top of the SERP is a website where you just don’t have the typical link to the corresponding webpage, but a layout of the company plus some of its top pages or categories?
Like this, for example?
That’s how your site would look in the SERPS if you’ve added structured data.
The benefits are twofold. First, Google and other search engines are able to understand what your content is about. In this case your product pages. Secondly, when users search they will see the value of your site at a glance, right there in the SERPS.
Once you’ve added this to your site, there’s also a testing ground to see what the final outcome will look like. Here’s a link to the tool.
Show Reviews on your Product Pages
These days, social proof is critical. One of the best ways of showing that is by means of product reviews.
Since, of course, you have glowing product reviews, you don’t want them hidden somewhere on your site. Each product page should clearly announce that many others have purchased and used your product and given their stamp of approval.
If you haven’t been collecting reviews, it’s time to start. Not sure where to start? We have a bit of a guide on how to get reviews right here.
If you get all these steps in place, your online store is well on the way to offering what brick and mortar stores do in terms of visual merchandising.