Product Page Checklist: 14 Elements You Need on Website Sales Pages

Price & offer are 2 elements of a good website product page.So, you managed to build your own website, or you had a professional web designer build your site. You’ve even got an ecommerce shopping cart for online sales. So…why aren’t you selling?

There are many possible factors, like traffic. If you aren’t driving enough traffic, sales are bound to suffer. But lets look at another important factor in online sales: your product pages. These are the pages that describe and sell your product. The pages from which you hope to generate your sales.

Unfortunately, due to the enormous range of product types (and services), each with its own unique characteristics and customer requirements, there is no-one-size-fits-all, silver-bullet of a product page. But there are standard elements of all product pages that you should only eliminate with good reason.

Use the following as your product page checklist and vary according to your own unique product needs.

  1. Headline: If you have a very large store selling many products that do the same thing, you may simply use the product name as the headline (as Amazon.com does). So people instantly know where they are and what’s for sale. If you are selling only one or a few products that fill different niche’s, take advantage of your headline real estate by crafting a more compelling headline. It may be one that promotes an offer or discount, that highlights a benefit, that draws readers in with a question, etc. Copyblogger.com has a great series of posts on headlines called Magnetic Headlines.
  2. Name of your product: If you are selling lots of product, and multiple products in the same area, that you include all elements of a product name (such as model numbers). Sometimes a small model number difference makes a big difference in the product. And make sure, especially if you are using product names as headlines, that you include descriptors that let people know just what it is. For example: Gizmo XYZ-750 may be the product name, but if, it’s a home theater system, Gizmo XYZ-750 Home Theater System is advised. Amazon.com does this well. You’re never left wondering by the headlines: OK, that’s the name…but what IS it? It’s also best practice to make sure you have the product name next to the offer and CTA (call to action), such your Buy Now button. So people are 100% sure what they are about to buy.
  3. Product offer: What’s the price? What’s the discounted price? Are their other incentives to order, order now, order multiple items, etc? Doing the math on offers is often effective. Don’t just say the price is now X. Say it’s now 35% off, or now you can save $200. In some cases, businesses also find showing the previous price with a strikeout and then showing the new lower price is effective. Amazon.com is very good at this. If there is a discount, they always show the List Price with a strikeout, their lower price under that (larger font size, in a different color), and they let you know in both a dollar amount and a percentage how much “You Save.”
  4. Call to action (CTA): This may be part of how you constructed your offer, but it’s worth double-checking. Make sure you have a strong CTA that tells customers what you want them to do. Use forceful verbs to drive action. It may be implicit that you want people to order your product, but be explicit: Order Now for Special Online Savings of 40%! Call Our Upgrade Hotline to Qualify for Our VIP Customer Discount! Click Here to Save $50!
  5. Pictures of your product: People are visual. It’s reassuring for them to see a product before they buy and not seeing it can introduce some anxiety (more so for clothes, furniture, electronics and other items where the style matters); and anxiety is the enemy of sales. Ideally, show multiple product shorts with different angles showing different features, different uses etc. Services are naturally hard to picture, but try to find photos to support your services. If you paint houses, showing houses you painted is perfect. If you are a plumber, maybe it’s just a picture of your truck outside a house or shots of the different kinds of work you do (sinks, shower drains, toilets, etc.). In some cases, a before-and-after photo series can be very compelling.
  6. Product feature list: This is often the easiest for businesses. It’s simply a list, or long-form copy about, the features of the product. What are the components that make the product or service compelling. For example, with EarthLink’s cable Internet service, you get high-speed connections up to 15Mbps (which is 250x the speed of dial-up), you get a complete online security suite, 24/7 support, free dial-up service, a cable Internet modem, etc. If we were selling a TV, the features would be the type of TV, screen size, resolution, built-in Wi-Fi, sound, etc.
  7. Product specs/technical parameters: Specifications can overlap with features, but they usually represent an extra level of detail down from the main features. The fact that your television is 48 pounds probably isn’t a main sales feature (though if it were just 5 pounds maybe it would be) but some people may want to know how much it weighs. Think about all the details people may want to know and make sure they can find this info. It can be linked to on a separate page or dynamic layer that pops up (like the Learn More and Compare Speeds links from our DSL Internet access page).
  8. Product benefits: This is one of the most important elements of your product sales page that is often overlooked. Benefits answer the consumer’s “what’s in it for me?” or “why should I care” questions. Sometimes because business owners are so close to their products they assume when they list product features that people simultaneously know the product benefits. That’s not so. You need to spell out not only that your TV has a XYZ-50 screen but that having an XYZ-50 screen means there will be no blurring while watching sports, that you can gather more people around the TV to watch at different angles without distortion, etc. Another way to think of benefits is to describe the pain they solve. For example, if you make service calls to people’s homes, saying you schedule in 15 minute windows is a great feature, but remind consumers of the benefit (the pain you remove): that you won’t waste your whole morning sitting at home wondering when you’ll get your service.
  9. What’s in the box: Make sure you specify everything a person can expect when they order your product. Some 3-D TVs come with 3-D glasses when you order them, others don’t. Some come with 1 pair, others 4. Is there a remote? Are there batteries? Is there a DVD setup guide? Etc. I was recently looking to buy and outdoor ping pong table and noticed some included ping pong paddles, some nets, and very few included outdoor covers to keep the table in good shape.
  10. Objections: Just because you are positive about your product or service, don’t forget people will have all kinds of possible objections or apprehensions about buying the product in general and about ordering from you specifically. There’s a sales and marketing acronym for this: FUD, which stands for fear, uncertainty, and doubt. You need to address and lessen potential buyers’ FUD to make them more likely to order from you.  Maybe you need more proof about product claims. Maybe you need to more explicitly show how this product is better than a competing product. Maybe you need to reassure people of your reputation. Maybe you need a strong and clear refund and return policy. Think about all the people who did NOT buy from you and why they didn’t. Put on your skeptics hat and make a list. You may put some of this on your main product page but put more details on a product FAQ linked from the main page.
  11. Guarantee / return policy: This overlaps with the Objections category above but it’s worth breaking out because it’s so important. Especially if you are a smaller business, not a top brand, or are relatively new online, you need to gain people’s trust. So having a strong and clear guarantee and/or return policy will go a long way to establishing trust and making sales.
  12. Testimonials, ratings & awards: This is another way to combat objections. Show testimonials from satisfied customers. Ideally, show them near where others will make their purchase decisions to help ease their fear, uncertainty and doubt. If you have a product rating mechanism, that’s great too, as long as you have enough ratings. Showing a product with 1 or 2 ratings may actually introduce more doubt. Depending on the nature of your product, you may have full case studies, which function as fact-based testimonials typically for large business purchases. Our EarthLink Business division has a page full of case studies about businesses that have benefited by using EarthLink Business services. Awards can also help support your product sales if you’re lucky enough to have won one. EarthLink Cloud recently won a Cloud Computing Excellence Award from Cloud Computing magazine, which we now have displayed on a rotating banner on the EarthLink Cloud homepage.
  13. Shipping/order information: The big fears around shipping are will shipping costs raise the price significantly and will I get what I order quick enough. The big sites are more consistent about shipping but since there’s a wider range of experiences with small companies, you have to work harder to allay people’s doubts. Make your shipping policies clear and make it easy for people to know when shipments will arrive (if necessary, include a phone number if you need to give an estimate that way).
  14. After the sale: Shipping info may be the last box you need to check, but depending on what you are selling, you may need to be clear about what comes next. For example: “Your shipment will arrive in 5 – 7 days. In 7 – 10 days we will call to schedule installation, which is typically complete in 48 hours. You will be able to choose from 3 installation windows per day. The installation typically takes 45 – 60 minutes. The professional installer will do X, Y & Z and make sure you are good to go before he leaves.”

Get Your Business Up and Running Online! (part 3)

After your domain and email addresses are set up and your site reflects the branding you want to represent your business, the last step before launching your website is to make sure it has proper functionality.  And what defines “proper” functionality?  Your customers’ needs do!  Let your customer needs decide the functionality, and make sure your web hosting provider helps you fit those needs.

The most important consideration is whether or not your customers will need online purchasing capability.  An ever-increasing number of customers shop online because it’s easy and convenient.  If your business is part of a market that generally provides an online store (aka, if most of your competitors provide one, or if you sell physical goods that can be shipped), have a hosting plan that includes a shopping cart (EarthLink Web Hosting has a great option!).  And while it is possible to add an online shopping cart to your site after buying a hosting plan, but you can save money including it immediately in your web hosting package, as opposed to after the fact.

If you don’t need an online store (for example, if your customers call and set up an appointment for a service instead of buying a physical good), just be sure to get a basic web hosting service to satisfy your needs (start by looking at EarthLink’s hosting plans).

So remember to make sure the web hosting services you select help you accomplish the following: choosing the right domain, branding options for your site, and site functionality based on your customers’ needs!

Men Are Shopping More Online

Your internet provider lets you use email, social media, do research, keep up with the news…and shop.  And it seems that online shopping may have an unexpectedly popular patron: men.

Men have been turning out to shop online in droves, and retailers are excited about this for a few reasons:

  1. Men seem to do less casual browsing than women do, meaning that they are more likely to buy when they visit a site when compared to a female consumer
  2. Men often like to get the shopping “over with” and often buy more in one transaction than their female counterparts
  3. Men seem to have brand loyalty, meaning that companies have to spend less on advertising to keep a male customer once he’s purchased

Do you think this is an accurate reading of the online-shopping-male population, or does it seem a bit stereotypical?  Either way, online shopping is a great way to get what you want on your own time (and from your own home)!

 

Keep your Company’s URL Protected

EarthLink has discussed getting your business online and how to choose the right URL for your business, but did you know your URL should be “protected”?  To find out what we mean, here are three tools that you can add to your EarthLink Web Hosting domain registration.

Domain Guard
When you spend the time to find the most appropriate URL for your company, you’re obviously going to spend time and effort making sure people will recognize it (so they visit).  But, other businesses can register similar domain names (either as an attempt to take business from you, or by mistake).  Either way this is a situation you want to avoid!  With Domain Guard, EarthLink alerts you when a similar domain name is registered, so you can respond (to protect your trademarks, copyrights, and branding efforts)!

Private Registration
When registering domains, your information (name, address, email address) is stored for anyone to look up (should they want to see who owns which URLs).  With EarthLink’s private registration, your personal information is not recorded, and you’re protected from unwanted solicitations and spam!

Domain Monitor
Did you settle for registering a “.biz” or similar URL instead of a “.com” because the domain you wanted was already owned, but not active?  EarthLink’s Domain Monitor alerts you when existing domain names become available, so you can register the URL(s) you really want!