When Episerver customer LivingSpaces.com was named a top-three furniture retailer website in the United States by product visualization company Cylindo, we paused in between our pats on the back to examine the criteria they used to make this determination and share how that information could be used by you, a marketer or merchandiser.
The checklist Cylindo created serves retailers across all industries well: zoom, product customization, 360 views, room scenes, augmented reality, video, reviews, product recommendations, mobile optimization and page load speed. To score high as a furniture retailer, Cylindo wanted to see each of these boxes checked off, which LivingSpaces.com accomplished. You may be thinking “room scenes” or “augmented reality” does not apply to you so let’s break down each of these elements a bit more to cross industries and provide a product page checklist.
In real life (or “IRL” as the kids say), people pick up small items to look at them more closely. Online, people are even more skeptical. They do not want to feel cheated in any way, so they do their due diligence to ensure a product meets their expectations or standards. As such, the ability to zoom in on product images is an essential product page element. Without zoom, buyers may not feel comfortable purchasing an item they do not have complete visibility into. While zoom is helpful for apparel, B2B sites such as Episerver customer Motoral find this feature helpful as well to allow people to zoom in on a label or see a specification more closely for products that are critically important to get right when ordering.
People want to see how products will fit into their lives – a purple couch may not look good in their blue living room – and allowing them to customize the product to their individual choices enhances the customer experience. Living Spaces offers customers the option to choose from more than 120 fabrics for no extra charge.
Companies outside the furniture retail space can also use product specification filtering to ensure a product fits into a person’s life without customizing the SKU. Episerver customer American Muscle includes a filtering feature that allows a shopper to enter their car type, car year, color and model to determine if a product fits their vehicle.
Similar to zoom functionality, 360-views of products allow a person to mimic how they interact with a product offline. They can pick it up, spin it and set it back down or – in the case of furniture – look low, look high or walk around the item. Online, a 360-view of a product gives consumers peace of mind they have explored every possible angle of a product to make the best decision for them. Additionally, 360 views can tap into touchscreen capabilities for a fully immersive experience.
Not every company has the need for room scenes, like a furniture retailer would of course, but the idea is to help consumers visualize a product in a highly editorial way. In fact, Episerver data indicates 10 percent of shoppers head to a brand’s website for the first time to find inspiration such as style or usage guidance. The takeaway? Editorialize product pages to make for a more compelling visit.
Forty percent of consumers have tried or would be interested in trying augmented or virtual reality (AR or VR). Living Spaces uses augmented reality to help buyers see what a furniture item looks like in their room. While this technology still seems somewhat futuristic, the popularity of games like Pokémon Go suggest people are quite comfortable with the concept. There could quite possibly be product pages for intangible uses of augmented reality such as purchasing the rights to experience a book, attend a sporting event or travel to a destination. Today, AR/VR is used to help people try on clothes or find their right fit. Companies will want to quickly think of how AR/VR can enhance their customers’ buying experience.
Whether it is videos about the company’s culture or videos of people wearing or using the product, 21 percent of shoppers consider videos a must-have website feature when purchasing from a brand. On a product page, videos help provide even more context to help reduce buyer anxiety.
It should be no surprise that the majority of global consumers (55 percent) consider product reviews a must-have feature on a brand or retailer’s website. As shoppers have gotten more mature in their online buying behaviors, negative reviews can even help secure a conversion because people discern whether that person’s experience is relevant to theirs. Product pages should take reviews a step further such as the ability to sort reviews based on elements such as recency and relevancy.
Shoppers are willing to provide retailers more information if it improves their online experience. Product recommendations are one of the many ways companies can express to consumers that their previous actions, preferences and information is being put to good use. For business value, product recommendations help increase basket sizes and conversion rates.
(Source: Top Shop)
Episerver data from nearly a quarter billion retail sessions shows that desktop conversions are outpacing sales made on smartphones, despite the majority of traffic coming from these devices (and for some time). It is not enough to simply have a mobile-friendly website as Amazon and others have made interacting with their digital properties from a smartphone hyper intuitive in ways such as biometric login, swiping functionality, voice-enablement, GPS-enabled features and more. Product pages designed for how people truly use their phones stand to be higher converting than those that do not.
People have little patience for waiting for a site to load. With each millisecond added, a person’s likeliness of leaving the site increases. With Episerver, Metro Bank’s website loads in less than two seconds for 90 percent of users.
While three seconds or faster is used as a benchmark for good page loading time, Google found industries have much higher averages. How does your site compare?
Only 17 percent of the online shoppers say the primary reason they visit a brand's website for the first time is to make a purchase. When a person makes it to a product page, the digital red carpet must be rolled out for them with must-haves like those described herein.
Need to make a business case for improving your digital experience?
Analyst & Public Relations Manager, Episerver