How To Optimize Your Product Pages For More Sales: 11 Expert-Recommended Tips

You open up your Live View reporting to check on your sales funnel, and you can see you have some work to do.

You’re doing a great job of getting people to your store, but the numbers are crystal-clear. You’re not getting enough of those visitors to add things to their carts.

You know your product pages should be convincing more people to add your (awesome) products to their carts, but they don't seem to be—and you're not sure why not, or how to fix it.

Don’t worry. There are experts for that, and thanks to Shopify’s Partner Program, we have them on speed-dial.

We know that a high-converting product page is worth it’s weight in gold (and a little bit more, since web pages are notoriously light) so we asked our squad of experts how you can level up your product pages.

They delivered, with great advice and even better examples. Here’s what you can learn from heavy-hitting product pages, designed and crafted by the pros.

Have you worked with a Shopify Partner this year?

Shopify’s Commerce Awards celebrates great work by Shopify Partners and Developers in design, UX/UI, app development, and marketing/branding. Nominate great work (including yours), and get recognized in world-renowned web design and development publications.

Nominate a Shopify Partner for a Commerce Award

The basics: what makes a great product page?

In theory, product pages are simple. You want to give your ideal customer the right amount of information to help them buy the product they want, and convince them that buying this product is going to work out for them.

As Rosara Joseph, Content Strategist at VentureWeb puts it,

“The paramount goal for your product pages should be to build user confidence by providing all the information necessary for a purchasing decision and making the process as intuitive and straightforward as possible.”

But if you’re thinking that’s easier said than done, same. So how are you supposed to start?

There are four things that come together to create a truly great product page:

  • Your product
  • Your brand
  • Your copywriting
  • Your page’s design and user experience

Your product is obviously center stage, since this is its chance to shine, but what exactly you’re selling might inform how it’s presented—and what questions your customers have before they can commit to buying.

Your brand is important everywhere, from social media images to your post-sale emails, but it’s especially important on your product pages. With the way products are discovered these days, someone might never see your homepage before buying from you, so branding on your pages matters.

Your copywriting is important, because it’s how you combine the written information your customers need with your brand’s unique voice and tone.

Your page design, and your user experience, is going to be informed by all of these things, but there are nuances involved, especially from the user’s perspective. How things are arranged on the page, and what’s included, can have a big impact on your conversions.

With all that in mind, here are 11 specific things our team of Shopify Partner experts recommended you keep in mind when you’re working on levelling up your product-page game.

1. Do you have a clear call-to-action (CTA)?

You’ve got one goal on a product page: get your customer to hit “Buy” (or “Add to Cart,” or whatever you label your main call-to-action button). That’s why Maria Bonello, Director of Strategy at SMAKK Studios recommends that you start there if you’re troubleshooting your product page, or building one from scratch.

“Let’s start with the basics: the Add to Cart button is the most important component on the page, and should stand out from the surrounding content. The area around the button should be uncluttered so that there are no distractions or obstacles that block the user. It should also be immediately visible when you first land on the page – i.e. if your product description pushes the add to cart button below the bottom of the browser, it’s time for a redesign.”


Wondering what that looks like IRL? Here’s an example that SMAKK Studios designed for Wristology.

Image credit: Wristology / SMAKK Studios.

You can see that the CTA button takes a beautiful center stage position, sits above the fold, and there’s nothing in this section of the page that’s drawing your attention away from the reason you’re there. (Which is buying.)

To add to the clarity angle, Courtney Hartmann Tisa from Internet Marketing Inc. has a bit of extra advice on the copywriting side.

"Don't try to be clever with CTAs. Direct 'Add to Cart' or 'Submit Order' will do."

“Don’t try to be clever with CTAs. Direct “Add to Cart” or “Submit Order” will do.” There’s a time and place for clever branding and copywriting (which we’ll get to in a second) but you want to make sure you’re not confusing someone who just wants to buy your stuff.

2. Do you have great product photography?

There are so many perks to ecommerce.

You can sell to the world! You don’t have the high overhead of a retail space! But you also have some challenges, and one of the biggies is that your customers can’t usually see, touch, taste, or try your products IRL before they buy.

That’s why product photography plays such a major role on your product pages, and why almost every expert we spoke to brought it up as a key factor in building a great page.

“My experience as a web designer has taught me that when it comes to ecommerce, people DO judge a book by its cover, so invest in solid product photography,” says Mark Perini, Founder of ICEE Social.


And the impact of great product photos goes far beyond just your product pages, in case you’re still on the fence about investing in your photos.

“Your products will show up in a magnitude of sites throughout the web (social site, Google Search, Bing, Ads, social recommendation site) so make sure you are perceived in the best possible light by really making your products shine!”


Just think about all the holiday gift guides happening right now. If you don’t have great, versatile photos, how likely are you to get chosen for them? Exactly.

3. Do you have the right product photography?

There are a lot of ways you can create great product photos, and some clear guidelines that apply to everyone.

That said, your products are unique, which means your product photos need to be, too. Maria Bonello of SMAKK Studios shared a bit of the thought process behind how they make sure to highlight the important parts of a product with photography—specifically, with Chinese herbs.

“Dao Labs is a brand that creates traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for a westernized audience. They came to us with their concept and we were tasked to create a simple and modern brand that would make this often misunderstood holistic medicine feel approachable, credible and essential to a balanced lifestyle. When it came to the product page we knew that our audience was not as likely to be familiar with TCM and so we wanted to tell a larger story around the product that would bring it to life. On each page we talk about the benefits, usage, and history behind all of the products in a way that’s approachable.”
Image credit: Dao / SMAKK Studios.

She goes on to talk a bit about how you can do this for your own brand.

“It’s your opportunity to design an experience that casts your product in the best light. Show multiple angles, allow users to zoom, call out unique features – good photography builds expectations and credibility.”

4. Do you link your images to your variants?

Naming your product variants (colors, scents, etc.) can be a great way to add some personality to your products, but if you take it too far, your potential customers might not know what “Frosted Dreamscape” actually looks like on a t-shirt. Is it pink? White? Multicolor? Transparent? 

That’s why linking your images to your product variants is so important, and can help increase your conversions on your product pages, says Alan Schaffer, Director at Bismuth Studios.

“Not linking images to your variants is one of the most common mistakes I see people making. Often people name their colors with funky names, making it hard for customers to be sure they are picking the right color.”

Personality is great, just as long as it comes with an equal dose of clarity.

5. Do you have the right amount of detail for your price?

If you’re selling at a low price point, you might not need the same amount of detail as a luxury item. But if you are on the higher end of the luxury (and price) scale, you’ll need to take that into account when you’re writing your product page, advises Alan.

“If you have a simple product with a rather high price point you need to make sure that your copy will help you backup that price. Make sure you describe properly the materials, the origins and the passion behind this product.”

“Often merchants think their customers know and understand the products as much as they do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You should do all you can to communicate the quality and the value behind your product, and not assume that your customer already gets your product or why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
"Often merchants think their customers know and understand the products as much as they do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth."

Even if you’re not a premium brand, and you never want to be, it’s worth evaluating if you have enough information on your product pages to answer your customers’ questions. It just becomes critical when you’re aiming for a premium price.

6. Do you have the right amount of detail for your customers?

Your product and its price are two things that can guide the amount of content you have on your product page, but the most important factor is always your customers.

You need to provide enough content for every customer, whether they’re already an expert in what you sell, or if they’re just starting to learn about your products, says Rosara Joseph from VentureWeb.

“Your product pages must contain information that caters to your current and prospective customers. Some of your users will be experts in the type of products you sell, others will be coming with less background knowledge. Make sure that the information you share is useful and understandable for as many as possible, without patronizing or talking down to your users.

For example, we work with adventure and outdoor brands. One challenge we’ve had is ensuring that our clients’ product pages strike the right balance between tech geek content (the numbers and stats about measurements, weight, materials used, etc) and content which translates to a less tech-focused person. Always be mindful of communicating the consumer benefit for your product’s features. For example, a mountain bike with bigger suspension offers more control and stability on fast, gnarly terrain, but is unnecessary if most of your riding will be on gravel paths."

"Always be mindful of communicating the consumer benefit for your product’s features."

And if you’re wondering how this might apply outside of the adventure world, don’t worry—Rosara gave us some specific tips to help strike this balance on your product page.

  • Well executed product videos can condense lots of complex details and storytelling into a short clip.
  • Use UX features such as drop down tabs, overlay or pop-over boxes, and content that reveals when you hover over. That will ensure that users who want to read more details can easily find that information, without overwhelming or crowding the page.
  • Use a clear structure and hierarchy in your copywriting. Careful use of headings and subheadings will make it much easier for users to scan through your content and find what they’re looking for more easily.
  • Anticipate the questions your target users will have, and create useful product guides which directly answer those questions.

7. Do you have a well-branded product page?

Your brand isn’t just your social media graphics and your logo. It’s everything you stand for, who you serve, and why you do what you do (although yes, the graphics matter too!) And your brand can be a make-or-break part of your product pages, says Mark Perini, Founder of ICEE Social.

“The difference between creating a mediocre product page and a stellar product page is your ability to weave your brand's DNA into the page. As a visitor, as soon as I land on the product page I want to know within two seconds what your brand is all about.”


So how can you do that? Well, Perini recommends a simple thought exercise to get you going.

“If you’re starting from scratch on a product page, remember that some visitors may never visit your homepage, (if they are referred over from your social media sites, a landing page or an article) so put your brand in the absolute best light.

My client, Pinpaper Press, saw that most of their referrals were going straight to the product page so they optimized the copywriting and product page design to highlight their brand as soon as you land on the page.
Image credit: Pinpaper Press / ICEE Social.
From the get go you’ve got clear, clean visuals that tell you exactly what the product’s about: good old-fashioned holiday fun with a modern edge.”

8. Do you have aspirational content?

Most customers (other than your mom) aren’t buying your products because they love you. They want your products to do something for them—solve a problem, make them better, help them do something. Your product pages should make it easy for them to see how your products can do that.

“Make your content provide an answer to an aspiration,” advises Rosara Joseph from VentureWeb. “Think about how your product can help make your users’ lives more fun, enjoyable, or efficient. How does this bike make you a better, faster rider? How will these skis make you ski like a rock star in the deep powder?”

"Think about how your product can help make your users’ lives more fun, enjoyable, or efficient."

This was echoed by several of our experts—aspirations matter to your customers, and your product page. As Maria from SMAKK Studios elaborates:

“It’s all about the lifestyle. How does your brand and products fit into a specific lifestyle and how do you make it relevant for your consumers? Selling your products is all about the story that you tell around them—bring them and the brand to life by guiding your users through the details that matter.”

9. Do you have content that sounds human?

When you’re trying to get all your features onto the page, it can be easy to slip into boring bullets and uninspired paragraphs. That’s fine for a first draft, but before you publish your page, make sure to go back and build in a bit of your brand voice.

“Descriptions don’t have to be bland - invest the time and energy to speak to your users,” advises Maria.

“Think about who you’re writing to and how you can make your brand come to life. Would it be on brand to say y’all? Great, go for it! But if something doesn’t feel on brand then don’t try to make it work, it won’t be authentic to who you are and it likely won’t resonate with your audience, either. It’s equally as important to remember that most of your users won’t read so don’t write too much copy. You have about .02 seconds to make an impression on so make it a lasting one by owning your voice!”

If you want to see this in action, Maria has a great example cued up: Wristology.

“Whenever we talk about great copy on a product page, we always point to Wristology. Wristology is a direct to consumer watch brand that offers fashion forward watches for $50 or less.

Though their business was already booming on Amazon, they wanted to bring the spirit and style of their watches to their site. We worked with them to redesign their brand and website with their fashion forward audience in mind. In doing this, we thought a lot about who Wristology is as a brand, who their audience is and what they care about, and what role Wristology plays in their consumers’ lives.
Image credit: Wristology / SMAKK Studios.
This audience was considered in every touchpoint, especially product copy. Instead of speaking at them, we spoke to them - capturing the voice and tone that their best friend or cool older sister might use.”

10. Do you have social proof?

At the end of the day, a product page is a landing page, so you can steal some of the best practices from more “traditional” landing page advice. It wouldn’t be a landing page without some social proof, and the same goes for your product pages.

“Adding social proof adds credibility and definitively boosts conversion. Reviews, photos from Instagram, and first-person testimonials are a great way to build consumer trust and encourage purchasing behavior. Especially for new brands, giving consumers reasons to believe adds a layer of trust to the buying experience,” Maria shares with us.

 

Image credit: MD Solar Sciences / SMAKK Studios.

"This is an example from MD Solar Sciences. They get consistently stellar reviews, so we made them a focal point to increase consumer confidence in their sun care line.”

11. Do you have a good understanding of your customer?

To make any of these decisions well, from how much detail to include, to which product attributes to highlight in your photography, you need to really understand who your customer is and what they want from you.

"Everything stems back to your audience and telling a story that matters to them. Do your homework to understand your consumers and learn who they are, what their motivations are, and what matters to them."


Maria shares an example of how they were able to use a customer profile to really dig into what would make a great product page: Phoebe James. SMAKK Studios worked with the brand to define an ideal customer, and adapt the store (and the product pages) to suit her.

"We created a multifaceted character named Phoebe James that reflected the brand principles. We worked to create Phoebe’s world - thinking about everything through the lens of this character and her values. From there, you can start to craft your story and carve out space for yourself in the marketplace. Make sure that this story is woven through your product page. Don’t just show one product shot on white, invest the time and money to make your products stand out."
 
They definitely did that, as you can see from this animation showcasing the product in use.
Image credit: Phoebe James / SMAKK Studios.

So what makes a great product page?

It’s not as simple as choosing one of these pieces of advice and calling it a day. Your product page is always going to be a balance between all of these factors, and it’s going to evolve as you go.

Making a great product page is tough, which is why we have entire categories dedicated to recognizing the pros who create great ones in this year’s Commerce Awards.

If you know of a Shopify Partner who’s done some great work this year (including you) make sure to nominate them before December 31st, 2017. It’s not just about product pages, either—you can nominate work in 16 different categories.