All retailers have product pages. Some product pages are good in that they help you sell. Some product pages are neutral in that they don’t detract from making a sale. Some product pages – well, they hurt your sales.

Is your product page earning it’s keep? Is it attracting and engaging qualified buyers? Does it have a profitable look-to-book ratio? Product pages must work harder than ever before, since visitors are demanding more from your product pages than they ever have before. Add to that Google’s Panda search algorithm updates, which made unique and relevant content the minimum barrier to entry to attract search engine traffic, and you’ve got a complicated formula for success. So if you want to convert visitors into sales, you better figure out how to up your game.

When we teach people about product pages, we break them down into the five sections of the product page:

  1. Headline/title
  2. Product image
  3. Product description
  4. Ready-to-buy area
  5. Additional details

There are many tests you can perform across the five product page sections. However, there are seven must-test elements you must try in order to succeed this year. We have been seeing these concepts work across a large group of companies.

  1. Test your product headline to be benefit oriented and keyword rich as opposed to just your ordinary product name only. (“The lightest, most breathable, waterproof jacket of 2012: Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket” versus “Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket.”)
  2. Great quality product images are a must; multiple images are even better, but today you should be testing with video and video as the default “image” as well.
  3. Product descriptions need to be extremely well written. By rewriting your product descriptions to use your customer words, you can see significant gains in conversion and product page engagement. You can start by using the customer insight you get from product reviews to rewrite your descriptions and/or use a tool like InboundWriter.
  4. You should also use product badging to call out specific product features, selling points, or customer review trigger words to make it easier to digest your product descriptions.
  5. Customers not only want to know they are getting a great deal, they want to know when their product is arriving. In your ready-to-buy area, add in stock availability messaging and test how you phrase it (“Ships in next 24 hours,” “Delivery by XX/XX/XXXX date,” etc.)
  6. While you are optimizing your ready-to-buy area, be sure to test having your shipping and handling charges clearly laid out on the product page. Customers want to know their all-in costs before they even start the checkout process.
  7. One additional detail you should be testing is showing that you offer alternative payment options like PayPal, Google Checkout, or Checkout by Amazon directly on your product page.

There are so many different tests you could potentially experiment with on your product pages, but this list of seven should be a good start to optimizing so that you’re ready for Q4 2012.

In the next column, we’ll look at optimizing your product/service pages for non-e-commerce websites.

Please share if you think others would benefit.