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The features you need to add to product pages will vary according to the type of ecommerce site.

Some of the things on this list are essentials for any online retailer, while others are dependent on the sector and target market.

This checklist contains some of the more common elements that customers are looking for on ecommerce product pages, as well as some more advanced features that can enhance the experience.

Your product pages should contain the essentials listed below, and most of the others. I haven't listed product reviews as essential, but I'd say they're pretty close to it.

I've tried to think of everything here, but please let me know what I've missed, and what works for your site. 

Product page essentials

The following features are a must for any product page. This is the basic information that shoppers want to see before making a purchase decision.

Product title

Use the H1 tag for the product title, which will help search engines to index the product page

Images

Good product images are vitally important, as they provide the first impression of the product, and are key in the customer's purchase decision. 

Add to cart button

Make it nice and clear, and distinguish it from other elements on the page.

Here's a good example from House of Fraser, with the colour contrast making the call to action standout. 

Price

Obvious really. Make it clear. 

Availability

No-one wants to add items to their basket only to find they're out of stock, so show stock availability. 

For multichannel retailers, showing stock in the customer's local store is a great feature. 

This can be a great sales driver, as showing that there are just a few items available can push the customer into a decision to buy. 

Payment methods

How can customers pay for the item? Show available methods, as this may affect a decision to purchase.

This doesn't necessarily have to be the most prominent item but it should be there for those customers that look for it. 

Here, Firebox summarises the accepted payment methods with the logos. A nice and simple way to convey this information:

Shipping (delivered to / carrier options / fees / offers)

This is key information. The ability to get items delivered within a particular time scale, and at a cost that the customer considers reasonable is a big part of a shopper's purchase decision. 

Returns policy

Again, if customers are unsure about a purchase - whether a dress is the right size for instance - then a clear and flexible returns policy can influence that decision. 

Product page copy

Sell the product, don't just go for the manufacturer's standard description. While this approach is easier, a more personal touch and unique tone of voice can help your product pages stand out and really sell the benefits of products. 

There are also SEO benefits to creating unique copy. If your competitors are using the same manufacturer's product descriptions, there is a real opportunity to strand out in search results pages, since your description will be unique. 

Customised product descriptions also allow you to provide more text and keywords for search engines to index. 

This, from J Peterman, is the copy for a bomber jacket: 

Product detail (materials used / dimensions / weight / cleaning / washing)

People need the detail, so provide all the information they'll need to decide on the product. 

Amazon may have long, sprawling product pages, but all the information customers need (and much more sometimes) is there. 

Sizing / size guide

This is very important, especially for clothing sites. Providing a comprehensive size guide and information on the style and fit of clothes can help to minimise returns rates. 

Here's a good example from JC Penney, with a detailed guide appearing in a lightbox on the product page: 

Colour options

Show the available colour options of products and, if possible, show images of how they look.

Here's a great example from American Apparel. 18 different colours, and a separate image for each: 

User generated content

While not in the essentials list, product reviews should be considered a must for retailers, thanks to the benefits in terms of conversions and credibility.

Item ratings

A good place to start is an average review score towards the top of the page. This allows the shopper to make a quick judgement, while the number of reviews left is useful additional information. 

Item reviews (and / or comments)

Customers will want to see the detail, so showing reviews in full further down the product page is the best way to do this. 

Here, Diapers.com shows the detail further down the page, with useful summaries and pros and cons.

It's a good idea to use Amazon reviews as well.

 

Tools for rating reviews

Amazon famously credits the addition of the question 'was this review helpful?' for adding to its bottom line, as this enabled it to show the most useful reviews, and therefore those best for conversion, at the top of the list. 

Sorting options for reviews

This is very useful for purchases such as digital cameras, where there are lots of different types of users. I may be a novice photographer, so reviews from keen amateurs, or those who simply point and shoot will be more relevant to me. 

Add to wishlist 

This is a useful feature, and well used by Amazon. It allows shoppers to bookmark items for future purchase, and gives the retailer an opportunity to learn more about the customer, and remind them when they return to the site, or perhaps with a well targeted email. 

For a richer experience...

The following features can make the page and products more attractive to customers, showing products in the best possible light and providing useful information for shoppers.

Video

Video works on product pages. Catwalk style videos can help to sell clothing on fashion sites, while allowing retailers to showcase more complex products.

Here, AO.com staff walk customers through products. 

This allows customers to see the workings of the items in a way which would be impossible through static images alone. 

Also, the fact that these videos are made by the AO team lends them extra credibility when compared with manufacturer's videos. 

 

360 views of products

This is a great way to show products from various angles: 

Tools to zoom in on products

It's essential to let customers see products in detail, so let them zoom in to specific areas. 

Here, Nordstrom allows shoppers to zoom in and see details such as buckles:

International pricing / currency converter (e.g. £99, EU110, $165)

Useful for sites shipping overseas. Here, JC Penney allows shoppers to change country of delivery and currency via the flag icon. 

Trustmarks (security signs, testimonials)

There is some debate on the effectiveness of trustmarks, and many well-known retailers (Amazon, Macy's etc) don't feel the need to include these on product pages. 

However, it could be argued that the help less well-known retailers, and when used as below on Nordstrom, they shouldn't do any harm. 

Trust is about more than logos though, and a professional looking, user friendly site that works as it should will do more to establish trust. 

Live chat (or a prominent contact number)

Customers may have questions about a product or some other part of the purchase process, so offering live chat or a prominent contact number can be an effective way of saving a few sales. 

The statistics suggest that customers value live chat, and it certainly makes sense for big ticket items like this tractor from Sears. 

Product code

One for catalogue-based retailers. Entering the product code into the search box is a quick shortcut for some, while seeing the code on the page allows the customer to check that they have the correct item. 

Highlight special offers

If you're offering a discount on orders over a certain amount that day, or providing free shipping, shout about it. It's a sales driver. 

Stats (views / fans / item follows / sales)

Etsy shows stats on the number of views of the product, and people who have expressed their admiration. 

Social proof

Here, Booking.com shows how many people are looking at this hotel, and who has booked in recently. Effective social proof in action. 

Social sharing buttons

Let shoppers promote your product for you. They may not buy it, but if it goes on Pinterest, then your products will reach a wider audience.

Make it easy for shoppers to do this with sharing buttons. The 'rich pin' for Pinterest is worth trying. This shows the product along with price and other details. 

Merchandising

While customers are thinking of buying one product, there may be complimentary items they are also likely to want, such as accessories for electrical products.

Offering relevant recommendations on product pages can increase average order values.

People who liked this also liked...

The Amazon classic. A very simple way of producing relevant recommendations:

Cross-selling 

If the product a customer is viewing has accessories, or there are other items that complement it, provide these recommendations. 

Here, as I'm viewing a dress shirt, Nordstrom provides some useful suggestions for items to complete the look. 

Up-selling (buy with X and save £££)

Here Amazon sees I'm viewing one season of The Sopranos, so it offers me three for $59.97. I'm not actually saving anything in this case (except perhaps postage), but I bet a lot of people don't even notice that. 

NB: This is an updated and edited version of an article originally published in August 2013. 

Graham Charlton

Published 29 June, 2015 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (21)

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derek

Great write-up, it seems intuitive by looking at the best stores, but it's nice to see someone make an A-Z checklist in case you forget.

over 3 years ago

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Ryan Jones

Hi,
Fully agree on availability, but what about "Where to Buy" options? That is what most people want when they are out and about. A small WtB widget would also be ideal

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Ryan - great idea.

over 3 years ago

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Richard Banks, Digital Vision Programme Manager at Oxfam

I'd be interested in seeing an equivalent of this article for M-Commerce product pages... which of the above does the user NOT expect/need to see when browsing and purchase via a mobile? Discuss...

over 3 years ago

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Rachna

such a nice blog

over 3 years ago

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Peter Boazman

A great check list that I found in my experience was too often overlooked by merchandisers, who saw many of these.areas as belonging to the 'web builders' and not their commercial side of the business....and have sat in many meetings reviewing customer sites where this confused ownership has become apparent.
Consumers patience on eC sites is very short as we know, and anything less than a great experience will, of course, significantly impact conversion.

over 3 years ago

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Jacquie

Thanks for the very helpful advice. One suggestion for the future - can you do a b2b version of this - as it would be very interesting to see the differences for people buying on behalf of their business, especially as they may have to get "sign off" from someone else or borrow the corporate credit card.

over 3 years ago

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Beaudon McLaren, E-commerce Strategy Manager at Salmat Digital

Great post, I have just downloaded your Ecommerce best practice compendium as a result.

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@D D good point.

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Beaudon Thanks - I hope you find the compendium useful.

over 3 years ago

Eric Layland

Eric Layland, President at Canna Ventures

Great list for sure! It would be interesting to see data on which elements increased conversions and average order size the most. How might market verticals be influenced by these?

Thanks for the post. Cheers!

over 3 years ago

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jean bingham

Thanks for posting the article. Providing the checklist as I write an RFP for a new website, is timely. @Peter, very true, and the conversion rates for the elements on the website, would be very useful as you convince the business owner to write the check for his web development!

over 3 years ago

Tom Howlett

Tom Howlett, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

Great post, useful checklist for future reference.

One thing that always frustrates me is the lack of detail in product images. Especially with items such as clothing, I want to be able to have a good look at what I might be buying. Some well-known online retailers do this really well.

over 3 years ago

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Shabbir

I'd suggest putting a lot more weight on reviews. One of the biggest reasons people(and me from experience) choose between two similar products is from reading reviews.

over 3 years ago

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Danilo Longo

"Product page copy
Sell the product, don't just go for the manufacturer's standard description. While this approach is easier, a more personal touch and unique tone of voice can help your product pages stand out and really sell the benefits of products. "
do you think you should deny to google the manufacturer standard description for Seo benefit?

over 3 years ago

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Sbazaar

Great points. I don't this you missed a single point either.

Thanks.

over 3 years ago

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John Goldberg

Awesome list of items which is really comprehensive and up to date.

over 3 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi graham,
A nice handy list for people to check against.
Other possible additions:

Inc/exc VAT pricing - essential when there's a b2b audience
Request back order when temporarily out of stock
Pre-order for items not yet in stock
Social voting e.g. give a product thumbs up
Syndicated expert reviews
Links to PR e.g. this product reviewed by popular blogger
Links to value add content e.g. buying guide
User Q&A (a nice addition for some brands to reviews)
Social comments e.g Facebook comments - better suited to some brands than others e.g. young fashion audience
Purchase tracker - showing the latest people who have bought the item

thanks
james

over 1 year ago

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isabella martin, Web Developer at http://www.thefas-solutions.com/

Nice ideas. Social sharing button should be added on the detailed description of the product pages. Website owner should add testimonials and reviews about products on their website to increase credibility which ultimately boost business.

over 1 year ago

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ann halloran, MD at Econsultancy Small Business Guest Access

Sounds obvious but so many sites don't do this!

over 1 year ago

Hannah Stacey

Hannah Stacey, Content Marketing Manager at Ometria

Super list!

The only thing I'd say is that some of these factors are worth testing to see how they impact conversion rates - for example, there's an interesting case study from the guys at VWO that showed that social sharing buttons (in this particular case) had a negative impact on conversion rates - worth a read!

https://vwo.com/blog/removing-social-sharing-buttons-from-ecommerce-product-page-increase-conversions/

over 1 year ago

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