Let’s talk about the common mistakes e-tailers are making on product landing pages from PPC ads. (Briefly, because it’s December 10th and I’m just getting started holiday shopping!)
In the video below, you’ll see what happens when I type in a very specific shopping search: “youth cotton maple leafs hoodie pullover”. It’s the kind of search a visitor with high-intent makes.
If you’re in e-commerce, you want to optimize your ads and pages for these high-intent visitors because they are ready to buy.
But… some of the biggest names in e-commerce are failing to optimize product pages
Namely, I’ll talk about the shortcomings of top PPC advertisers in the sporting goods sector. (Because while there’s no accounting for taste, my kid likes sports apparel).
- Canadian Tire
- National Sports
- Hudson’s Bay
But the issues go far beyond this short selection.
Sport Chek is one of the biggest offenders in Canadian sporting e-commerce. They have a Hotjar poll on their page, so ostensibly, they’re aware of optimization… but it’s a challenge to actually buy something from Sport Chek’s site, their product pages are so incomplete.
(Just try finding the material composition of a single pair of socks on the Sport Chek site. Nobody wants 80% acrylic ski socks, people!)
The fact that the biggest e-commerce sites aren’t getting this right is a shame, but it’s also an opportunity.
Scrappy Shopify startups can get an edge if they can master traffic and optimize for conversions. Some of these optimizations are shockingly simple.
Below, I’ll walk you through the frustrations your visitors may be experiencing by doing a quick tour of product landing pages from these big names in e-commerce.
It comes down to one essential failure.
Your product pages are probably underperforming because they’re missing key information
Too many PPC ads are driving traffic to landing pages that don’t answer basic visitor questions.
These pages are ripe for optimization and with just a few simple changes, could drive a far better ROAS when you’re targeting high-intent, last-minute holiday shoppers.
1. Include meaningful and comprehensive product details
The product description is essential.
I know this from buying nearly everything online (including my weekly farm-fresh produce.)
And this Crazyegg post on optimizing product pages backs me up on the point: better descriptions drive better online revenues.
Unlike this somewhat decorative description…
Don’t fall prey to the above sounds-nice-but-says-nothing product page copy.
Officially licensed, ok, but be honest… are we talking 100% polyester here? Is it too much to ask what this hoodie is made of?
Fabric composition (by percent) is vital information to include in your description. Product photos usually do a better job of conveying how it looks, but I want to know how it feels and performs.
When I wrote copy for a luxury scarf brand, I learned that many customers didn’t know the difference between high-end and low-end materials, or how wool feels and performs differently from silk. So, sometimes in addition to including the material composition, you need to tell people what that means.
As you can see, your product description doesn’t need to read like a label just because it delivers details. Frame the features in terms of benefits. Let buyers know why your product is different and better. More of the right copy really can sell more product.
A simple heuristic for optimizing descriptions (even without user testing) is to ask yourself…
- What important information is easy to obtain when you can touch and feel the product, but hard to figure out when you can’t?
- How can you bring that information into the product page copy?
2. If you’re selling apparel, include useful size charts
Friends tell me they don’t buy clothes online because it’s too hard to judge fit. It doesn’t need to be that hard.
This sounds so basic but… include a size chart directly beside the product size selector.
And please, for kids clothes, not the size charts based on measurements.
Chances are, the parent is the shopper and they don’t want to measure their child for a sweater. (They’re probably shopping in a precious few moments of sanity squeezed out after the children go to bed.) Parent shoppers want a size chart that includes age-range.
A “youth medium” isn’t enough for me to feel safe buying.
I have seen crazy-complicated size selectors that take you through a quiz to find your kid’s size… only to fail and tell you nothing. Keep it simple and user-friendly.
3. Tell shoppers when their product will arrive
“modern shoppers expect their purchases to show up in one or two days — or less. A recent study shows that 47% of online shoppers say they’d pay more for same-day delivery.” (Smartercx.com)
Of course, we all want fast and free shipping. Amazon has set the bar ridiculously high.
One day I saw a delivery guy high-stepping it through brambles to get to my door in spite of roadworks in front of the house. He panted out that he’d been ‘trying to deliver this for days’.
It was a single, stainless steel ice-cream scoop.
That was not one of the times when speed was essential. But holidays are.
In my search for that perfect, giftable Leafs hoodie, I’ve seen shipping speed addressed in a variety of ways. Some more effective than others.
The key question you must answer is, “When will it arrive?”
Telling me how many days it takes to pack and prepare isn’t going to get my click on the ADD TO CART button. Be clear in your copy about whether you are promising a delivery date or a ship-by date.
If you’re advertising to shoppers across the border, this is even more important. Delays at customs can cause far too much holiday gift anxiety.
Ideally, make a guaranteed delivery date visible from any page on the site (e.g. by using a sticky bar), like this one.
Last-minute online shoppers are far more likely to be interested in the delivery date than shipping costs.
Simple product page optimizations like this come down to understanding the customer’s needs, their intent, their context… At its most basic, it’s just an act of empathy.
Need to fix your e-commerce conversion rate problems?
There’s no better time to optimize than well in advance of the holiday spree… but the next best time is asap.
If you need help digging into the issues suppressing your conversions, I recommend SimplyCRO – a small, smart conversion rate optimization agency out of Sidney, Australia.
We’re currently working together on a few e-commerce optimizations projects. (I’m on the copywriting side, they’re on the data analysis and UX side.)
When you know what to look for in the quantitative data (i.e. analytics, heat maps, click tracking) and qualitative data (session recordings, open-ended survey responses, reviews and more), you can find out:
- where people drop out of your funnel,
- what information they’re seeking,
- and what they need to read in the copy or see in images to convert at higher rates.
Alright, click play for the product page teardowns…
But don’t judge this quick-and-dirty video.
There are 14 days until Christmas and this month, I still have to write a long-form landing page, a hotel website, a long-form product sales page, multiple squeeze pages, a brand’s messaging guide, a conference presentation and a Copyhackers blog post.
So, zero time to waste on bad e-comm sites.
In case you’re curious, the site I ended up buying from is NHLShop.ca – not because they offered the best price or are the most reputable e-tailer. (I’ve never heard of the store.)
They got my purchase because they did something so simple, so essential. They delivered the information that reduced my online shopping anxiety and made the decision easier. (60% cotton, btw. I’ll take it.)
Now go forth and optimize your product pages while people like me are still shopping!