This article was created as a blog swap with Aime from small business web design company, Studio Cotton.
If you run an online shop, you’re gonna want some proper spiffing product pages. An essential step in your website user journey, the content and design of a product page can often be the difference between securing that online order and a speedy hello-goodbye bounce.
But alas, they don’t teach product page optimisation at school, and it’s a subject that doesn’t often come up even in my world of professional website design.
So here’s my tips for creating a baller customer experience with 10 easy peasy ways to improve product pages on your small business website.
1. Name your products literally, literally
“I’d like to buy one Dusk, please!” is a phrase I can’t imagine many people have typed into Google when they’re shopping online.
The title of a product is at the very top of your technical content hierarchy, which means it’s often the primary indicator that Google is analysing when understanding what you’re selling (and who might want to buy it).
Using fluffy, artistic and conceptual titles for your products means that you will lose out on one of the biggest SEO wins.
Let’s say you and your favourite competitor, Le Bougie Co, both sell glorious lavender and honey scented candles. Their candle has the title Somnolent | Lavender & Honey Scented Candle, and yours is simply titled Dusk.
The Le Bougie Co candle is likely to rank higher for phrases like “lavender honey candle” because the technical content hierarchy literally best aligns with what customers are searching for.
2. Nail your product images
Product images fulfil a specific function - showing your customers the visual features on an item that, ideally, will convince them to buy it.
Too few images and you might be missing that one detail your customers will swoon over. Too many images and you’ve just turned your product gallery into a vibey-but-unnecessary slideshow which has become more of a distraction than a business asset.
So here’s my list of qualities that you should capture in as few pictures as possible:
The front of your product
Any key features
The scale/size of your products
The lifestyle of your target customer
The unpacked/unwrapped contents of your product
3. Keep your Add to cart button visible when the page loads
Sometimes your customers just need to see a picture and a price to add an item to their basket - so the last thing you want to do is bury that Add to cart button under wordy short descriptions and decorative page design choices.
A great rule of thumb is to make sure your Add to cart button is visible as soon as your customer opens the product page on their desktop or tablet, and that it’s visible within 2 screens worth of scrolling on a mobile.
4. Write thorough product description
Most Thursdays I like to hold a free small business Q&A session on the Studio Cotton Instagram Stories and by far the most common question I get is “What’s the first/best/most important thing I should do for my SEO?”
For online shopkeepers, my answer will always be to work on your product descriptions. Well, after you’ve named your products literally ;)
The excellent news is that I’ve written a long guide on product descriptions in an article over on the Studio Cotton blog - but if you want the teal deer version, make sure to include:
A thorough description of physical characteristics
Product packaging & presentation
Sustainability & eco-friendly features
The reason why you make/sell your product
Mini small business bio
About the brand/artist/collaborator
5. Don’t be tempted to copy & paste your description onto other websites like Etsy
Duplicating swathes of content is bad for SEO for one simple reason; if Google shows an item to its searcher that doesn’t answer their query - a second, identical item won’t answer it either.
Duplicating product descriptions across your own website and marketplaces like Etsy and Not on the High Street considerably lowers the chances of those products appearing in Google’s search results AT ALL.
Not lower, they just won’t be there.
My advice is to keep the best version of your product description for your own website, and adapt and amend these as much as you can for other platforms.
6. Set expectations for anything out of the norm
Bloomin’ Amazon has everyone expecting orders to be dispatched in 15 minutes, arrive within 48 hours, and it not cost a penny.
Ok, maybe not everyone - but the point is that it’s not unusual for your customers to have high (or unrealistic) expectations for your ecommerce service.
There’s nothing we can do about the midnight grumblers who adamantly hit send on those smallbizmemez-worthy emails, but we can certainly help out those whose excitement for your brand wanes with each passing parcel-less post van.
Bullet-point any information that could be lower than a customer’s expectations - yep, even those bits that are totally common and normal in the small business world. Here’s my suggestions:
Made to order timescales
Product imperfections and variations
Packaging (e.g. if you re-use packaging from other brands)
Delivery price (if over £5)
International delivery limitations
Availability of instructions & guides
If an item is digital only
7. Make your free delivery limit super obvious
Your free delivery limit is certainly one of those expectations to set as early as possible - but it’s also the top motivator for encouraging your customers to add additional items to their basket.
We’ve all been there - adding a £65 brown corduroy dress to our baskets to find out that we get free delivery if we spend over £75. We head back, we add some tasteful tie-dye socks and grab a Somnolent Lavender & Honey Scented Candle by Le Bougie Co too.
Yep, we just spent an extra £18 to save £4 on delivery. What are we like.
Thing is, that free delivery motivator can only motivate when your customer knows what it is, so make sure it’s super prominent in your product page, and maybe pop it in your website header too.
8. Highlight key features in bullet points
I love bullet points. They’re a phenomenal and consistently overlooked tool for clearly conveying important information. Just look at how many lil bullet lists I’ve smattered through this article.
If you’re worried that I’m asking you to make your product pages look like a selection of scattered shopping lists, I’m not. Bullet points don’t always need to look bullet point-y.
My favourite website design project where we’ve implemented not-bullety-bullet points is on the fabric product pages for London-based sustainable fabric shop, Good Fabric.
You can see how the fabric fact and care instructions are highlighted with a combination of standard and custom icons.
Try using bullet points to highlight essential qualities your customers need to know before purchase, as well as any deal-breakers that might rule them out so that your customers can quickly move on to the next product in your shop.
Zero waste/plastic free
Made in the UK
Material or fabric, e.g. 100% cotton
9. Minimise variations, add-ons, and customisations
One of things I’ve learned in my nearly seven years of running Studio Cotton, is that small business owners love giving their customers choices.
Whilst sure, it is super generous to give your customers tonnes of colours to choose from, ways to personalise their purchase, and even the ability to build a gift box from the ground up - this flexibility can extra decrease the likelihood of your visitor completing a purchase.
One of the fundamentals of great website design is user experience, or UX - a lot of which can be boiled down to the principle “don’t make me think”.
Every visitor to your website has a subconscious allowance of how much brain power (and time) they’re able to dedicate to shopping with you - if that runs out, they’ll pop off without placing an order.
Excessive variations, customisations and add-ons require a lot of thought on behalf of the customer, meaning they’ll burn through that subconscious allowance more quickly.
10. Share alternative product suggestions
After your home page, product pages are the most common type of landing page for a small business online shop - especially if you follow those SEO tips I shared earlier.
However, even though Google is trying it’s best to match your products with searchers who are gagging for your goods - they can’t get it right all the time.
Sometimes Google will send you the perfect customer, but they’ll arrive via the wrong product for their needs. This is where features like upsells, cross sells and related products come in.
Including similar options on your product pages gives your visitor a reason to stay on your website, and moves them even closer to the checkout.
So those are my 10 easy peasy ways to improve product pages on your small business website - a whole heap of advice and all the bullet points that could help you sell more online.
Pin for later: