October 19th, 2016

How to Create Powerful Product Listings for Your E-Commerce Store

by Christine Hennessey

Just about anyone who works in retail will agree—over the last few years, revenue in physical stores has been flat, while e-commerce sales continue to rise. Sure, Amazon has a large piece of that pie (60% as of 2016) but smaller online retailers (especially the savvy ones) are still able to hold their own. This is a good thing, as the average online shopper tends to be younger, wealthier, and perfectly happy to buy everything from wedding dresses to laundry detergent directly from their smartphones.

Whether you’re an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar store adding an online arm, there are a number of strategies to keep you from getting lost in the sea of retailers flinging open their virtual doors. One of the most important strategies? Product listings.

As it turns out, selling your goods online isn’t as simple as posting a picture and naming a price. There’s an excellent chance that whatever you’re offering isn’t one-of-a-kind, which means other retailers have the exact same products. To convince a customer to choose your store instead, you need to make sure the way you present your products is engaging, entertaining, eye-catching, and optimized for search engines. To get there, try the following tips.

Pulitzer Prize Winning Product Descriptions  

When you’re shopping online, every product is virtual. As you’re trying to decide whether to click the “buy” button, you can’t pick things up, touch them, or try them on. This is why product listings have to be incredibly detailed and visual—retailers have to create the experience of the product for their customers through words and images. If a detail is missing or customers aren’t sure what you’re offering, they’ll go elsewhere to get what they need.

There are a number of ways to overcome this issue. The first is to write full, richly detailed product descriptions for each item you’re selling. Include sizing charts, buying guides, measurements, materials, and up-to-date information about each brand and designer. Include an explicit title, the brand, the condition the product is in, key features, the size, the materials, and anything else that might be relevant to a customer. Don’t be afraid to put a little personality in your product descriptions! Today’s consumers are almost as interested in the experience of your brand as they are in the products you sell. Give your product listings a little pizzazz through colorful language, snippets of stories, and entertaining copy that stays on brand.

An Image is Worth a Thousand Words  

While words are important, images hold equal weight. You can wax poetic about your products all you want, but if you don’t include a range of great images it’s going to be very hard to take your business seriously. While words can do a lot, nothing beats great visuals when it comes to showing your customers exactly what they’re buying.

While you’ll want to include images of your product from all angles, don’t rely solely on isolated product photos or boring stock photography. Use photos that are clear, simple, and uncluttered (a white background is a classic style for a reason) and then go the extra mile by showing your products in action. For example, if you sell apparel, find some people to model the clothing. If you sell skateboards, images of the wheels spinning or decks flying through the air will catch a customer’s eye. Add some lifestyle imagery so your customers can see not only what you’re selling, but how it will improve their lives. If you have to hire a professional to get the kind of images that will sell, then do it—now is not the time to rely on grainy shots from your iPhone.

Use Bullet Points to Stay on Target

  • Many studies have shown that well-crafted bullet points will increase sales
  • It’s a great way to relay key product features & important info
  • They appeal to our desire to scan quickly, especially while shopping
  • Maintain consistent order for all products—IE, always list “size” first
  • Begin each sentence with capital letter, write in fragments, and don’t punctuate

Get Good Reviews & Include Them On Product Pages

Nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to moving products. Even reading a good review from a stranger can push someone who is on the fence about a product into a purchase. In fact, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 73% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more. With numbers like that, you can’t afford not to include reviews.

While understanding the value of a good review is one thing, actually getting those reviews can be harder. Most people enjoy offering up their opinion, but they are generally motivated by bad experiences. To encourage your happy and satisfied customers, you need to make it worth their while. This can be done by reaching out to loyal customers who are more likely to write honest and positive reviews. After a purchase, send a follow up email asking for feedback. You can also request reviews via newsletters and social media, and offer a discounts or giveaways as a thank you. Whatever you do, don’t demand or offer to pay for positive reviews for pay for five stars. This will damage your reputation and make people view your business as untrustworthy and dishonest, which is no way to win new customers.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to improving your online business and winning the fight against Amazon. For more tips, download Sage Island’s free 2016 E-Commerce Kit today. It’s full of valuable information that will increase sales, lead, and conversions, all while improving your bottom line. Let us know if you have any questions, and good luck!

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