Many ecommerce teams have a gut feel their product listing/grid page is not quite right but don’t know where to start. What most don’t realise is there are best practice approaches to ecommerce page layouts, and specifically the product grid page. So what is ‘best practice’ when it comes to the product page?
Why getting the product page is vital
Forty percent to 70 percent of consumers typically exit a website within viewing three pages of content. Consumers leaving at this point are effectively a lost sale, and the highest incidence of exits typically occur on product pages. For those who remain, they fall victim to a common behaviour known as “pogosticking”; moving back and forth between grid pages and product detail pages. Pogo-sticking is a by-product of the grid pages not doing their job which is to provide the right amount of content and functional page elements to enable consumers to easily and confidently click through to a product detail page
There are three fundamental characteristics of a page element:
1. It’s placement – where it’s positioned on the page.
2. It’s visual treatment – how is it visually presented on the page.
3. It’s behaviour – how it responds when consumers activate the element.
The consumer’s interaction with the website dictates page element placement, visual treatment, and behaviour:
1. The evolution and dynamic of the Fold (the portion of the web page that is visible to the consumer without scrolling).
2. Eye tracking and scanning behaviour.
3. Today’s consumer is on a journey and each journey comprises multiple micro steps.
4. Consumers exert both physical and mental effort throughout the journey (known as interaction cost) – it’s the job of the website to reduce this effort.
5. Visitors to your site want to be in control throughout the journey.
Ultimately it’s about providing the consumer with control over how they search, sort, refine, and engage with content on these pages.
More product content is not necessarily better
The purpose of the product page is to present enough content to provide the consumer confidence to click on a product. Don’t attempt to tell the entire product story at this stage of the consumer’s story. The mix of content will vary by retailer, however, there are common content elements: product title; product price, promotion pricing and savings; customer review rating (if available); and visual signals there are more variations on offer (for example, “more colours available”).
The importance of Filters
In a retail world where the consumer has too many product choices, filters becomes a critical part of grid pages.
Consumers want the ability to easily refine products down to a workable selection based on their own preferences. Successful retailers conduct research to determine what’s important to the consumer and translates this into filtering options.
Best practice “filtering characteristics” are required to make filters easy to engage with. This includes the placement of the filter on the page; the presentation of the filters; visual validation of the filter selection; and simplifying filter selection and de-selection. User research has found the “truncated” approach – presenting a shortened list of filters with an expandable “view more” – delivers the highest engagement.
The truncated approach allows consumers to view multiple filter types above the fold. For example, they can see a brand list, price list, size list etc above the fold rather than just a single, long list.
Sorting is distinct to filtering
Sorting takes the full range within the category and reorganises it.
Sorting satisfies consumers in early stage buying who commonly suffer from “FOMO” (fear of missing out), as sorting prevents product elimination. This of course is also part of the role filters play. Where filters exclude products based on preferences, sorting reorganises
the range in a meaningful order.
To add more value to a consumer’s journey in early stage buying introduce sorting options by consumer preferences. For example, online electronics retailers sort their TVs by screen size, online bike retailers sort their bikes by the amount of gears and/or bike frame size.
The purpose and value of pagination
Pagination, dividing product content into separate pages, contributes to setting expectation for the consumer around the effort involved to view all the products. Pagination assists with a consumer’s next step in searching for their desired product/s, and enables consumers to easily move forwards and backwards.
Best practice pagination empowers the consumer to interact with the product content on their own terms. It also provides them a clear frame of reference when they come back from product detail pages (pogo-sticking behaviour). This frame of reference is important for those in early stage buying to reduce their FOMO reaction.
Build it and they will stay
By incorporating best practice approaches on content, filtering, sorting and pagination to your product grid page you will embolden your visitors to interact with your content and thereby reduce early exiting, pogo-sticking and ultimately increase the rate of purchase.
About eStar: eStar is Australasia's leading specialist ecommerce solutions provider, delivering outstanding experiences with some of the region's best brands, through a combination of thought leadership, user experience, development, design and partners.
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