Online fashion retailers spend a huge amount of time and resource to bring people to their website. But if your conversion rate is poor, a huge amount of users who do end up on your site will simply leave again without purchasing, and your efforts will have been in vain.
Improving conversion rates is a wide-ranging issue that takes in everything from your site structure to the wording of your calls to action. Here, we take a look at one important factor: your product descriptions. Read on to find out why they’re so important, and what you can do to improve them.
Answering Visitors' Questions
When conducting an interview, journalists use the tried-and-trusted “who, what, when, where, why and how” technique to ensure they get all the information they need to tell the story. You can employ the same method when writing product descriptions (although you won’t necessarily need to answer all of these questions for every product you sell – just the most relevant ones):
- Who is the product for? Consider your target audience and the sort of information they’re interested in
- What is the product all about? Don’t forget basics like size and materials
- Where would this product be used?
- When is it most likely to be used? Is it a dress for a specific occasion, or something to be worn all year round?
- Why is it useful, or better than the alternatives?
- How does it work?
In the above example from Nike, they’ve clearly taken into account their customers’ interest in the story of their product, explaining its history and relevance, rather than simply sticking to the materials from which it was made.
Perfect Layout & Content
While you may want to maintain an air of creativity in your copy, there’s a science to creating the perfect product description. This formula is a good starting point:
[Paragraph(s) of Prose] + [Bulleted List of Specs or Features] = [Engaging Product Description]
You can tell the story of your product through a variety of content types: short paragraphs of copy, key information in bullet points, plus video, photo carousels and more.
While you don’t necessarily require this level of content for every product description, this amount of detail provides SEO benefits (as search engines prioritise quality original content) and real clarity for shoppers.
A short point, but an important one: ensure that you’re being consistent when creating product descriptions so your audience knows what to expect from you. If a shopper is browsing a number of products and your descriptions are inconsistent (in terms of font, page layout, type of information included etc), they can easily be left frustrated. And a frustrated shopper is unlikely to buy from you.
Efficient Word Count
With onsite content, the recommended word count is typically “long enough”. With product descriptions, we can be a little more specific – aim for up to about 150 words.
When writing descriptions, consider the following: overly long product descriptions can result in information overload, but if you make the description too short, the consumer may not gain enough insight on a product to make an informed buying decision. Either one of these outcomes could cause them to look elsewhere for what they need.
The above example, from The Sole Supplier, offers shoppers a good level of information without being too wordy.
Google penalises duplicate content by not including pages in the index or lowering their strength. Duplicate content is a particular problem for eCommerce businesses: you might not realise it, but you’re creating thousands of duplicate pages by copying and pasting product descriptions sent to you by manufacturers and brands.
This becomes even more of a problem when you take into account different styles of the same product. For instance, say you sell a pair of shoes in five different colours, and each has its own URL. By using the manufacturer’s product description, you’ll not only be duplicating content that’s available externally, but also across your own website.
On a separate note, creating unique copy for your product descriptions is also a great way to target long-tail search queries, helping to boost your organic visibility.
High street shoppers can physically interact with products before choosing which to purchase. The senses – touch, sight, smell – can play a significant part in influencing the buying decision.
Online retailers can replicate this to some extent by including high-quality visuals in product descriptions. Allow shoppers to get a proper “feel” of the product by displaying it from various angles, offering a 360-degree view, and including a zoom option.
Video can be a hugely powerful tool in improving your conversion rate. According to Invodo, 52% of consumers say that watching a product video before buying online makes them feel more confident about their purchase and ultimately less likely to return it.
A good example of putting this principle in action is Asos, which offers a “catwalk” feature that allows shoppers to view the outfit as worn by a model.
Online shoppers often aren’t prepared to just take your word for it when deciding whether or not that new pair of shoes or jeans is worth buying.
When it comes to building trust, one of the best things you can do is include customer reviews, which are read by 61% of customers before purchasing. But before you start fretting about the possible impact of negative comments, bear in mind that even bad reviews can boost your conversion rate.
Recent years have seen a resurgence in the use of live chat. Usually seen as a pop-up in the right hand corner of the screen, it allows you to offer a virtual shop attendant who can interact with customers in real time. By answering questions and pointing shoppers in the right direction, they can remove barriers to purchase and ultimately encourage them to convert.
This example from Roden Gray is nicely unobtrusive, offering customers the option to ask a question rather than popping out automatically the second they arrive on the site.
Motivating Shipping Options
Shipping costs can play a major part in a customer’s buying decision, with many now expecting free shipping as standard. If you only offer paid shipping options once they reach the payment page, your abandoned basket rate will sky-rocket.
Online shoppers are savvy and looking for a bargain, so if you offer free shipping ensure you highlight this on the page (near the price and the ‘add to basket’ button). You can go one step further and create a sense of urgency by adding a countdown to the nearest delivery date.
Competitive Pricing Strategies
Of all the components that impact whether or not a customer converts, price is the most important. How do you make it clear that the user is getting a bargain (or at least make it seem like they are)?
If your product is on sale, show the previous price to highlight the sale value. Even if there isn’t a sale on, you can still give the perception of a deal. Many online retailers offer below-RRP prices, so you can display the RRP above your price to show the visitor that they’re getting great value for money.
Calls To Action
Calls to action have a major influence on conversions. If you show all the relevant information that the user needs but don’t have a call to action to ‘add item to basket’ or ‘buy now’, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Here, Public Desire are not only compelling customers to ‘add to bag’ but have sweetened the deal with a time-limited 30% discount, making for a really strong CTA.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your CTAs is split-testing. Even a seemingly minor variation to the copy, size, colour and design of your calls to action could help to significantly increase your conversion rate.
Improving Trust Factors
Your customers need to feel they can trust you if they’re going to buy from you. A study from Actual Insights found that 76% of respondents chose not to make a purchase because they hadn’t recognised the logo. The most recognised trust factor logos were:
- McAfee (79%)
- Verisign (76%)
- PayPal (72%)
- BBB (37%)
- TRUSTe (28%)
Logos that gave the most reassurance and biggest feeling of safety were:
- PayPal (29%)
- Verisign (25%)
- McAfee (23%)
- BBB (7%)
- TRUSTe (3%)
Building a successful eCommerce presence is all about showcasing your products in the best possible light. Take the time to create quality, unique descriptions with rich media elements and compelling CTAs and you’ll reap the rewards!