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Product detail pages are loaded with marketing value, says a speaker at the IRCE Focus: Web Design conference. But online marketers need to keep monitoring whether product pages load quickly with the addition of new content or features.
Online marketers miss out when they view an e-commerce site’s product pages only as a place to present product content. The pages also offer a chance to differentiate the site from competitors, deepen customers' engagement with the brand and much more, Steve Weiskircher, chief information officer at online retailer ThinkGeek.com, said at IRCE Focus: Web Design in Orlando this week.
Weiskircher’s presentation, “Getting the product detail page right,” detailed a set of key questions for e-retailers to answer to ensure that they optimize both content and marketing opportunities on every product page. For example, answering the question, “Where are my customers located?” can inform product page design. Weiskircher offered the example of a product page from consumer electronics e-retailer Crutchfield.com showing how the e-retailer targets free shipping offers on specific product pages to customers viewing the product, based on the customer’s geographic location.
Examining another question–whether product pages use imagery effectively to differentiate the site from competitors—led ThinkGeek, No. 180 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, to recognize that product page images are sharable content that could drive additional traffic to product pages. That led ThinkGeek to boost the use of images and video on its own product pages.
Other questions including how content on product pages could be used to deepen customers’ engagement with the brand, and whether copy on the pages reinforces brand personality, led ThinkGeek to include customer-submitted photos, generally of consumers using a ThinkGeek product, on its product pages. ThinkGeek also embeds and responds to consumers' social comments posted via Facebook, Yahoo Mail and other platforms to bring added "authenticity" to the brand, Weiskircher said. Both tactics also serve to drive more traffic to product pages, he added.
“The product page is an opportunity to let your brand voice shine through,” Weiskircher said, underscoring the point that product pages need to more than list product specifications. “If your brand doesn’t have a voice, talk to your marketing department.”
Weiskircher also cautioned marketers to keep monitoring whether product pages load quickly with the addition of new content or features. “When you redesign a site, you should define speed as a criterion for success. Set a target for yourselves,” he said. “Evaluate page objects (elements on the page that consumers interact with) and look for opportunities to reduce page weight and server calls.”