Why your product options should be on one page
Ecommerce websites have the potential to make products and services available to people through unparalleled convenience, since just a few clicks can send products straight to someone’s doorstep. The potential for click-to-buy convenience is so great that Amazon has taken their ordering process a step further by offering 1-click ordering (just don’t accidentally click on the wrong product).
Although online shopping has the potential to provide extreme convenience, it comes with some hefty challenges to make that a reality for consumers. While some online stores are thriving, others are struggling. And many stores that don’t do well online do really well in their physical locations. Clearly, some businesses are able to achieve online success while others aren’t. The big question is, why?
Why do physical retailers thrive over their online stores?
Rackspace, the world’s largest managed cloud service provider, conducted a survey among 2,000 people who shop online as well as in physical stores, and they discovered something shocking: 45 percent of consumers preferred the brick and mortar store experience over shopping online because when they shop ecommerce websites they can’t find what they’re looking for.
If the purpose of creating an ecommerce website is to make the shopping experience easier and more convenient for consumers, why isn’t it actually happening? Rackspace provides further insight into this dilemma with a list of the top 5 frustrations experienced with online shopping:
- Unrelated popup advertisements
- Far too many options for items that create “analysis paralysis”
- Search tools and filters that don’t work
- Customer service online is non-existent or sub-par
- The shopping experience isn’t personalized enough
These five factors all point to one thing – ecommerce websites lack usability. It’s not that the information isn’t there. Rather, it’s not being presented in a way customers can access.
Visuals are the majority of a website’s usability
Hubspot published an article detailing 19 statistics that support the use of visual content in your marketing. Did you know that the way you display your products on your website is, in fact, marketing? In a physical store, it would be called “merchandising,” or the way the products are laid out and presented on the shelf.
Among the statistics presented are:
- 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual
- 40 percent of people respond better to visual information
- 46.1 percent of people use a website’s appearance to determine credibility
So how do you incorporate visuals into your ecommerce site? It’s all about how you organize and categorize your products.
Display all product variations on one page
Depending on how many product variations you have, you might be able to display each variation as a separate product on a single page. For example, Dinkleboo does this really well – you don’t need to select any options from a drop-down menu to see their product variations.
All of the products displayed on the page are round labels, but rather than forcing visitors to select each design from a drop-down menu to preview what it looks like, they’ve taken the time to display each design as an individual product.
When you dedicate an entire page to visually displaying all possible design options, your customers can see how the product will look in each circumstance without having to work too hard for it.
The gap between what works and what we’re told works
There’s a discrepancy between what ecommerce business owners are being told works, and what’s actually working, according to studies. Although mega menus are highly praised for their ease of use by tech gurus, customers are having an entirely different experience.
Customization options should be visually displayed
When you run an ecommerce business and sell products that are designed to be customized in some way (even if it’s just a different color, design, or material), it’s easier for the customer to see what their options are when you display the options visually, without making them select each option from a menu.
If you’re struggling with sales, you might just need to focus on organizing your products better; the best way to do that is to move from text-based menus to visual displays of product variations.
Maintaining an ecommerce website has the potential to create a phenomenally convenient shopping experience for your customers, but it’s up to you to deploy the correct strategy to make it happen.
Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, iMediaConnection.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and...