Product abandonment is a critically unaddressed problem in the world of ecommerce. On average, approximately 84% of users abandon after reaching product pages, immediately and severely cutting down your pool of eligible customers.
In our last post, we began working our way through ecommerce websites with the top 5 checkout pages as ranked by the Baymard Institute. Last week, we analyzed entrance pages, paying extra attention to the usability, presentation, focus, and flow of the following sites:
Today, we’re taking one step further down the purchase path, looking at product page performance. Using the same categories as yesterday, we’ll analyze the more interesting pieces of product page abandonment and point out a few good examples and misdeeds from the five champions of checkout, as crowned by the Baymard Institute.
High Usability Reduces Product Abandonment
A product page’s function is to, first and foremost, explain exactly what a product does. However, despite this seemingly obvious role…
…the most commonly cited reason for product abandonment is “insufficient info.”
Every instance of this type of abandonment is a failure on the product-page level.
All five of the stores under analysis do a fantastic job of divulging the product details that nearly any type of shopper could want. All of the retailers follow a similar pattern of giving a descriptive, high-level overview of the product before listing out weight, dimension, and the finer details.
Separating thorough written description from the basic overview reduces product abandonment by allowing the compulsive buyer to make snap decisions, while giving the slower, research-heavy shopper enough material to make a more calculated choice.
AutoZone and U.S. Auto Parts, given their similar nature, both do a fantastic job of providing all of the information a careful car-owner could want. After the overviews of products, lists of specific product details run down the page, giving details from weight to color to material and back. There’s no shortage of information here for the gearhead, but the overview suits the casual shopper adequately. By keeping all parties satisfied with the information available, product abandonment rates should drop off significantly.
Usability Winners: AutoZone and U.S. Auto Parts
Presentation and Product Abandonment
Product photography plays a big role in reducing product abandonment and generating conversions. High-quality photos work in tandem with written descriptions to give shoppers an accurate assessment of what they’re looking to purchase. Though there are very few concrete rules with product photography, it’s safe to say that photos should reflect the brand they represent, should be of high quality, and should give a glimpse of the product from all important angles.
In this category, Crate&Barrel does an exceptional job of exuding class and high-design. Photos are a mixture of product-focused and lifestyle shots, giving shoppers a good idea of what they’re about to purchase. Other retailers, such as Symantec, are less inclined to sell with imagery due to the fact that some software isn’t very photogenic. As a result, they substitute product photos with videos and tutorials, which also reduce product abandonment.
Another way to allay concerns over product quality while building trust and expanding reach is to develop and implement a method of social proofing. Some good examples of social proofing include sharing sale information on social media or hosting user reviews.
Symantec goes above and beyond in this category with their Symantec Connect community. On each product page, relevant user questions are selected and featured. In each thread, either another user or a Symantec representative weighs in quickly and answers the question directly. These posts answer common questions while building reader brand confidence. Establishing this kind of trust goes a long way in reducing product abandonment. However, if you’re going to open a public forum like Symantec, don’t slouch when it comes time to answer. According to a Conversocial survey…
…88.3% of respondents said that they’d be less likely to buy when “confronted with unanswered customer complaints on a company’s social media site.”
Symantec is active on their message boards to ensure this is never the case. A dedicated effort brings in tangible rewards; there’s a reason why Symantec’s seal is so well-regarded.
Presentation Winners: Crate & Barrel and Symantec
Page Flow and Product Abandonment Pitfalls
Policy and Offer Consistency
Part of creating a good user experience is to maintain offer consistency throughout the shopping experience. If there’s a current promotion or any permanent policy that addresses user pain points directly, a site should remind users (within reason) throughout the entire process. This ensures that customers don’t leave a product page in the search for a promotion they saw earlier on. Backwards movement often promotes abandonment.
All five companies remind users about relevant sales throughout the shopping process, but Cabela’s does an outstanding job. On product pages, Cabela’s touts their current shipping promotion in a banner across the top of the page. The deal is listed clearly and carries an expiration date, promoting a sense of urgency for the buyer. Additionally, Cabela’s also makes their ship-to-store policy crystal clear with a reminder just near the call-to-action.
While the product page’s primary function is to inform and entice, it also needs to facilitate easy movement to the next phase of purchasing. An effective way to ward off product abandonment is to constantly move customers in the right direction. The best way to move customers consistently is to have calls-to-action that stand-out from the rest of the design, drawing immediate attention.
Calls-to-action on product pages should…
- …not compete with other attention-grabbing element.
- …be placed near the price of the product.
- …be descriptive in function.
- …move customers closer to checkout.
In our previous post covering entrance pages, the majority of the five companies failed to make an impact with lackluster calls-to-action. On product pages, however, all companies match at least three of four of these abandonment guidelines.
Typical AutoZone CTAs on product pages, for example, are much improved from homepage variations. On pages less cluttered with the company’s iconic orange, the “Add to Cart” buttons stand out against a mostly-white background. The CTA is directly beneath the price and tells the users precisely what it does. When clicked, the button facilitates easy movement towards checkout without disrupting user flow.
Flow Winners: Cabela’s and AutoZone.
Focus: Engage Users, Lower Product Abandonment
Although product pages should focus primarily on selling their featured item, these pages should also allow shoppers to move effortlessly through the store. By cross-selling, retailers open up browsing channels full of related goods which, ideally, increase order values and conversion rates and lower product abandonment rates.
Among the online retailers with the highest rated checkout flows, three of five offer shoppers links to related products on each page. Cabela’s does an excellent job by showing both related items and recently viewed items to keep multiple items in consideration simultaneously.
Focus Winners: Cabela’s and Crate & Barrel.
For the online merchant, product pages are the closest thing to salespeople a store can provide. By putting in the extra effort and careful planning to maximize the efficacy of product pages, vendors can reduce product abandonment and, ideally, persuade users of all types to add items to their shopping carts. In our next post, we’re going to dissect some shopping carts and talk about what these ecommerce heavyhitters are doing right–and where they’re falling short.
For more information on website abandonment and creating product pages that convert, contact UpSellit!
Written by Bryan Gudmundson