Did you know that about half of your customers spend 75 percent of their time researching products online? That’s a stunning figure, but it shouldn’t be. The Internet has given users a ridiculously low-cost way to research just about any product or service before they buy. This isn’t the 1950s anymore, when people were at the mercy of salesmen to tell them the truth about what they were buying.
Customization of Product Images
One of the things that successful online marketplaces do well is allow users to customize product images. It’s not enough to just see what the user is buying. Because they cannot physically pick up the product, users want to be able to change the color, add and subtract accessories, and get an idea of what they’ll ultimately be buying.
Many e-commerce sites totally screw this up by relying on their IT department to “cut costs” and not “waste” bandwidth on such customization options. This is a huge mistake. Yes, it takes a lot of extra coding. Yes, you will probably spend more money in bandwidth. But, who cares?
You’ll also be making more sales. And, as long as those sales add up to more than what it costs you in bandwidth, why should you care about how much you’re spending? Sure, you have profit targets, but do a split test. See how much more user engagement and sales you make from more interactivity versus less. You’ll gladly spend the extra money to “waste” bandwidth and code.
Why is Amazon.com the king of e-commerce? Part of the reason lies in the fact that you can manipulate its 3D images. You can click on various thumbnail images to rotate the product around – seeing all angles.
This is insanely cool, but it’s also a virtual necessity. Again, because users cannot pick up the product you’re selling, you need to give them a way to rotate the product around so they can see the top, left, right, bottom, and everything in between.
Ideally, you would allow users to zoom in on a product, “grab” it with their mouse, and then allow them to play with it freely, rotating it in 360 degrees. Certain studio photo solutions make this a rather simple task to pull off, from a coding perspective, making it easier to create enriched e-commerce pictures.
Asking For Comments and Questions
There are three main ways you can expand your existing products pages.
Facebook Comments: First, you can allow users to leave Facebook comments, “like” products, and interact with other users. Putting facebook comments right on the product page isn’t a new idea, so look at the companies that have implemented this feature already.
Sites like Amazon.com use their own commenting and rating system, and this is essentially what you’ll be doing, except you’ll be hitching a ride on Facebook instead of building your own comment system.
Getting comments in this fashion has a way of spreading your message far and wide. Why? Because users leave comments and then those comments can appear in that user’s news feed. Then, other friends of that user can see those comments and join in on the conversation. It’s sort of like having a bunch of friends come to your store to check out your product.
Tweets: There are a lot of people on Twitter these days, and those short messages can make huge waves. While the lifespan of a tweet is mere seconds, those seconds tend to count a lot. This is especially true if you get your product reviewed by an influential blogger.
Asking Questions: Allowing users to ask questions about a product directly from the product page is a major usability benefit. When someone comes to your site, one of the worst things you can do is force them to leave the page to ask a question about a particular product. Let them do it right from the page, incorporate a live chat interface, and watch your conversions increase.
About the Author
Mathilde Chenel is a marketing specialist. She often blogs about the essential skills and design needed for effective video marketing.