Most managers of eCommerce sites understand the importance of having a high-quality product catalog. Unfortunately, standard product catalogs typically fall short in the following areas:
- Content presentation
- Image rendering and manipulation
- Search accessibility
Well-designed eCommerce product catalogs address these areas in conjunction with one another to accurately represent products and services and offer a functional and user-friendly interface. Understanding how to create a product catalog that uses these elements and also takes into consideration factors such as product variants, language, currency and localization is what sets award-winning eCommerce organizations apart from their competitors.
Making up The Difference: Why a Rich eCommerce Catalog Matters
In an ideal world, visitors to an eCommerce website would follow a pattern:
- They find a product or service they like or need
- They visit the eCommerce business’ website
- They go to the product catalog
- They find the desired product or service in the product catalog
- They purchase the desired product or service
In reality, this is what most visits to eCommerce sites look like:
- A consumer finds an eCommerce site they think is interesting
- They visit the site
- They leave
About 50% of visitors to any website will navigate away in fewer than 15 seconds. What’s more, even the visitors that stay are unlikely to make a purchase. Research shows that eCommerce home pages typically only have conversion rates of 2-3%. In fact, conversion rates for eCommerce home pages have actually decreased over the past five years. Product pages, on the other hand, usually have conversion rates that hover around 7-8% – around 300% higher than the conversion rates for home pages.
With this in mind, the goal for eCommerce organizations should be to get consumers to land on or navigate to a product catalog as quickly as possible. However, without the right elements, any given product catalog has little chance of succeeding.
10 Key Features of a Successful eCommerce Product Catalog
A good eCommerce catalog will embrace the following features:
- Clear content presentation – Every product should have a picture and, ideally, a video associated with it. Seventy-eight percent of consumers list high-quality photos or videos as a major contributor to their buying decisions.
- Proper image rendering and manipulation – The images need to be properly configured to display on a large variety of screens from desktop monitors to mobile phones and should represent products or services in the most accurate, flattering way.
- Search accessibility – If a consumer can’t find items they’re interested in easily, they’ll just leave.
- Product variants – Giving consumers options allows them to make purchases they feel comfortable with. Even more importantly, offering product variants allows eCommerce manufacturers to more accurately collect and utilize consumer data. For example, if an eCommerce store is selling a T-shirt and 100% of the size medium and large shirts in stock are purchased monthly, but only 50% of the size small shirts sell out per month, that manufacturer now knows to produce and stock less size small shirts and more medium and large shirts. This kind of information can be invaluable when budgeting or researching target demographics.
- Language – Catalogs should always be optimized for multiple demographics, particularly demographics with which a product or service is popular.
- Currency – Nobody likes realizing that they have to convert dollars into pounds on their own time because a website doesn’t do it for them.
- Localization – A good eCommerce product catalog will look and function identically across devices and territories.
- Cross-selling and upselling features – Amazon’s “frequently bought together” list that it provides under any given product is a great example of eCommerce upselling and cross-selling done right.
- Search options – A site’s search options should always be reflective of how much effort the user is willing to put into finding a given product or service. eCommerce catalogs should always present simple search options first – for example, a freeform text search for “sofa” should bring up every sofa or couch in the catalog. Advanced search options are important as well – a consumer should be able to input a search for an item by its exact name or model number and get an exact result without having to sift through a mountain of related products or services.
- Image caching – Using image caching and HTML caching in general can play a critical role in how quickly a product catalog loads and its general ease of use.
Additionally, no product catalog – no matter how easy it is to use – will be successful without great SEO. Eighty percent of web traffic goes to the top 10% of landing pages. The more an eCommerce organization invests in making sure their product catalog features prominently in search engine results, the more conversions they’ll drive and the more sales will be made.
Need Help Transforming Your eCommerce Product Catalog Experience?
Having a high-quality eCommerce product catalog can be the deciding factor between success and failure for eCommerce organizations. If you need help designing an eCommerce product catalog that will increase conversions and drive your business forward, look no further than Terrace Consulting! We specialize in helping eCommerce businesses achieve their full potential. To learn more about what Terrace can do for you, visit our website.