With online shopping booming, significant growth opportunities are opening up for retailers and brands. While discussing user experience, it was determined that one of the factors that can significantly influence online sales are product pages. Ergo, our team unveiled the key elements that drive conversion on these pages.
Our large-scale eye tracking study showed that, after browsing a Walmart.com product page, online shoppers are 14% more likely to buy the product from this retailer than from Amazon or Target. We analyzed different aspects of their respective product pages to discover the elements that correlate with purchase intent.
Our panel partner Lightspeed recruited300 online shoppers and asked them to browse two product pages of their preferred online grocery shop (e.g. Amazon, Walmart and Target) while the EyeSee team tracked the shoppers’ eye gaze. We selected the top grocery shops and chose popular brands within two large categories: Colgate (toothpaste) and Tide (laundry detergent). Afterwards, the online shoppers were asked which products they would prefer to buy.
Why is the Product Page so Important?
Unlike insights for brick and mortar stores which are already heavily researched, online shopper marketing insights are mainly unexplored and provide a lot of opportunities for enhancing sales. One of the key website elements is the product page, as it is the last stop before potential shopping/purchasing.
You may think of a product page as an equivalent of picking up a product with one’s hands and mulling over the purchase. Many questions emerge in this thought process, but most of these activities take place in the subconscious part of the mind of which we are seldom aware. By changing features of the product page, we can influence both conscious and subconscious aspects of the decision-making process.
Walmart’s 14% Sales Conversion Advantage
More than half of the shoppers (i.e. 53%) who land on the Walmart product page also end up purchasing the product, while only 47% of Amazon– and 46% of Target-based shoppers make the purchase after browsing the product page. What drives this 14% advantage?
Although all pages have essential elements that help to drive successful online sales, Walmart’s product page has slight advantages – compared to the competition – with regards to:
• Larger product image;
• Visible and user-friendly “add to cart” section;
• Visible and user-friendly size and quantity options.
The Amount of Time Spent Browsing Walmart’s Product Images is Up to 70% Longer Compared to Target and Amazon
While the online shoppers were browsing the product pages of their preferred retailer, we tracked their gaze. At Walmart, they paid much more attention to the product image: 23% out of total time spent per page, with much lower rates on Amazon and Target pages (i.e. 14% and 17% respectively). Given its larger size, design and proximity to the product image, the “add to cart” section yielded a greater number of views as well.
Key Performance Indicator: Time Spent Looking at the Image, Not the Page
While the time people spend looking at the product image is positively related to purchase intent, this is not the case with the time spent on the page as a whole. Amazon holds shoppers on the page 50% longer compared to Walmart and Target, but this alone does not translate into purchase intent.
However, exploring the product image for a longer period of time shows positive emotional engagement – in this case, consumers presumably like what they see and are interested in learning more. On the contrary, spending too much time on the product page might indicate confusion. It is possible that the consumers could not find what they were looking for or that the page was not entirely user-friendly and, consequently, it took away the precious time that shoppers have to shop online.
(Product) Image Is Worth a Thousand Words
Product picture is the most attention-grabbing element of the product page. It is the first-to-be-seen and the-longest-looked-at element, taking in around 20% of the total time dedicated to the product page.
A shopper can obtain a lot of information about the product just by looking at the image; he/she does not need to read the description to make a purchase decision. The importance of the product image makes sense as well, as people make purchase decisions based on package design while shopping in the store. Plus, images attract more attention in general and communicate more efficiently than words.
Optimizing the Product Page
Larger product image holds the attention longer. To make the most of the image potential at the online purchasing ‘moment of truth,’ it should be optimally sized, at a high resolution and well positioned. Multiple-angle product images are also beneficial. On average, respondents spend more time looking at larger product images, as they attract more attention, which is positively correlated with the purchase intent. On the tested pages, the product image area with Walmart is twice as big as the same area with Amazon and 1.5 times bigger than with Target.
Tweaking the “Add to cart” section. Walmart’s “add to cart” section attracted the most attention in comparison to other sites. It is the largest as a whole, has the largest buttons and print, and is positioned better (i.e. closer to the product image). All these factors contribute to better visibility: on average, 92% of respondents noticed this section on the Walmart webpage, 86% on the Amazon page and 34% on the Target product page.
Complementary products hold attention longer than alternative products. While Target and Walmart offer “alternative products” (i.e. variants of the SKUs within the category), Amazon uses the “complementary products” strategy which shows other categories of products that are frequently bought together. Both strategies are important, but they support different goals: while the “alternative products” strategy helps shoppers decide on the exact product they want, with the aim of reducing drop-offs, the “complete-the-basket” strategy can drive direct sales. The complementary products section holds 30% more attention than the alternative products section, which could also signify higher purchase consideration. As expected, visitors spend more time looking at new items rather than contemplating on, or second-guessing whether, their purchase was the right one.
In summary, when optimizing the design of product pages, retailers should focus on key elements (i.e. product image, the “add to cart” section, etc.), their size and positioning. These are directly correlated to consumers’ attention spans and the time they spend on the page, which can either positively or negatively impact the level of sales. Leading shoppers through the browsing and shopping processes and providing a seamless user experience is vital for achieving consumer satisfaction and, therefore, increasing conversion rates.