For anyone shopping for goods and services, the internet is like a modern-day wild west. It’s chaotic, inconsistent, and rife with distractions of every kind. Enticing headlines, alluring photos, persistent re-targeting ads all clamor for your attention. The digital promised land is forever one click away. But all is not lost. There’s a secret way to boost online sales: enhanced product display page content.
Your Sales Funnel: Under Attack
For anyone selling in this hyper-competitive environment, keeping consumers engaged, attentive, and committed is seemingly impossible amidst the internet noise.
That becomes even more of a challenge for anyone selling on a third-party retail site, like Amazon, Target, or Walmart. Retailers like those are focused on selling all of the brands in your product category (not just yours), not to mention a myriad of other options. And while they may offer a host of tools to give you a competitive advantage – such as search marketing, banner advertising, and sophisticated brand stores – it’s all-but-impossible to keep consumers in your well-crafted sales funnel.
E-commerce Funnel conversion rates according to Smart Insights
The Product Display Page Paradox
If you’ve done your job right and consumers do click through to your product display page (PDP), or better still (from a conversion point of view) land directly there from a browser search, you might be fooled into thinking your work is done. But leaving the critical next step – the crucial moment of conversion – solely to the retailer is a mistake many brands make.
The product display page is where customers go to make informed buying decisions. But in this unregulated landscape, the experience for brands and consumers alike can be intensely frustrating.
Product Display Page Pain Points
- You have no control over the UX/UI design – you are at the mercy of each retailer – and the experience varies radically from site to site.
- Ads and product tiles promoting the retailer’s own-label product line – or a competing brand’s – vie for your attention.
- PDPs are traditionally devoid of branded content – aside from above-the-fold (ATF) product imagery and a snippet of brand copy.
- PDP photography, while potentially informative, lacks any brand context and is almost always devoid of emotional gravitas.
- According to some sources, 55% of people spend less than 15 seconds on product pages, so you don’t have long to convince them to add to cart.
Why are Product Display Pages on Third Party Sites So Important?
Product Display Pages – sometimes referred to as the digital shelf – literally replace the traditional product display in a brick-and-mortar store (so important are they that we’ve written about Product Display Pages before). They are the final virtual touchpoint and the last step before purchase. And since you cannot physically touch and hold the product online, they must convey all of the product’s essential information and convince the customer to add it to their coveted cart. They are also home to the increasingly important customer reviews and ratings – for some, the most critical information on any PDP.
“Your product detail page is the moment of truth – your opportunity to act as the consummate online salesperson…”– Salsify, “How To Create Enhanced Content eBook.”
The New Frontier
Stealthy marketers have realized that the humble PDP is their secret weapon in this electronic showdown. Despite the challenges of the environment, a host of new services are blazing a trail – transforming these barren pages with “enhanced brand content” – putting control back into the hands of brands.
“The paramount goal for your product pages should be to build user confidence by providing all the information necessary for a purchasing decision and making the process as intuitive and straightforward as possible.”– Rosara Joseph, Content Strategist at VentureWeb
The Enhanced Product Display Page Content Players
And an increasing number of major retailers are starting to feature syndicated content on their sites, including Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Costco, and Walmart. There’s a thirst for this kind of content, both from brands eager to stand out and from retailers keen to convert more of their visitors.
Levi’s enhanced PDP content, designed by Iron Creative
Enhanced Brand Content Explained
Enhanced brand content offers vendors a unique opportunity to differentiate their brand and products from their competitors. While this content lives below the fold – often in a “From the Manufacturer” section – it is typically comprised of rich-media units that provide flexibility and some much-needed brand credibility. While above the fold content gives users the “what” in their decision-making process, Enhanced Brand Content gives them the “why.”
Above the fold content gives users the “what”, below the fold gives them the “why”
Not only do these features help to improve a brand’s presentation, but they also provide new opportunities to drive traffic to a brand’s catalog and, crucially, they increase conversion rates.
Savvy marketers use enhanced brand content to answer their customer’s most common questions. By expanding their product details and calling out their benefits, they help drive more informed purchase decisions, reducing the likelihood of returns. And since some of the enhanced content is “discoverable,” it boosts SEO, making it more findable (particularly for off-platform search).
Despite these advances, there are only so many pieces of content you can control on a third party’s site. At a minimum, make the most of the space you do have with detailed descriptions of your product, appealing imagery with various product views, and a product video. But if you want to dig a little deeper and truly master the content space, we’ve put together these handy tips.
Top 5 Tips for Building Better Product Display Page Content
- OPEN WITH A BANG
Launch your enhanced experience with content that speaks directly to your product’s highest value proposition. What’s likely to get a shopper’s attention and inspire further investigation? What sets your brand and this particular product apart? They landed on your product for a reason. Reinforce its unique attributes and benefits, and expand on the story as you go.
The “inverted pyramid” model: make sure you lead with the most important content
- KNOW YOUR RETAILERS (and their rules)
Although syndicating content is designed to be relatively easy, several anomalies can trip up an unsuspecting brand manager. Before you start the creative process, get to know your retailers and how they accept syndicated content. Depending on what CMS you use, retailers have the right to reject certain kinds of modules or reject the use of specific verbiage within your content. A retailer can also adjust the order in which your modules appear, which may disrupt your intended experience.
- CONSIDER YOUR CONTENT
Although the enhanced content space can be used to promote any information you like, ask yourself: what does your customer need to know to complete a purchase? What’s useful to you might be overkill for a customer, and conversely, what you think would be obvious might be precisely the kind of detail they are looking for. Connect with your consumer insights team to understand your customers’ pain points, or consider running some user testing to understand their particular on-platform needs.
- UNDERSTAND THE PROS AND CONS OF A COMPARE TABLE
On third party sites, opportunities to offer up similar products on a product display page or directly cross-sell are limited. Although a linked compare table can be useful for evaluating similar products, it’s not able to cross-sell other product categories. Now, if you have a limited product pool, the compare table could be exactly what you need. But if your brand has a lot to offer, you could consider something like a “Complete the Look” approach to broaden your customers’ horizons.
Evaluate the pros and cons of a compare table
- DESIGN WITH MOBILE IN MIND
It may sound obvious, but since more than half of e-commerce shopping happens from a mobile device, it needs to be re-stated. Most enhanced content syndicators support both desktop and mobile variations. Mobile shouldn’t merely follow the design of the desktop creative. The screen experience is different, which means your content needs to be too.
DIY vs. Specialist Contractor
Enhanced Brand Content is designed to put control back in the hands of marketers. And while the platforms themselves are relatively easy to use, you should also consider hiring an expert team to manage your syndication process. Here’s why:
- Retailers create their own rules and restrictions (module rejection, copy exclusion, moving specific modules above-the-fold, ADA compliance, and a host of other digital odds and ends). A specialist agency can navigate the pitfalls, so you don’t have to fall into them.
- While Amazon does not index enhanced brand content in the same way that it does regular product descriptions (A+), an experienced agency can create workarounds.
- Agencies can help interpret performance statistics and data, helping to refine the experience over time.
- An agency with a proven track record in content syndication has already learned the relevant platforms – such as Amazon’s Vendor Central or Syndigo’s CMS platforms – so you don’t have to struggle with another complicated workflow.
- Building the experience is just one part of the process. An agency can help to manage the content, keeping track of links, images, and functionality, across multiple domains.
“With leading online retailers reporting that enhanced content can increase conversions up to 36 percent, brands that are not fully leveraging their below-the-fold real estate are missing significant opportunities to make their products stand out and grow sales.”– Rob Gonzalez, co-founder and VP Business Development at Salsify
The reasons are clear. Brands who effectively create and deploy enhanced Product Display Page content increase their conversions and sell more products. Crucially, they also create branded micro-moments, which are vital in preserving the integrity of their brand as consumers comparison-shop this modern-day wild west. If you haven’t already, it’s high time you created an enhanced brand content strategy. We’d love to help.
At IRON, we’ve been developing enhanced brand content – driving sales and building brand equity – for almost ten years. Email us if you’d like to find out how we can help your business to grow.