August is the month to get prepared for the busy holiday shopping season. Here’s one thing we know: consumers are looking for you and your products. We also know that if you adopt the “set it and forget it” philosophy of eCommerce: shoppers won’t find your products even when they’re looking.
There’s no question that optimizing and monitoring product pages is resource intensive. We’ve put together a list of pointers to make sure that you’re on pace for all the web’s biggest shopping holidays.
1. Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Pricing
The online price war has been the worst-kept secret (okay, it’s not so secret) for the better part of this decade. You know the drill: one online retailer drops the price, the other follows, and their speedy algorithms battle it out until one of them “wins”, dropping your product pricing below MSRP or MAP pricing. We all know two things: one, this strategy hurts brands and, two, retailers keep doing it because it improves their SEO. They can afford loss leaders. Your brand, in stark contrast, can’t.
So, here’s what you need to do: protect your pricing and your brand value. Deploy intelligence that tells you exactly when the price moved and who moved it. This evidence isn’t going to stop the practice, but it does give you an opening salvo to a conversation with retailers who moved first (hence our calling this service our First Mover report).
2. Monitor Your Reviews
Products without customer reviews won’t get conversions and probably won’t even show up in search (either Google or a retailer’s search results). Bad reviews are just as problematic, especially if customers don’t see any response to negative comments.
Here are solid best practices for customer reviews:
- You need a minimum of eight reviews per product
- Ask customers who have purchased products to leave reviews
- Use negative reviews as a test for your page content. Is there missing information that would have prevented the review? Would clarifying product details (shipping weight, color, materials, care instructions) prevent other similar negative reviews from showing up?
- The more reviews, the more traffic you have; follow up with emails so you’re getting solid review metrics on all the major retailer sites
3. Check, Double Check, and Triple Check Your Product Descriptions
You have to find a balance between providing too much information and not enough. Give buyers short, scannable descriptions above the fold, and then do a deeper dive on the lower half of the page.
Even if the product is simple (we get that it can be a struggle to find a lot to say about some items), make sure your product description is at least 26 words long. Bullet lists are a must as are H1 and H2 headers, especially if they contain keywords (also: your H1s and H2s absolutely must contain your keywords).
4. Review your Product Titles
How you present your product titles has a massive impact on search. We wrote a book about it, in fact.
Don’t forget other important attributions in your product titles like identifying colors (black jeans, red t-shirt, blue dress, etc.), sizes, and brand names. All of those details matter to both consumers and, therefore, search engines.
Shoot for a minimum of 20 characters and a max of 100. Any longer than that and product names don’t render well on mobile screens.
5. Images and Video
Your product pages need assets, and lots of them. Customers don’t just want to see photos and videos, they need to see pictures from varying angles, 360 views, product demo videos, and image collages so they can educate themselves. If it’s a garment: supply pictures from the front, back and both sides. For appliances, close-up images of selected features matter a lot. Take at least one picture of all included accessories (especially crucial for product categories like consumer electronics and toys).
Think less about lifestyle images you’d see in an ad and more practical, professional pictures that tell a literal, and not inspirational, story.
Bonus Tip: Keep Monitoring Everything!
Think of product optimization in these terms: your real competition is bad and missing information. The more you monitor your pages and your prices, and the better you get at using your page content to engage your audience: the more trust you build online.
How can your content keep pace with what consumers are doing throughout the holidays? You’ll never know the answer to that question if you’re not staying on top of your content. Tools and committed resources are vital to online success throughout the season. (Of course, we can help with all of that.)