Gone Grill: The Online Traits of Best-Selling BBQ Grills

Gone Grill: The Online Traits of Best-Selling BBQ Grills

In a recent post, ShelfRank™ “content health scores” was discussed and how brands’ scores correspond to online conversion. In response to our post, we received a lot of smart and insightful questions, ranging from the curious (“which items go into ShelfRank?”) to the not-so-subtle (“tell me exactly how many photos I need on my product page”).

To answer these questions, we did another deep dive into a specific product category. With Fourth of July just around the corner, barbecue grills was an obvious pick: big market size ($1.5 billion in annual sales in US, IBIS 2016), a high consideration purchase with many solid brands and a clear market share leader. Certainly a lot at stake (or steak…sorry we couldn’t help ourselves) in how brand sellers in this vertical manage their products online.
We analyzed hundreds of grills across eight major online retailers:

  • Ace Hardware
  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Sears
  • Target
  • Walmart

For our study, we limited our analysis to products ranging from $200 to $500 and eliminated all brands with fewer than 3 SKUs.


The “Meat” of Our Discoveries

What did we find? The best-selling BBQ grills (items that show up on page 1 when sorted by “best-selling”) averaged an impressive Content Health Score of 94.7 (out of 100), one of the top performing product categories we’ve ever seen.

Content Health Scores of top ranking BBQ Grills

As with the power tools data, average content health scores declined on each subsequent page, with products showing up on Page 4 averaging scores 23% lower than those on Page 1.

While ShelfRank looks at many different attributes to score a product, today we’ll dig deeper into three key areas: product descriptions, images and user reviews.


Product Descriptions: Tell Me More

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but longer descriptions move product. A Page 1 best-seller averaged 212.9 words in its product description, while a Page 4 product averaged 173.5 in its word count.

We’re not suggesting brands revert to high school essay tricks, but rather arm online shoppers with the details they need to pull the trigger on a new grill.

Increase page rank with product description length

Images: Best-Sellers Average 7+ Pictures

Rich product images would seem to be table stakes online, especially in a higher price category like grills, but there are still big differences between the leaders and laggards.

Number of product images

Page 1 results average 7.3 pictures per product page, 91% more than products showing up on Page 4. We have also heard anecdotally from brands that strong online imagery is correlated with in-store sales as well, since many shoppers initiate their research online.

Reviews: Power To The People

Number of product reviews best-selling grills

We saw the biggest differences in the area of customer reviews. Best-selling grills received an average of 102 reviews per product, while grills appearing on Page 4 results averaged fewer than 6 reviews. We certainly recognize the circular relationship between best-selling products and user reviews, but the data clearly suggests that the voice of the customer amplifies conversion when brands review and manage the review section.

Which brand ranked number 1 in the category?

Like we observed in the power tools category, the top Content Health Scores were not from the industry’s household names. Broil King boasted a near-perfect content health score of 96.1, which would have been good enough for the top spot in nearly any other category. But it was Nexgrill that received a perfect score of 100 for its product pages.

Take a quick glance at this Nexgrill product. Twelve product images and two videos. Over 900 reviews. Extensive product information and specifications. Just a well done page all the way through (see what we did there?).

Congratulations to the e-commerce team at Nexgrill, the Nadia Comaneci of BBQ grills.

product content health score rank


We did a little more digging on Nexgrill and Broil King, as the numbers were just so outstanding. The interesting tidbit we uncovered: Nexgrill and Broil King were each sold in only one of our eight retailers: Nexgrill at Home Depot and Broil King at Lowe’s. And we later found that was by design via exclusive partnerships we read about here and here.

Perhaps this is just a coincidence, but it suggests that these partnerships are maximizing opportunities online through great product content. We have reached out to all for more insight, and are planning a follow-up post as soon as we hear back.

However you choose to spend the 4th, we hope it’s a good one. Happy grilling!

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