It’s estimated that e-commerce sales will account for 13.7% of worldwide retail sales this year, and 17.5% in 2021. However, not every product listing will get an equal share of that growth. In this article, we’ll take a look at the types of content that set major brands and big e-tailers apart from the pack.
EBC and EMC on Amazon
Up to 54% of all product searches start on Amazon, and Enhanced Brand Content and A+ Content can help sellers take advantage of that traffic.
For vendors and sellers, Amazon offers two main types of product listing optimization: Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) and Enhanced Marketing Content (EMC). EBC is available to Amazon registered brands and Launchpad participants, while EMC is available to Amazon vendors. EMC is also called A+ Content (they are one and the same). Things get more detailed for Amazon vendors. All vendors can take advantage of basic EMC (or A+ Content), while certain vendors are invited to take part in premium EMC (or A+ Premium Content).
The enhanced content on Amazon allows sellers and vendors to add five to seven modules to their product pages. Modules can include HD video, testimonials, comparison charts, and more. Premium EMC (A+ Premium Content) for vendors also allows the largest number of module choices and includes modules not available to other vendors or sellers like hover states and slider galleries. The table below breaks down the basics of enhanced content on Amazon:
Amazon claims vendor EMC can boost conversion rates from 3% to 10%. Below, you can see Fitbit’s Premium EMC page. There are seven modules including slideshows, HD video, and a branded product comparison chart with clickable links.
Seen on: FNAC (Fr) and Amazon
E-tailers know people want to compare products. However, people can search elsewhere for comparison articles. To keep shoppers on their sites, online retailers like FNAC and Amazon build comparison charts into the user experience.
Many Amazon product listings include a section called "Compare With Similar Items." The suggestions are generated by Amazon and mostly show products by the same brand. FNAC also lets shoppers choose up to five products to compare side by side. What brands can do to optimize this tool is to make sure they’ve provided all applicable product information on their product listing. The last thing a shopper wants to see is a blank space where there should be information. Amazon also lets both sellers and vendors input their own comparison tables with either EMC or EBC, giving them more control. These comparison tables may replace Amazon's tables for Vendors using premium EMC. See below for Beats' premium comparison table on its Amazon product listing.
Seen on: Samsung
360° photos allow a shopper to look at an item from all sides. That's incredibly useful. Even though 360° photos are more expensive to produce, they are becoming an important part of product listing optimization and end up paying for themselves with increased conversions.
Online sellers started using 360° photos in 2008, but Amazon didn't start incorporating it until late 2018. At this time, only certain Amazon vendors are able to use 360° photos in their product listings. Various studies have shown that 360° photos can increase conversions by between 8 and 50%. That’s a big variance, but it’s unlikely that a 360° photo would lead to fewer conversions.
In addition to raising conversion rates, 360° photos have been shown to reduce the rate of returns. You can see how many photos were used for a 360° photo by rotating the image slowly. We used this technique to test multiple photos and found 360° photos can use between 24 and 70 individual photos of the product. Prospective buyers can see how a product looks from any angle and even read the labels on the back of the product. Samsung leverages 360° photos for many of its product lines, from home applicants to VR devices.
Augmented Reality/ Virtual reality experience
Seen on: Volvo, IKEA, Gucci
Brands began using AR/VR experiences to strengthen marketing efforts a few years ago. Today, AR and VR are known to boost sales and customer involvement with a brand. The human brain is more active when it’s involved in a surrounding experience, and that’s what AR and VR provide for a product listing.
For the latest release of the XC90, Volvo came out with a VR test drive experience on an app. More than 28,000 people downloaded the app, it generated over 51,000 requests for information, and it had 173 million impressions in the first two weeks.
AR can also show people what a product would look like in their home. Using AR technology, the Ikea Place app has made the catalog fun to play with. The app was in second place for all free Apple ARKit apps during its first six months. Shoppers can open up the catalog and see what a particular piece would look like in a room in their house. Prospective customers have to leave the app and go to Ikea’s website to actually purchase anything, but Ikea is working on a new app that will combine AR with in-app purchasing.
With more and more luxury customers choosing to shop online, luxury houses have started to incorporate more tech into their online experience. In 2017, Gucci launched a campaign called “Gucci Hallucination” with artist Ignasi Monreal. The campaign boosted sales by introducing AR and VR experiences in store and online.
Mouse-over animation and hover states
Seen on: H&M, Amazon
In the old days, direct mail campaigns could often exceed 20 pages so that it covered all useful information. Today, product listings that are information-dense often use mouse-over animations to keep the design balanced. Hover states can help users identify relevant products in a list and can also break up information into manageable bits. Mouse-over animations can also show alternate colors of an item or redundant information such as size or quantity.
Below you can see how H&M uses hover states on their product listings. When a user’s mouse hovers over an image, the images change between products shown on the model and product itself. This practice reduces the number of clicks required by a shopper to get the information they want.
Amazon also uses hover states in a number of ways. The image below shows an Adidas product listing on Amazon. The color option thumbnails change the main photo and its color description as the user’s mouse moves across them. This also reduces the amount of work for a shopper to find the right option to buy.
Seen on: Sephora, Shoptify
Nowadays, everyone has testimonials. It can be hard for brands to make their products stand out. That’s where customer-sourced content comes into play. Customers want to share stories and media beyond what a typical testimonial offers—photo and text.
Enhanced testimonials can incorporate video, galleries, and social media sourced right from the customers. Nowadays, a travel business can have images and video sourced from their customers' journeys to inspire others on their product pages. Beauty shoppers can get advice and reviews of a product from their beauty fellows directly on the e-tailer sites, alongside the option to reach the customer's service. Tools such as Rivetworks automate the sourcing of testimonials from an audience and lets customers upload rich content to a brand’s testimonial section, while TokyWoky enables shoppers to chat online with one another while viewing products. These tools enhance trust among consumers and help brands leverage their online content credibility.
The e-commerce landscape will continue to get more competitive as the industry grows. As more brands figure out what works best, we can expect to see new techniques for product page optimization.