Best practices for listing products on your store
A couple of pictures, a short description, and a ‘Buy Now’ button - that’s all you really need to sell something online.
But as with most things in E-commerce, the more information you give your customers, the easier it will be for them to make a purchase decision.
Creating a strong E-commerce product listing is an art. You have to give enough information that customers feel that they can trust your product. At the same time, you have to organize this information in such a way that customers don’t get overwhelmed.
On this page, we’ll show you how to create a strong E-commerce product listing. You’ll learn:
- How to break your content into ‘Above the Fold’ and ‘Below the Fold’ areas
- What information to include in every product listing
- How to organize and present product information
Content Organization: Above the Fold, Below the Fold
The “fold” is one of the most important concepts in the user interface (UI) design. Think of it as a line that divides the screen (any screen - laptop, mobile, or tablet) into two parts.
The first part, called “above the fold”, is the section of the screen that’s immediately viewable when you first land on a website. That is, if you don’t scroll or tap the screen, you’ll only see content that’s visible above the fold.
All content that becomes visible only when you scroll down the page is said to be “below the fold”.
Keep in mind that the actual size of the fold is relative. On large desktop monitors, the fold might be thousands of pixels high. On mobile screens, it might barely cover a few hundred pixels.
Thus, content that might be classified as “above the fold” on desktops might actually be partially below the fold on mobiles.
The fold is a marker of engagement. A user who scrolls down the page (and sees your below the fold content) is actively engaging with your website. Conversely, if a user leaves without scrolling, it means that they did not find your above the fold content compelling enough to stay.
While the fold is something UI designers worry about, it’s also highly relevant to your store.
Your buyers will often decide what to buy or skip based on the content they see above the fold. If it is not visually appealing enough or does not have clear descriptions, your customers have no incentive to scroll further and learn more about your product.
Thus, for a better listing, you have to organize your content into separate above the fold and below the fold areas.
Above the Fold Content
First impressions matter. When buyers land on your product listing, the first thing they’ll see is your above the fold content. Your goal should be to offer enough information in this space that they feel compelled to scroll further down the page.
Above the fold content example at the Flora Flower Cart website
Since your customers are used to browsing other E-commerce sites, they expect yours to share some key product information above the fold. This includes:
- Product Name/Title
- Product images
- Product information
- Purchase information, including price and availability
Let’s look at each of these elements in more detail.
A customer who lands on your product page usually does so after following a link somewhere. This link might be on an ad, a mention on Twitter, or a referral from a blogger.
You can’t always tell how much information the customer had before they clicked the link. The blogger who linked to your product might not have mentioned its size or color. Or the Twitter user might not have mentioned the brand name and not the variant.
Thus, your first target should be to reorient the customer and tell him exactly what product he/she is currently viewing. This is done through the product name.
Keep these in mind when writing the product name:
- Follow information hierarchy: List broad information (such as brand name) first, followed by increasingly more specific information (such as size or color). The usual pattern is Brand Name > Product Name > Variant > Category > Quantity. Thus, if you’re selling a pair of size XL black t-shirts, your product name would be “MyStore MyT-Shirts Men’s Black XL T-Shirt, Pack of 2”
- Include specific variant information: If you have multiple variants, always identify the variant information in the product name itself. This is particularly important if this information is crucial for the purchase decision. A good example is t-shirt size - customers need to know whether they’re on a size M or size XL page.
- Avoid buzzwords: The product name is meant to relay information. Avoid all marketing copy in the title. Only focus on core facts. Your product might be “amazing” and “incredible”, but you don’t have to mention it in the product name - leave that for the product description later.
Product Images and Videos
E-commerce is an inherently visual medium. Since customers can’t touch and feel the product, they have to make do with pictures and videos. Visuals should make up a big chunk of your above the fold content.
Follow these best practices when adding your visual assets:
- Use a white background in your primary image: The first image in your product image gallery should be on a white background. It helps your product’s features and design pop. And it’s also something customers have come to expect from E-commerce stores.
- Show different angles: Showcase the product from several different angles. If the product opens up (like a notebook), show pictures of both opened and closed variants. Give the customers as close a 360-degree view as possible.
- Show use cases: Apart from product photographs, also include pictures of the product in use in different settings. If the product requires some explanation, try to do it through an image of the product in use rather than a lengthy text-based description.
- Show all accessories: Make sure to include pictures of everything that comes with the product, including accessories, add-ons, etc. If the product is giftable, include a picture of the packaging box as well.
- Go beyond static pictures: If you can, include 360-degree product views and videos as well. This will give customers a complete understanding of the product - far better than pictures alone.
- Show dimensions: If size is an important factor in the purchase decision (common for household products, furniture, etc.), share the exact dimensions in your image gallery.
📖 Further reading:
- Photographing your product: Ecwid guide
- How to take great E-commerce pictures with your phone
- The beginner’s guide to 360-degree product photography
- Product photography mistakes that may cost you sales
🗂️ Relevant Ecwid apps
Short Product Description
Your images should immediately be followed by a brief product description. Rather than explaining all the features, benefits, and use cases, it should give customers a bird’s eye view of the product’s capabilities and specifications. The purpose is to explain the product and lure them in so that they read further.
Follow these tips for creating better product descriptions:
- Use bullet points: Above the fold product descriptions should be skimmable. Use bullet points instead of paragraphs. Each bullet should not be more than a sentence long. Stick to 6-10 bullet points at most for each product.
- Show review score: Share the overall product review score and a total number of reviews right at the top of the product description.
Product reviews example at the Soundwave Art™ website
- Show price: Before you list anything else, make sure that you mention the price. Fortunately, your Ecwid store’s default templates already highlight the price right after the product image.
- Highlight key specs: Mention key specifications that can impact the customer’s decision. This will vary from product to product. For a t-shirt, you’ll want to mention the t-shirt type (full-sleeve, half-sleeve) and size (XL, L, M)). For a laptop, you’ll want to mention the processor, storage, and RAM. You can use special subtitles for that.
- Mention key features: Highlight your product’s top 2-3 features. You don’t have to go into details - wrap everything up within a single sentence. You’ll have the space below the fold to explain everything further.
- List variants: If you have any variants (in size, color, etc.) mention it here as well. If possible, add a color/size selector so that customers can get the variant they want without leaving the page. Your Ecwid store includes a variant selector by default.
- Warranty/Guarantee: Warranties/guarantees have a substantial impact on the customer’s purchase decision. Make sure to mention it prominently in your description.
- Sharing buttons: A few buttons to your customers’ favorite social networks can boost your chances of landing some referral traffic.
Before you can jump to below the fold content, you need to add product purchase information. This includes the following:
- Availability: You’ll want to specify whether the product is in stock or not. This is also a good place to create some FOMO by showing a real-time counter of the stock. If the stock is limited, it can incentivize people to buy the product faster.
- Buy Now/Add to Cart buttons: ‘Buy Now’ takes customers straight to the payment page. ‘Add to Cart’, on the other hand, adds the product to their shopping carts so that they can continue shopping. Include both these buttons next to each other.
- Shipping information: One way to move the conversion needle is to show some shipping information right in the purchase section. For example, if you offer free shipping for this product, you can add a special ribbon to it.
- Payment options: Although not necessary (since customers will see this information on the payment page eventually), you can also list all the different payment options in the purchase section. Customers are more likely to buy if they know your store supports their favorite payment methods.
📖 Further reading:
- Choosing the right shipping strategy for your store
- Real-time rates from carriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.)
- How to price your products
- Online payment gateways in Ecwid
🗂️ Related Ecwid apps
- Fomo: Boost sales with instant social proof
- ShippingEasy: Shipping and inventory management
- ShipStation: Shipping automation
Below the Fold Content
Unlike above the fold content, there are few hard rules for organizing content below the fold. You can write 2,000 words of detailed product descriptions. Or you can leave it blank - it’s all up to you.
As a general rule, the more complicated and feature-rich the product is, the more content you’ll want to include below the fold. A t-shirt doesn’t need any explanation - a handful of pictures, size information, and a buy now button are enough to make a sale.
But if you’re selling a new range of tech products, you’ll want to explain everything that makes your product unique.
Apart from explaining the product, you’ll also want to include technical specifications and some form of social proof.
Let’s take a closer look at some key best practices for below the fold content.
Product Features and Benefits
Use the space below the fold to give customers a thorough overview of the product, its capabilities, and its benefits.
Organize your content to answer these questions:
What is the product and what does it do?
Start by clearly identifying what the product is and what it does. Try to do this in the simplest possible language. Unless you’re selling explicitly to specialists, avoid using jargon.
A few pointers to keep in mind:
- Clearly identify the product’s category. Customers understand products much better when they can compare them to other products in the category.
- Compare the product to existing solutions. If the product or its functioning is difficult to understand, try to compare it to other popular products - even if they’re not from the same category. For example, if you’re selling a hi-definition portable music player, comparing it to the iPod will make it easy to understand.
- Focus on the results. As succinctly as possible, state the results customers can expect from your product. This helps customers understand the utility of the product. In the above example, you might write that a hi-definition music player helps customers “listen to their favorite tracks in pristine quality on the go”.
How does the product work?
Once you’ve helped customers understand what the product does, you have to tell them how it works.
In many cases, this section would be unnecessary. You don’t have to tell customers how furniture or t-shirts work after all.
But if you’re selling tech products or something that requires assembly or application (like an innovative new household adhesive), you’ll definitely need to include a “how it works” section.
Follow these pointers for best results:
- Be visual: Whenever possible, use visuals instead of text to demonstrate the product’s functionality or installation. These can be images, illustrations, or even videos.
- Be succinct: The “how it works” section isn’t a replacement for a user manual. You only need to show customers how to get the product operational.
In our hi-def music player example, your “how it works” section might be just three steps long:
- Connect music player to computer via included USB cable
- Copy-paste hi-definition audio files (WAV, FLAC) into the device folder
- Connect headphones and start listening
There might be dozens of other tips and tricks to get the most out of all the features (such as built-in Bluetooth or multiple file format support), but you can leave that for the user manual.
What are the product’s key features and benefits?
Next, identify the product’s key features and benefits.
The features you highlight should ideally directly result in a benefit. To take our music player example, you might have the following:
- Feature: The device supports multiple file formats
- Benefit: Customers can listen to their entire existing library, regardless of which format it currently uses
Whether you state benefits explicitly or not will depend on your target audience. If you’re targeting domain experts, they’ll understand the benefits by looking at the list of features alone. For the general audience, however, you’ll want to state the benefits clearly.
📖 Further reading:
Specifications and Product Information
Weight, dimensions, technical specifications - much of the purchase decision rests on this information. You might have the best features in the world, but if your specifications don’t meet the customer’s requirements, customers will abandon the purchase.
There’s another reason to share detailed specifications: it reduces returns and exchanges. Customers are liable to buy incorrect sizes or variants. Sharing this information clearly helps ensure that customers buy the right product.
While the exact specifications will vary from product to product (a t-shirt should list its fabric, while a laptop should list its hardware specs), there are a few best practices you should follow:
- Specify weight and dimensions: Weight and size have a big role to play in purchase decisions. List the exact weight and dimensions of the product - both packed and unpacked. Use units that are common in your primary market (imperial or metric).
- Share product information: List the product’s SKU, model number, UPC number, etc. Customers can refer to these numbers if they have a question about the product.
- List brand and model: If you’re running a multi-brand store (i.e. you sell products from brands other than your own), make sure to list the brand and exact model name/number. Customers will usually refer to this information to make sure that they’re buying the right product.
- Share technical specifications: You’ll need to share different technical specifications for different products. For a t-shirt, it would be fabric, cut, type of print, etc. For furniture, it might be material (wood, engineered wood, steel, etc.), color, finish, etc. Be thorough with this information - customers should know exactly what they’re buying.
- Exchange and returns: Specify your exchange and returns policy in detail. Tell customers exactly what items are eligible for exchange/return and for how many days after the purchase. There should be no ambiguity in your policies - customers should know exactly what they’re in for upfront.
- Warranty: You might have mentioned the warranty information earlier, but now is the time to flesh out this information in detail. Tell customers exactly what your warranty covers and for how long.
- Shipping information: Lastly, specify your shipping policies, including countries/zip codes you’ll ship to, your shipping rates (or free shipping), and expected delivery time.
📖 Further reading:
- How to write a good return policy for your E-commerce store
- Top reasons for returns and how to minimize them in your online store
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Reviews, customer images, crowd-curated Q&A sections - these are all examples of user-generated content (UGC).
UGC is crucial for getting more sales, especially reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the more confidence customers will have - especially if they’re first time buyers.
User-generated content example at the Soundwave Art™ website
Follow these practices when creating your ‘reviews’ section:
- Ask for scores out of five. Most customers are used to ratings out of five or more rarely, 10. While a bigger score (say, out of 100) allows for more granularity, it can also confuse customers as well as reviewers. Don't reinvent the wheel - stick to the accepted ‘out of five’ standard.
- Show a breakdown: Apart from an overall product score, also show what percentage of customers voted for each rating. This can help customers spot skewed ratings.
- Ask for pictures: Give customers the option to attach images to their reviews. Prioritize reviews that include images or videos in your listings.
- Ask if the review was helpful: if you have a lot of reviews, consider asking customers if they found the review helpful (a simple ‘yes/no’ prompt would suffice). Use these votes to show the most helpful reviews first.
- Feature best/worst reviews: If you’re operating a multi-brand store with several similar products, consider featuring the “best” (i.e. overwhelmingly positive five-star review) and “worst” (overwhelmingly negative one-star review) at the top of the review list. This gives customers a best-case/worst-case understanding of the product.
In addition to reviews, you can also create a user-generated Q&A system. Customers can ask questions related to the product. Other customers (or your staff) can answer them to resolve pre-purchase doubts.
📖 Further reading:
🗂️ Related Ecwid apps
Over to You
There is no hard limit to what you can and cannot include in your product listings. Everything is fair game as long as it helps you sell more products.
For most stores, however, including all the content mentioned above will be enough to create a high-impact product listing. Focus on your above the fold content to start with. Then continue to build the listing by adding more content below the fold.