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What makes for successful product page content?

Side of an old apartment building with a classic Coca Cola advert on it

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Why read this? : We look at what’s involved in creating great product page content. Learn how to build on the basics of product name, information and images. We review examples of successful product pages in different e-Commerce channels, with a focus on Coca-Cola. Read this to get on the right page about product page content.

Our how to get more sales online guide covers the 3 basics you need for product page content – the product name, the product description and product images.

But you usually need more than just the basics to drive sales. That’s why  this week we look at more advanced examples to see what we can learn from manufacturers and online retailers.

We look at what other content helps drive sales. And what you can learn from how product page content works in different online channels. 

A keynote page showing product page basics - product name, product information and product images

Let’s have a Coke … online

To help us compare product page content in different online channels, we wanted a product that’d be available in many different channels. 

We picked Coca-Cola because it’s widely available and has a reputation as an e-Commerce and digital marketing leader. It’s also an interesting brand from an e-Commerce planning point of view. 

First, because it’s a low value per purchase, a relatively heavy item and widely available. That mix of factors mean they focus more on selling through online retailers than direct-to-Consumer (D2C). (though you can find some wholesale options to buy Coke direct online). The delivery cost to send out a single can or bottle of Coke via D2C would be prohibitively high. 

We also know they employ dedicated e-Commerce teams who manage their presence with online retailers. They invest in the online channel. Not every brand does this. 

And finally, because it’s often an impulse driven purchase. Impulse is a hard need to satisfy online with physical products. You need the product to be stored in many places so it’s never far from the delivery location. And you need an order to delivery system which can quickly deliver the product. 

Impulse shopping online

Coca-Cola has to use a food delivery service like Uber Eats, or more local specialised delivery companies to be able to meet the impulse need.

On Uber Eats, you can only satisfy an impulse need for Coca-Cola by ordering it from restaurants. You need to order food with your Coke. 

So you get your Coke from places like Pizza Hut, Subway or Hungry Jacks.

But if you want Coke without food, then you need to try somewhere else. 

Uber eats - Coca Cola options including Pizza Hut and Hungry Jacks

In Sydney, we’d use a delivery specialist service like Jimmy Brings. (see our e-Commerce competitive strategies article for more on how Jimmy Brings works). 

They mainly focus on alcohol, but will also deliver mixers like Coca-Cola and others.

But their range is small. They only offer 2 Coke products. And both are bottles. No cans. 

Jimmy Brings - Coca Cola options

In fact you could say, they no can do Coke cans. (sorry, couldn’t resist!).

We’re sure Jimmy Brings only include Coca-Cola as a convenience for their customers. With only 2 products listed, it’s clearly not a big part of their business. In both cases, the products are only listed with the bare minimum of information needed. They don’t have their own product page content on any of these impulse sites. For that, we need to shop elsewhere.

Grocery shopping online

Which brings us to a more likely scenario for buying Coca-Cola online. And that’s as part of your grocery shop. This is about regular, probably weekly, purchases, and keeping a stock in the fridge. Let’s look at the 3 main options if you decided you want to buy Coke online, with a focus on what the product page content looks like and says.

Coca-Cola on Woolworths

Well, the first good news with Coke on the Woolworths site is there’s the imagery, brand name and product descriptor right up front. 

In fact, there’s 5 images you can choose from.

The first 3 are simple pack shots of the front, side and top of pack. Then, there’s an image of the nutrient label and a single lifestyle image of a customer holding the can. Note, here you can order cans. 

But what else have they included?

Woolworths Coca-Cola product page

Click on the link and scroll down the page. There, you’ll find ingredients, allergen, nutritional information and product warnings. Plus a big disclaimer and a selection of Also Viewed / Also Bought products.

And that’s about it. 

Coca-Cola on Coles

If we look at the same pack in Coles, the first thing which jumps out is the price difference. There’s a whopping $14.60 saving as the product was on special when we visited the site.

But get over that, and what you find is a solitary image of the box with a can.

You’ll find pretty much the same product description as the Woolworths site. (This is because they most likely pull from the same product information system in the background).

Coles Coca-Cola product page showing Classic Coke Multipack Cans 375ml for $23.30

And there’s a little bit of nutritional information and again another disclaimer. (We would say retailers seem to like disclaimers, but we know it’s actually because they’re scared of complaints and legal actions. They find themselves forced to put these disclaimers in to protect themselves). 

But that’s pretty much all you get out of Coles. 

Coca-Cola on Amazon

And then finally, let’s look at Coke on Amazon Australia. 

Here we get 6 images, including a quality image of the nutritional label and 3 more lifestyle looking shots. Pretty nice visually. 

But what’s this?

Here we also have product ratings. We get a FREE delivery order

There’s the same(ish) product description but also a subscription delivery option. This option even asks how often you want the delivery.

Clever stuff. All very clear calls to action for the shopper. 

On that same page, if you scroll down, you’ll also find more product details, frequently bought and viewed items, another disclaimer (!), but also images and a video from Coca-Cola, a Q and A section, more details on the reviews, plus a whole load of links back to our Amazon browsing history.

That’s a lot of good product page content going on here.  

What e-Commerce learning do you take from this?

Well first, we obviously don’t have access to the sales numbers which each of these pages delivers. Only the retailers and Coke have that.

But what you can take from it, is there’s really 2 different approaches online retailers use. It’s either make it as simple as possible, or make it as interesting as possible. 

Make the purchase simple

With retailers like Woolworths and Coles, the focus is on making the purchase as simple. It’s a less is more approach to the content of your product pages.

It argues removing things which get in the way of a purchase improves the customer experience. Simplicity reduces drop-out rates.

And in the case of familiar products like Coca-Cola, that all makes sense. However, most businesses are NOT as familiar as Coca-Cola. And this less is more approach doesn’t work so well for unfamiliar products.

So, if you’re selling less well-known products, there’s only a limited opportunity to ‘sell’ your product with some online retailers.

The templates Woolworths and Coles use for their product pages apply to ALL their products. Even the more obscure and unusual ones. 

Their systems are set up to be easily managed and maintained by limiting the amount of information attached to each product page .

It focuses on operational efficiency rather than shopper experience. And while this makes it more reliable, it feels like an IT rather than a marketing led way to think about the customer. 

Make the purchase interesting

Compare that with Amazon. On that page, you can directly buy the product and ignore all the ‘fluff’ that sits around it. But for some customers we know that extra fluff encourages sales.

It attracts attention and adds to the customer experience. The extra content brings in more customers and that drives more sales.

On a page for page comparison with Woolworths and Coles, it’s highly likely Amazon’s conversion rates are higher. 

Samsung mobile phone with amazon logo on screen

Put the customer first

You can see how Amazon puts the online customer first.

There’s convenient options to save time (subscribe and save). There’s reviews of the delivery service. Read these and you feel reassured. The product will be delivered on time and in a decent state.

It just all makes sense as an online shopping experience. The shopping experience shows why Amazon is one of the world’s leading online retailers.

And Woolworths and Coles, hmm, not so much. 

Now, we know Woolworths and Coles do well online. But they do that because of the habitual buying pattern of Aussie shoppers. Not because their online shopping experience adds extra value.

If we were to look at how to create a successful product page, Amazon would be our benchmark.

Conclusion - product page content

Phew, this article writing is thirsty work, we’re off to have a Pepsi now.

But in future weeks, we plan to go through the same process in other categories. Let us know if there’s any channels or products you’d like us to cover.

For more on e-Commerce, check out our recent e-Commerce lessons from 2020 article. For more on product page content specifically, check out how to sell more online guide. Contact us if you need more help or advice on product page content. 

Photo credits

Amazon on phone : Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

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