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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? : You need good product page content to drive online sales. We share what that looks like by reviewing how Coca-Cola appears in different online channels. Learn how to improve your product page content in impulse, grocery and on Amazon. Read this to improve the way customers experience your product in e-Commerce. 

In our how to get more sales online guide, we cover the 3 basics you need for product page content – the product name, the product description and product images.

But you usually need than just the basics. So, this week we’re going online to look at some 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 we 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. Those 3 factors mean their focus is much 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 would be prohibitively high. 

We also know that 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, and that’s quite a hard need to satisfy online. You need the product to be widely available geographically so it’s never far from the delivery location. And you need an order to delivery system that can quickly respond to an order and deliver the product. 

Impulse shopping online

For Coca-Cola, this means you use a food delivery system like Uber Eats, or you sell through a more local specialised delivery company.

On Uber Eats, if you want to order Coca-Cola, you can only satisfy your impulse need through third-party restaurants. You need to order your Coke with some sort of food. 

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

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 our area of Sydney, we would use a delivery specialist like Jimmy Brings. (see also our article on e-Commerce competitive strategies for more on Jimmy Brings). 

They mainly focus on alcohol, but include mixers like Coca-Cola in their range.

But niche as they are, they only offer a choice of 2 Coke products. Only bottles and no cans.

Jimmy Brings - Coca Cola options

We’re sure Jimmy Brings only include Coca-Cola as a convenience for their customers. From the fact they only list 2 products, it’s unlikely to be a very profitable part of their business. 

Grocery shopping online

Which brings us to the more likely scenario where you would buy Coca-Cola online. And that’s as part of your regular grocery shop.

This is where Coke is part of your regular routine and you keep a stock in the fridge. If you did want to buy bigger quantities of Coke, this is where you’d go. So, let’s look at 3 examples and see what the experience of buying a Coke is like in online grocery in Australia. 

Coca-Cola on Woolworths

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

In fact, they have 5 images available including the front, side and top of pack.

The images are a little uninspiring , but they do the job they need to. Especially when you throw in an image of the nutrient label and one solitary lifestyle image of a customer holding the can. 

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 available in Coles, the first thing that jumps out is the difference in price. There’s a whopping $14.60 saving as the product is on special at the time we went on 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 off, 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 which online retailers use. 

Make the purchase simple

With retailers like Woolworths and Coles, the focus is on making the purchase as simple as possible. Many would argue less is more in e-Commerce.

When you remove things that get in the way of a purchase, you improve the customer experience. You reduce drop-out rates.

And in the case of very familiar products like Coca-Cola, that all makes sense. However, most businesses are NOT Coca-Cola. They have brands which are less familiar to shoppers. 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.

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. 

Deliver a great experience

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 a couple of quite different 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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