Why read this? : We look at how your product pages have to work differently when you’re selling higher value items. Learn how brands in the television and car categories set up their search, technology and customer experience. Read this for ideas on better ways to sell high ticket products online.
But what about high value items? High ticket products you don’t buy everyday?
Is there a difference to versus how you sell T-shirts, toiler paper or soft drinks?
What more do you need to do if customers are spending big?
So this week, we look at 2 categories which sell high ticket products.
First, televisions. An interesting category in Covid-19 times, because sales go up with people stuck at home. And then, cars. Affected the opposite way by Covid-19. Sitting at home isn’t great for car sales.
We’ll review a number of sites. Each review will start with a quick search and marketing technology audit. That gives you a feel for what’s going on behind the scenes in terms of their digital marketing expertise. We’ll use the Moz, Ghostery and Wapplyzer extensions in Google Chrome to do that.
Then, we’ll talk about the site experience from a customer point of view. How does the design, layout and brand identity work? And what lessons would we take to use on other product pages?
Buying televisions online
Given most people have been stuck at home, and their TVs will have been on more regularly and for longer, it seems like a good time for TV manufacturers and retailers. The more you use your TV after all, the sooner you need to replace or update it.
A quick search for “buy a new TV” gives you paid ads from Kogan and Harvey Norman. With Kogan being an online pure player, we’ll look at them another time. And we’re still too unimpressed with Gerry Harvey’s poorly chosen words at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak to give them much airtime.
Although, it’s interesting reading his follow up, where he admitted it made him sound like a “heartless, greedy old bastard”. Ten out of ten for self-awareness. And also for his public relations team in reminding him to keep his gob shut since.
So instead, we’ll look at the next 2 retailers in the search rankings, the Good Guys and JB Hi-FI.
Moz : Domain Authority : 61
Ghostery : Trackers : 9
Wapplyzer : Technology Connections : 14
The Good Guys has a lot going on from a search and technology point of view.
A 61 domain authority is pretty good in search terms. The number of tracker and tech connections also shows a good level of e-Commerce expertise behind the site.
They’ve got the expected tagging and data analytics set up, with advertising trackers and content experience managers. Their store is set up on IBM Websphere which also includes stores like Costco and K-Mart among its other users.
This suggest to us a high level of e-Commerce expertise, and that they’ve invested to support this channel.
When you land on new TVs, the first product you see is the Linsar 75 inches 4K UHD HD smart TV for what seems like a bargain price of $999. Now, we don’t plan to review the TV itself, more what we can learn from how it’s sold. This article is about selling high ticket products online after all.
Get the basics right
So, what we see, is a solid product image taking the lead. Makes sense. TVs are something you look at after all. Then, the product name and a short summary of the key features come next. That’s good.
Then, you’ve got price (including the $300 discount on the regular price) and the call to action. Both, immediately visible with no need to scroll down.
If we were using our online store product page checklist, this page would tick many boxes. It does many things well. It’s a good example of what to do when selling high ticket products online.
The Good Guys have done a good job to make these basics the FIRST things you see on the page.
More advanced online selling
They’ve also added a graphic to show Top Seller and very visible ratings and reviews. 84 reviews with a 4.5 star rating. These are good examples of social proof (check out our article on behavioural science for more on this) which can help drive sales. This is a more advanced e-Commerce selling technique.
They also include the added benefit of “3 months free accidental damage and theft cover” as an upsell offer. Which again, is a good selling technique.
They’ve also made it easy to assess the product. That helps with customer decision making, If the customer wants to know more, all the headline elements connect to more detailed information. Product features. Technical specifications. Ratings and reviews. Buying guide. Delivery and installation.
If we were being picky, we’d question their use of fonts and typography. The main font they use Futura is perfectly legible. But a mainly 14px and a font weight of 400 with a dark grey font had us squinting to read some of the more detailed body copy.
But that’s being picky.
Overall, good job by the Good Guys
Moz : Domain Authority : 75
Ghostery : Trackers : 10
Wapplyzer : Technology Connections : 12
And just to make a direct comparison, let’s jump over to the JB Hi-Fi site.
So, JB Hi-Fi’s domain authority is very strong at 75. Unsurprising, given we know it’s one of the highest traffic online retailers sites in Australia.
Because not only does it sell high ticket products, it also sells more regular items like DVDs, CDs and games. Even, if most people these days download rather than physically buy many of those items.
It has a similar set-up of trackers to The Good Guys, and it’s based on the Shopify platform. Although, we assume it’s a bespoke version of Shopify, and not the $29/month option anyone can access.
If we look at their TV options, we’re mimicking what actual online shoppers do. (though they don’t look at the domain authority, tracking and tech connections like we do).
With products like televisions, most customers research and decide on the product first. And then, shop around for the best place to buy it. And the “best place to buy it” usually comes down to either price, or an extra service the retailer offers to persuade you to buy from them. But let’s be honest, more often than not, it’s the best price.
Their first new TV in the category is a Samsung Q80T 75” QLED Ultra HD 4k Smart TV.
But this one comes in at a whopping $4,495. That’s 4.5x more expensive than the TV we looked at in the Good Guys. Wow.
And the main difference we can see is the branding. Everyone knows Samsung. But how many people know Linsar as a brand? (not us we have to confess).
But TV branding aside, what’s the online shopping experience like between The Good Guys and JB Hi-Fi?
A weirdly similar experience
Well, in fact weirdly similar to the Good Guys. Product image, product name and summary product information are all the first things you see. Then the price and the call to action. And the one “extra” which makes it onto the main page – yep, customer reviews and ratings again.
In fact, other than the very different colours and overall brand identity, the basic content is very similar. That suggests both retailers understand there’s a solid basic template of what customers need to see to decide what to buy.
Scroll down the page. With the exception of a view video clips (which to be honest, are a bit weird and add no value), the content is all pretty much the same as you find at The Good Guys. It’s laid out a little differently, but not by much. They have 3 tabs for example to break up the description, details and review for example.
But overall, it’s weirdly similar.
Even their font choice, they’ve gone with Roboto. Very similar to Futura as per our typography guide. And, again it’s a 14px font size, but with a heavier weight. Slightly easier to read. But, not by much.
The way the page is laid out is very much on trend with the brand identity of JB Hi-Fi. If you’ve been in one of their stores, it feels the same online. That’s good.
The differentiation challenge
To be honest, when it comes to selling high ticket products online, when those products are easy to buy in many places, like televisions, it’s hard to differentiate the experience. Branding helps a little. As does price discounting and sales promotions.
But, if you’re selling the same thing, your focus needs to be on getting the basics right.
Product information helps. But it’s a hygiene factor, really. Everyone should get that part of selling high ticket products online right.
So, think about the impact of the price, and any extra services you can offer. Because, for all the effort that’s gone into each product page, if we were really buying a new television, it’d probably come down to the best price we could find.
So, cars is a very different category. With Covid-19, people are driving less. That means they’ll put off buying a new car until life becomes a bit more certain again.
For cars, we searched on “buy a new car”. We skipped over sites like car sales and drive as we want to look at how car brands sell themselves online. So, we took the first 2 brands which showed up in search.Those were Toyota and Audi.
Moz : Domain Authority : 61
Ghostery : Trackers : 2
Wapplyzer : Technology Connections : 9
The Toyota Corolla page was where we went first.
They have the same level of domain authority as The Good Guys. This is slightly surprisingly, as we’d assumed retailers (who get more regular traffic) would have better authority.
But from a tracking and technology set-up, they seem less active in this space. In fact, having only 2 tracking systems (Tag Manager and Analytics) seems really low.
However, from a customer experience point of view, the site looks and works well. Fun videos, LARGE product images. And compared to the TV online pages, everything is less frenetic. There’s much more use of white space, graphic icons and it’s a more visually pleasing experience. A much better design.
Compared to the TV buying experience, they use shorter sentences and larger fonts. They don’t deluge you with information. They use visuals, videos and icons to bring the experience to life.
While they don’t use reviews as such, they use industry awards such as “Australia’s Best Small Car under $35,000” to build trust in the purchase.
Compared to their advertising, we can’t say the site quite made us jump in the air and shout ‘oh, what a feeling’. But, it delivered on the brand identity of clean, efficient, functional. It does exactly what you need it to do.
But how does that compare to a brand with a quite different brand identity?
Moz : Domain Authority : 45
Ghostery : Trackers : 5
Wapplyzer : Technology Connections : 8
So, we looked at the Audi A3 Sedan page for this little online shopping trip.
The lowest Domain Authority of any of the sites we’ve looked at. But still high enough that you’d find your way there if you were looking to find out more about Audi.
They have more trackers than Toyota, with some advertising trackers added. And while, the number of marketing technology connections is slightly less, we can see they’re on the Adobe marketing technology system. Which we know is an advanced and expensive technology system. So, it seems appropriate Audi use it, given they’re also known for advanced technology. And being expensive.
Design-wise, it does exactly what it needs to. Like Toyota, they’ve clearly spent more time thinking about design and layout than the cluttered electronics store pages. Lots of images of the car itself. Lots of white space. They use short sentences and paragraph blocks. It’s easy to read, and smacks of simplicity and clean design.
On the downside though, we found the interactivity of the page and site left us a little cold. Yes, we could follow the links to request a test drive. Find a dealer. Get a quote. Find cars online. But this page is strangely functional, and overall a bit dull.
Maybe that’s the brand identity Audi were going for?
Final thoughts on selling high ticket products online
But, we were trying to follow what online shoppers do. And this jumping around approach is what they do.
For televisions, our learning was to get the basics right. Pick a few of the advanced options to highlight. But, really it’s going to be price and extra services which seal the deal.
With cars, it felt different. These are much more involved and tangible purchases. So, for selling high ticket products online like cars, there’s more opportunity to create a branded customer experience.
We touched on the marketing technology too, which for businesses comes with its own challenges. But we’re also thinking with all those advertising trackers, how long before we start seeing advertising for these products and brands in our social media feeds?
Talking of which, with the news about the easing of Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions this week, we were curious about how Dan Andrews planned to celebrate.
And so curious in fact, that having visited his favourite tipple’s website, we’ve already seen 2 adverts for Starward whisky appearing on our social media feed this week.
Cheers, retargetting advertising trackers on e-Commerce sites.