Image credit: Jenny Downing

There are many factors that decide whether a product or a service is successfully sold on the internet, but how it is represented to the customer is probably the most important one. Everyone understands that managing to entice the customer to come to the website isn’t enough – if it was, we wouldn’t need to worry about conversion rates. But what actually does influence the customer’s decision to buy is how the product is going to satisfy their needs and why is it worth to pay a certain price for it. A lot of online merchants believe that the vague product descriptions and photos they usually get from their suppliers are enough to persuade the customer – the item itself doesn’t change after all. Well, it might work if you’re selling, let’s say, nuts and bolts, where the material, the measurements and the manufacturer are all the buyer will ever need, but when it comes to furniture, apparel, collectibles or pretty much anything else, the product representation really matters – both if you’re selling on your own online store or on online marketplaces. So what can be done to represent your products in the best way possible?

Craft the product descriptions

Before you start writing descriptions for your products, you have to think both about what exactly you’re selling and your target audience. Will a buyer of the mentioned nuts and bolts care if you write three paragraphs on how that stainless steel 3/8″ bolt is going to change their life? That’s right, they won’t, because they know exactly what they’re looking for. But if you’re selling a yacht or a sports car, you’ll have to do your best to prove to the customer that your item is actually that ethereal feeling they’ve always dreamed about in a physical form. For most of the products though, a good description should be somewhere in-between – revealing both the item’s characteristics and the ways in which it will make the customer’s life better.

Make sure the photos are done right

As our friends at 3dcart put it, one of the major disadvantages of shopping online is that you can’t look at and feel the product before making the purchase. That’s where the photos come in – and the better they represent the product, the more interested customers you should expect. And it isn’t as simple as it may look. First of all, you should forget the smartphone (no matter how advanced they might be nowadays) and use a DSLR camera (without flash!) for really high quality pictures. Secondly, you should photograph the object from as many angles as possible – front, back, top and bottom are all a must, and some additional photos of details may be needed sometimes as well. If a product comes in a few different colors, you should use the same angles for all of them. Finally, you’re going to need a neutral (preferably white) background for the photos to look professional. Then, when you’re uploading the photos to your store, make sure all of them are scaled to the same size, providing a uniform design throughout your store.

Present all the relevant information

Not all of the information about a product should be integrated into the description, as you can always create an additional tab for any extra info that might be relevant to the customer. Most of the time, this includes the measurements of the item (and a link to the size chart if you’re selling apparel). Product weight is also a must if your delivery fee depends on the weight of the package. Depending on the product, there might be some technical information in which the potential buyer might be interested in – in fact, if you’re selling some types of merchandise, for example electronics, it’s probably the most important part of your product representation. If you include all the necessary info and make it easy to find on the product’s page, you’ll receive less inquiries about the item from your potential customers – and let’s not forget that most of the people choose to close the browser window over contacting you if they don’t find what they’re looking for.

Maintain the same style

We already mentioned it in the part about the photos, but maintaining a uniform style throughout your online store is essential. You can’t write an engaging 300-word description about one of your items while providing no information about another one at the same time. It’s just plain unprofessional, and customer expectations are high as ever. Remember that a good-looking and professional product page can work as an advertisement for your entire store and a potential customer might just choose to browse a little more if they see a great product page, even if they don’t need that exact piece at the time.

Descriptions that are written with the customer in mind, a lot of professional photos and all the needed information should make your product pages stand out – a lot of online merchants still don’t understand the importance of product representation, so it’s a great way to stay ahead of the competition. Add great website design, customer reviews (for each and every one of your items) and smart marketing to the mix, and you’ve got yourself an online store that is ready for success.