8 Tips to Improve Your Online Product Presentation

online-retailWhen you post a SKU on a retailer’s website, there is a minimum amount of content that is expected for EVERY item that is listed.

That bare minimum includes:

  • Primary image: Clearly shows exactly what the customer will get.
  • Short product description: Follows category specific standards and includes the key search terms.
  • Assets: Video, alternative images, and documents such as warranty, use & care, assembly, instruction manuals, etc. (usually as .pdf files).  It’s a great way for consumers to further educate themselves in the buying process and to revert back to after purchase as most consumers tend to lose the pack in information.
  • Cross merchandising: Many sites will allow you to “connect” collections & accessories
  • Detailed product description: Includes features & benefits, how it’s used – what customer wants to know to buy.

Put your shopper hat on.  Become a consumer.

8 tips for improving your online product presentationTry this exercise.  Ask others to do it as well.  Make sure they give you their candid feedback.

Here is the exercise. Put your shopper hat on. Become a consumer. Go in and look at your items.

Try Amazon, Build, Lowe’s, Walmart, Fastenal, Grainger, Menards, Ace, True Value, Target, etc. Pay particular attention to your biggest and most important retailers first.

Look at the alternate images, the videos, the pdf’s of instruction manuals, warranties, collections, accessories, specifications, description, read every review, look at shipping ability, etc, etc.

When you are online, be sure to click anywhere and everywhere to view all content. It might be fun after you do that to compare the shopping experience with a competitor or two of yours online, too.

Here is what you are likely to find:

  • Some of you have done a good job filming an appropriate video showing installation or use of the product.
  • Some of you have done a good job loading alternate images which show side view, top view, bottom view, in use shot.
  • Some of you have done a good job building out collections which feature a lot of other products that relate or share the brand name.
  • Some of you have done a good job building out accessory content showing items that should be bought together like nails with a pneumatic nailer.
  • Some of you have done a solid job with detailed descriptions and specifications.
  • Some of you have included pdf’s showing warranty, user manual, installation guide, product specs, etc.
  • Some items ship everywhere.  Some do not ship to GU, VI, PR.  Some add AK and HI to that list.
  • Some offer a white glove shipping option (no touch) delivered to the exact spot the customer wants it.

It is obvious these are a few things where some of you have done things really well.  And there’s places where you may not have met your customer’s expectations.  You need to be the judge of that for yourself.

Pay particular attention to online reviews

Star ReviewRead them all and think about how you can do better. Could you have had a better review if the instructions were clearer, if the product was enhanced, if a legible manual was included, etc, etc.

We all need to embrace the good and bad reviews. If it is a 1 or 2, how do we fix or improve something to be sure we do not get that low of a rating anymore. If it was a 3 or 4, in many cases the customer will tell you one more thing that you could have done to gain the 5 star rating.

With the greater acceptance of smart phone use, customers in stores are considering a purchase and are accessing the web to read reviews before buying. Make this important connection that it is not just about the dot.com sale, it affects the business done up and down the aisles every day.

Thanks for taking a moment to think like a typical retail shopper and let’s use this opportunity to get better.

Good Selling!

Content Strategy graphic credit: dtelepahty.com

Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.

Are You a Product Marketing Hero?

Marketing HeroNot too long ago at a major mass retailer, we presented a new product that we thought would make a lot of sense to stock. Not so fast, said our buyer…prove to me this is the right product…and the right time…for it to be on the shelf.

Maybe you come into your new product presentations prepared. We certainly thought we were. We had consumer insights around the product, a price point that we knew was right in line and the opportunity for this retailer to be first in the market.

Your buyer expects you to know the market backwards and forwards

Prepping for a major meeting or line review goes without saying. But are you ready for the phone call from the buyer straight into marketing? The buyer expects you to know their business, their competitors and the market backwards and forwards all the time, especially when it’s a phone call on the fly. This goes for any touch point the buyer has with your company.

How can you control what happens outside of marketing? Maybe try a few of these approaches:

  • Brief executive team. Make sure they aware of who’s winning and losing in the market – and why.
  • Ensure that trends are collected and distributed to the sales and marketing team regularly. Create top line reports that ensure you can view key metrics by key channel or customers.
  • Take the time to bring the cross functional teams up to speed on market dynamics. Lots of contact happens between your customer with shipping, customer service and quality. Make sure they all know the big picture.

“What problem is this solving for my shopper?”

shopperOur buyer was all set to pounce. He thought we had a product that we couldn’t defend. And for a moment, he had us in his sights…except when we recommend a new item, we bring the consumer reasoning behind the recommendation.

To get and keep the attention of your buyer, bring along with you these facts for every new product you bring to the table:

  • What issue it solves – the need
  • Your recommendation on how it fits the customer’s assortment
  • Financial impact – size of the prize
  • Consumer insights – in-depth insights as to why this is the right item for their customers. Get this data even if you have to go and use a third-party. It’s the sale clincher.

The bottom-line? We made the sale and put a product on the shelf that exceeded everyone’s initial expectations. The buyer looked like a hero, we sounded credible and then proved that we were when the product started flying off the shelf.

For other Channel Instincts posts on product marketing, see What Drives Your Product Marketing? or Are You a Marketer Or Just a Product Expert?