4 Essential Components for a Successful Product Listing

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Online shopping is here to stay, which is good news for small businesses looking for a market to sell their merchandise. However, with Cyber Monday right around the corner, keep in mind that a functional and streamlined website that provides accurate and clear product listings is key to setting your business above the rest.

Give Customers a Closer Look
Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 3.38.57 PMThe most important component of your product listing are the images. Producing high quality, clear and detailed photographs of your merchandise is key. Providing as much detail as possible will help customers make better decisions and avoid confusion or miscommunication about the product. Websites that offer templates and design options, like Shopify, can help you design your product page with different layouts to best showcase your product images. Plan on providing your customers with at least five images of each product, and up to as many as 10. Shopping online is a fantastic way for small businesses to sell merchandise, but you inherently lose the sensory aspects of real world shopping. Make up for this by using the best images you can. Shoot product photos in bright but not glaring light against neutral backgrounds to prevent distractions. Include different angles and be sure to get close ups of details.

Be Descriptive
Along with providing clear and detailed product images, your product description serves as a proxy to in-person shopping. Product descriptions should include all features of the item such as measurements, materials, and weight, as applicable. For clothing and accessories, for example, don’t forget to add details like durability or washing instructions. Supplying accurate measurements of all products will help consumers make better decisions and avoid dissatisfied customers. Go beyond basic descriptions of your products and paint a picture for your audience. Depending on your merchandise, you can talk about the process of how it’s made or created. Highlight unique or exceptional features, like high quality materials or locally sourced components. Providing a precise product description can also prevent higher rates of returns and exchanges. It will help to keep your customers happy and satisfied, producing top rated reviews and return business.

Be Clear about Store Policies
Giving excellent product details is only half the battle for online stores. A great product listing will also inform the shopper about the store policies and terms of service. The best way to include this information is to provide a link or tab in each listing that outlines your terms of service. Be clear and firm about what you can provide to the customer, but make your terms simple and positive. Try not to use too many negative words or harsh tones that might deter customers from purchasing, cautions Mashable. Be sure to cover the trifecta of payment, shipping and returns. Specify what payment methods you accept, what carriers you use for shipping and how returns and exchanges will be accepted and handled. Using firm, clear and positive language will show customers your business’s willingness to provide excellent customer service and prevent dissatisfied shoppers and bad reviews.

Use Tags and Keywords
Excellent product listings are the foundation of your online enterprise, but they won’t serve you or your business unless they are seen and circulated. It can be difficult to direct traffic to your site or shop, but an important way to up your visibility is to use tags and keywords in your listings to optimize results from search engines.  Research shows that one-third of important online product searches take place away from popular search engines, according to iProspect. Shoppers are using the built-in search function that websites offer to find what they are looking for instead. These websites allow you to use keywords to tag items right in the product description. When a customer searches for that keyword, your item will pop up in the results. It can be tricky to decide what tags and keywords to use though.

One idea is to pull words already in your product description out and tag those. Ideas range from materials like “sterling silver” to descriptors like “durable” or “waterproof.” Lifestyle tags like “boho,” “hiking” or “DIY” connect people to interests and hobbies.  Use terms specific to the product like “happy face t-shirt” or “gold hoop earrings.” It’s best to include tag items with broad terms, for wider searches and narrow, more specific tags that will help shoppers who are looking for a particular item. Entrepreneur suggests doing research and finding out what tags are used for similar products and what keywords are uncommon. Well used tags help integrate your products into an existing market structure and unique terms will aid in setting your products apart from the rest.

Providing clear photographs and descriptions of your products, carefully outlining your store policies and using keywords to enhance the visibility of your merchandise can mean the difference between a successful business and a stagnant one. This is especially true on a busy shopping day like Cyber Monday. Take the time to utilize these tips, and watch your business boom.

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