Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How well do companies merchandise products online?

With the web site often the first sight of a product, it is important that prospects get a complete and positive view to convert visitors to buyers. And yet few b-2-b companies fully exploit the possibilities of photography, video and user reviews, relying instead on one low resolution product image and text description to turn prospect interest into a conviction to buy. Some times there isn't even a picture!

There are 4 important opportunities for presenting a product to best advantage - product description, photographs, video and user views. Unlike a 'hands on' opportunity, at an exhibition, potential buyers cannot touch, explore and test a product online. Take most electrical products - it is just as important to see round the back, to see what sockets there are, to understand how it is installed and these features can easily be shown by offering other static views of the product. Instead of the traditional product shot from the front, why not show other important views - the inside, the fixing locations, connections to other systems, profile views? If however the product has performance features such as how it works, opens up, transforms for different tasks, then these are better shown in a video. It is also important to offer independent reviews. Case studies can provide valuable third party endorsement and the views of recognised authorities carry considerable weight. 

Finally, a full technical specification and content highlighting and differentiating the product should not be forgotten - plus of course a 'call to action'. Having virtually demonstrate the product you still need customers to call and place the order and this should be made simple to do and a seamless part of the process to close the sale. 

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