UX International Map Lessons: Product Page Optimization
Welcome to the second installment in our 3-part series on the Global UX Map, the result of our extensive research into digital trends and browsing patterns from across the world. This insightful series is a surefire way to improve your user experience (UX) and boost your digital marketing efforts. In this chapter, we will be focusing on product page optimization.
If your marketing tactics are successful enough to impel users to land on the product page — or if they clicked into it by virtue of their own interest, that is magnificent news. It means your advertising, SEO and content campaigns were competent enough to push users to the page where actual purchase decisions are made. But getting visitors onto the product page is not enough and certainly doesn’t guarantee conversions.
Like your homepage, blog and other site pages, the product page must keep visitors engaged and digitally happy to encourage them to buy. But if there’s one thing we all know about user experience, it’s that one size most definitely doesn’t fit all. And when you have a global patronage — or are seeking to break into the international market — taking into account the needs and expectations of your local audiences is key. UX Analysis Methodology
As you’ve learned in our previous UX map lesson, we drew our insights from analyzing over 35 million visitor sessions from January through February 2019, on 11 luxury websites in 7 countries. This adds up to 150 million pageviews and 3 billion clicks.
The 7 countries from which we extracted data on the product page are the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, China and Japan. By analyzing how visitors in each of these countries interact with the various elements of the product page, we were able to understand what works and what doesn’t, and where brands should focus optimizations to drive maximum engagement.
Visitors In China Most Engaged With the Product Page
While studying the user behavior on the product page across the 7 countries, one country in particular stood out due to its heightened engagement. Consumers in China clicked and scrolled between 1.5 to 5 times more than those in the other 6 countries we surveyed. They also spent more time on the page (25% more than the global average), avidly consuming both informational and visual content.
In fact, the data makes known that users in China often research a product extensively before adding to cart, navigating through many elements on the page, and generally consuming more content than visitors in any of the other regions we looked at.
They were particularly engaged with the product description, clicking on it over 23% more than their global peers. They were also far more interested in the shipping and returns description, with a click rate higher than other countries by over a heaping 95%. With many brands selling exclusively online, shipping costs are often an expensive and unavoidable expense, explaining this extra attention.
Visitors in China also spent much more time viewing product images than their international counterparts, and were 50% more likely to click on the first product image than their global peers — an upward trend that continues onto the following images.
Product Delivery and Shipping Descriptions: Vital in Japan
Descriptions on the product page go a long way to reassuring shoppers in general, as does clear information on shipping and returns. This is most discernible in Japan, where mobile consumers are often reluctant to make a purchase before reading all the information about a product of interest, including its shipping and returns policy.
In fact, the click rate on the product description is 47% higher in Japan than in any of the other regions we studied, and the click rate on the shipping and delivery info, 48% higher.
The US and UK Have a Stronghold on Customer Trust
Visitors in the US and UK spend less time interacting with the product page. In both regions, product visuals receive 22% fewer clicks on the first product images and 53% fewer ones on the third click, compared to global averages.
The scroll rate on the product page in the US and UK is also lower than the global average, coming in at 53% versus 56% for the rest of the world. The click rate on the textual content is also considerably smaller in the US and UK than in the global average.
Precisely, the click rate on product descriptions sits at about 4.1%, versus a 4.5% global average. Meanwhile, the click rate on the shipping info in the US and UK is roughly 0.5%, while globally it’s at 0.7%.
With truncated engagement on the product page, visitors from the US and UK clearly have less time in their customer journey to take in the content on this page. Instead, they make hastier decisions, so you have to catch their interests quicker than those from the other European and Asian countries. If you do, you will earn their trust, proven by their quicker conversions, which occur without skimming through visuals and reading content that’s further down the page.
Visuals Take Priority in Germany and Italy
Chinese visitors on product pages aren’t the only ones captivated by visual content. Much like these constituents, visitors in Germany and Italy also show high levels of engagement around product images. These visitors click 7% more than their global counterparts on the first image, 6% more on the second and 28% more on the third on all devices.
Visitors in Germany also have a favorability towards the product description, clicking on this element 11% more than the other countries surveyed. As such, this element is crucial in their customer decision journey. A product description may compel or dissuade these users from making a purchase, so assure that your product descriptions are up to par, being both informative and marketing-friendly to convince your German audience to buy.
Product Images in Relation to the Product Page for Visitors in France
The use of the product page in France can seem to be contradictory — giving the impression of both a low and high engagement of the page. Visitors in France are much less engaged on virtually every element on the product page, with fewer clicks on product descriptions, shipping info and images, coupled with shorter session times.
However, despite a low session time and engagement with these elements, shoppers in France total in a 60% higher time spent on page than the other 6 countries. This discrepancy relays an audience that is not as interested in content related to the product so much as interest in the product itself.
As such, these users shouldn’t be disregarded; they are still good candidates for conversions, but they must be interested in the product from the get-go, so you should use other marketing channels to promote your products, so by the time shoppers arrive at your product pages, they’ll be interested enough to convert, or learn more.
Refining the Product Page for a Global Audience with UX Recommendations
Product page optimization begins with making the right changes or additions to your product pages across its global editions. No matter how optimized your product page appears to be, remember that it won’t be received in the same manner globally. Here are several data-backed suggestions on product page optimization from a globally-oriented perspective.
For US and UK visitors, opt for simplicity; there is no room for clutter for the least engaged duo in the product page. Align your text and images with a minimalistic style — nominal text, low interactions, large images and as little scroll as possible. The goal is to create a quick and easy consumption of the page. Don’t both laying out a shipping policy, as users from these countries are accustomed to cheap shipping and free returns.
The UX optimization of the product page on your Chinese site is in direct opposition to the US and UK, since users there are much enthused about content on the product page. Since users in China are prone to scrolling, design your page with a vertical interface. You can rest assured that loading your product page with content will stimulate high engagement. Feel free to add affiliate links, reviews, images, descriptions, articles, etc. You should pay close attention to the product and shipping descriptions since there is high engagement there. Visitors in China are less certain on shipping, so give them cost-efficient options. For more slider engagement, speed up your load time; it is notoriously slow in China.
Much like China, the consumption of product and shipping descriptions is also high in Germany and Italy, particularly on mobile. Posit your product in the best possible light in these descriptions and provide all the relevant info on them, as visitors in Germany and Italy are inclined to read them. Make sure they are easy to access on mobile.
Since product imagery has a decent performance in Germany and Italy, don’t be scant in your product images on your site in these countries. Include at least 4 product images per product page. To ensure slideshow images are seen, implement visible arrows on the slideshow. While both countries are fans of images, visitors in Germany prefer horizontal navigation in the carousels, while Italians favor the vertical variety. Don’t forget to add a zoom function on your images.
Since users in France have a rather contradictory behavior on the product page — a long time spent on the page but few interactions with individual elements, you have to optimize accordingly. This may appear challenging, but luckily, there is a way to maintain a balance between few interactions and high consumption. To achieve this balance, insert a summary of the content above the fold with anchors that steer users further down. A long time spent on page means that these users are willing to consume it, so long as they don’t scroll.
Optimizing the Product Page
As there is no marketing “one size fits all” strategy, the same should be applied to your globally existing product pages. As our UX map findings show, browsing behaviors vary from country to country, and it’s enlightening to be able to identify and sort them into different global localities. Localizing the user experience begins at understanding what needs to change and which areas of the UX require the most attention. To capitalize on this localization, you should continue studying user behaviors through unique metrics like scroll rate, time spent on element, conversion rate per click and more.