Revamp Your Online Store! People Want To Read About Products As Well As See Them

December 12, 2013  |  

Just in time for the shopping-filled holiday season, a new report commissioned by the University of Miami School of Business and posted on PRNewswire explains exactly how to optimize your online store for consumers cruising around your site.

Consumers love pictures! Graphics and visuals are all the rage — but this is solely if you have a small selection of products to offer. If your online site offers a wide range of selections, drawing in some sales might actually be more difficult. The study calls it “choice overload” — consumers are so overwhelmed by the amount of options, they don’t buy anything at all. Honestly, this is why MN Biz has trouble making it through Zappos.

Surprisingly, if you offer a lot of items for purchase, using more text (not pictures) will heighten the consumers’ chances of pressing “buy.” The more products there are on your online page, the more erratic the buyers will be in examining your page. By offering more information for your potential customer, he or she will be more likely to take their time and analyze which choice is best for them. This way, you’re more likely to score a sale.

“Although images are attractive and fun, when a large product set is shown with images only, there is a tendency among consumers to gloss over them rather than make a purchase,” said Claudia Townsend, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Miami School of Business.

Retailers that create mobile apps often fall prey to relying on visuals rather than clarifying text to lure in customers. Townsend insinuates that this sole focus on graphics just isn’t the way to go.

Through a series of five experiments, lead investigators came to this conclusion: although visuals are preferred, if you know your site will trigger “choice overload,” it’s best to add some text to facilitate the buying process. “Because consumers prefer to see products visually, we suggest that online retailers design a home page that uses visual information upfront, emphasizing ease-of-purchase and variety,” said Townsend.

“They should then make the product-offering pages more text based in order to cause the shopper to slow down, review each option more carefully, and buy,” she concludes.

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