Let’s be honest, online shopping has its perks – you can browse stilettos from the convenience of your sofa in your softest pair of pajamas.

As convenient and seamless as navigating the web is, it’s not so easy to be inspired if you’re looking for something new. Think about it: you’re in a mall and a window display catches your eye. Maybe it’s the pair of shoes being showcased, or maybe you appreciate the overall look and feel of a carefully crafted display. Either way, you’re tempted to go in because you want more.

The ecommerce discovery process is similar. You can scroll through hundreds of perfectly-curated posts on social media when you’re in the need of some inspiration. The difference? When product detail pages (PDPs) are used as landing pages, out goes the inspiration and in comes the hard sale – which is where most people bounce.

Fortunately, there are a few steps that can be taken to improve the landing page experience.

The Role of an Ecommerce Landing Page

Ideally, an ecommerce landing page should accomplish three things: fulfill the promises you made in your content, help the user understand your brand, and inspire a visitor to take the next step in becoming a customer. 

However, when PDPs act as ecommerce landing pages, they often fall short of this. And that’s a problem.

Almost 25% of online shoppers who arrive on ecommerce sites land on a PDP. And those who arrive on a PDP are 72% more likely to bounce than those who land on any other page of the site, according to research by Monetate.

Why? Because PDPs are primarily built to help a customer validate whether a product is one they’re looking to purchase. A PDP’s goal is hyper-focused on the bottom of the funnel, on driving conversions. It’s not focused on helping customers find what they’re looking for, or learn more about a brand or its ethos. In a sense, PDPs ignore all customers outside the bottom of the funnel.

For marketers, this is a challenge.

PDPs are ready-built destinations. They have information on the products featured in your emails, your ads, your social posts. And they’re easy to deploy, because you already have them in your arsenal.

But they do have flaws. In this post, we’ll explore the gaps that exist with PDPs serving as landing pages, and offering some examples of how brands like Parachute Home, Tuckernuck, and Crate & Barrel are improving that click-through-to-landing page experience by rethinking what an ecommerce landing page can be.

Why Most Product Detail Pages Fail to Function as Ecommerce Landing Pages

Today, most marketers aim to improve PDPs through a series of tried-and-true optimizations: Reviews and recommendations. While these work, they’re geared toward the decision at hand: Is this particular product right for me?

Reviews help you determine if a product you’re actively considering is right for you. Recommendations attempt to surface products that you might enjoy, but often do so in such a restrictive way that you’re often presented with more of the same. Neither gives shoppers the ability to shop in a fashion that’s more akin to brick-and-mortar retail: finding items that are similar, but not exactly related.

Because of this, visitors who land on a PDP versus another page of an ecommerce site view fewer pages, bounce at drastically high rates, and are less likely to convert for the following reasons:

They don’t fulfill the promise made

Users often arrive on a PDP via a lifestyle photo on social media or in an email. But there’s a disconnect between what consumers see at their first point of engagement versus what they see on a PDP. Visitors who land on PDPs convert at 1.5%, while visitors who arrive on other pages of an ecommerce site convert at 2.9%.

However, when you arrive on the PDP, you’re not greeted by the same photo that caught your eye — even though Pinterest research finds that pins that link to landing pages with similar imagery have a 13% higher conversion rate. To put it simply, when we aren’t presented with similar imagery, a customer is less likely to convert.

So it’s no surprise that social visitors who land on a PDP like this one bounce 52% of the time.

They’re designed to be the last stop before purchase

PDPs sit at the end of the customer journey, not the beginning. So people who aren’t ready to make a purchase — or who may not even know about your brand yet — won’t discover everything you have to offer on a PDP.

They don’t encourage exploration

Shoppers who land on PDPs view 42% fewer pages than visitors who arrive on other pages of an ecommerce site. They also view 8.8 pages per session. Visitors who land on any other page of the site average 12.5 page views.

While a PDP may suggest additional, related, or complementary products — a practice known as cross-selling — these recommendations may not sufficiently engage a customer. After all, the suggestions are typically related to the item featured and can’t be personalized to the interests of each buyer.

How to Improve Ecommerce’s Landing Page Experience

When PDPs function as ecommerce landing pages, they need to pull double duty. In order to be successful, they must: provide enough info to persuade shoppers to click “add to cart” AND be engaging enough to accurately introduce your brand. But you can rethink ecommerce landing pages entirely.

Here’s how you can create PDPs with the customer’s landing page experience in mind.

Feature lifestyle photos

Customers are more likely to interact with brands that fit their lifestyles and brands can share their unique take on lifestyle by featuring engaging imagery on product pages.

High-quality photos are important to capture shoppers’ interest. According to Google, 50% of online shoppers say imagery inspires them to make a purchase. However, great pictures aren’t enough.

What PDPs need in order to draw consumers in is lifestyle imagery — and not just of models. Engaging product pages should include content from users and influencers and should showcase people actually using the product, as in the example from Parachute Home, below.

Create a continuous experience with consistent imagery

Feature the same or similar photos on the PDP that you utilize in social, emails, and other marketing materials to entice users to click. This creates a familiar, seamless experience that assures shoppers they’ve arrived on the correct page, such as in the example above.

Let’s go a step further – say you click on a lifestyle image on Tuckernuck’s Pinterest page, like in the screenshot below.

When you arrive on the PDP, you’re greeted by the same photo that originally caught your eye!

According to research from Pinterest, this is a pro move: pins that go to landing pages with similar imagery have a 13% higher online sales lift.

Encourage Browsing by highlighting more than just related products

Another reason PDPs fail to deliver is that social posts, ads, and other branded content typically feature a lifestyle image showcasing various products. But if you can only link to one PDP, where do you direct traffic?

While a PDP should include information about the specific product being sold, invite shoppers to make discoveries by providing other items they may be interested in. The PDP could prompt users to “shop the look” and link to other items featured in the photo or to view “more like this,” as in the example from Party City below.

 

Highlighting multiple products in lifestyle imagery invites shoppers to browse. And PDPs that feature various items instead of focusing solely on one product empower consumers to make discoveries and allow them to easily shop for only the items that interest them.

This can further help brands create continuous browsing experiences from social to product pages by allowing users to shop within the specific image that first grabbed their attention.

Brands can also encourage browsing and discovery through page personalization by making product recommendations responsive to a visitor’s location and device type, as well as whether they’re a new or existing customer. A personalized shopping experience makes consumers 110% more likely to add more items to their carts and 40% more likely to spend more than originally planned.

Create Product Detail Pages That Engage Every Customer

Since nearly 25% of all online shoppers arrive on an ecommerce site through a PDP, it’s imperative that your brand’s PDPs engage visitors during all aspects of the customer journey — whether they are just being introduced to the brand or are already close to making a purchase.

While redesigning PDPs to create a more consistent and engaging customer experience may seem daunting, studies show that doing so increases time on site and pages viewed, as well as revenue.