Posted November 26, 2007 3:44 pm by with 5 comments

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Want people to come to your site a little longer this holiday season? Then give customers adequate information about your products. This isn’t new but WebCollage’s 2007 Survey of Online Consumer Product Research Habits confirms how important product information is to shoppers.

79 percent of those surveyed “rarely or never” purchase a product without complete product information.
– the e-tailing group

Shoppers want to know if a product is compatible with the products they already own and easily see what accessories come with a product. I was researching a CD/clock radio for my son’s room and couldn’t tell if the models worked with headphones (so if he wakes up early to listen to some music, I don’t have to). It was impossible to tell by the pictures and product descriptions, so I had to go to an actual store.

These are the results from the question: Which of the following pieces of information are useful to you when researching a product for purchase?

• Detailed product benefits and capabilities: 67%
• System requirements: 61%
• List of items that are included with the product: 61%
• Comparison of different models: 58%
• Product Documentation/Warranty Information: 51%
• A manufacturer’s overview of the product: 48%
• List of new features for this product model: 45%
• List of compatible accessories: 44%
• Larger or alternate product images: 31%
• Product tours or demos: 27%
• Other: 9%

If you don’t give customers good information, they’ll go to competitor’s sites, or even to the manufacturer’s site to find what they need to know.

The survey was conducted in May 2007 via Zoomerang, an online survey services provider and sponsored by WebCollage. They interviewed 333 respondents aged 18 and over who shopped online at least once within the last year.

A bigger survey this year found that most people want more information about products. 77% of the 650 women and 350 men surveyed in August 2007 said that they are “very to somewhat” influenced by the quality of content (descriptions, copy, images and tools) on a particular website.

Shoppers said they spent a full 8 minutes reading product descriptions. With that kind of attention, retailers should make sure their web sites have enough information. After all, customers cannot see, touch, or interact with products. There aren’t sales staff around to ask questions, and it takes a lot longer to process returns. Probably the biggest reason though is that sales are lost when customers go elsewhere.