Digital MarketingEcommerceDecoding the product page with eye tracking research

Decoding the product page with eye tracking research

Product pages are one of the stop signs where online shoppers decide whether to go through with the purchase or not. Eye tracking research unveils how people perceive these web pages, what they’re expecting to see and how retailers can create a clean and streamlined user experience.

You may think of a product page as an equivalent of picking up a product with one’s hands and mulling over the purchase. Many questions emerge in this thought process, but most of these activities take place in the subconscious part of the mind of which we are seldom aware.

By changing features of the product page, we can influence both conscious and subconscious aspects of the decision-making process.

To unveil the basic elements that drive conversion on product pages, EyeSee, a neuromarketing insights and research company, conducted an eye tracking study analyzing the leading retailers’ product pages – Walmart, Amazon and Target.

They recruited 300 online shoppers and asked them to browse two product pages of their preferred online grocery shop, showcasing popular brands within two large categories – Colgate (toothpaste) and Tide (laundry detergent).

Afterwards, the respondents were asked to choose products they would prefer to buy.

Walmart’s 14% sales conversion advantage

More than half of the shoppers (i.e. 53%) who land on the Walmart product page also end up purchasing the product, while only 47% of Amazon– and 46% of Target-based shoppers make the purchase after browsing the product page. What drives this 14% advantage?

Although all three pages have essential elements that help to drive successful online sales, Walmart’s product page has slight advantages:

  • Larger product image
  • Visible and user-friendly “add to cart” section
  • Visible and user-friendly size and quantity options

Walmart shoppers spent up to 70% more time browsing product images

Eye-tracking heatmaps: red signifies higher attention, green lower attention.

Eye tracking enabled measuring the amount of time online shoppers spent gazing the different elements of the product pages. At Walmart, they paid much more attention to the product image: 23% out of total time spent per page, with much lower rates on Amazon and Target pages (i.e. 14% and 17% respectively).

Given its larger size, design and proximity to the product image, the “add to cart” section yielded a greater number of views as well. On top of that, Walmart’s “add to cart” is considered as much more relevant and useful for purchase decision than the same section on other websites (30% better than Amazon and four times better than Target).

Key performance indicator: Time spent looking at the image, not the page

While the time people spend looking at the product image is positively related to purchase intent, this is not the case with the time spent on the page as a whole. Amazon holds shoppers on the page 50% longer compared to Walmart and Target, but this alone does not translate into purchase intent.

Exploring the product image for a longer period of time shows positive emotional engagement – in this case, consumers presumably like what they see and are interested in learning more.

However, spending too much time on the product page might also indicate confusion.
It is possible that the consumers could not find what they were looking for or that the page was not entirely user-friendly. Shoppers might find this frustrating and give up on further browsing of that particular site.

(Product) image is worth a thousand words

Product picture is the most attention-grabbing element of the product page. It is the first-to-be-seen and the-longest-looked-at element, taking in around 20% of the total time dedicated to the product page. This section is one of two areas considered the most useful and relevant for purchase decision.

A shopper can obtain a lot of information about the product just by looking at the image; he/she does not need to read the description to make a purchase decision.

Also, since people base their purchase decisions on the package design while shopping in the store, it makes sense that they’re influenced by the product image in an online environment. Plus, images attract more attention in general and communicate more efficiently than words.

In summary

When optimizing the design of product pages, retailers should focus on the key elements (i.e. product image, the “add to cart” section, etc.), their size and positioning. These are directly correlated to consumers’ attention spans and the time they spend on the page, which can either positively or negatively impact the level of sales. Leading shoppers through the browsing and shopping processes and providing a seamless user experience is vital for achieving consumer satisfaction and, consequently, increasing conversion rates.

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