Ecommerce product comparison pages help improve customer experience and convert more sales. Here’s how to make yours great.
Today’s consumers play an active role in the buying process.
They won’t wait for brands to come to them; they’ll do their own research to find the best item. Who wants to wait around when we can access the whole world through our email accounts?
Despite the active role consumers play in their shopping fate, there are still a set of steps they go through when buying a product:
- Awareness: when a consumer is just becoming aware they need a product to solve a specific problem
- Consideration: when a consumer knows what product they need to buy and is weighing up their options
- Decision: the moment a customer chooses a brand and a product to invest in
their lifestyle? their needs? The final stages of the sales cycle is when shoppers compare similar products to each other to find the right fit— the one that fits their budget, lifestyle, and needs. Does it come with all the features they need? Does it look how they want it to?
Creating a product comparison page that shows the various features of similar products enables consumers to quickly identify the best product for their needs. This makes the sales process faster and helps them to check out quicker – it’s a good situation for everyone involved.
What is product comparison in ecommerce?
Do you ever feel overwhelmed when trying to purchase items like a microwave, vacuum, or new phone because there are too many options to choose from? One microwave may have 800W power, but another may have more heating options. Judging each option against each other provides a way to see the most important details that help create trust.
A product comparison is when a person looks at multiple products to see which one is the best fit for them. This is often done by looking at things like price, features, and reviews. The purpose of the text is to compare the features and benefits of two different products.
Potential customers can see which features each microwave comes with by looking at the green ticks in the chart. The microwave that is the best option for someone who wants a microwave that can connect to Alexa, automatically reorder popcorn, and has hands-free voice control is very clear.
The main elements a product comparison includes are:
- Product description and details: what are the specifications and how do they differ from other similar products? For example, one vacuum might be cordless and smaller than another.
- Product features: what add-ons does the product have that others don’t? For example, one vacuum might have six different heads that can be used for different cleaning purposes.
- Product benefits: how will the product make life easier for the consumer and how does this differ from other similar products? For example, one vacuum might have a head specifically for pet fur that leaves homes completely hairless.
This text is discussing how product comparison can help shoppers at the consideration stage of the sales cycle. By helping them identify the best-fit product, it can boost conversions.
Product comparison: best strategies for best results
The way you design your product comparison page will be based on the type of product you’re selling and who you’re selling it to. However, there are some simple strategies to keep in mind so you match customer expectations:
- Include images: display images of the products you’re comparing so customers know exactly which items you’re talking about
- Make it visual: as well as product photos, include illustrations and other visual elements to maintain reader attention
- Stick to less than five products: don’t overwhelm shoppers with tons of products; instead, stick to 2–5 for best results
- Consider shopper interests: bring the features that are most important to your customers to the top of the chart
- Keep it simple: keep text to a minimum and avoid listing complicated features that will confuse customers
- Include social proof: add ratings and customer reviews to your chart so shoppers can see how previous buyers felt about the product
How to use research to build a product comparison chart
Product comparison charts can be a great addition to your site or product pages, but they can take some work to get right. You can’t just list size and color and hope for the best. Instead of guessing what customers want, you need to look into their preferences and what makes each product unique.
1. Study the products
Before you can compare two products, you need to learn about each one. The hidden features and benefits are just as important as the dimensions and design.
The basic information you should look to include is:
- Product dimensions (all angles if possible)
- Color options
- Specific information regarding the product (i.e. voltage for electrical items or wattage for microwaves)
- Extras and add-ons that come with the product
- Materials or ingredients used
After you have gathered all of the essential product information, what are the next steps? Frame the nitty-gritty details using a customer-centric mindset.
2. Find the unique selling point
What makes one product different from another? Most products have a unique selling point. When studying the products, look for what makes them different.
3. Understand your customers
When creating a product comparison page or chart, it is important to consider the needs of your customers to ensure that the page is accurate and helpful. To create an understanding of what the customer is looking for in a product similar to yours.
4. Build your product comparison chart
The data you have gathered can help you create a product comparison chart with a focus on features that your customers desire. It is important to include relevant details in the chart so that potential customers can make a quick decision, which will increase conversions.
Guidelines for ecommerce product comparison
Pick the right comparison method for your situation: Compare Tool, Filter Method, or Standalone.
There are three common approaches to comparing products online:
- Select & Compare Tool – selecting “compare” checkboxes for two or more products and then clicking the (sometimes hard to find) compare button.
- Filter Method – an increasingly common method that allows more sophisticated filters to narrow down and do much of the heavy comparisons, via elimination, leaving the product list page to convey the rest.
- The Standalone table – doing the work for the customer, this is a pre-designed table that does well because it’s a dedicated landing page.
Show notification when a product is added to comparison list, then tell users what to do next.
Adding a simple checkmark or X symbol to the checkbox is the first step, but people also need to know what the next step is.
After an item is selected:
- Indicate that they must choose more items to compare.
- Indicate how many—what’s the max?
- Provide a prominent CTA to tell the shopper what to do when enough products are selected to compare.
Comparison select indicator should be sticky or otherwise extremely accessible.
Once the shopper selects one checkbox, they will scroll around to compare other products. Make sure it’s easy for them to:
- Know how many more they need to compare;
- Find the compare button once they’ve found that number.
A bar at the top of the page listing the items in the comparison tool queue, with a button to compare them, would be a simple solution.
Follow conventional design: Display a checkbox under or above the product image, indicate “select to compare” or imply “compare.”
This select-and-compare comparison tool is found in Guideline 198.
Prototypicality is key here. The compare tool should be simple and easy to use. Simple, intuitive, and typical design wins.
For each product on the list, there should be a “select to compare” button next to the thumbnail image. The ” add to cart ” CTA should be more prominent than the CTA.
Comparison tool should also be offered on search results pages.
The search results page is a list of products that are relevant to the search term. The products that come up when you do a search should be able to be compared to each other easily, either by using the click-and-compare tool or by making sure that the information about each product is displayed in the same way so that people can look at them and find the information they need to compare them.
The way REI allows comparisons is very typical, which is via their product list pages and their search results pages. The “compare” button is below each item. REI understands that customers are not likely to purchase items from this display, so they have included a call-to-action of “compare.
A pop-up box appears at the bottom of the screen when you select an item, which asks you to select more items to compare. The problem with this design is that it’s not obvious how to get to the product page. The customers are expected to know that they have to click on the product picture.
Add “add to cart” CTA for each product.
People compare products because they want to buy one. Don’t make it difficult. Every product on a product comparison page should have a “add to cart” CTA.
“Close” or “Back to results” button should be visible.
Clear navigation enables shoppers to browse products fluidly. If there are any issues with the way the website functions, potential customers will be lost.
The product comparison tool allows people to compare products and find the best one for their needs.
Allow users to print comparison tables.
This feature of comparison tools, while not likely to have an impact on conversions, is frequently referenced. The users may want to print the information to share it with a family member or email it to a colleague.
People want to be able to compare different things. Instead of having a save or email function on a site, a PDF can be printed which saves time for the developers.
You can typically find a “compare” function on most websites in the upper right hand corner.
Offer capability for users to mouse hover over technical phrasing/jargon to see a definition or description.
What are ohms anyway? Is a high number good or bad? Do I really have to google this?
Referring to outside sources for definitions can cause people to lose interest in your site. Make sure to explain what things are, as even intelligent shoppers may not know all the jargon.
Each product picture should be clickable, leading to product page.
This guideline is all about expectations. Most sites adhere to it.
Some sites, like REI, use this technique to take you from the product list page directly to the product image. Many people expect to be able to rely on this interaction, but it may not be the best way to do it.
The comparison is a step in the buying process. After assessing the differences, a choice is made. If they don’t want to add the product to their cart, they’ll want to see the product page.
On the comparison page, when you hover your cursor over a product image, it should show that you can click on it. If you click on the product, it will take you to that product’s page.
If there are many specs to compare, they should be organized, grouped, and easy to scan.
Comparing technical products can be a hassle. Instead of listing all of the different specifications that a product like a computer or consumer electronics might have, manufacturers will often simply present the most important specs to consumers. This allows consumers to more easily compare products and make decisions about which ones they want to purchase.
Showing a lot of text and numbers is important.
Comparison tables that are well-designed can help people to find what they are looking for without any hindrances. If a table is not designed well, it can cause issues and make people not trust the information.
Avoid product comparison if all differentiating product information is displayed on the product list page.
Many of the clothing and apparel sites we tested and benchmarked did not allow users to select and compare multiple items. There are not many technical specifications that consumers would use to evaluate one pair of jeans over another, for example.
Because of this, these websites only use features like filtering and sorting to let shoppers compare and buy products. If you sell “experience goods,” the filter comparison method will be sufficient.
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