If you’re an avid online shopper, you’ve probably noticed that some ecommerce stores out there list product variations separately, while others merge them into one listing. In this article, we’re going to look at six awesome benefits of “the merge,” not the least of which is adding to your store’s bottom line.
What are product variations?
Variations are the different options you have to choose from when purchasing a product. They can be anything from color and size, to style, fit, material, weight, flavor, etc.
The type of product being sold should determine the variations provided for a product. For example, a store selling energy drinks may specify “flavor” as a variation and display the different flavors (lemon, watermelon, strawberry, etc.), while a store selling shirts would list the colors and sizes available, and perhaps style (e.g., t-shirt, tank top, long-sleeve t-shirt, and/or hoodie).
On most ecom stores, the product variants are displayed as swatches or dropdown menus so users can easily select their preferred option.
Examples of product variation displays
To merge, or not to merge?
When ecom business owners choose to have multiple variant listings for the same product, a whole host of issues arise that make the user journey more complicated. However, the advantages of merging them all into one listing are many. So, let’s dive in!
1. Improved User Experience
Merging product variations helps your customers easily find the variation of the product they’re looking for. For example, let’s say someone visits one of your product pages because they like the saying or design on a black shirt you sell, but they don’t want another black shirt—they want a blue shirt.
If they find the different color options on the same page and can easily choose between them, it’ll be easier for them to continue with their shopping journey. In the opposite case, however, they’ll have to go back a step on their shopping journey and search for the same shirt in a different color … which can be perceived as a lot of work just to buy a shirt.
Bottom line, people’s time and energy are valuable, so you need to make the buying process as quick and easy as possible for them.
2. Lower User Drop-off Rate
People shopping your site will bounce if they don’t find what they’re looking for. Considering the above example, it’s important to recognize that not all customers have the patience to go back and forth between screens to search for an item. Therefore, you need to present products in a way that they can easily find them and check out. If you make it too difficult, they will leave your store and give someone else their business.
3. Perceived Richer Selection
A store may have a number of unique products, but it can be difficult for people to find them if your site is jam-packed with product variations listed as individual items. Doing it this way, your store won’t appear as rich in products in the eyes of the user, but instead will be perceived as cluttered and potentially one-note.
Grouping product variations into a single listing increases the visibility of the other products in your store, allowing customers to more easily shop your variety of offerings.
4. All-in-One Product Reviews
Merging product variations into one listing means that all reviews for a product will be on the same page, which allows users to see a variety of customer feedback at once. Additionally, having five unique positive reviews in one place vs. single ones on five different listings (with no guarantee the user will see the other positive reviews) will instill more confidence about taking the plunge and purchasing the product.
5. Boost in Conversion Rates
When people are able to find their preferred variant of a product, they’re a lot more likely to proceed with purchasing. Mind-blowing, I know. Back to the black/blue shirt example from earlier … If I click on the listing looking for that specific shirt in the color blue and find it right away (and in my size), what more could I ask for? Odds are, I’m probably going to buy it.
Removing those navigational barriers to people finding what they’re looking for will not only increase your store’s conversion rates and sales for that initial product they wanted, but it will also increase the likelihood that they will browse your other offerings.
6. Improved Product Page SEO
When users visit a single page consisting of all product variants and spend some time there (presumably reviewing the different options), it shows Google that the page in question is visited a lot, therefore of higher significance, and moves it up in the search engine rankings … which helps you get organic traffic.
Merging product variants into one listing leads to many benefits that can increase your ecom store’s revenue. It helps users find their preferred product as quickly as possible, eliminating the difficulty of navigation and improving conversion opportunities. Splitting variations, however, makes it difficult for users to find a product on desktop, and even more difficult via a mobile device. Remember that the faster and easier someone can find what they’re looking for on your site, the more likely they are to buy from you and become a repeat customer.