How To Fix Underperforming Product Listings on Shopify

How To Fix Underperforming Product Listings on Shopify

April 22, 2021 | by Shannon Kelly Ash

Competition is fierce in the ecommerce world. And it can change overnight. 

It’s a constant yo-yo of high and lows—you hit a bunch of sales on a “random” product listing, and you’re waiting for the domino effect to kick in everywhere else. This, unfortunately, is not how to works when selling products online. While there is a recipe for success, it does not guarantee that every listing will perform. 

There is no one-size-fits-all 

The industry is flooded with similar products vying for first place. Most customers are lured in by competitive pricing. But if that’s not an option for you—you’ll need to focus on strategic product listing optimization. If your listings don’t meet your customers’ needs in the moment, they’ll abandon their cart and look elsewhere.

According to Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is just under 70 percent. At such a high rate, ecommerce brands end up losing $18 billion in sales revenue each year. That’s a ton of lost sales, and you can bet a large part of them are due to poor product information. Just by knowing what type of information your customers want to see, you can be more proactive online. 

Watch discount example on a cart abandonment

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You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know when your listings suck. If you’re not putting effort in, it makes sense that sales will be lackluster. But if you are, and you're not seeing results, perhaps you’re going about your listings the wrong way.

Profit loss and a drop in sales are one thing, but the minute you start receiving negative reviews on your product or customer experience, you’re affecting your search ranking potential and online reputation. By focusing on delivering high-quality, rich product information, customer feedback will improve significantly. 

The goal is to always create a listing that makes people buy. And to achieve this, you must think beyond the offering and focus on the structure. Before anything, make sure you meet Shopify’s  unique content requirements, and then start incorporating the following tips into your listings: 

1.) Optimize for search and discovery 


If a customer doesn’t go directly to your web store’s site, they’ll likely perform a series of Google searches to find what they’re looking for. In this case, you’ll need to ensure you’ve optimized for search (bots) and discovery (humans). The idea behind each is tweaking your content to attract the right buyer: someone who is searching for a very specific product or someone who is window shopping.

For search, you’ll want to incorporate as many contextually relevant and SEO campaign keywords as possible. This will help search engines identify what the context is about, and if identified as a trustworthy source, they will prioritize your product content. For discovery, however, you need to focus on adding a touch of personalization to your content. We suggest analyzing real-time insights on customers according to location, device, or previous interactions. Then, target customers via remarking ads, on-page pop-ups, or email with customized content. By personalizing your content, your customers feel special and cared for. 

Both are ongoing, and the results will change according to trends or consumer interests. You need to constantly analyze the performance of your listings to see what works and what doesn’t.

2.) Provide rich product information 

Don’t be an ecommerce store that settles for poor product information. 

When selling online, you need to create the same in-store experience, if not an even better one! Customers have questions—and they shouldn’t have to ask you to get answers. In fact, they shouldn’t ever have to get in touch with a customer service representative before purchasing. Make sure every detail is readily available, from the size of a product to the return policy. 

In your product descriptions, make sure you address common pain points, features, and benefits. Be strategic; tell a compelling story using adjectives and descriptive words. Then, set the scene and stage your product in a way that shows customers exactly what you’re talking about. After all, a buying customer needs to be able to visualize your product in their life. 

Red Nike trainer with rich product information

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3.) Be transparent with your stock 

There are few things that frustrate customers more than a listing with outdated information. If you have a popular item that sells out quickly, you should auto-disable your “add to cart” function once sold out, or add a “low stock” text to manage customer expectations. Always be truthful about your stock and availability to avoid creating misconceptions about your brand.

4.) Get more positive customer reviews 

Did you know that 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product? Well, this is particularly true with younger generations. In fact, a recent study says that “18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” The more social proof you have, the better your chances are of gaining trust and boosting online visibility in search rankings.

There are a number of ways in which you can increase your reviews—all of which are related to premium customer service. Whether it’s got to do with a delivery date or a product query, teams must act fast to provide their customers with the best experience on and offline. By monitoring and responding to your reviews, you can maintain a positive reputation. Show up for your customers, and reach out for regular feedback to improve your current offerings. 

Positive Alora brand reviews online

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5.) Consider the age of your product 

Shoppers who indulge in online marketplaces and channels have done their homework. They’ve researched the nitty-gritty and shopped around to find the best, most innovative solution for their needs. Having said that, brands need to keep up with changing trends and shopper patterns. If you notice that a listing is underperforming over a short period, improve it. However, if your sales are significantly low over a long(er) period, remove the listing. Leaving underperforming listings stagnant will do more damage to your name, and SEO. If you choose to discontinue the item, either replace the content or delete the page. For the latter, make sure you’ve looked at backlinks to avoid 404 errors. 

6.) Keep the link juice flowing 

Internal linking is an SEO tactic that offers a fantastic user experience. Without derailing your copy to include a variety of unrelated information, start interlinking between listings and product pages. Customers can easily click from one page to another to learn more, and sellers can use this as an opportunity to link to products they wish to push. This is also a great way to decrease exit rates. 

7.) Maintain strong visuals 

When people shop in-store, they’re able to physically handle your product. They have toal control over how they interact with your product: how they see, smell, touch and hear it. But online, of course, things are a little different. The only way to give your customers a similar sense of the product is through effective storytelling and a cohesive mix of media. And it’s your responsibility to recreate that. 

Customers buy what they see, and they buy from what others say. So, when it comes to visuals, keep them engaging and small enough for mobile viewing. Try and include user-generated images, videos, 3D visualization, and more in your online store. You can also add relationship products or themed recommendations that will interest a customer in a convenient manner. 

8.) Don’t neglect your mobile experience 

There’s no denying that mobile commerce is the next big thing. If people aren’t messaging, they’re browsing through social media or buying online. Even though mobile ecommerce sales are expected to account for 54% of total ecommerce sales this year, brands still fail to focus their energy on optimizing their content for mobile. Considering that customers are willing to wait just 6-10 seconds for a product to load, you don’t have much time for selling. This year, keep mobile-friendliness at the top of your priority list. You can start by improving page responsiveness by decreasing the size of your visuals to avoid slow loading times.

Shopify website optimized for mobile

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Start optimizing your listings in a single source of truth 

Customers’ interests are constantly changing!

What works today might not work tomorrow, and therefore, you need to keep reworking your content to find a happy medium for your audience. 

Storing all this information can be a nightmare, but not when you centralize it in a Product Information Management (PIM) tool. By managing, storing, and optimizing content in Plytix PIM, you will never lose track of formatted information.

You will only have to import the optimized data to your Shopify store once, and then you can continue to manage and edit content in the PIM. If you need to change something manually or in bulk, you can make the changes, and it will automatically be updated in Shopify. (Besides, imagine never having to deal with the Shopify CSV template ever again? Sounds like a dream to us!)

Using a product information tool, you'll get your products to market 2x faster. You'll be able to improve product performance and enrich your data in minutes! All information is stored in one easy-to-access location, ready to be edited on and offline. No more copy and pasting—everything is unified and automated. 

For more on PIM, download “The Ultimate PIM Buyer’s Guide” to see what the right system can do for your bottom line. Alternatively, book a meeting with our sales team to discuss Plytix! 

Download a FREE guide to choosing the ultimate PIM solution

Shannon Kelly Ash
Written by Shannon Kelly Ash

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