Snapshot : A visit to the the worlds of television and car buying online, to see what we can learn about selling high ticket products online.
In most of our e-Commerce articles on the subject of product pages, we’ve tended to focus on low cost, everyday items like T-shirts and groceries. These type of products make up the largest volume of items purchased online. And in fact, the largest volume of items purchased in traditional retail channels.
But what about high value items? Those products you don’t buy everyday. Do we see any difference in how brands who operate selling high ticket products online operate compared to how you might sell T-shirts, toiler paper or soft drinks online?
So, this week, we’re looking at two quite different categories that are both concerned with selling high ticket products online. Firstly, we’ll look at televisions. Televisions are interesting in the context of Covid-19, because they are a category that gets a boost from people sitting at home.
And then, we’ll look at cars. Cars, as a category, are kinda the opposite when it comes to Covid-19. Sitting at home is a less helpful behaviour when it comes to driving sales for cars.
For each site we pick up, we’ll share a quick search and marketing technology audit, just to get a feel for what’s going on behind the scenes in terms of their level of digital marketing expertise. We’ll use the Moz, Ghostery and Wapplyzer extensions in Google Chrome on each site.
Then, we’ll talk a little about the experience from a customer point of view. How is the design, layout and brand identity?
And what lessons would we take to use on other product pages?
Buying televisions online
Given that most people have been stuck at home, and most people’s TVs will have been on more regularly and for longer, it seems like a good time for TV manufacturers and retailers. The more you use your TV after all, the sooner you will need to replace or update it.
A quick search for “buy a new TV” gives you paid ads from Kogan and Harvey Norman. With Kogan being an online pure player, we might look at them another time. And we’re still a bit stuck up on Gerry Harvey’s poorly chosen words at the start of the COVID-19 heartbreak to consider a review of Harvey Norman.
Although, it’s interesting reading back his follow up, where he did admit it made him sound like a “heartless, greedy old bastard”. Ten out of ten for self-awareness, and also for his public relations team in reminding him to keep his gob shut since.
So, instead, we’re going to have a look at two other retailers, who come up next in the organic search rankings, the Good Guys and JB Hi-FI.
Moz : Domain Authority : 61
Ghostery : Trackers : 9
Wapplyzer : Technology Connections : 14
So, The Good Guys from a search and technology point of view has quite a lot going on. A 61 domain authority is pretty good from a search point of view. And the number of tracker and tech connections indicate a good level of e-Commerce expertise.
They’ve got the expected tagging and analytics set up, with advertising trackers and content experience managers. Their store is set up on IBM Websphere which also includes stores like Costco and K-Mart among its other users.
These types of factors suggest to us a high level of e-Commerce expertise, and that they’ve invested to support this channel.
When you land on new TVs, the first product you see is the Linsar 75 inches 4K UHD HD smart TV for the what seems like a bargain price of $999. Now, we don’t plan to review the TV itself, more what we can learn from how it is sold. This articles about selling high ticket products online after all.
Get the basics right
So, what we do see, is a solid product image taking the lead. Makes sense. TVs are something you look at after all. The product name and a short a short summary of the key features as part of the product name are all the first things you see. As we cover in another guide and on our own store, these are the basics you MUST get right. For any product you sell online.
Then, you’ve got price (including the $300 discount on the regular price) and the call to action. Both, immediately visible without no need to scroll down the page.
If we were using a how to get more sales online checklist, this page would be scoring highly. It does a lot of things well, and it’s a good example to look at when it comes to selling high ticket products online. The Good Guys have done a good job to make these basics the FIRST things that you see on the page.
More advanced online selling on display
They’ve also added a graphic to show Top Seller and very visible ratings and reviews. 84 reviews with a 4.5 star rating. These are good examples of social proof and can help drive sales, and are among the more advanced options we cover in our guide to how to get more sales more online.
They also included the added benefit of “3 months free accidental damage and theft cover” as an upset offer. Which again, is a common e-Commerce practice.
From an online shopper point of view, they’ve made it as easy as possible to assess the product. They’ve made it easy to buy.
If we did want to know more, when we scroll down the page, all of the headline elements above come with access to much more detailed information. Product features. Technical specifications. Ratings and reviews. Buying guide. Delivery and installation.
If we were to get really picky, the only area we might pick them up is in their use of fonts and typography. The main font they use Futura is perfectly readable, but a mainly 14px and a font weight of 400 with a dark grey font did have us squinting a little at some of the more detailed body copy.
But that’s being picky.
Overall, it’s a good job by the Good Guys
Moz : Domain Authority : 75
Ghostery : Trackers : 10
Wapplyzer : Technology Connections : 12
And just to make a direct comparison, let’s jump over to the JB Hi-fi. So, JB Hi-fi’s domain authority is super strong at 75. Unsurprising, given we know it’s one of the highest traffic online retailers sites in Australia. Because not only does it sell high ticket items, it also sells more regular items like DVDs, CDs and games. Even, if most people these days download rather than physically but many of those items.
It has a similar set-up of trackers, and it’s based of the Shopify platform. Although, we assume it’s a bespoke version of Shopify and not the $29/month option that anyone can access.
If we look at TVs there, the fact that we’re then comparing the option to The Good Guys is a reflection of what actual online shoppers do. (though they don’t look at the domain authority, tracking and tech connections like we do).
With products like televisions, you research and decide on the product first. And then, you shop around for the best place to buy it. And your “best place to buy it” will likely come down to either price, or an additional service that the retailer offers to persuade you to buy from them. But let’s face it, for most people it’s going to be price.
Their first new TV in the TV category is a Samsung Q80T 75” QLED Ultra HD 4k Smart TV.
But this one comes in at a whopping $4,495. That’s 4.5x more expensive than the TV we looked at in the Good Guys. Wow.
And the main difference we can see, is the branding. Everyone knows Samsung. But how many people have heard of Linsar as a brand? (not us we have to confess).
But TV branding aside, what’s the online shopping experience like between The Good Guys and JB Hi-Fi?
A weirdly similar experience
Well, in fact weirdly similar to the Good Guys. Product image, product name and headline product information are all the first things you see. Then the price and the call to action. And the one “extra” that makes it on to the prime online real estate – yep, customer reviews and ratings again.
In fact, other than the very different colours and overall brand identity, the basic contents you see are the same. And this suggests to us, both retailers understand that there’s a solid base template of what consumers need to see first to make their decisions.
Scroll down the page. With the exception of a view video clips (which to be honest, are a bit weird and add no value), the content is all pretty much the same as you can find at The Good Guys. It’s laid out a little differently, but not by much. They have three tabs for example to break up the description, details and review for example.
But overall, it’s weirdly similar.
Even their font choice, they’ve gone with Roboto – very similar to Future as you can read in our guide to typography. And, again its a 14px font size, albeit with a heavier weight. Slightly easier to read. But, not by much.
The way the page is laid out is very much on trend with the brand identity of JB Hi-fi. If you’ve been in one of their stores, it feels the same online.
And that’s good thing.
The differentiation challenge
To be honest, when it comes to selling high ticket products online, when those products are easy to buy in many places, like televisions, it’s hard to differentiate the experience. The branding helps, as does any price change you make through sales promotion activity.
But, if you’re selling the same thing, your focus needs to be on getting the basics right.
Product information helps, but it’s a hygiene factor, really. Everyone should get that part of selling high ticket products online right.
So, think about the impact of the price. and any extra services you can offer. Because, between the two retailers, for all the effort that’s gone into the product pages, if we were really buying a new television, it’d be the price on offer that would probably swing the final choice on where to buy.
So, let’s look at a completely different category. Cars, are kind of the opposite to televisions when it comes to Covid-19. People are driving a lot less. So, that means buying a new car will be a decision you put off until life becomes a bit more certain again.
For cars, we searched on “buy a new car” and ignoring the sites like car sales and drive, we wanted to look a bit more at how brands can sell themselves online. So, we took the first two brands that showed up in our search, Toyota and Audi.
Moz : Domain Authority : 61
Ghostery : Trackers : 2
Wapplyzer : Technology Connections : 9
So, the Toyota Corolla was where we ended up first. They have the same level of domain authority as The Good Guys, which is surprisingly strong, as we’d have assumed retailers (who get more regular traffic) would have built up better authority.
And from a tracking and technology set-up, they seemed less active in this space. In fact, the 2 tracking systems (Tag Manager and Analytics) seemed really low to us.
However, from a customer experience point of view, the site looks and works well. Fun videos, LARGE product shots and compared to the TV retail experience, everything is much less frenetic. There’s much more use of white space, graphic icons and it’s a much more visually pleasing experience. A much better design.
Compared to the TV buying experience, they use shorter sentences and larger fonts. They don’t deluge you with information. They use visuals, videos and icons to bring the experience to life.
While they don’t use reviews as such, they use industry awards such as “Australia’s Best Small Car under $35,000” to build trust in the purchase.
Compared to their advertising, we can’t say the site quite made us jump in the air exclaiming ‘oh, what a feeling’. But, it delivered on the brand identity of clean, efficient, functional and does exactly what you need it to do.
But how does that compare to a brand with a quite different brand identity?
Moz : Domain Authority : 45
Ghostery : Trackers : 5
Wapplyzer : Technology Connections : 8
So, we looked at the Audi A3 Sedan page for this little online shopping trip. The lowest Domain Authority of any of the sites we’ve looked at. But still high enough that you’d find your way there if you were looking to find out more about Audi.
They do have more trackers than Toyota, with some advertising trackers added. And while, the number of marketing technology connections is slightly less, we can see that they are on the Adobe marketing technology system. Which we know is an advanced technology system. And also a very expensive one. So, it seems appropriate that Audi use it, given they are also know for advanced technology. And being expensive.
Design-wise, it does exactly what it needs to. Like Toyota, they’ve clearly spent more time thinking about design and layout than the cluttered TV retailer stores. Lots of images of the car itself. Lots of white space. They use short sentences and paragraph blocks. It’s easy to read, and smacks of simplicity and clean designs.
From a digital point of view though, they do use links to other sections. But, if we’re honest we found the interactivity of the page and site left us a little cold. Yes, we could follow the links to request a test drive, find a dealer and get a quote and find cars online. But this page is strangely functional, but overall a bit boring.
Maybe that’s the brand identity Audi were going for?
Final thoughts on selling high ticket products online
But, we were trying to really what online shoppers do. And this jumping around approach feels more like online shopper behaviour.
For televisions, our take-out was to get the basics right. Pick a few of the advanced options to highlight. But, really it’s going to price and extra services that sell the deal.
With cars, it felt different. These are much more involved and tangible purchases. So, for selling high ticket products online like cars, there’s more opportunity to create a branded experience as part of the customer experience journey.
We touched on the marketing technology too, as we plan to cover that in a future guide. But we’re also thinking that with those advertising trackers in place, how long before we start seeing advertising for these products and brands in our social media feeds?
With the great news coming out of Melbourne this week, that the lockdown restrictions are easing, and traditional stores can open back up (Hello, K-mart!), we were curious about Dan Andrews choice of top shelf liquor.
And so curious in fact, that having visited their website, we’ve already seen two adverts for Starward whisky appearing on our social media feed this week.