Freedom of choice is something we all love.
Say, every time we visit a brick-and-mortar store, we expect to find various versions of the product we’d like to get. Colors, sizes, shapes, price, extra value — the more options such a product has, the higher the chances of making a purchase are.
Same thing is with eCommerce. Whenever you are looking to buy something online, you also want to be free in your choice.
This is the case when product custom options functionality comes handy.
What are Product Custom Options?
It’s hard to imagine buying a pair of shoes without choosing their size and material. Also, as an option, we may want to choose the color of shoelaces or shoe care products.
Basically, product options are variations of the original product.
Size, color, fabric, flavor, custom print or any other idea that can be turned can be added as a product custom option.
Generally, this feature diversifies your store offerings, makes them more flexible and attractive to shoppers. Also, this functionality aims to enhance customer’s shopping experience.
What is more, adding this functionality to your store can help you solve the duplicate content issue that is plaguing most of eCommerce websites.
E.g. you won’t have to create a separate page for the same product but in different color, or size. Thus, you’ll improve your site user- and search engine friendliness.
Custom Options for Different eCommerce Platforms
Various eCommerce platforms provide you with different ways to organize them. In this article, we are doing to analyze how this functionality can be implemented in the most popular solutions for online merchants — Magento and Shopify.
With Magento you can diversify product offerings right out of the box.
However, with the default functionality you will have to create custom options individually for each single product. That takes a lot of time, especially if you sell a big amount of products.
Luckily, there are some 3rd party extensions that simplify the process. The one that has the highest rating with Magento users is Magento Product Options by MageWorx.
With this extension you can create custom options templates for any selection of products and automatically apply them all at once. Moreover, the extension can help you with managing your store stock, that also includes running the inventory of custom options.
As for Shopify, the platform lets a merchant set up various product options, called ‘variants’.
This feature enables customers to view different product characteristics, such as colors, dimensions or other characteristics — all within the same product page.
Also, you can further enhance this functionality with this Shopify app. It you create advanced templates to auto-add options for any number of products in a click, thus supplying each product with Image/Color Swatch options, setting option dependences and more.
Benefits of Custom Options Implementation
- Simple Inventory Management
A multitude of identical products options can confuse customers. Custom product options, in turn, allow you to decrease the number of duplicated products, thus making the process of inventory management simpler and more transparent.
This way, you don’t have to control a huge number of product pages. All you need to do is to manage a certain product custom options, which is a lot easier.
Also, by adding this functionality, you can monitor your products popularity and figure out which sizes, colors or other features are the most popular with your customers. This data is truly essential for optimizing your product offerings.
- Increase in Conversion Rate
As we have already mentioned above, custom options have the direct influence on conversion.
By adding this functionality to your store, you let your potential customers save time, find products easier and customize them according to any requirements without leaving a page.
But note that it is also important to find the right balance and provide a reasonable amount of options for each product. The abundance of option variants can confuse customers and have a negative effect on your sales.
For example, this study by the New York Times shows that too many options is overwhelming for shoppers, while their optimal amount can multiply a store conversion rate manifold.
The authors proved it with a test: they offered 24 different jam flavor options and got a conversion rate of 3%. When they cut off the flavor options to six, the conversion rate jumped to 30%. Hence, finding the right balance when adding product options is very important.
- Search Engine Optimization
When you duplicate product pages with a single difference instead of creating custom options, you will probably see that Google lowers your sites’ ranking in search results.
That usually happens due to the duplicate content penalty, as search engine crawlers often mark those pages as duplicates.
Product options let yo avoid this issue, as all your offerings for a single product will be located on one and the same page. That is comfortable both for customers and the search engine crawlers.
Product options are a very important part of the conversion process and an essential part of your store usability.
In addition, they optimize the process of managing your eCommerce business from the backend. You get a well-optimized products lineup with an effective inventory management improvements.
To sum it up, you can dramatically change your eCommerce business by implementing product options.
Vitaly Gonkov is a Chief Marketing Officer at MageWorx – one of the leading Magento modules developer. Vitaly has been actively involved with online marketing since 2010. He has a broad range of expertise that spans many different types of eCommerce strategies and techniques. He is passionate about blogging, social networking and enjoys the challenges presented by the dynamic industry.