January 19th, 2009 | 2 MIN READ

A Cheeky Way to Put Product Description In Context

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

I've written before how showing products in context with product images can help increase conversion. Showing a product in use, on a model or its relative size reduces customer anxiety about the appropriateness of a product. Of course, video can be even more effective (just ask Shoeline.com who achieved a 44% increase in conversion with video).

But creative manufacturers like Timbuk2 also describe products in context with creativity and humor. A member of outdoor gear retailer Backcountry.com's community noticed Timbuk2's unique way of explaining the volume of its messenger bag capacity, and it found its way to Backcountry's product page for the Timbuk2 Messenger Bag.

Customer question: Whats the volume of the extra large?


The extra large bag has a TPRCV of 20.

What is TPRCV you ask?

The geniuses at Timbuk2 explain it best:

We know you don't have time to buy the wrong size bag. We also know you're imaginative and visually oriented problem solvers living in a three dimensional world where toilet paper is routinely available.

Soft, stackable and building block-like, toilet paper rolls can be easily arranged to simulate the internal dimensions of any bag.

Working in tandem with our R&D department, our marketing team recently completed an assessment of each bag. We have identified, down to the roll, the maximum capacity for each bag we tested. The resulting TPRCV (Toilet Paper Roll Capacity Value) can be used in a simple, at-home comparison of corresponding stacks of TPR, helping you make an informed decision about what size bag best suits your purposes.

You will need a flat, level surface, a maximum of twenty-one toilet paper rolls (TPRs), your imagination, and your design and rendering skills.

For best results, use two-ply.

By: Matt Fuller
August 9, 2008

This is a "cheeky" example of how to put a product in-context. For some, "20 toilet paper rolls" is more helpful than 26.25 x 14 x 9in.

Exercise: For the products you carry, anticipate what kinds of use or sizing questions customers may have, and what information is not made obvious by the current image and description. (Hint: read a lot of customer reviews - from your site and competitors).

PS: Backcountry has a leaderboard for user-generated content to recognize the contributions of photos, reviews, questions and answers. "Gear Gurus" are encouraged to use their real names to build real community. Check it out here.

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