Every e-commerce Web site has the same goals: convert browsers to buyers, maximize share of wallet, and engender customer loyalty. In this column, Share of wallet is critical for both first-time and repeat customers. That's where cross-selling comes in. Cross-selling products can be the most effective route to increase a customer's purchase order. Implementing it incorrectly, however, is a surefire way to confuse your users and risk having them abandon their orders completely.

The primary purpose of a product detail page is to convince the customer he really wants the current product. A secondary purpose is to make the user aware of other products he could buy instead, in case the current product isn't a great fit. There's a fine balance between these dual goals. On one hand, giving too much screen real estate and importance to the cross-sells diminishes the current product: If the user is always tempted to click on other products, he'll never buy anything. On the other hand, if the current product isn't right, we want the user to be able to easily view other products instead of abandoning his search.

Additionally, a product page should present products that will increase share of wallet if the user purchases the current product: products that are in the same family, are accessories to the product, and are complementary. A good product page clearly organizes these different types of related products and helps the user make clear choices.

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