Product descriptions can be a deal-breaker (or perhaps more positively put a “sale-clincher”). Good product descriptions are more than merely a bulleted list of the features and dimensions. Though, at the same time, it does not have to be lengthy for it to be effective.
For a product description to get results, it should go further to describe the value and benefits that the particular product can offer potential buyers as well. Not only can this format help to distinguish your products from one another, but it can also set your online store apart from your competition.
So, next time that you are tempted simply to hit copy and paste, pay some attention to this key piece of text. To help you, we’ve done the research for you. Here are 10 simple rules for crafting eCommerce product descriptions and a few examples of how you can incorporate these tips.
10 Rules for Writing eCommerce Product Descriptions That Sell [With Examples]:
- 1. Identify Your Target Audience
- 2. Identify a Format and Stick to It
- 3. Tell a Story
- 4. Rely on High-quality Images and Videos
- 5. Focus on the Advantages
- 6. Avoid Generic Words and Superlatives
- 7. Use Sensory Words
- 8. Don’t Be Afraid of Getting Technical
- 9. Include Social Proof
- 10. Optimize Descriptions for Search Engines
- Four Examples of Product Descriptions That Work
1. Identify Your Target Audience
You first need to know who your ideal customers are in order to know which product details you should include and which information you can safely omit. Also, bear in mind that some types of content speak better to certain target audiences. Perhaps the customers you are targeting will actually read longer product descriptions? Maybe they appreciate a good sense of humour? Whatever the case, your target audience should always guide your approach to writing product descriptions.
Here are some other key traits to consider:
Be sure to write your descriptions in such a way that they address your potential buyers directly. Use the same words and style that you would use if you were to sell the product to them in person. At the end of the day, if you craft your product descriptions with the aim of appealing to the masses, you will, in fact, achieve the very opposite.
2. Identify a Format and Stick to It
It's always a good idea to use bullet points. For instance, if you want to list the dimensions and features, a list of bullets is the tool for the job. They help to ensure that your website copy is easy to read and offer a clear way to communicate the most important details, although, you should not just rely on bullet points.
To tell the story behind your product and brand, you will need to write a few short paragraphs. Let your brand voice guide you for this part and focus on how this product can improve your customers’ lives. This approach might take more time, but the result is more engaging content that the search engines will also recognize and reward.
3. Tell a Story
Storytelling is one of the most effective marketing strategies. If your brand or product has an interesting background or history, you can also mention it in your product descriptions. What is the inspiration behind the product? Perhaps you had to find innovative solutions to a few hurdles along the way? These types of details will not only add more personality to your products, but it will also let your visitors forget for a brief moment that you are actually trying to sell this product to them.
When you are narrating your non-fictional story, you should see it as an opportunity to brag a bit too. Are there any details that set the item apart from similar products on the market? Perhaps it has passed rigorous testing?
4. Rely on High-quality Images and Videos
As mentioned earlier, the magic formula for writing product descriptions is to use a couple of short paragraphs and a list of bullets. Though, there is still a big role that images can play. In fact, all product descriptions should have high-quality product images that show the important features. Images are especially important when a description is getting too long-winded as they can make sure that the description remains easy to read and understand.
As a matter of fact, videos can in many instances be ideal. It's an easy way to show exactly how to use a specific product (especially if it is a bit more technical). Plus, it's actually the type of content that most consumers want to see. According to HubSpot, 54% of people want marketers to create more video content. What is even more impressive is that Wyzowl has found that 95% of marketers feel that video has helped buyers to understand their products better.
5. Focus on the Advantages
While features and details like dimensions matter, they should not be your only focus. Why will people buy one of your specific products? Potential buyers also want to know how they will benefit and if it will solve a particular problem.
So, in your product description, you also want to ensure that you focus on the benefits of the different features. For example, if you are selling a floating shelf, instead of merely listing the dimensions of the shelf, you should also focus on how it will help your customers to add extra storage space or help them to utilize space that is currently being wasted. In short, you are selling more than simply a product, you are also selling an experience. Keep your target audience in mind and identify the three features that they will find most valuable and appealing.
6. Avoid Generic Words and Superlatives
It is easy to fall into the trap of sticking to words like “excellent” and “beautiful” when writing product descriptions. These words are rather unspecific and, as a result, your description becomes less convincing and effective. Instead, you want to be as specific as you can be by focusing on a feature and an advantage that it offers.
Also, if you cannot prove why your product is the most popular, affordable or durable, do not make such claims. The use of superlatives like these come across as exaggerated. Though, if you can prove why your product is, for example, the most popular in its category, by all means include it in your copy.
7. Use Sensory Words
Words that speak to our taste, sound and touch senses are powerful and engaging. By using words such as “crispy”, “smooth”, “fluffy”, “zesty”, and “tantalizing” your descriptions become a lot more vivid which helps potential buyers to imagine the experience that you are selling in addition to the actual product.
Though, remember that whichever words you decide to use should always reflect the tone of voice that your brand uses. At the end of the day, your product descriptions should sound like something your brand would have written. Consistency is key!
8. Don’t Be Afraid of Getting Technical
Technical products like smartwatches or more unique products like vegan-friendly make-up will require more information. If your visitors still have a few questions about a product after they have read its description, the product description needs more work (and by work we mean information).
Customers do not like to ask for details. If it is too much effort to find out if the product will meet their needs, it will be easier for your target audience to find the information and, worse, the product from another online store. So, if you are selling more technical products, be sure to include all the information that your customers might need. Not only will you help your customers, but it will also show potential customers that you are indeed knowledgeable about your industry and product range.
9. Include Social Proof
In a 2019 survey, TrustPilot found that two thirds of consumers were more likely to buy a product that included social proof in the sales message. This survey also found that 82% of consumers were more likely to buy a product with positive star ratings.
The beauty of social proof is that it motivates your target audience to take action by showing them that other consumers have already taken those actions. Consumers like to buy popular products. So, in addition to including reviews about your products, you can also identify which products are your top sellers or customer favorites. Perhaps one of your products has been mentioned in the press? This is definitely something that you can include in a product description. If potential customers are not entirely convinced if they should buy a specific product, these examples of social proof can make all the difference.
10. Optimize Descriptions for Search Engines
Practically all your content should be optimized for search engines. This also holds true for your product descriptions. So, be sure to identify keywords (and variations of the keyword) that your target audience will most likely search for and include these in your copy (in particular in the product titles). You can, for example, also include it in your page titles, meta descriptions, and ALT tags. While you will most likely not end up as the first search result, this little bit of extra effort will for sure help your target audience to find your products online much easier.
To help you identify keywords, there are a few SEO tools that you can use. If you do not want to spend anything, Google Analytics can be a good start. With Google Analytics, you will be able to access a wide range of data that you can use to boost your SEO. You can also use it to track and analyze data about your website and its visitors. Alternatively, you can look at paid tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs and WooRank.
Four Examples of Product Descriptions That Work
Not only is Chubbies one of the top eCommerce website design examples, but their product descriptions are also a good example of how you can let yourself be a bit more creative. It serves as a good example of how you can pair a feature with a benefit. For example, in this product description, the external capable drawstring allows for extra secure fit and the fabric is perfect for travel as it won’t wrinkle.
Naked Wines offers a good example of how you can incorporate social proof into your product description. They mention that 90% of 3,449 customers would buy a particular wine again. They also use a range of sensory words like “soft”, “silky”, and “peachy”.
Son of a Sailor sells handmade jewelry and personal accessories for women and men. Their product descriptions serve as a good example of how you can include storytelling in your descriptions by focusing, for example, on where the name of a product comes from or adding more details about what a particular product collection aims to celebrate.
Not only does the team at Solo Stove know how to design some of the best landing pages, but they are also very skilful wordsmiths. Their product descriptions basically incorporate all the rules that we have discussed in this article - social proof, high-quality images, storytelling, and benefits. While they offer a lot of information (in fact, they have dedicated an entire page just to one product), the text still remains easy to read thanks to the use of ample white space.
Wrapping Things Up
Effective product descriptions share the right information for your specific target audience. So, concentrate on the elements and words that your ideal buyers will resonate with the most. While some customers might not mind having to read half a page, most of the time product descriptions should be short and concise.
Also, remember that virtually all products were created to boost our quality of life by offering an experience or solving a pain point. Effective product descriptions help consumers to visualize how a particular product can improve their lives before they have even bought the product. By capturing the right combination of words, social proof and images, you can evoke such powerful feelings that not purchasing the product will not be an option for your target audience any longer.