Ecommerce stores, ‘copy and paste’ is not your friend

- July 29, 2014 3 MIN READ

Product descriptions need to do more than just describe your products – they need to sell them.

Product descriptions are often written like public service announcements. This is ineffective and is guaranteed to affect your conversion rate. Write your descriptions directly to your potential customers. If you were selling vegetarian cookbooks, imagine you were talking to a group of vegetarians about the recipes and not standing in a food court with a megaphone yelling at anyone who cares. Reference the nuances of the product and the target demographic.

I prefer to keep product descriptions conversational and relaxed. I find they’re easier to relate to and A/B testing done in the past confirms that people find it easier to relate to less formal descriptions. Obviously each industry and product will require a unique strategy.

Before you put pen to paper, think about who your ideal customers are, profile them and write directly to them.

There is no golden rule when it comes to product descriptions, but here are 5 tips to writing product descriptions that people want to read.

Accentuate the positives

Johnny Mercer was onto something when he wrote that song. Ecommerce consumers are still risk adverse – they are buying something they can’t see or touch so they trust your description to put their minds at ease. Outline what benefits your product has that your user can’t see – i.e. if you’re selling sunglasses describe how the lenses are glare resistant, how do your eyes feel wearing them on a sunny day, explain how they sit on the face without feeling heavy, etc. Nearly 80% of people won’t read the description, they will scan it for points of interest.

Less is more

Keep your product descriptions as short as the average attention span. No one wants to voluntarily read an essay; unless it’s essays you’re selling. A solid product description will have between 100 to 300 words. Pay attention to your headline, most people won’t read past it if it doesn’t resonate with them.

Be realistic

Cut through the bland with imagination and stay clear of ridiculous superlatives. You may think your hairbrush is the ‘world’s best’ but unless you can back that up with hard-core evidence then avoid the embarrassment, it only makes your products look worse. Rather talk about the awards it’s won or use customer feedback to prove that your product is as awesome as you think it is.

Know your audience

What’s with all the shitty tea towels out there? I’m convinced the ones in my kitchen are actually more water repellant than absorbent. The other day I tried to wipe down the counter and it felt like one of those trick birthday candles that just won’t blow out. I thought the point of a tea towel was to dry things? Rant aside, my point is if it’s tea towels you’re selling, communicate the benefits by answering potential problems. Your audience is looking for potential value in your product, they want to know why your product is awesome, why they need it, how they will use it and what problems it solves for them.

Copy and Paste is not your friend

Imagine you’re in a bar with some of your friends, you’re feeling a little bit lazy and can’t be bothered contributing to the conversation. Your mate comes out with a pearl of wisdom, someone asks you what you think and you repeat what he says. It’s pretty lame. The same theory goes for product descriptions. Copying and pasting from other websites isn’t going to win you friends, in fact Google will penalise you for it. Be original; seduce your readers with your words instead of pushing them to the outer limits of boredom.

Quality product descriptions can mean the difference between a one-click stand and a long-term relationship. Your content is your voice. It must elicit a needs itch in your readership.

Featured image: Screenshot of Showpo.com product description, who do a top job of relaying their message.