How to Write Product Descriptions That Convert and Increase Sales

Jun 20, 2017

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Do you ever find yourself getting deja vu when shopping online? If you’re looking for a particular product, it could, because you’re reading the same product description over and over again.

And I bet it isn’t any good, either!

Let’s face it, most product descriptions are woeful. That’s why good ones have such a huge impact. Yes, great product descriptions can improve your sales, but they can also achieve a whole lot more.

Read on if you want to find out how killer product descriptions can impact your business and learn to start writing them today.

What are the benefits of good eCommerce product descriptions?

You might not think that product descriptions are that important. Do they really impact conversion rates? And if they do, do they do anything else?

Well, they are. And they do a lot more than just increase sales figures. Here’s what you can expect to achieve with kick-ass product descriptions.

  • Better conversion rates. The product description is a key part of the product page. It’s up there with pricing when it comes to convincing a customer to convert. If you don’t have detailed and useful information, you risk losing business. That’s according to NN Group. Their e-commerce study found that 20% of the time, a user failed to buy a product could be attributed to poor or non-existent product information.
  • Better SEO. On-page copy is an SEO ranking factor. And an important one at that. Pages with little or no copy aren’t deemed as valuable by Google as pages with detailed and helpful content. Good product descriptions, then, can help your products rank better in Google.
  • Fewer emails from shoppers. When customers aren’t sure about what they are going to get, they will either leave the page or call or email your company. If your product descriptions are doing their jobs, you shouldn’t just decrease cart abandonment rates: you should reduce the number of calls you receive from shoppers, too.
  • Fewer returns. With great product descriptions, customers should know exactly what to expect when their purchase gets delivered. Poor product descriptions, however, can create gaps between the customer’s expectations and the real product. Better descriptions mean customers are less likely to return a product they deem unsatisfactory.

What should a good product description do?

A good product description should achieve quite a few things. Much more than you might think at first. Here’s what we believe the best product descriptions do:

  • Sell: Yes, it’s very obvious, but good product descriptions need to sell the product. If users are seeing the product for the first time, the description needs to convince them that they don’t need to look any further, that this is the product for them!
  • Build the brand: If your store has a particular brand or style, product descriptions are a great way to reinforce them. Is your brand down to earth or funny? Then use your product descriptions to make customers laugh. Is your brand the authority? Then wow customers with your knowledge.
  • Strengthen customer rapport: You want customers to trust your brand, right? You can achieve this in part by providing genuinely helpful advice in your product descriptions. In the same way that a store assistant doesn’t give customers the hard sell, your descriptions shouldn’t either. Instead, try to describe exactly who the product benefits and how customers can use it. Don’t sell people on it if it isn’t for them.

How to write a good product description

You didn’t come here for us to tell you what product descriptions should do and why they are important, did you?

Nope.

You came here to find out how to write product descriptions that convert. Let’s not waste any more time then, shall we? Here are nine ways to write product descriptions that sell.

Read great descriptions

Do you know what every great writer does before they start writing? They read great writing. Nothing gets you in the mood to write inspired copy than being inspired yourself.

With that in mind, head to Google and start finding great examples of product descriptions. Can’t be bothered? We’ve included a selection below to get you started.

Know your competitors but don’t copy them

In some industries, there can be an immense pressure to fall in line with other companies and churn out the same style product descriptions. Sure, understand what your competitors are doing, but don’t copy them. If you want to sell more, be different.

Turn it into a story

Most product ads are boring. But you know what isn’t boring, a story. Everyone loves a story. So why not turn your product ads into one. This is an excellent way to differentiate standardized products that all have very similar descriptions. But if your product has a story as a description, guess which product customers are more likely to choose?

Appsumo is a great example of how to write awesome stories with product descriptions. A snappy headline captures your attention while the copy draws you in before selling to you.

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Answer the 5 Ws and the H

Stuck for what to say? Don’t know where to start? Begin by writing out the five W’s: Who, What, Where, Why and When. And How. Then start answering them. Who is the product for?

What is the product? Why do customers need the product? Why is it better than alternatives? When is the product useful? How does it work? Answer these questions, and you’ll have the bare bones of an excellent product description.

Talk about FAB

Anyone who has ever had a sales job knows all about FAB - Features, Advantages, Benefits. Make sure you mention all three in your product descriptions. Spell out the features of your product, so customers know exactly what they are getting.

Highlight the advantages of your product over your competitors’. Talk about how your product will benefit your customers’ lives. Look at the detail Patagonia go into with their product descriptions.

They don’t just list all of the features of the product, they state how this will overcome the problems that their customers are facing

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Make it scannable

A lot of the advice for writing general web copy holds true for product descriptions. Chief among these is the idea of making your copy scannable. Customers don’t necessarily want to read the entire description; they may only be looking for a single piece of information.

Make them less likely to hit the back button by making that information easy to find. How can you make your descriptions scannable?

Use bullet points, sub headings, and a nice, clear font. Innocent Smoothies is a great example of how product descriptions can give all the information customers need at a glance.

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Don’t use the supplied product description

Shoppers get that feeling of deja vu we mentioned at the start of the article because so many e-commerce stores use the product description supplied by the manufacturer.

Not only are these usually terrible descriptions that offer very little helpful information, but they can also be bad for SEO, too. Duplicate content is a big no, no.

And by using the supplied product description you could be duplicating content that is already on hundreds of other websites.

Steal your copy from your customers

Do you know who writes the best product descriptions? Your customers do. When they write reviews, more often than not they are leaving personal and helpful comments about what it is really like to use the product. Buyers love to find out what other consumers think.

After all, there’s a reason we all go straight the review section on Amazon, right? Make your product descriptions really stand out by including snippets of reviews from real customers. Be careful about which reviews you choose, however.

Don’t choose reviews that are unintelligible or massively big up the product without going into detail. Choose the reviews that give insight into what it is like to use and own the product. That’s what potential customers want to know.

A lot of companies on the App Store use this tactic, including Banktivity shown below.

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Make them laugh

If you want your product descriptions to do more than ‘just’ sell your products, make your customers laugh. Humor isn’t just a great way to build brand values and increase bonds with customers; it can also be a great form of marketing.

If you can make shoppers laugh, there’s a good chance they are going to share your e-commerce store with their friends or on social media. Humor can be the key to your customers’ hearts. Firebox knows this better than anyone.

Check out the product description below. Users know that the gin doesn’t contain real unicorn tears, but the fact they highlight it as a feature will crack a smile on the customer’s face.

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Is it working?

If you’ve got to the end of this article, you should have all you need to get out there and write killer product descriptions. But remember, the only way to know for sure if your product descriptions are working is through testing.

Head to your analytics/CRM software and make a note of the conversion rates and bounce rates of your product pages. With these baselines established, you can see what impact your new descriptions had on sales and bounce figures. Fewer bounces and higher conversion rates mean you’re heading in the right direction.

Looking for more help?

If you’re looking for ways to improve your e-commerce performance, check out the following articles:

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Melanie Grano

Written by Melanie Grano

(Melanie was a little camera shy) Melanie is a content wizard and spent a short time working with our marketing team in developing awesome content.

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