One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in selling online is the fact that your customers cannot touch or feel the products, or hear an enthusiastic salesperson explain its benefits. They can only see photos and read descriptions included in the listing. That’s why it’s so important whether you’re selling on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, or your own website with a shopping cart like WooCommerce or Shopify, that you create evocative and effective product descriptions that are going to sell your product for you.
Some ecommerce business owners don’t know how important product descriptions are. They don’t give descriptions the time or attention they need. They either go without detailed product descriptions, simply relying on photos alone, or they use a manufacturer’s description that can be found on any ol’ ecommerce site. If you’re doing either of these, or if you’d just like to get better at product descriptions, we’ve got you covered. By following the strategies below, you can update your descriptions and get your products to fly off the shelves.
Possibly the most important thing to do when writing product descriptions is to identify your ideal buyer. This is who you want to address directly. It may seem that writing a more general product description aimed at mass appeal would result in more sales. However, many times when you attempt to write a description with a crowd of shoppers in mind, the description becomes watered-down and you end up not catching anyone’s attention. In product descriptions, as in life, if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. #ecommercelifelessons
Effective product descriptions keep your ideal buyer in mind. Think along the lines of having a conversation with a customer face-to-face. What questions would you ask and answer? Should your voice be formal and serious, or more casual and silly? Does your customer want to know about the product’s technical aspects, or should you emphasize your product’s aesthetic appeal? Once you answer questions like these, incorporate that language into your product descriptions so your online “conversation” resonates with your customer.
This product description from Victoria’s Secret shows how to appeal to an ideal buyer. The target audience is a woman who wants to feel sexy. Click to check it out:
The next strategy for writing product descriptions that sell is focusing on the benefits. Yes, customers do want to know about the features of the product, but what they really want to know is what the product can do for them. How will your product make your customer’s life easier, happier, or more exciting? You can easily address the product’s features while talking about its benefits. For example, when talking about a cell phone, saying that it has a fast internet connection is relaying a feature, but explaining that the quick connection can help you get directions fast when you’re lost is a benefit. Don’t just sell features. Sell experiences.
Here is a great example of showing the benefits in a product description from Clinique. Click for a closer view:
Using your product descriptions to tell a story is another way to reach your customers and get them to click the “add to cart” button. Telling a story about your product is an instant grab of your customers’ attention. It allows them to use their imagination and emotions, and often plays into their decision making process. They can see themselves in the stories being told. Stories are able to lower the barriers against persuasion and cause people to forget they are being sold to.
The J. Peterman Company does story-telling perfectly when describing their vintage inspired clothing. Give it a click to check it out:
Using more verbs, and less adjectives in your product descriptions will make more of an impact on your customers. Adjectives make your sentences longer, requiring more effort from the reader. Don’t you just loathe it when excessively verbose prose encumbers your perusal of digital wares? Like that one? Some adjectives, especially flowery or pretentious ones, can make your description sound insincere. Using more verbs in descriptions appeals to the buyer’s sense of action and what using the product will be like. Remember: you want your customers to do something, so make sure your product descriptions portray action.
Consider these two descriptions for the same item:
This adorable, tiny sleeping bag is perfect for your sweet toddler.
This colorful sleeping bag gives your toddler enough room to kick and squirm without the concern of getting tangled in layers of bedding. He will never get too cold having kicked his covers off. Your little one will feel secure even when he’s not sleeping in his own bed.
Which one appeals to you? Most buyers will consider the second much more compelling.
Writing great product descriptions that increase your sales may take some time, but it will be time well spent. You may need to do some A/B testing to see which descriptions work best for your customers. Changing all your product descriptions would take forever, especially if you don’t have a multichannel listing manager but you don’t have to rewrite every description for every item in your inventory all at once. Try a few and see the results. Chances are good that you will see an increase in sales and want to make it a goal to improve all of your product descriptions.