Product descriptions will make or break your e-commerce business.
If they suck, you won’t make any money.
Spice them up a bit and you could be seeing sales pouring in.
It’s expected that by 2021, the global e-commerce sales will be close to $5 billion. Don’t you want a piece of that?
Product descriptions seem so simple. They’re just a couple of sentences, right? They can’t be that important.
That’s where you’re wrong.
I’ve owned several e-commerce businesses and optimizing product descriptions always noticeably increased conversion rates.
Today I’m going to teach you how to write descriptions quickly that sell like hotcakes. Enjoy!
Product description copywriting principles
These strategies are universal. Every industry and product can use them. I’ll dive deeper into industry specific descriptions, but here’s some tactics you can apply today to your writing.
Benefits over features
What’s really in it for your customers? Think about it. You’re never just buying a product, you’re buying emotions.
It doesn’t matter what it is. A cool car makes you feel special and rich. Designer clothing gives you confidence. Acne cream gives people a boost in self esteem.
These are the benefits of a product. Think emotions and experience. Features are just factual pieces of information.
Here’s a great example of this copywriting principle being used to sell a dropshipping course. Note how the copy focuses on gaining freedom, making money, and leading a life you want to live. It’s not just spouting out what the course modules are.
Always state the features, though. These are things like color, size, materials, etc. They have to be mentioned, but never emphasize them. Instead, brainstorm the following:
- Why do your customers really want to buy your product?
- What emotions will they experience as a result of using the product?
- What are their values, beliefs, and pain points?
You want to tie these into your product descriptions to make them jump from the page. They’ll speak to the customers real needs, unlike boring bullets that make them more tired than a 8:00AM algebra class.
Here’s an exercise for you. Imagine we run a men’s dress shoe company and we’re selling this awesome new shoe below.
It’s made out of calfskin leather and has a memory foam insole. How would you turn these two features into benefits? Think about it before reading the answer ahead.
Personally, I would spin it into something like this:
- “Supple calfskin leather that ages like wine, creates the perfect comfortable mold to your feet, and feels like new every time you slip it on”
- “A memory foam insole that feels like walking on clouds and solves feet pain”
I whipped these up on the spot, but you can see how how much better it sounds than just stating the feature.
Include your target keywords
E-commerce and SEO go hand in hand. Imagine being able to kick back while traffic organically flows to your product pages. That’s possible by targeting the right keywords.
Since you’re selling products, you’ll want to focus on keywords with buying intent. They are also called transaction keywords. Think phrases with “buy”, “best”, or “most affordable” for example.
To get ideas, open up Ubersuggest. Type in a keyword related to the product description you’re writing. I’ll enter “brown mens dress shoe” to keep my previous example going.
On the following page, you can see that Ubersuggest gives us data like search volume and a difficulty score.
It’s wise to target a mix of low, medium, and high competition keywords. The low competition phrases are like the apples I pick from my neighbor’s tree that hangs over the fence — easy. (Please don’t tell him).
Medium and high search volume words will take more time and authority to rank for, but imagine how much sales they’d generate. My keyword has almost 15k searches every month. I’d be rolling in the dough if I was on the first page for it.
Anyways, take a look at the keyword ideas and write down relevant ones, or export the entire thing as a CSV file.
You only need one or two keywords per product page. But, this raises the next question. Where do you put them? Here’s where:
- The product title
- The URL
- Within the description itself
- As the alt text and file name of product photos
- As category and subcategory names
And don’t underestimate the power of Google image search. If you optimize your photos, they can rank higher than standard search results. Look what Moz and Jumpshot found in one of their studies:
Yeah, you read that right. Google Images accounts for almost 27% of all major search engines. Optimize your images, kiddo.
Tell a story about the product
It’s no secret that the purchasing process is mostly emotional. You might need a product for a logical reason, but we buy many things based on our emotions. This is why storytelling is so powerful.
Customers will become more engaged and emotionally involved in the product you sell. Here’s a perfect example from Loveantiques.
They are selling a 19th century gong that was captured during the Burmese war by a captain in 1887. The description details the Captain’s name, his status, and it mentions that the gong has paintwork native to the original area.
It’s simple. Storytelling doesn’t need to be a novel. But if you can mention the history or story of a product, you can capture the attention of customers and their credit cards 🙂
I was looking at classic Ferrari’s and found this product description that also uses a bit of storytelling.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be a drastic out pour of emotion — although that works — it can just be some simple facts.
You can see that they mention when and where this Ferrari was first unveiled, what model it’s similar to, and some stats. It allows customers to have a deeper understanding of what they’re buying and why it’s important.
Use power words
Free. Special. Rare. What do all of these have in common? They are power words.
Remember that every single word has a feeling associated with it. By using very specific words, you elicit precise emotions in your customers. Placing them ever so carefully in your descriptions can ramp up your conversions because of this.
A suit jacket description from Nordstorm schools us on how to do this.
Some of the power words they used are “lightweight”, “polished”, “breathable”, and “all-occasion”. They pack everything you need to know about the jacket in one sentence, but those words speak magnitude. It’s almost like one word is a sentence by itself.
When you’re writing product descriptions, ask yourself these questions:
- What are emotions or adjectives that are related to what I’m selling?
- What are single words that sum up the product?
This relates to my next point.
Make descriptions easy to scan
The reality is that no one reads every single word on a page or looks at every little detail. The actual percentage is about 16%.
Think about the last time you were on a blog or shopping online.
Your eyes just scan through to find the important stuff. Since that’s the case, save your customers some time and make it easy for them.
If they can find what they need quicker, that means they’ll get to checkout faster. A.K.A you make more gwap!
To make sure 100% of that 16% which customers read is important, focus on:
- Using short sentences
- Using bullet points and lists
- Breaking apart paragraphs into shorter sections
- Users headers if needed
How to write product descriptions for clothing
Alright, now that I covered some copywriting tactics to use, I’m going to go over some industry specific examples and approaches to writing product descriptions.
I’ve owned a couple men’s fashion e-commerce businesses, so let’s begin with clothing.
Something you need to know first — fashion is one of the most difficult markets to succeed in. Conversion rates are typically 1% or lower.
Why? Because it’s hard to show a value proposition for clothing. Plain and simple.
Look at how Canada Goose describes their jacket. They use some of the strategies I spoke about before.
“Ultra-light construction that weighs less than half a pound” makes you feel like you’re already wearing the coat. Customers don’t need to worry that it will be bulky and heavy, which is a common concern for winter jackets. “hip-length cut provides incredible warmth while maintaining a sleek fit” cuts straight to the benefits — warmth and looking good.
The last sentence says that it offers unrestricted mobility on the slopes. This hints customers will be skiing and snowboarding while wearing it. Knowing your target market as good as Canada Goose does allows you to throw in those small details.
As I spoke about earlier, benefits over features is one of the most important factors for fashion product descriptions. It’s a down-insulated jacket? Cool. What does that mean? Oh, it keeps me warm and I’ll still look fashionable? Take my money!
Only listing the fabric and basic features will make people yawn. That’s why so many fashion businesses flop. Focus on what the customer really gets out of it. This will generate more sales and make you stand out from the competition.
Here’s a few extra tips:
- Mention confidence and self esteem. Many people are buying clothing to feel better about themselves and who doesn’t want to feel great when wearing new clothes?
- If you’re selling dress shoes/clothing, tie in how it will improve their professional image, first impressions, and potentially lead to new opportunities.
- Always mention comfort. No one is trying to wear a hoodie that feels like cedarwood.
- For genuinely high quality items, you can state that they will last longer than cheaper alternatives, saving the customer money in the long term.
- Talk about how they will get attention and looks. This is ideal for flashy products and designer clothing.
How to write product descriptions for jewelry
The jewelry market in Canada brings over $3 billion in revenue alone. Diamond jewelry specifically makes up 38.7% of it.
Do you sell rings, necklaces, or similar products? Lucky you, it’s a very lucrative niche. But it’s also over-saturated.
You don’t want to look like every other jewelry e-commerce store. And one way you can prevent that from happening is with solid product descriptions.
Glance at Cartier’s collection description for this $8,000 bracelet.
This isn’t just a bracelet, it’s “an iconic symbol of love that transgresses convention”. They even finish with the question “how far would go for love?”.
Customers aren’t buying a 18k yellow gold bracelet. They are buying something that they can give to their significant other to symbolize their love, and that’s priceless.
Okay, enough with the sappiness.
Clearly it’s not priceless, the damn thing is worth a whole car. But why does it work?
Because they are tying emotion into the product and branding is as something much more remarkable.
Douglas Van Praet is the author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing and spoke on this phenomena.
He stated that we don’t tend to think our way to reason, but rather, we feel our way. Emotions are the base of every decision we make, whether we realize it or not.
So, can how you implement this yourself? Here’s some food for thought:
- If you sell wedding rings, talk about the big day. The flowers. The attention. What the ring symbolizes.
- Similar to clothing, add in bullets about confidence, self esteem, and how they will be breathless looking down at such a big diamond.
- Say how gold or silver jewelry will match with everything and enhance any outfit.
Putting all of that together
The devil is in the details.
Your product descriptions will make a customer decide in an instant if they want to buy from you or not. Small tweaks today could mean thousands tomorrow.
The first strategy I recommend is putting a bigger emphasis on benefits.
These are the emotions and experiences that a customer gains from using your product. Ask yourself “What does the customer really get out if it?” or “What are they using the product for?”. This will lead you in the right direction.
Secondly, get your SEO in good shape. It will gradually generate organic traffic directly to your product pages. That means users are already half way through the sales funnel and that much closer to the sale.
Use tools like Ubersuggest, Keywordtool.io, or Google’s Keyword Planner to find related phrases. Add these in the title, URL, description, and alt text of images.
Next up, tell a story. It keeps attention, explains why a product is important, and elicits emotions.
Stories can be anything from what inspired you to sell the item, the product’s history, or any interesting facts about it.
Throughout all of these strategies, also ensure that you’re mixing in power words. Free. Special. Rare. These are all words with bigger meanings behind them.
Finally, make product descriptions easy to scan. Bullet points and short sentences are ideal.
If you apply what you learned, I can guarantee that you will see in an increase in conversion rates. What are you waiting for? Get writing!