How to write a product description that turns browsers into customers
- Posted in Conversion Rate Optimization
The product description is one of the essential parts of your ecommerce website.
It’s the first thing visitors see when they arrive at your online store, which convinces them to buy your products or services.
Here are some tips that will help you write better product descriptions, turn browsers into customers, and make more sales from the same product or multiple products;
1. Show, don’t just tell
The best product descriptions are those that combine showing with telling. Here’s an example:
“This trendy jacket is perfect for fall and winter fashion.”
This sentence tells us the jacket is trendy but needs to show us why it’s trendy. The next sentence shows us better:
“This trendy jacket features a faux fur collar and hoodie.”
How do you show instead of tell in your product descriptions? Here are three tips:
- Use sensory language: Instead of just describing how something looks or feels, use sensory language (sounds, smells, tastes) to help the buyer feel like they’re experiencing the item themselves. For example, “The smell of freshly-baked bread fills your kitchen as you take the lid off this cookbook.” Or “The soft velvet fabric feels great against your skin.”
- Use metaphors: Create a mental image for your readers by using metaphors and similes in your descriptions. For example, “This dress is as beautiful as a princess!” Or, “This lipstick will give her lips fullness like she’s never seen before!”
- Show comparisons: Comparison shopping is one-way buyers determine which products are best for them.
The main reason for using “show, don’t tell” is that it engages your reader more deeply than a simple statement can achieve on its own — which means they’re more likely to remember what they read and take action based on your product description.
For example, in J. Ryan Stradal’s book Kitchens of the Great Midwest, you can see the author’s passion for food using the “show, don’t tell” technique that you can mimic in your product descriptions.
Images and videos are particularly powerful when used correctly because they allow readers to imagine themselves in the scenario described by your product description.
The Lip Bar, a cosmetics brand, uses videos in which models demonstrate how to use the brand’s Caffeine Concealer makeup.
This kind of demo shows viewers what the product will look like in real life, which helps them imagine how it will fit into their daily beauty routine.
2. Focus on benefits along with the features
Product descriptions can be a salesperson’s best friend or worst enemy. If you’ve ever tried to use Google search or other search engines to find information about a product, you know how frustrating it can be to get meaningful results.
That’s because most product descriptions are just laundry lists of features — and nobody cares about features. They care about benefits!
So how do you write compelling product descriptions that will help customers understand what your product does and why they need it?
Use these four techniques:
- Focus on benefits first, then features
- Tell the story of how your customer will benefit from using your product
- Use images and videos to illustrate those benefits
- Showcase the best aspects of your product in the text
For instance, Weber highlights the benefits of the product to the target market by explaining how its main feature addresses a need they want to be fulfilled:
This is how their product description turned out:
3. Keep your product descriptions concise and scannable – not too lengthy or dense
As you write your product descriptions, remember that you want them to be concise and scannable. You don’t want to use too many words or make it too long.
You should also ensure the content is easy to read and understand. Your customers can scan through the text quickly, so it’s important that they can easily find what they’re looking for. This leads to a great customer experience.
People don’t have the time or patience to read your descriptions or articles word-for-word. A study found that 16% of readers read content word-by-word, and the reasons for scanning vary from impatience to finding quick answers and finding texts too long or poorly formatted.
Creating product descriptions that are concise and scannable is the answer.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to write concise and scannable product descriptions:
- Use short paragraphs – If a paragraph is too long, it’s hard for customers to follow along and read the information they need. Use short paragraphs so that each section of your description is easy to digest.
- Use bullet points – Bullet points help break up large chunks of text into smaller sections, which makes them easier for people to read. It also makes each point stand out more so than if they were all together as one big paragraph.
- Make sure every sentence has its own purpose – Every sentence should contribute something valuable to your description, whether it’s describing a feature or benefit or explaining how someone might use your product or service. If there’s no reason for a sentence, then remove it from the description!
A good example of a short description is the Charmin Ultra Soft Super Mega Roll description, which has less than 160 words.
Toilet paper roll is an everyday product, so it doesn’t need a lengthy description. The text simply talks about the differentiators. Also, notice that bullet points make the text scannable.
4. Only use jargon or technical terms if they’re easily understood.
If you’ve ever read a product description that made you feel like the writer was speaking in a foreign language, you know how frustrating it can be.
You may have even written one yourself, accidentally. It’s easy to get stuck in the “product speak” mindset and forget that buyers want to understand what they’re buying.
The best way to do this is to consider your target audience and what they want to know about the product.
For example, if you’re selling a camera lens, don’t assume everyone knows what a “focal length” is — use simpler language instead. If you’re selling a computer program, don’t assume everyone knows what “RAM” stands for — explain it in simple terms.
For example, if you look at the copywriting below, you will see that it is bland and vague. Readers won’t want to read it because most people will not easily understand what the writer is trying to say.
In comparison, this simple and straightforward description of a brand does exactly what it’s supposed to do: tell you exactly what the product is.
That said, you can use technical terms or jargon in your writing if your audience is technical. Just be sure to explain them in a way that anyone would understand.
For example, Stoplight.io sells software to software developers. Their product description uses industry lingo in an accessible way:
5. Use bullet points to highlight things like materials and dimensions
If you’re selling a product in your store, it’s important to give potential customers all the information they need to make a decision. That includes what the product is made of, how big it is, how much it weighs, and any other details that may be relevant.
Bullet points are useful for this because they allow you to list multiple pieces of information in one place. This gives your customer everything they need at once and saves them from having to click through multiple pages or scroll down endlessly.
Make sure to use bullets to highlight:
- Materials – If your product is made from leather or metal, mention this in your product description. You can also include details such as whether the material has been treated or not (e.g., ‘handmade from genuine leather).
- Dimensions – If your product has dimensions that are particularly noteworthy (e.g., small size), then include them in bullet points.
- Other features – If there are other features that don’t fit into either of the above categories (e.g., an adjustable strap), use bullet points to list these too!
If you visit Amazon, the sellers usually list interesting things about the products using bullet points such as dimensions, materials, or compatible products.
6. Make sure the vibe of your product descriptions is consistent with the rest of your site
One of the most important things to do when writing product descriptions is to ensure the vibe of your product descriptions is consistent with the rest of your site.
- Consistency builds trust: If people feel like they’re on a website that is consistent, they’ll trust it more. This means they’ll be more likely to buy from you and spend more time browsing around.
- People love familiarity: They don’t want to feel like they’re visiting a new website every time they click through to a new page. By keeping your product descriptions consistent with your other content, you’re giving people something familiar to latch onto as they explore your site.
- You’ll save yourself time and energy: Doing this once means you don’t have to do it again on every page or product page going forward, which saves you both time and money (because you won’t need to hire someone else for copywriting).
Even statistics affirm the importance of consistency when it comes to writing product descriptions. In fact, a survey found that brands saw up to a 33% boost in revenue when they improved consistency in their brand voice across external communications.
For example, Tiffany’s brand voice is witty, elegant, and classic.
This is reflected in their product copy and throughout the site.
Here is an example of a beauty and self-care products brand, Dove. Their tone encourages and empowers people while also raising awareness of body positivity in the community.
If you look at the descriptions of their products, it’s clear to see how they are consistent with their brand tone and the rest of their site.
7.A/B test your descriptions for the best results
If you want to ensure your descriptions are doing their job, one of the best things you can do is A/B test them.
First, identify your goal for each description. Is it to get people to read all the way through? To learn more about specific features? Or to increase clicks? Each goal will require different types of copy and testing methods.
Next, come up with two different ways of saying each one on your list and write down what they mean.
For example, if I were selling an eBook called “How To Write Killer Blog Posts,” I might come up with some variations like this:
How To Write Killer Blog Posts – This tells readers exactly what they can expect from reading this book (and it’s good SEO too).
The Ultimate Guide To Writing Killer Blog Posts – This gives more information about what they can expect from reading this book (and it’s also good SEO).
Time to write a winning product description!
A good product description is an indispensable tool for every e-commerce business. It’s no longer enough just to have a picture of your product: shoppers these days need more information to make a purchasing decision. At the same time, they don’t want to be overloaded with sales jargon or product details.
Good product descriptions strike the right balance, delivering vital information while also holding true to the brand’s overall style and positioning.
We’ve discussed some of the most important issues here, so be sure to read it carefully before putting those descriptions to work for your own business. And remember to keep it entertaining and informative! That’s the key to writing clear, effective copy for your customers.
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