How to Write Compelling Ecommerce Product Descriptions That Sell
The primary goal of product descriptions is to help sell your product. It is your opportunity to explain to your customers how awesome your product is and how it will solve some problem they have or make their lives better. It is where you provide your customers with all of the information they need in order to make a decision on your product (but not more).
In fact, product descriptions have the ability to make or break your conversion rate.
So, if product descriptions are so important, why are product descriptions often so poorly written and ineffective?
Poor product descriptions are all over the internet. Obviously this is not intentional… no one sets out to write poor product descriptions. However, a lot of the time people don’t realize how important product descriptions are, so they simply don’t get the attention that they deserve.
Another problem is that people tend to focus on features in product descriptions, rather than benefits. While depending on your product, it may be important to include some technical specs, it is not the features that ultimately convince someone to buy from you. It’s the benefits.
What are the elements of compelling product descriptions?
- they are concise
- they are not too short (or too long)
- they are consistent with your brand voice
- they contain an element of story
- they are unique to the product at hand
- they focus on benefits
- they provide key data (for customers and for search engines to improve organic rankings)
- they don’t oversell
How can you write product descriptions that drive sales?
Provide key information, but be concise (and try not to be boring).
It is important that you include all of the information that a potential customer would need in order to make a decision on your product. But you don’t want to overwhelm them with unnecessary details. Try to be clear and concise with this key information, presenting it in an easily digestible way.
Focus on highlighting what is special or unique about each product.
Believe it or not, we’ve seen plenty of ecommerce sites where the product description is the same across all products within a single category (or even across the whole site!) or where there aren’t any product descriptions at all. Honestly the latter may be better than the former, but don’t be one of these stores.
Highlight what separates a product from the others on your store, and the rest of the competition. Like we said above, the goal is to convince a potential customer to purchase your product, so make sure you say something special about this product in particular, not something general that anyone could say about a product similar to yours.
Focus on story.
Almost every product has a story behind it. So tell it! Adding this story, or the reason behind your product, adds a layer of depth to your product description that can really help it to sell. It creates an emotional connection between your product and the customer which dramatically increases conversion rates.
Just look at the success of countless Kickstarter campaigns. These crowdfunding campaigns are successful because of their deep stories and content behind what these people are trying to creative. It shows their passion and commitment, as well as the benefits of their particular campaign. Now your product descriptions should not be nearly as long as the content you find on Kickstarter. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the success of campaigns like this.
Write for humans first.
You might think this is obvious, but many use product descriptions just as a way to gain search engine points and increase in organic rankings. While we recommend thinking about keywords while writing your product descriptions, make sure to write for humans first, and the search engines.
How long should product descriptions be?
There is no rule of thumb on how long product descriptions should be. It depends completely on your brand, your product, and your audience.
Match your brand voice. Think through what information you need to share about your product (for example, a technical product will likely require more product specs than a piece of apparel). And think about your target customer and why they are interested in your product.
Some people say that more expensive products need longer product descriptions. We’d beg to differ. Price is not correlated with how long your product descriptions need to be. Whether your product is $1 or $10,000, write descriptions to match your brand, product, and audience.
What if you have thousands of products?
Writing product descriptions can be tedious, especially if you have a lot of products. Unfortunately there is no way around this.
The good news is that you only have to do this once! The initial batch of product descriptions will be overwhelming, but keeping them updated and adding new products as they launch on your site is typically manageable.
You might consider outsourcing the writing of your product descriptions if you don’t have anyone in house able to do the job. But make sure that your team reviews them to make sure they are consistent with your brand voice before making them live.
Want an example of a store that does product descriptions right?
Take a look at Urbain. This store sells one of a kind jewelry made out of unique raw materials. They used to just explain the physical aspects of their jewelry, but recently added this element of story to each piece and their conversion rate has skyrocketed.
If you do this with your product descriptions, weaving in your brand messaging and your story, along with the necessary product info, you will see an uptick in your conversion rate.