Product descriptions are an opportunity to tell customers a story, inspire them, persuade them - and not bore them.
But you cannot skip the product details at the same time.
The key is striking the prefect balance.
In this article, we cover the best practices you need to keep in mind when writing product copies AND ways to inspire shoppers with storytelling.
But first, let’s quickly understand the basics that an ideal product description must be able to answer.
Here's a list of questions that your product descriptions must answer:
What does the product do? Write down the basic attributes of your product. Define basic details like the dimensions, colours, weight and so on. Ensure that you are clearly communicating the core offerings and USP in simple terms.
What pain points does your product solve? After you have your offerings written down, map them to your audiences’ pain points. Mention if your offerings are for a specific season or time of the year. Be precise and try to bring in an emotional benefit if possible.
Benefits of using the product, besides the obvious? Talk comprehensively about the benefits your product will bring with it. Use a data driven approach and build on the power of social proofing to back your statements and earn credibility.
Who uses the product? It is recommended to have a buyer persona handy while you get started on building product descriptions. A buyer persona can help you communicate the right way. An ideal buyer persona must have details like ideal geography, age group, interests, language known, occupation, gender, and more.
Why should I buy this product? Lay emphasis on why should anyone buy your product over your competitors. Speak out loud about the USPs you bring. It can be the material used, the quality of the product, legacy in the industry, added benefits, and more.
Why should I trust your brand? It is imperative to highlight the milestones your brand has achieved. Communicate the authenticity of your products, licenses you’ve received and badges you’ve earned in your journey.
14 Tips to write a working product description
Let us now understand how to write a product description that persuades your visitors and prompts them to place an order.
1. Follow a crisp & reader-friendly format
A research report by NN Group suggests that users usually only skim through the text while reading online, and they usually read more at the start of a paragraph than at the end. This gives us two clear takeaways:
- Do not write superfluous or irrelevant words: This means that avoid using words that the general public won't understand. Replace words like dapper with smart. Ensure that you do not sound too sales oriented or too pushy. Find a balance between all that you want to while you write product descriptions.
- Provide important information at the beginning: The fact is that even you and me do not read the entire description on any product page, do we? While you write a detailed description to add SEO value, ensure you highlight the important things in the initial 3-4 sentences.
To see both of these points in action, let us consider two examples and understand the dos and don'ts better. The first image shows a neatly laid product description with all the relevant information, well-bulleted points and specification while the second shows a product description that is not well written. It carries irrelevant words, inadequate information and leaves a reader with hundreds of questions.
To help you create a product description that converts, we have found a working formula. Here’s what it looks like - [Paragraph(s) of Prose] + [Bulleted List of Specs or Product Features] = [Engaging Product Description]
Keep this handy the next time you sit to draft a product description and you will hit the right cord in no time. While writing a product description, you must remember that not all customers are avid readers.
It is also important to remember that you are not going to be the center of your visitor’s universe. While they might be checking your product, they must be having 10 other tabs open. Hence, it is important to not beat around the bush and get straight to the point while adding value in every sentence.
Here are few pointers:
- Keep it short and sweet (around 400 words)
- Always choose bullets over paragraphs
- Have a headline above each paragraph
- Use the correct grammar and punctuation
2. Write like a salesperson, not a manufacturer
The biggest mistake in many product descriptions is that they get too technical. Or, even worse, they just skim through competitor brands and try to sound like them.
Well, we know, this isn’t the right approach, isn’t it?
The rule of thumb is to write while wearing the shoes of a salesman and not a manufacturer. It is surely important to learn about the technical terms and details from them but when you are writing the product description, ensure you talk in the language of your customer.
List out the benefits to the user of the product. Remember that it doesn’t always have to be high-level benefits, you can get granular with it as well.
In between, take pauses and ask questions like “How is my product solving customers' problems?”
Finally, avoid being generic. It isn’t always cool!
Stop saying things like "excellent quality" and "better than everyone."
Browse around a bit and you’ll find that everyone is pitching that. While writing a product description, be specific and keep it simple and relatable.
Check out how Welly has done it.
Right in the first line, it leads with a benefit and solving a pain point. Only after in the next section, it moves on to features and specifications.
3. Don’t miss important information in the name of creativity
Another key thing you need to keep in mind while creating product descriptions is focusing on the information that is crucial to the experience of the customers. Some of the details you should never miss touching in your product descriptions are:
- Reasons that can cause a delay in delivery or geographical restriction
- Restrictions of the product usage to a particular group of people
- Precautions that must be followed while using the product
- What must be done in case of wrong usage of a product
It is good to go creative while presenting the benefits of your offering but one thing that goes wrong in the process oftentimes, is missing out on the most important information.
For example, Son of a Sailor mentions pertinent information about their products to the customers in their product descriptions.
Being creative and presenting benefits doesn’t mean that you don’t cover the specifications of your product.
Of course, you can use various formats like demo videos, customer review videos, documents, and more to showcase your benefits but remember that some of the most basic details like the dimensions, size, use, colors are necessary information especially when selling products such as jewelry and smartphone and can not be overlooked whatsoever.
While you experiment with different formats and find what works the best for you, ensure a basic framework of details always follows.
4. Bank on the potential of persuasive language
A lot has been said about the psychology of writing content that converts. In fact, it is highly possible that you already know that specific words matter.
You click on a headline because a single word strikes a chord with you. You click a signup button because a word creates an emotion.
The same logic applies and stands true when you are investing your time and effort in writing product descriptions.
Not just in the context of the writing product description, but this applies to almost all forms of content writing: sit back and think about who you are writing for, what their life and day look like, what their challenges are, and what is it that will excite them.
Once you have the basic answers ready, create a copy and weave in persuasive words that convert the reader. Write a copy that is user-friendly, easy to decode, and of course, convincing. Listed below are the 5 most persuasive words in the English language:
According to a recent study, one of the things that lights up our inner self is seeing our own names in print or on the screen. Our names are intrinsically tied to our self-perception and make up a massive part of our identity. Now in context of product description, it is nearly impossible to reach that granular level of name based personalization. And that is where the power of ‘you’ can come to action. Use the word you effectively in your copy and see your visitors getting moved.
Point us to one person who does not love free and we shall send goodies their way. JK, but frankly, who does not love free? Whenever the human race sees the word ‘free’, loss aversion (our disdain for losing out on things) takes place and our natural instinct to go after “low hanging fruit” lightens up. That is the reason why we are so susceptible to snatching up free stuff even if they are not the best-in-class. Now in terms of product copies, it might seem a little challenging to use the word free but try to add a giveaway, free goodies and see your customers choosing you!
One Of the basic principles of human behaviour says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. Many companies are proud of the features that their product or service can offer, and that’s fine, but you have to remember that when you are focusing on writing persuasive copy, it all comes down to answering your customer’s #1 question: What’s in it for me?
Using ‘because’ effectively can satisfy this instinct of your customers. All you have to do is write the description on these lines: ‘You must buy our product because…’.
Please note: Even giving weak reasons have been shown to be more persuasive than giving no reason at all.
Several MRI studies have shown how fired up our mid-brain gets when we envision instant rewards. Words like “instant,” “immediately,” or even”fast” are triggers for flipping the switch on that midbrain activity.
Using persuasive copywriting words like these to remind customers that they’ll receive their product quickly (or someone will get in touch with them ASAP) can go a long way in being the gentle push they need to buy.
Humans get bored of things, designs, structures if stuck with the same for longer durations. With your products, it’s far easier to excite customers with new features and polish. Even if things don’t work out perfectly, a majority of customers will appreciate innovation attempts over no progression at all. Show them the innovation you have been doing and talk out loud about the same.
See how J.Crew makes their product irresistible with their persuasive copy?
5. Speak your customer’s lingo
With the advent of all-powerful search engines, it is very important to write in the way your customer searches. In fact, product descriptions bring with them a high SEO value and if used well and aligned with SEO requirements, can help you rank on page 01 (or even the snippet) of the chrome window. Both, Google searches and your website searches have a big role to play in crafting attractive product descriptions.
- Website search: Understanding what people type to land on a product they are looking for. Let’s call it a product-focused search.
- Google search: Understanding what people type in general about any kind of product. Let’s call it a problem-focused search.
Use tools like Ubersuggest and Google Keyword Planner to identify different search phrases around your product, the questions asked, the problems faced, etc. and once you have an idea, incorporate those phrases in your product description and stand out from your competitors!
BONUS: Another way to map the mind of your potential and existing customers is to browse through Quora to find what people are searching for about a product category. This technique helps with the overall optimization of the product landing page but has proven to be great for our customers in writing product descriptions.
It is crucial for your descriptions to contain the search terms that shoppers would use when looking for your merchandise. This gives you a better chance for your product pages to show up on search engines, which in turn drives traffic and sales. The first step in optimizing your product pages for SEO is conducting keywords research. Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to search for keywords and identify other terms that your customers frequently use.
Let’s say you’re selling planters, desk plants and home kitchen services. A quick search of those terms on Google’s Keyword planner uncovers a variety of other search terms, including “indoor plants,” “small plants for desk,” “vegetables to grow at home” and more.
Depending on the product you sell, incorporate some of the keywords you find in your product descriptions.
Hey, check out this webinar on eCommerce SEO: 5 SEO strategies that eCommerce founders love
6. Answer your customers’ most pressing doubts
Just as we spoke above, use the Keyword & Quora research to build out your FAQs. FAQs also have a high SEO value. You must have seen that at times when you run a Google search, you are shown FAQ pages of different companies. If written with the usage of the right keywords and phrases, FAQs can be a big help in driving traffic to your product page.
Rather than crowding the page with too much information, have your FAQs on the website in the below format.
7. Use social-proof and do not sound generic
Reiterating what we said a couple of points ago, do not be generic! Rather than just using phrases like ‘Our customers love us.’ or ‘Everyone knows about the benefits of..’ use proofs to get real attention.
Nothing works better than a real image, customer testimonial, videos, and more. If you are creating a specific landing page for your products, ensure the following things are there in it:
- Customer ratings and reviews
- Badges, certifications, accreditation, and awards
- Any guarantee offered
- Test results if any of your product
- Customer testimonials and images
This is how ScotteVest leverages customer reviews along with their product descriptions.
Pro-tip: Try to incorporate as many of these things in the first fold of your landing page as it gets the maximum attention from the visitor.
8. Leverage the power of video creation
Some sayings stay true in any era, no matter the level of digitization. The same is true when we say ‘A video is worth a million words. You must have seen Amazon sellers using demo videos with voiceovers and subtitles while showing how the product looks or is used. It helps in multiple ways - you can keep the description short and let the visual do the talking. In fact, it also makes you a differentiator amongst your competitors.
To keep the product description short and sweet, compliment it with a crisp 60-sec video summarizing everything you have on the product page.
Pro-tip: Your video does not have to be fancy, you could do it with a doodle video or even a slideshow. The best in the business, Amazon, does it for many of the products on their site.
9. Tell your products’ story
All the customers, sellers, businessmen are humans at the end of the day and all we do is carry stories with us. The art of storytelling and the power it brings with it is tremendous. In the world of business also, where new products are manufactured and sold, they have a story attached to them.
Do not shy to tell customers the story of how you came up with the product or what makes it special and different from the rest. In fact, you might see increased interest and empathy from your customers and this might help you upsell your product.
Try to stitch a positive emotional touch when you write descriptions of your product. This is because fMRI tests have shown that when subjects evaluate products or brands:
- their limbic systems (where our feelings, memory, and value judgments originate) light up
- while the data processing and analysis centers of their brains are left largely unstimulated.
In other words, most of the purchase decisions people make are emotional, not practical.
This is how ThinkGeek catches their customer's fancy with the StarWars story.
When the decisions humans make are largely based on how they feel, marketers can capitalize by communicating a feeling and removing emphasis on the cold hard facts. You need to appeal to the human, not the buyer.
While you use storytelling to weave product descriptions, do not play with people's emotions. Remember, sounding genuine and caring at every step is what will make you a differentiator in the minds and hearts of your customers.
10. Make it easier for them to choose
Lastly, make it easier for your customer to decide to buy your product.
When customers love to research before they buy the product, their ideal website navigation looks like this: Homepage → Menu bar → Product category page → Product details page → Product reviews & images → On-site or off-site comparisons of products/brands (could be on social media as well) → Add to cart → Checkout.
Offer a comparison chart of your products with other competitors for them. (Yep, you thought it right - Amazon does it for all their products).
Here are some quick tips on creating high converting comparison charts:
- Add a few customer reviews
- Add a “Usually Bought Along With” section
- Use FAQs to address shoppers concerns
- Use visual salience to make the CTA prominent
- Use live chats to supercharge conversion
- Use discounts to convert more
- Use ‘Free Shipping’ to drive more checkouts
- Eliminate guesswork With A/B Tests
- Ask your customers for help
Here's how BestBuy presents their comparison chart.
What can make your customers happier than you helping them save their time that they would spend on research. Creating comparison tables can be your USP and while you are at it, it will also help you understand your competitors’ offering in detail!
11. Build a beautiful visual library
Once you are done with working on your content for product description, divert your efforts on bringing visuals of your product to life.
Now that we are talking about photos, have you ever been shopping for something with color options online and only gotten vague descriptions of the shade instead of a photo? It feels disappointing, doesn't it?
Our research suggests that it is ideal to add photos for each variant, so that when a shopper makes their choice, they’ll see a true-to-life example of that choice. Don’t assume they can imagine the same cup with stripes or the same dog bed in a circular shape instead of a square — show them! That way there’s no misconceptions, and no unhappy customer asking for a return or exchange.
Check out how Leesa complements their crisp product description with stunning visuals, creating the perfect product page.
12. Brag about your product like you’re one superhero!
Has there ever been a moment in your life where you have bragged about a skill you have or an award you won? And then your sibling came close only to ask you to shut up? Well it has happened to most of us.
But there’s one opportunity where you can brag your heart out about everything you have to offer! That place is that column with space to write a detailed product description. Go all out and talk about the awards and accolades. Mention how high you scored in a strength or durability test, talk about the licenses and certificates you own. This is your playground!
See how Snow showcases their brand mentions along with their product descriptions?
13. Split test your descriptions
We are sure you are aware about the power A/B testing has in marketing campaigns. It is one of the best ways to experiment with marketing efforts and understand the high yielding and low yielding efforts.
You can use the power of A/B testing in your product descriptions as well. Play around the tonality of your description - formal vs informal, the format of your description - bulleted vs plain paragraphs, format of your visuals - static images vs videos. Doing so will help you understand what is matching the expectation of your customers and will help you divert your efforts in the right direction.
14. Give the "product title" the attention it deserves
A report by CopyBlogger suggests that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, and only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.
This means that you need to spend enough time in finalizing the title for your product.
Go wild and see what is it that will make your prospects go all curious.
Over to you
These 14 takeaways are based on our research and have been proven to be working techniques to convert a buyer. Mastering the art of product descriptions will require creativity and a lot of experiments with iterations. Do not be afraid to experiment with different formats. Oh and yes, do not run short of patience. Writing product descriptions that sell takes a bit of experimentation but with some patience you could end up in this article one day as a product description example.
Let us know in the comments below what your favourite product descriptions are and if you experiment with any of the tips we shared, let us know how it worked for you!