It’s been more than 25 years since a Nielsen Norman study made the discovery that easy-to-read, scannable writing improved usability by 124%.
This makes it absolutely crucial that as an eCommerce business you pay attention to all the copy that’s critical but also easy to miss out on – “microcopy”.
In addition to all other forms of copywriting featured on any eCommerce website, microcopy performs the job of guiding visitors and prodding them towards a successful checkout.
So, we thought, why not put together a host of pointers that we, at ConvertCart, have seen working for our clients consistently?
Read on to find out how you can leverage microcopy across your storefront as well as best practices that will hold you in good stead.
18 brilliant ways to use micro copy to boost eCommerce conversions
1. Search bar (a little nudge goes a long way)
Since the sitewide search bar enables shoppers to explore further and deeper into a brand, microcopy here can act as an additional nudge.
While most storefronts simply use in-line text that says “search”, a directional cue might be a good thing.
Here’s how Asos does it:
On the other hand, Williams Sonoma asks a question and makes shoppers reflect on what they might want:
Ensure your micro copy covers what shoppers may already expect – like “what are you in a mood for today?” – but not talk about something too specific (for example, just one category of the twelve you might feature).
This can turn off audiences that aren’t interested in that category.
Here's something for better ideas: eCommerce Search Results Page: 15 Conversion Principles for Reducing Drop-offs
2. Hero banner (a subtle persuasion to buy)
On the homepage, the hero banner mostly performs through an attractive image and a relevant headline. However, look deeper into user experience and you’ll find people searching for the right nudge to click on that bold CTA.
Here’s an example from Harry’s – notice how the microcopy helps shoppers make the purchase decision by telling them why the new product is worth it.
While supporting the main hero banner headline with the microcopy is the right way to go - you don’t want to get too descriptive.
(For example, in the current Tesla website, Model 3 is featured on the hero header – imagine if the microcopy wasn’t “leasing starting at $349/month” and instead brought in a lengthy chunk of the model 3’s specifications!)
Dive in deeper with: Our Favorite Hero Image Examples in eCommerce (2023)
3. Above-the-fold (quick takeaways that prepare the buying mind)
What the hero banner is to the homepage, the above-the-fold section is to the product page.
What is otherwise also called the first fold, has to offer enough information through microcopy for shoppers to consider a purchase very seriously.
Here’s a list of crucial elements that microcopy needs to cover in this section:
- Product name
- Brand (if you’re a third party aggregator)
- Number of reviews for the given product
- Star ratings
- Installment info
- Dispatch info
- Shipping information
- Size & color specifications
- CTA button copy
- Top ticker (best used for price slashes, shipping info & coupon codes)
Take a look at this example from Brilliant, a brand that makes custom bikes.
Be ready to tweak your above-the-fold microcopy based on how a product is performing – let your regular A/B tests tell you which elements consistently drive decisions and which should be applied only contextually.
For more first fold inspiration, check out: Above the Fold: 10 ideas for better conversions (+ amazing examples)
4. Sticky banner (the gentle reminder that works prevents distraction)
Since the sticky banner is meant to aid navigation for pages that are loaded with information, what you put on it is of prime importance.
Here are a few established microcopy elements that eCommerce businesses have found success with:
- All primary navigation categories (basically the primary menu is made sticky in this case)
- Product name + quantity + price (if you’re making the add-to-cart nudge sticky)
- Copy for a quiz or a survey + CTA button
Here’s a look at how Typology does it:
Keep the sticky banner microcopy as clean as possible – make sure not to load it with other nuances like discount information or even coupon codes (the latter can feature only if the shopper can apply it immediately and proceed towards checkout).
Keep exploring more with: Sticky Menus : Things NOT to Do On Your eComm site + 8 Inspiring Examples
5. On CTAs (because it helps them act, faster)
The more familiar your CTA microcopy looks, the better.
For example, for a product that’s in stock “add to cart” and “buy now” are far more commonly used than “drop in your bag”.
To make your CTA microcopy relevant, you’ll have to look at what the context is – is the product available in stock? Is it only available in-store? Is it out of stock? Or are you putting a product up for pre-order?
Certain businesses prefer offering two CTAs at the same time – one for adding to cart and another for wishlisting.
One way to leverage CTA microcopy is to drive a benefit home – just like Madsen Cycles does on their homepage CTA.
Stick to the most usual words when it comes to microcopy on the CTA – for example, “buy now” is far more relatable than “drop in the bag”.
6. Under CTAs (builds the narrative for the shopper to act)
Around where CTAs are placed on the product page, shoppers are looking for informational nudges.
Hence, if what you put under the CTA button is relevant and convincing, higher are the chances of a browser converting.
Luxy Hair shows us how bringing in brand advantages under the CTA can be a good idea.
Hiut Denim Co., on the other hand, introduces the “fit” followed by a number of other relevant content sections including size chart and shipping.
Good Fortune Soap makes us remember that under the CTA is sometimes the best place to talk about gifting/gift wrapping options.
While using icons to highlight brand or product benefits is a good idea, designing them to be too prominent can be counterproductive – it can snatch the attention away from the accompanying microcopy.
Keep exploring with: 21 ways to create call-to-action buttons that convert
7. On images (makes it easy for shoppers to process information)
Research proves that human beings process visuals 60, 000 times faster than other forms of information.
Now that should tell you why certain eCommerce businesses do a great job in labeling their product images with relevant microcopy.
From creating urgency to calling attention to new arrivals, precise image labeling where needed, can lead to shoppers paying more attention.
Here’s an example from Luxy Hair.
In the following example, Casper ensures they declare the discount percentage while creating urgency.
Limit the number of words you use on a visual so that the shopper’s attention can be on the product – this is why quick takeaways like “limited time offer” and “15% off for members” work well.
8. Under images (helps shoppers visualize the benefits)
Microcopy that comes under images can do multiple things:
- Clarify the size the model is wearing (& details around it)
Here’s how Birdnest does it:
- A nudge by describing the benefit of buying the product
Casper does it in a precise, simple way.
- Offer measurements for a free size product
Badass Beard Care does it within the product image, but you could choose it to state it outside of it as well.
Don’t feature microcopy under product images for the sake of it – if it’s describing something like the model’s size, make sure it’s not a distance away in white space and if it’s on a secondary CTA, ensure it’s clear what that CTA is doing there under the image (for example, if it’s for a product recommendation you want to just mention the name of, let that be clear.)
9. Under product description (can create a sense of deeper reassurance)
Once you’ve described your product, preferably alongside the visual gallery, it’s usually a good time to create additional reassurance through microcopy.
Here’s an example from Casper – the brand has decided to offer customer support information in this section.
The other element that we’ve seen works really well in this section is the FAQ list – either as a dropdown menu or as a link to the full FAQ page.
To use microcopy under the product description, the idea is to ask yourself what would further a shopper’s experience at this point – for example, citing info on how they can share on social media and featuring the associated buttons may be helpful as against featuring a colorful discount label without an associated CTA.
Here's something to reflect on: How to write product descriptions for mobile: 27 proven ideas (with examples)
10. Beneath homepage recommendations (offers quick directions for greater exploration)
Considering the homepage is a high-intent page that should be able to spark curiosity in shoppers, it needs to feature intelligent microcopy to support recommendations.
The idea is to get people thinking how those product recommendations will help them and what they will help solve.
Wayfair adds a short, descriptive line that does the job well.
Microcopy featured under product recommendations on the homepage needs to be a balance between detail and crispness – make it descriptive like “made with the finest ingredients & perfect for summer” but not longer than a line.
Make the most of your homepage. Read this.
11. Newsletter sign-up (creates anticipation for what’s to come)
Newsletters are essentially tools to grow your email subscription lists.
With that in mind, you’ll have to remember that newsletter sign-up microcopy will need to elaborate what shoppers can expect.
Here’s an example from Hiut Denim Co.
Always feature your newsletter sign-up microcopy with an attractive headline call-out (Tanner Goods, for example, says something as simple as “Stay in the Loop”) – this way shoppers feel a greater impetus to read on instead of avoiding it as another chunk of text.
12. Bundle recommendations (tell them why it’s a much better deal)
When you make relevant suggestions in the form of bundle recommendations, you sincerely hope shoppers will take note and increase their AOV.
However, this can only happen if they know what’s in it for them, and that means you’ll have to focus on the following in your microcopy:
- Price anchoring (featuring the old as well as the new price)
- The amount the shopper will save
- The discount percentage
- Persuasive words like “lightning deal”, “as low as”, “never before price” etc.
Here’s an example of how mattress brand Casper manages to make the microcopy around the CTA of their bundle recommendations stand out:
If you decide to give separate names to your bundles, ensure the microcopy clearly says which individual products are in the bundle – featuring a comprehensive photo might not offer enough direction to shoppers.
Here's an exciting read: 15 product bundling examples that convert (& 12 proven ideas)
13. Customer support sections (assistance that acts as persuasion)
It’s easy to think that customer support is only about your live chat and helpline features.
In reality, there are a variety of sections in your website that can potentially make shoppers feel supported.
And this makes it essential for these sections to feature microcopy that conveys clear instructions & directions.
Here’s a quick checklist:
- Product breakdown: You’ll notice how some brands introduce a “what’s in the box” section to break down what’s in the product package.
In this case, you may need to cite a clickable link that allows shoppers to view all specs & features of the product.
Just like Bond Touch does.
- Brand benefits: Since you’re clearly trying to convey that shoppers will benefit from buying from you, your brand benefits section needs to carry microcopy that does justice.
Here’s an example from Chubbies.
- Live chat: When your live chat microcopy is helpful and conveys approachability, shoppers feel at ease and are more likely to ask for help to aid conversion.
So using “how can we help you today?” or “hi! we’re online” can feel reassuring.
Here’s an example from Triangl.
- Rewards section: The more clarity you offer shoppers about what they’ll get out of your rewards program, the more likely they are to sign up (and buy or refer to avail the benefits).
Here’s an example from Badass Beard Care.
To create reassurance through customer support microcopy, ensure the tone you use mimics that of an actual human talking and responding – instead of offering only informational support, which could be misconstrued as cold and dry.
14. Shipping & Returns (prepares them for a great post-purchase experience)
Details around shipping & returns become crucial when a shopper has almost made up their mind about a purchase.
So, clarity through microcopy is essential.
Wayfair’s microcopy for example, makes it clear that shoppers can key in their location to find out shipping window estimates.
Huda Beauty, on the other hand, offers a “shipping info” link that opens up into a box when clicked.
Nordstrom chooses to highlight the most important aspects of shipping & returns and links to their full-fledged policies.
Avoid legalese even if you have to place some disclaimers within the shipping & returns micro copy – instead use simple words that your audience can quickly grasp and make sense of.
Here's a read to give you more ideas on optimizing the UX of eCommerce returns.
15. Reviews section (offers more control to the shopper)
Given that 95% of shoppers read reviews before actually making a purchase, the worth of reviews is unparalleled.
And this means the microcopy that the review section features is of prime importance in offering control and agency to shoppers.
Allow shoppers to declare if a review was helpful or not, comment against it and also flag reviews done if they seem fake or inappropriate.
Here’s an example from Blue Mercury:
Introducing microcopy that says “verified buyer” across reviews that are indeed verified can further increase consumer confidence.
Also, citing “the most helpful reviews” first, can create additional reassurance for shoppers.
A brand like Glossier collects detailed reviews, and their microcopy in this section reflects those nuances:
Offer popularly searched words as microcopy in this section if you want shoppers to read more of your reviews – however this can’t be a replacement for the other rules you create for filtering and sorting.
16. Ticker above navigation bar (draws instant attention to timely deals)
As soon as a shopper lands up on your eCommerce site (and this is most usually the homepage), the microcopy on the op ticker can give them a large picture view on:
- Seasonal offers
- Sitewide discounts
- Loyalty rewards
- Free shipping disclaimers
Here’s an example from mattress brand Leesa.
Micro copy on the ticker above or below the primary navigation may be less effective if you don’t offer an immediate link to act – so if you’re saying “15% off on all custom plans”, it’s a good idea to follow it up with “Get your custom plan today” and make it clickable.
17. On primary navigation (gives a quick glimpse into what’s priority)
For shoppers intent on exploring, the primary navigation is usually the most rational starting point.
Microcopy here, hence, has to do the subtle job of deepening their interest.
Casper states discounts as color contrasted labels in this section.
Sunday, the lawn care brand, ensures they showcase a “learn” section for every category on the primary navigation (with relevant links for micro copy).
Ensure to highlight the microcopy you want your audiences to notice first in a different way than the rest of the text - for example, high priority information can be in green while the rest can be in black.
Power the navigation through your entire funnel. Read this.
18. Footer (offers a big picture view of the storefront)
While the footer features at the fag end of any of your storefront pages, it’s got its own potential.
Through the microcopy you feature here, you can educate, inspire and create trust in shoppers.
Sunday highlights their blog “The Shed” here with some very relevant microcopy.
Burt’s Bees, on the other hand, elaborates on how the website prioritizes accessibility as a feature.
Reserving a separate space for microcopy in the footer, where it’s not jostling with links or trust badges, will ensure it is more likely read than avoided.
5 best practices to get your eCommerce micro-copy right
1. Ensure next steps are clear
Shoppers need to know they’re moving forward either towards the larger conversion or towards multiple smaller steps (micro conversions) that’ll lead them there.
2. Anticipate what shoppers could be worried about
Shoppers need answers and now! While most of them will be wowed by your headlines, it’s your microcopy that will offer them information that they can trust and rely on.
3. Introduce nudges at critical junctures
What a navigator is to complex long-distance travel, microcopy is to eCommerce browsing. And this is why, relevant microcopy is able to create buying intent in shoppers even if they didn’t come with it in the first place.
4. Use descriptive but unambiguous language
You can describe a subject of choice in your microcopy and bring in nuances, but ensure it’s not confusing or relaying multiple conflicting messages at the same time.
5. Leave traces of your brand voice
If the main chunks of copywriting on your eCommerce website need to reflect your brand voice, so does your microcopy (ideally).
If you’ve crafted a tone of voice for your brand, you can ensure that comes through in your micro copy as well.
Harry’s, the men’s grooming brand, is well-known for this: their microcopy tends to be slick and smooth (just like their razors).
FAQ on eCommerce microcopy
1. What is good and bad microcopy?
Any microcopy that offers direction, clarity and offers a smooth user experience can be considered as good or effective microcopy.
On the other hand, microcopy that creates confusion, offers little clarity on next steps and makes it difficult for shoppers to take action, can be considered as bad or ineffective microcopy.
2. What is the importance of microcopy?
Microcopy is responsible for alerting, confirming and validating shoppers for the choices they’re making.
This can help them to opt for a better choice and opt out when they’ve taken a misstep.
Microcopy at each step of an eCommerce shopper’s journey ensures they engage with the brand more effectively. It also increases the likelihood of better micro and macro conversions.
3. What are examples of microcopy in eCommerce?
Here’s a quick checklist of the most usual places you’ll have to use microcopy for your eCommerce business:
- Within the search box
- On CTAs
- In and around trust badges
- In and around highlighted information (such as reviews)
- Beneath form fields
- On an empty cart page
- Around security & payment information
- On the thank you page
- For error messages
Trying to make more elements like microcopy influence the behavior of your shoppers?
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