When you first created your business, product descriptions were likely the last thing on your mind. After all, sourcing high-quality products, creating a website, and dealing with the legalities of launching a business can all be overwhelming. After all of that, you might find yourself skimping on product descriptions. No one reads product pages anyway, right?
This line of thinking, though understandable, is a mistake that many ecommerce business owners make. In fact, one study found that 20% of lost sales are due to lackluster product descriptions that don’t provide enough relevant information.
The good news? You can easily correct this issue by writing better product descriptions. In this guide, we’ll cover all of the key elements of a product description that will influence shoppers to make a purchase.
What Is a Good Product Description?
Good product descriptions have a few things in common. First, they act as a sales pitch. Since you don’t have sales representatives in a physical store selling your products, your product descriptions have to do it for you.
With that in mind, an effective product description should cover all of the benefits and features of the product while speaking to your target audience. It should use language that they understand while accurately representing your brand. Although the description is about the product, it still gives your customers a better understanding of your brand as a whole.
Lastly, good product descriptions should be easy to read. They should answer any questions customers may have about your products in a clear and understandable way.
Why Are Product Descriptions So Important?
Product descriptions are part of the sales process. Without a product description, shoppers wouldn’t know what your product includes, what it's made of, or what benefits they should expect by making a purchase.
Just like your website, branding, and imagery, your product descriptions tell your customers what your company is about. They’re another opportunity for you to speak to your target audience in a way that they understand.
This copy also gives you a chance to build credibility with your customer. When your product descriptions are professional, clear, and concise, it makes your entire brand appear more trustworthy. On the other hand, lackluster product descriptions with typos, too much or too little information, and poor grammar can ruin a sale.
How to Write Product Descriptions That Sell
1. Tailor Your Descriptions to Your Product
Your product isn’t for everyone – it’s for your target market. With this in mind, your product descriptions should speak directly to them. Think about who your ideal customers are, then write your descriptions as if you’re in their shoes. Writing in this way can help you avoid trying to speak to a giant audience, which can be confusing for you as a writer.
Write as if you’re having a conversation with your audience. If your product is trendy, use more modern language. If your product is for professionals, speak as if you’re in a business meeting.
For example, you might use a humorous and lighthearted tone if you’re writing about sweaters for dogs. Meanwhile, if you’re selling fitness journals, you’ll want to use more inspirational language. If you’re selling a professional service, like bookkeeping, you’ll want to sound more confident and sincere.
Have a look at the product description for Mistaken Lyrics Coasters from Uncommon Goods. Since the product itself is silly and fun, the description is also playful.
2. Solve a Problem
Your product exists because it solves a problem. It takes the user through a transformation. Your job is to explain that makeover. For example, if you sell coats, your product transforms your customer from someone who has to avoid outdoor events to a person who joins in on all the winter festivities in warm, toasty style.
To accomplish this, explain how your product’s benefits will solve the reader’s problems. While the reader might get bored scanning through product specifications, you can draw them in by telling them a story that’s supported by the product’s features.
Take a look at the following product description from Goop. Notice how they highlight an ingredient, note what it does for the skin, then give a transformation. For example, “...Natural fruit enzymes and bitter orange peel polish away impurities.
3. Write for Skimming and Scanning
Many shoppers want to scan a product description, check whether it suits their needs, and make a purchase. A lengthy product description can bore or scare readers off.
Aim to include 2-5 sentences to describe your product, then follow that with bullet points. It’s worth noting that higher ticket and technical items may require lengthier product descriptions in order to fully explain the benefits that support the higher price tag. However, most products don’t fall into this category.
Take, for example, the following nose and ear hair trimmer from Manscaped. Notice how easy it is to skim the page and get all of the necessary information in seconds.
4. Write in Your Brand Voice
Your product descriptions are a reflection of your brand. Just like the rest of your website uses brand voice, so should your product pages. This builds credibility with your customers and reinforces the idea that you make your product just for them.
Before writing your product descriptions, consider your brand voice. Are you professional or conversational? Do you use straightforward language or are you playful?
Consider Nike. As an aspirational brand, their tone of voice is confident, positive, and motivating, which tends to resonate with fitness enthusiasts.
5. Influence Buyers with Power Words
All words hold meaning, but some are more powerful than others. Choosing the most impactful words can help you influence shoppers to make a purchase. These words aid in storytelling. The right words will also depend on what you sell.
Sensory words can help you sell products that stimulate the senses. For example, “velvety smooth” may describe high-end chocolate. Meanwhile “crisp and clear” can describe the sound quality of headphones.
On the other hand, a correctly-placed power word can evoke emotion, showcase quality, and justify prices. Check out the following product description from Gucci, which uses words like “timeless” and “everlasting” to show the reader that their purchase is really a worthwhile investment with lifelong benefits.
6. Don’t Forget SEO
Product descriptions also double as an opportunity for SEO (search engine optimization). That means you need to include the keywords that people are typing in when they search for products like yours. You may naturally include keywords simply by writing about your product, but you can improve your Google ranking by being strategic.
You should use keywords in your product title and in your bullet points. The more specific you can be, the better. For example, if you’re selling handbags, you can use phrases like, “vegan leather tote bag” or “canvas crossbody travel purse.” You may choose to hire an SEO specialist or use online SEO tools to help you perfect your strategy.
Here’s an example of an Amazon listing that does a great job of using specific terms that the brand’s target market is searching for. This includes phrases like “everyday carryall,” “vegan leather,” and “tote bag for women.”
7. Double Check Spelling and Grammar
Spelling mistakes, poor grammar, and typos happen to everyone. However, these mistakes can knock your credibility as a brand. A shopper who has never heard of your company before may decide that you’re untrustworthy if your product description has any errors in it.
Be sure to check and double-check your writing before you post it to your website. You can use the built-in spell-check tools from Google Docs and Microsoft Word. You can also run your copy through Grammarly to ensure that everything is right. If you can, have a trusted friend or employee read your descriptions to make sure they flow.
8. Use Social Proof
People depend on the reviews of others to determine whether a product is worthwhile. When shoppers see that other users were happy with their purchase, they feel more confident about spending money on the same product.
This is also an easy way to showcase your product’s features without having to write about them in depth yourself. You can choose to highlight a customer review on each product page or add customer satisfaction statistics.
Take a look at the following product page from Too Faced, a popular makeup brand. The first thing listed under the main tab of their product description? Social proof in the form of customer feedback.
9. Include Photos and Videos to Say What Words Cannot
While the words you write on your product description page are incredibly important, you must also consider what your words cannot convey. As we discussed above, many shoppers scan product descriptions. So, while your text matters, images and videos allow customers to quickly get the information they need and make a purchase decision.
The quality of your images and videos is crucial, so make sure they’re high-resolution. Your added media can also support what you discuss in the product description. If you’re noting the benefits of various features, provide close-up photos. If you’re discussing what a product can do, include a video showcasing its functionality.
Check out the galaxy projector below listed on Amazon. Since the product provides a mainly visual effect, it’s important that the product description includes plenty of pictures to show what it can do. There are a variety of images as well as two videos so that customers know exactly what they’re buying.
Common Product Description Mistakes to Avoid
Just like there are some elements that a product description should always include (like features and benefits), there are also some mistakes that you should avoid at all costs. Here are the most common:
- Copying and pasting manufacturer descriptions
- Lacking relevant details that help customers make purchase decisions
- Including too many descriptive words
- Stating all information in a “wall of text” format rather than utilizing bullet points
- Including spelling or grammar errors
- Using text that sounds like a generic template
- Including errors about how the product works
- Using too many buzzwords that make the product seem gimmicky
- Putting too much emphasis on features without highlighting the benefits
- Lacking keywords that allow your ideal customer to find your product
- Using inconsistent brand tone
What's the Best Way for a Small Ecommerce Business to Accept Payments?
Product descriptions are just one opportunity for you to show your customers that your business is legitimate and trustworthy. Another key way to accomplish this is by choosing the right payment service provider.
Pay.com provides completely secure transactions. It has Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, which is the highest level of security. It also supports 3D Secure 2.0 (3DS2), which adds another layer of authentication. You can display security badges on your checkout page to help your customers feel safe when making a purchase.
Plus, Pay.com provides everything you need to start accepting payments right away. Choose from an assortment of payment methods, like credit cards and digital wallets, so you can serve a variety of customers.
The Bottom Line
Product descriptions are a critical part of your website. They give you an opportunity to connect with your target audience, showcase the benefits of your product, and build credibility. Ultimately, your product descriptions drive sales.
Make sure you write product descriptions in your brand voice, use powerful words, and avoid typos. Include SEO keywords to help customers find your products and add photos and videos where relevant. With all of these pieces in place, you’ll find that your products are far better supported than with a generic manufacturer product description.
It’s also important to audit the rest of your website for sales effectiveness. A poor payment service provider could be driving away customers. Pay.com can help your customers feel confident in their purchases with a seamless checkout experience, security badges, and a variety of payment methods. Get started with Pay.com now.