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How To Write Good Product Descriptions For eCommerce Websites

How to write a great product description

Product descriptions are the make-or-break factor for e-commerce sites. They serve as the salesperson, providing all the details a customer needs to make an informed buying decision.

Well-written descriptions convert visitors into buyers by clearly explaining the product’s features, benefits, uses, and specifications. On the other hand, vague or overly sales-y descriptions turn off customers and lose sales.

In this article, we will cover actionable tips for writing compelling product descriptions that sell. We’ll cover benefits over features, how to optimize for SEO, telling a story, including relevant details, etc.

Let’s get started

Focus on Benefits 

Rather than simply listing features, effective product descriptions highlight the specific benefits the customer will enjoy. How does this product make the customer’s life easier, better, or more enjoyable? Your descriptions should answer this question clearly.

Use benefits-driven headlines and opening sentences to immediately convey the most appealing advantage of ownership. For example, “Wake up refreshed with our memory foam pillows” is more compelling than “Memory foam pillows.”

To focus your descriptions on benefits:

  • Identify your target customer and their needs or pain points your product solves. Know who you are speaking to.
  • Research what motivates purchases in your product category. Is it saving time, status, convenience, safety?
  • List out the product features, then explain the exact benefit of each. For example, “adjustable lumbar support” becomes “customize the fit to reduce back pain.”
  • Prioritize the most compelling benefits in the headline and opening sentences. Lead with the emotional trigger that will resonate most with your customers.

By guiding the reader through the payoff of each feature, you build a case for why this product is the ideal solution for them. Benefits-focused descriptions convince the customer they need this product.

By guiding the reader through the payoff of each feature, you build a compelling case for why this product is the ideal solution for them. Rather than just stating what the product does, you explain why the customer needs what it does. This benefits-focused approach is key for convincing shoppers to buy.

For example, imagine you sell a fitness tracker. The features may include step counting, sleep tracking, and smartphone notifications. Simply listing these would be boring and generic. By focusing on benefits, you could highlight how your tracker motivates the user, improves their sleep quality, and keeps them connected.

  • The step counting becomes “stay motivated to reach your daily goals.”
  • The sleep tracking becomes “optimize your sleep cycles so you wake up feeling refreshed.”
  • The notifications become “never miss an important call or text even when your phone is in the other room.”

These benefit-focused descriptions create a visceral emotional reaction. The customer can envision how much better their life will be with your product. They imagine achieving that fitness goal, springing out of bed full of energy, and having the freedom to leave their phone behind. Suddenly this tracker is not just a commodity gadget, but a life-changing purchase.

In short, zero in on the benefits most valued by your target customer. Make them feel understood and catered to. Show how your product delivers on their deepest needs and desires. This empathetic approach forges an emotional connection and turns visitors into lifelong customers.

Optimize for SEO

SEO optimization is crucial for product descriptions. Done right, it can significantly increase your page traffic by improving discoverability and rankings.

Naturally incorporate relevant keywords throughout the description. Don’t just awkwardly stuff in keywords – seamlessly blend them into your benefit-focused narrative.

To optimize product descriptions for SEO:

Research keywords people are searching when looking for your type of product. Identify high-value long-tail keywords beyond just the product name.

Use those keywords in the title, opening paragraph, headers, product specs, alt text, etc. These prominent areas carry more weight.

Mention additional keywords related to product category, function, materials, styles, etc. Include variations and synonyms.

Use strategic formatting like bolding or italicizing keywords. This signals importance to search engines.

For example, a heading could be “Why Our Down Alternative Comforters Are the Best for Allergy Sufferers.” This targets the keyword, while supporting the benefit-focused narrative.

By optimizing for SEO, you can drive more targeted traffic from search to your product descriptions. Just be sure the content flows naturally and still speaks to the customer. SEO should enhance, not detract from, an effective product description.

By optimizing for SEO, you can drive more targeted, high-intent traffic from search engines directly to your product descriptions. This incoming traffic converts at a much higher rate than general site visitors. But be careful – SEO should enhance, not detract from, an effective product description.

Avoid awkwardly over-optimizing and letting SEO dominate the narrative. For example, constantly repeating the same keyword for no reason or stuffing in irrelevant keywords just to hit a quota. This creates a disjointed, hard-to-read description that feels spammy.

Instead, seamlessly blend in relevant keywords to support the benefit-focused narrative. For example, if you sell a tent, organically mention types like “backpacking tent,” “family tent,” or “4-season tent” as you describe the target customer. Or call out materials like “ripstop nylon” and “aluminum poles” when detailing quality specifications.

You can also strategically format keywords using headers, bullet points, bold, italics, etc. Just be sure the overall description flows well and reads naturally.

Tell a Story

Storytelling is a powerful technique to connect emotionally with customers and bring your product to life. Crafting a compelling narrative allows you to cut through the noise and create a vivid experience that resonates.

Start by sharing the origin story or founding vision behind your product or company. How did you get started? What pain point or customer need inspired this innovation? Telling the “why” helps the customer buy into your brand values and purpose. For example, TOMS Shoes highlights founder Blake Mycoskie’s inspirational story of giving shoes to children in need. This immediately gets customers invested in the mission.

Next, use sensory details to immerse the reader in the experience of using your product. Help them feel, taste, hear, smell, and see what it’s like. For a high-end chef’s knife, you could describe the satisfying heft in the hand, the gentle whir as it slices through a ripe tomato, and the sunbeam glint along the precision-forged blade. This transports the reader into the moment and helps them imagine owning and using the product.

Transition into the transformation by telling a before-and-after story. Set up the frustration or need before finding your product, then follow the journey to the “happily ever after” your product enables. This could be an athlete hobbled by shoe discomfort getting back on the trails with perfectly fitted hiking boots. Or a student pulling all-nighters before an acing exams thanks to concentration-boosting study supplements. Show your solution in action.

Finally, weave in social proof with customer stories, reviews, and pictures. This credible outside perspective builds trust and sways hesitant shoppers. Curating a sampling of verified reviews makes the benefits more convincing than any claims you could make.

In short, blend brand narrative, sensory details, transformation plots, and social proof to craft descriptions that form an emotional bond with the customer. Stories sell by capturing the imagination and heart.

Write Concisely

When writing product descriptions, avoid overly long, dense blocks of text loaded with technical jargon. Most customers will not read past the first few sentences if presented with a huge, intimidating paragraph. Instead, make your descriptions scannable, focused, and digestible.

Keep sentences relatively short and direct, around 15-20 words maximum. Long, convoluted sentences lose the reader. Vary your sentence structure and length to improve flow.

Break up dense paragraphs into bite-sized nuggets. Use bulleted or numbered lists to present key features, specs, and benefits in an easy-to-scan format. Headers and subheaders are also useful for breaking up text.

Mercilessly cut any fluffy, redundant, or unnecessary words. If a point can be conveyed in 5 words instead of 8, go with 5. Every word should add value. Eliminate vague filler words like “very” or “really.”

Use simple, clear language the average customer will grasp. Avoid overly technical jargon and instead explain features in plain English. Define any necessary specialized terms. For example, say “wireless range” instead of “ISO-compliant 802.11ac WiFi bandwidth.”

Finally, highlight only the most important or impressive features up top. Don’t just vomit out every minor product detail. Lead with the biggest selling points and benefits.

With a tight, scannable description, you deliver the key information as efficiently as possible. Remove fluff and boil things down to the essentials. A focused, easy-to-digest description holds customer attention and converts.

Include Relevant Details 

In addition to highlighting benefits and features, round out your product descriptions by including key details customers need to make informed purchasing decisions.

Provide dimensional specs, individual component sizes, and size chart information so customers can visualize the product details and confirm it will physically fit their needs. List materials used, like types of fabric or metal.

Include care instructions, cleaning recommendations, and maintenance tips whenever applicable. Let customers know how to properly wash, store, or otherwise care for the product so it lasts. This prevents damage issues down the line.

Share warranty information, return policies, money-back guarantees, and relevant safety certifications like “UL Certified” that reassure the customer and indicate quality.

Mention compatible accessories, replacement parts, or other complementary products in your catalog. This allows for helpful cross-selling of related items.

While focused on benefits, don’t neglect these complementary details that address potential customer concerns and questions. The goal is to paint a complete, 360-degree picture of what it’s like to own and use this product day-to-day.

Providing this extra context builds trust by showing you have nothing to hide. The comprehensive description also reduces returns or issues resulting from lack of information. Find the balance between concise and detailed that gives customers everything they need to make a confident purchase.

Check for Errors

Before publishing product descriptions, it is critical to thoroughly proofread and fact check every detail to prevent errors from undermining trust and professionalism. Even small mistakes like typos can create a sloppy, amateurish impression.

Carefully run a full spell check and grammar check on the copy. Read through line-by-line looking for any writing errors and correct them. Check for proper punctuation usage as well.

Scan all text formatting for consistency. Headings, bullets, bold/italic emphasis, etc. should be uniform. Make sure styles are not haphazardly applied.

Verify any product details like sizes, materials, certifications, specs, etc. precisely match the actual product. Nothing destroys credibility faster than inaccurate technical information.

Click and test all embedded links and images to confirm proper functionality. Nothing looks worse than linking to a 404 error or posting the wrong photo.

Consider having a colleague review the description with fresh eyes to catch anything you may have missed. It’s easy for small mistakes to slip through when you’ve been intensely working on a product description.

Rigorously polishing ensures every piece of information is flawless before publishing live to customers. Preventing errors presents professionalism and gives customers confidence in your accuracy. Don’t let easily avoided oversights detract from your product messaging. Taking the time to perfect each description is worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: What length should my product descriptions be?

A: Aim for 150-300 words. Be concise but include enough detail to educate shoppers and convince them why your product is the best choice. Avoid overly long walls of text.

2. Q: How can I make product descriptions shopper-friendly?

A: Use clear, consumer-focused language. Highlight benefits. Break up text with headers, bullets, and images. Share stories and social proof. Optimize for skimmability.

3. Q: What constitutes keyword stuffing and how can I avoid it?

A: Keyword stuffing is awkwardly repeating keywords or cramming in irrelevant words just for SEO. Avoid this by naturally integrating relevant keywords into well-written descriptions focused on helping the shopper.

4. Q: How many images should I include for each product?

A: Use 2-5 quality images showing different angles, uses, details, etc. Images are critical, but avoid slowing page load times with too many unoptimized photos.

5. Q: Should I include the product specs and technical details?

A: Yes, share key specs like size, materials, and care instructions to address common customer questions. Just present details in a readable, scannable format.

6. Q: How often should I update my product descriptions?

A: Review and refresh descriptions every 3-6 months. Update pricing, stock levels, specs, and copy to keep things accurate. Significant changes may require more frequent updates.

7. Q: What should I do if my product description isn’t converting?

A: Review your keywords, headlines, imagery, details, length, and calls to action. Test different formats. Most importantly, emphasize benefits and speak directly to your target customer’s needs.

8. Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing descriptions?

A: Don’t use generic, overly sales-y language. Avoid giant blocks of dense text. Steer clear of exaggerations or misleading claims. Watch for errors and outdated information. Keep the focus on helping the shopper.

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