Everyone can remember at least one occasion when a friend said something along the lines: “Oh, this jacket? It’s new, I just got it. It’s waterproof so it was really handy on our last camping trip. Check out all these pockets! I can put a lighter, a pocket knife or my phone, so I can go hands-free and don’t have to worry about losing anything.” You asked about the brand and thought about buying a jacket just like that one yourself. Sounds familiar? This happens all the time. We hear an interesting product description and start visualizing how we would fit into the story. That’s what great product descriptions do. They hit all the right spots in our mind and get us to actively think about buying, even when the product never crossed our mind before or when we don’t have a real problem on our hands.
Crafting product descriptions that convert is almost an art form in ecommerce. You want to be informative but not boring, witty but also on-brand, descriptive but also concise. How do you achieve this? Here are a few fresh ideas to help you out.
Product Descriptions Matter
Before we dive in, let’s have a quick recap. Why should you invest your precious time on something so trivial? Because product descriptions can make or break a sale.
First of all, when people search for a product online, they often start by describing a problem or a vision they have in mind. The right phrasing will lead them to a search result that takes them straight to your site. Bingo. You just went from being completely invisible to your potential customer to becoming a possible seller, all thanks to a smartly crafted product description.
Secondly, once people find themselves on your product detail page, they’re pretty much already deep in the conversion funnel and have high intent to buy. The right product description can get them to take action and click “add-to-cart”. If it’s not convincing, they’ll drift away to browse for more interesting alternatives elsewhere.
Here’s what a well-crafted product description can help you achieve:
- Better visibility. Your pages are more competitive to get higher search ranking and hence get higher chances of showing up in people’s search results.
- Convert visitors. A good description is informative, inspiring, and assuring. It brings visitor one step closer to placing an order.
- Greater confidence in purchases. Product descriptions set the level of expectations customers will have about your product. The more convincing the description is, the more confident the shoppers will feel about buying.
- Reduced return rate. When people are informed exactly what to expect from a product, they’re less likely to be surprised by its fit and performance. Hence, they’re less likely to send it back.
Now let’s look into a few ways you can turn your product descriptions into a marketing tool.
1. Get Inspiration from UGC
Unless you’re selling flying cars or a cloak of invisibility, chances are, there are many alternatives to your products already out there on the market. That’s great news because this means that there’s plenty of user-generated content out there which you can peruse as inspiration for creating better descriptions for your own products.
When customers share their product reviews, images or videos on social media, they highlight what they like and dislike about products. They voice the pain points a product helps them solve. They also share surprising new uses a product might hide. That’s a goldmine of content, which can help you learn how to position your own product so that it resonates with customers.
Browse websites of your competitors, as well as social media to see what people say about similar products on the market. Read product reviews and stories customers share. Browse photos on Instagram and YouTube videos to see how people wear, style and use products to get more ideas what you could include in your product descriptions. Make notes of what customers highlight as important and interesting for them, and use this to build your own pitch.
Don’t forget to also include the content customers share about your own products on social media on your product detail pages as well. This UGC complements your descriptions and adds depth to your content. It helps show product in context, which sparks visitor imagination and gets them to think about placing an order.
2. Master The Words
Now that you’re inspired, on to the writing. Your number one priority is to make product descriptions SEO friendly. That doesn’t mean stuffing them with keywords you want to rank for but focusing on the language and terms a typical customer would use when searching for a product like yours online.
If you’re selling products produced by other brands and companies, use manufacturer descriptions as a guide rather than a ready-made solution. Don’t just copy-paste them on your site. You risk having the same content as other sellers offering the same products on their sites, which might hinder your SEO efforts. Aim to create your own original and unique descriptions. The descriptions provided by your suppliers might focus too much on the technical specs. An average user might not immediately understand them and won’t see them as the benefits. Rephrase these specs into attributes that people can relate to more closely. Use tags that make sense to your users.
It’s a good practice to establish your own go-to formula for the structure of your product descriptions. This helps speed up the process of crafting new content and establishes consistency for your brand. When in doubt, stick to the tried-and-tested journalist hack of covering who, what, where, when, how, and why questions in order to cover all key points succinctly.
Go for simple, easy to understand descriptions rather than elaborate text that might cause confusion. Avoid jargon, because it might alienate less savvy customers. Go for short sentences. Make smart use of adverbs that prompt action. Use adjectives that provoke emotions (e.g. favorite, perfect, desired, irresistible etc) and awaken the senses (e.g. crunchy, crisp, mouth-watering, smooth etc). List attributes and benefits into bullet points to make skim-reading easier. Whenever possible, try to share a short story (one-two sentences is enough) that will set the shopper in the mood.
Finally, reading makes better writers. Read product descriptions on the sites you particularly like for ideas on the phrasing, style, and format you can apply on your site.
3. Highlight What’s Special
No two products are exactly the same. Even the most subtle variations in materials, design, dimensions, and ingredients can be used to create unique product descriptions for each item. This will help you avoid having duplicate content on your site. It will also help visitors see the distinction between similar products and pick the alternative that best suits their needs.
If your product is sold exclusively online or you’re the sole seller of that brand, make this known. If a product is manufactured out of rare or precious materials, highlight this. Add a brief explanation why this makes it special. Details add to credibility, so the more you accentuate why your products are different from anything else sold online, the easier it will be to convert visitors on your site. If your products go through a special production process that perfects its quality, mention this as well. Words like “organic”, “handmade”, “conscious”, “one of a kind” resonate well with consumers who look for a little extra from their purchases.
If your product has versatile uses, include some of the examples in your product descriptions. Really paint the picture so that shoppers don’t have to wonder if it’s worth spending their money. If the items you’re selling are on-trend, describe them as “must-have” for the season and why that particular style is all the rage.
4. Use Non-Boring Images
Anyone can take a product photo in a white box. It’s a safe bet and pretty much a standard in many product verticals. It makes it look like the product is floating in an infinite neutral space, so the product becomes the focal point of the image. It looks clean and professional. But its nondescript style can also be perceived as unimaginative and bland.
That’s why experienced brands and retailers invest in enriching their product photography with editorial-like shots that show a product in context. Selling a pair of rubber boots? Feature a photo of the boots happily stepping through the puddles on a rainy day. Is your product a state-of-the-art home sound system? Take a picture of how it seamlessly blends with the decor of an artsy living room. You get the point.
Styling gives depth to your visual storytelling. Remember, you’re not just selling another pair of colorful socks or a red lipstick. You’re selling a lifestyle that goes with owning such a product, so use interesting images to depict the possibilities it unravels. Visual commerce philosophy plays a big part in how we market the products to our site visitors, so make sure you have stunning visuals to complement your witty and smart product descriptions.
Check out social media like Instagram for images that your customers share about your products and try to incorporate them in your product detail pages. This will make your visual storytelling job easier, as you’ll have plenty of visual content to complement your descriptions and add juice to your pages.
Finally, don’t forget that your images are also a part of the SEO equation. Make sure you’re using targeted keywords and phrases in your image file names, descriptions, and alt tags, so as to make the visual content searchable and in tune with the rest of the SEO efforts of your product detail pages.
5. Add Videos To Your Product Descriptions
You’ve done a wonderful job describing product design, attributes, ingredients, and uses, but it still seems like there’s a lot more left unsaid? Perhaps you’re not sure if customers will understand your explanation of the product’s patented feature? Maybe you’re afraid your product details are running too long and risk overwhelming potential customers? Whatever the reason, you feel like if you could just show a product and how it works, you’d win customers much faster. In that case, videos are your best friend.
4x as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read product descriptions. Videos help showcase top features and product uses. They help tackle any misunderstandings and uncertainties shoppers might have. Videos also inspire, especially if you decide to use how-to and tutorial videos that show the versatility of your items. They are easy to digest, memorable, and very efficient at getting the key points across so that your visitors can decide with certainty if the product is right for them. They also encourage visitors to engage with your content more and are very effective at driving shoppers to convert and buy.
Videos are an excellent complementary content to your product descriptions. Here are a few tips how you can get started with videos on any budget, resource and skills level:
- How to get started with product videos, including 55+ examples from leading brands and online retailers;
- How to find great videos online, when you don’t have the time or resources to create your own;
- How to approach user-generated videos to enrich your content;
- Practical tips on where to place videos on your product detail pages, how long your videos should be, which types of videos to choose etc.
Introducing videos to your site might seem like a big endeavor, but the benefits outweigh the effort by far. Don’t hesitate to look into them as a viable strategy to boost sales on your site.
Coming up with effective product descriptions is not a rocket science, but it is a pretty serious endeavor. It can make a difference between another visitor bouncing off your site and the one who actually places an order. Be honest with your customers and highlight what’s best about your products to help them make a decision to buy. Practice makes perfect, so the more you work on your product descriptions, the better they’ll become and the faster the process will go. Enrich your descriptions with visual like video and UGC whenever possible, because this will make the content stick in the memory of people who come to your site. Whenever possible, test your text, visuals, buttons, calls-to-action, positioning, and overall product page layout to discover the winning combination that shoppers respond to the most.