Ecommerce hasn’t yet fully unseated brick-and-mortar stores when it comes to shopping. But the vast majority of Americans are doing at least some of their shopping online. According to a 2016 survey from Pew Research, 79 percent US consumers make online purchases. Around 15 percent of people shop online each week. How do you make sure those people find your products? With ecommerce product descriptions, that’s how!
Online shopping has a lot of benefits. There’s no need to leave the house. Products come right to a person’s door. There’s more selection and inventory. But, ecommerce also has its drawbacks. One big concern is shoppers don’t get to feel or see items in person before they buy.
That’s why it’s so important for an ecommerce retailer to have thorough, detailed product descriptions for each item it sells.
What’s the Deal With Ecommerce Product Descriptions?
A picture of your product might be worth 1,000 words. But it often doesn’t give the customer enough detail to make an informed purchasing decision.
Filling in the details and convincing a customer to make a purchase is the role of an ecommerce product description. A photo may show what an item looks like. But a product description gives a person an idea of how it will work in their lives. Ecommerce product descriptions work to illustrate how big the product is, how it works, and much more.
Best Practices When Writing Ecommerce Product Descriptions
Creating an ecommerce product description is part art and part science. You’re creating an experience for the online consumer, one that they wouldn’t get in a brick-and-mortar store.
You’re not just describing the item — you’re trying to make a sale. It’s up to your product descriptions to sell whatever it is you’ve got to offer. That might sound like a tall order, but if you follow a few ecommerce product description best practices, it’s not as complicated or difficult as it might sound.
Define your audience.
Do you have buyer personas that you use for content marketing or other types of marketing? Break them out when creating product descriptions. Just as it’s important to understand your audience’s wants and needs when you’re creating other types of content, it’s also important to know what they want and need when you’re writing a description. Using a buyer persona will also help you tailor the description of the product to its intended audience or user, instead of trying to be all things to all potential customers.
This description of a baby’s sleepsuit from Boden is a great example of a product description that knows who it’s addressing — new parents.
Fully describe the product.
Taking the time to actually describe the product will help to eliminate any questions a person might have about it. It will also assure them that the item on offer is something they really want to buy.
Anthropologie’s description of a poolside daybed is an excellent example of a product description that goes above and beyond when it comes to detail. It lets you know how big the daybed is, where you can use it, what it’s made out of, how to clean and care for it, and so on.
But only include relevant, important details.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in making a product sound appealing, and to start using words and phrases that can best be described as “empty.” You know your product is high quality, but you don’t need to tell the customer that. Instead, find ways to explain why the product is high quality. Is it made by hand? Does it have reinforced seams?
After writing a product description, read it over. If at any point you find yourself asking “how?” go back into the description and add more details.
Tell a story.
Product descriptions need to sell. One way to sell is to tell a story. Take a look at that description from Anthropologie again. It’s not just telling you about the product — it’s telling you a story about the product.
“Inspired by decorative balconies and classic seating shapes, the powder-coated wire-frame construction makes this perch the ideal spot for pre-dinner drinks.” Sounds good, right? Additionally, the daybed “runs wild with architectural ornamentation” and is inspired by the Amalfi Coast. You get the sense that if you buy that piece of furniture, you’ll be transported to a prettier, more relaxing landscape.
Part of selling is convincing people to take action. While you don’t necessarily want to be so blatant as to command your shoppers to “buy now,” you can use certain words and phrases to direct them to take action.
Here’s an example from retailer J.Crew. Their five-inch chino shorts for women are a regular offering from the brand, available in a range of colors. Plenty of people who shop J.Crew regularly probably have at least one or two pairs of these shorts in their closets. So how can the retailer get people to buy more?
They can do so by including sentences like “Closet newsflash: Our classic chino shorts just got better.” The company is suggesting that it has improved on a classic, making the shorts worth purchasing again. Additionally, it goes on to give the shopper a subtle command: “So go ahead, take all your vacation/spring/summer outfits to the next level.”
Another best practice that you don’t want to ignore when it comes to ecommerce product descriptions is SEO. Along with writing descriptions that appeal to your customers, you also want to write descriptions that will rank high on the search engine results page. To do that, it’s important to pay attention to the keywords you use, and to make sure there are tags on the images used in the description so that search engines are able to read and recognize them when crawling your site.
When you create ecommerce product descriptions, you’re providing a service to your customers by helping them determine whether the item you’re selling is the item that’s right for them.
You’re also helping your brand out by making sure that the customer ends up with the right product the first time, thereby cutting down on the need for pricey returns and exchanges.