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When you’re visiting an online retailer for the first time, what’s the first thing you notice about the site? Sure, there might be attractive photos of the products for sale, and a list of prices. But what’s likely to grab your attention is the copy the site uses. Ecommerce copy works to inform shoppers about what they’re about to buy. Ecommerce copywriting is any type of text or copy an online store uses to inform customers. It includes product descriptions, but also so much more. Your store’s “About” page, the text you use to notify customers about the status of their orders, and any copy you use to market or promote your online shop all fall under the umbrella of ecommerce copywriting.

Why Care About Ecommerce Copywriting?

There are many reasons why you should care about the quality of ecommerce copywriting on your website. And, there are many reasons to focus on having the best, most engaging copy possible. The benefits of copy include:

It defines who you are.

You can use ecommerce copy to introduce your brand to the world. Defining who you are through copy goes beyond having a few paragraphs to describe your company’s story. Ecommerce copywriting means using tone and word choice to create a personality for your brand and products.

It can boost sales.

Ecommerce copywriting often has a direct impact on sales and conversion rates. According to Moz, brands such as Encyclopedia Britannica and FreckleTime enjoyed dramatic increases in conversion rates after they focused on improving the copy on their sites.

It helps you identify your customers/audience.

Who are you trying to sell to? It’s important that your copy appeal to that customer base. Your copy should take a tone that appeals to a particular persona (should you be serious, funny, sarcastic?), and should seek to solve a problem that’s unique to that persona.

It informs your customers.

When a customer visits your site, they should leave the site having more information than when they arrived. The best way to deliver that information to your customers is through copy. You need copy to accurately describe your products, to give the customer insight into your company’s history and why you exist, and to let them know the logistics of placing an order with you (how much shipping costs, when orders ship, what they should do if they want to return their items, etc.).

It improves your site’s SEO.

If you want your website or web pages to rank well in the search engine results, you need search-engine-optimized ecommerce copy. Remember that search engines need text to properly sort and rank your site. The better your copy, the better your SEO.

Your Guide to Getting Started With Ecommerce Copywriting

Getting started with ecommerce copywriting involves a bit more than sitting down and writing. Here’s what you need to do to get things off to a good start:

Define your audience.

Defining your audience/customers means knowing who they are from a demographic point of view, but it also means knowing what they are doing when they visit your shop. For example, cart abandonment has become a popular thing with some customers. Think about the reasons why a person might fill up a cart only to click away before finalizing the purchase. Then use that information to create copy that compels that person to buy rather than flee.

Appeal to the audience’s emotions.

When writing copy, pay attention to and use “trigger” or influential words to get people to take action. Back in the 1960s, David Ogilvy, aka the “father of advertising,” came up with a list of influential words to use in ad copy. Those words (which include “now,” “suddenly,” and “hurry”) are still used in copywriting today — because they work!

Create a story.

Come up with a compelling story about your brand, and have elements of that story woven through all of the copy on your website. For example, if you’re a clothing company that specializes in sustainable, ethical fashion, than that information should in your About page, as well as in your product descriptions (for example, you can highlight that a t-shirt is made from organic or recycled fabric, or that a portion of proceeds from the sales of your clothing go towards initiatives to encourage companies to pay a living wage to workers).

Edit and proofread.

Your ecommerce copy needs to be super easy to read, and easier to understand. You’ll want to edit and proofread it for clarity, and to make sure you don’t have any obvious mistakes such as typos or awkward grammar.

Mistakes to Avoid With Ecommerce Copywriting

Once you do jump into ecommerce copywriting, you’re likely to find that it’s a minefield full of potential errors and mistakes that can end up losing customers or pushing people away from your products, instead of towards them. Here are a few common mistakes with copywriting, and what you can do to avoid making them:

Focusing on empty words.

Don’t confuse Ogilvy’s influential words with meaningless words. For example, “high-quality” tells people nothing. The same is true of “innovative.” If you want to show people how great your products are, or how they are changing the field, you need to use more descriptive language.

Providing meaningless information.

Don’t bore your customers. If you’re going to list every key feature of a product, make sure you explain why those features matter (for example, a shirt made of organic cotton is less-polluting and safer for workers than a shirt made from conventional fabric).

Sticking to the facts.

Facts and details are important, but you also need to create copy that tells a story. Don’t just list things about your company and products — make people care.

Letting typos slip through.

Ecommerce copy helps to establish trust with your customers. You know what makes people skeptical about a brand? If the language isn’t quite right, or if there are a lot of mistakes and errors in the spelling and punctuation. Look, no one’s going to criticize you if you let a comma splice through — but if your copy looks like gibberish, people are going to wonder if your business is legit.

Need Help? Here’s Where to Look

The good news about ecommerce copywriting is that it’s not something your brand needs to figure out on its own. Whether you’re having trouble getting started, or need help developing your story, doing customer research, or putting together an SEO strategy for your copy, there are content marketing platforms that can help you out.

Even better, many content marketing platforms and marketplaces are cost-effective, meaning they are more affordable than hiring an in-house team to take care of your copywriting needs. When you work with a platform or marketplace, you get access to a team of experienced content creators and strategists who can produce content and copy that helps your ecommerce brand meet its goals.