Product descriptions are the sales copy on your product pages. They’re the blurbs that explain your product, help the shopper see themselves using the item and ultimately help convert the window shopper into a buyer.
In short, product descriptions are powerful. But many ecommerce retailers ignore this tool or don’t put enough thought into how to wield it. Read on to discover common mistakes you could be making with Shopify and other ecommerce product descriptions, and then get nine powerful tips on how to write product descriptions that sell.
9 Tips on How to Write Product Descriptions That Convert
You don’t have to write crazy amounts of content for every product. Effective product descriptions can run from 25 or 50 words to a couple hundred words or more. It depends on how complex the product is and what types of questions your shoppers might have about it.
But whether you’re giving a succinct overview of a cell phone case or writing a few paragraphs about an electronic device, you can follow the nine tips below to create more powerful marketing copy that helps drive higher conversion rates and increase sales.
1. Know Who Your Buyer Is
Great product descriptions start with understanding your target audience. That’s because your PD should speak directly to your audience about the product. What problem do your customers have that this product would solve? Why does this audience specifically want the product?
These answers aren’t the same for every audience, so if you can align these the answers with your buyer personas and hone in your tone of voice, you’ll be able to create stronger marketing copy.
2. Create Product Descriptions With SEO in Mind
You’re also writing PDs for the search engines, so keep SEO in mind when creating them. Here are some important steps to take:
- Do some keyword research. Find out how people are finding similar products online and include some of those key phrases in your product copy.
- Include top keywords in key locations. The product title on the page, the first sentence or two of the PD, any subheading, alt image text and meta descriptions are all places to put keywords.
- Use natural language. Use natural language your customers would use when discussing the products. When you do so while including comprehensive information about your products, it makes your copy stronger and helps ensure search engines deem your page highly relevant.
Don’t keyword stuff, though. That occurs when you cram too many keywords into the copy and your PD no longer reads easily or authentically. For example, if your PD is only 50 words long, you may only want to include one or two keywords. If the product description is 300 words, you might include a primary key phrase two times and a couple of secondary keywords once.
3. Focus on Product Benefits
Yes, you should cover important features of your product in the PD. But don’t just describe what you’re selling. Use feature/benefit marketing copy to help shoppers understand why those features are important or valuable.
Feature/benefit copy pairs every product feature with at least one benefit. It makes for more interesting and dynamic product copy. Here are two product description examples so you can see the difference between description-only copy and feature/benefit copy:
- Description only: The chair is wooden and has four legs. It has a green cushion seat and back with nailhead trim. The arms are low.
- Feature/benefit: Invite visitors to sit for a spell in this dining chair. The bright green cushioned seat and back support comfort during long dinners and coffee conversations, and the low arms make it easy to slide the chair under the table. Solid wood construction ensures long-term use, and nailhead trim adds a sophisticated touch for upscale dining rooms.
The second product description is more likely to grab reader attention and persuade the shopper that this is a chair they need.
4. Integrate Use Cases to Spark Buyer Imagination
Another way to capture shopper attention is to write use cases into PDs. How you do this depends on your audience, but it can be a creative way to spark their imaginations and help them see themselves using your product.
For example, a product description for a cell phone tripod with a remote might include a use case such as, “Capture the moment and include the entire family by snapping a picture with the handy remote.”
Use cases double as a way to show off benefits. In this case, the use example demonstrates one of the benefits of the cell phone camera remote—that you can take pictures even when your phone is out of reach.
5. Anticipate Questions and Give Specifics
Think about what your current and potential customers might want to know about products and include the answers in your PDs. When the answers are readily available on the page, that reduces the barriers someone might have to making a purchase. It can also make your shop seem more professional and trustworthy, which can increase the chances of a conversion.
You always need to answer questions such as what solutions the product offers or what benefits it will bring people in your PD copy. But you should also make specific product details clear, including size, color, materials, dimensions and what accessories someone might need to make the product work.
Some of these answers can be provided with a simple spec list after your PD copy. Just ensure the information is easy to find and understand.
6. Ensure Copy Is Scannable
In fact, make sure your entire PD is easy to read and scan. Sure, you’re spending some quality time crafting this content, but you can’t assume every consumer is going to spend the same quality time with your words. Some people know exactly what they want, so they’re going to scan your page quickly to see if this is it.
Here are some tips for writing scannable PD content:
- Keep it short wherever possible. No one has time to read a novel or manual. Yes, some products need more words than others, but use only the words you need to get the job done.
- Use short paragraphs. Write paragraphs of a few lines or sentences. This helps make the content scannable on all devices and reduces the chance that mobile users see a wall of text on their screen.
- Break it up with bullet points. If you’re listing specs, options or other short bits of information, make use of bulleted lists.
- Include images, video and other media. Break up text with visual elements including product photos, images and videos that show how to use the product or even graphics with product review quotes for social proof.
7. Don’t Use Throw-Away, Bland or Cliched Phrasing
Every word should count, so avoid phrases and words that don’t add value. If your product description is starting to sound like a late-night infomercial, you may be using cliched phrasing that’s not saying much. Here are just some examples:
- Top-notch, excellent, extraordinary product. What’s excellent about it specifically? Don’t use superlatives such as “best” or “top” to describe things. Instead, spend time showing your shopper exactly what about the product they can’t live without.
- Ease of use/For your convenience. These don’t really say that much, and if you did your job with the other copy, then the reader already knows the product offers these benefits.
- Unique, must-have, high-quality and other overused descriptors. Break out the thesaurus and your creativity to come up with better phrases that are specific to your products and audience.
8. Write Descriptions That Work Alongside Media
Everything on your product page should work together. Don’t think of your descriptions as separate from any product images, spec lists or videos. Instead, ensure they all come together in the white space to provide a visually-pleasing, informative experience for the shopper.
For example, if you’re selling a red shirt, the picture is going to demonstrate which type of red it is. You still want to include some color language in the copy for SEO-purposes—”This cherry-red button-up shirt…”—but you don’t need two or three sentences using a metaphor to describe exactly the shade of red. That’s apparent in the image.
Another example is not repeating every single aspect from a spec sheet in the copy. People who are interested in information like the exact thickness of the table top or all the fabrics making up a bag can check the spec list. Save your PD copy for the most relevant information and features and what benefits they offer.
9. Make It Clear How to Take the Next Step
Finally, write or structure product description pages in a way that make it easy and obvious what the shopper should do next. That might be as simple as including a buy button in a strategic location, but consider other actions you might offer on your page:
- Links to similar products or product recommendations. You might link to accessories that go with the product on page to add to the sale. You could also link to similar products or different product upgrades, increasing the likelihood of a sale even if the product on page isn’t exactly what the person was looking for.
- Links to your other content. For those who aren’t quite ready to buy, consider providing links to helpful content such as relevant blog posts or buying guides. This keeps the consumer engaging with your ecommerce site and helps build authority and trust, so the consumer is more likely to buy from you when they are ready to make a purchase decision.
- Links to offers. Include banners or other links for offers that might help drive a purchase.
Ultimately, the perfect product page is different for every online store. Start with these tips and experiment with your product descriptions to see what works best for your customers.
Common Ecommerce Product Description Mistakes
You can stumble into some bad advice on product descriptions pretty easily online. And sometimes, what seems like a great idea for efficiency can have a negative impact on SEO and sales. Here are a few common mistakes you might be making with Shopify or ecommerce product descriptions.
- Not having any PDs at all. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but it doesn’t give buyers everything they need to make purchasing decisions. People need a bit of text to help fill in the blanks. Plus, you need text content to support better search engine optimization so people find your products to begin with.
- Copying in manufacturer product descriptions. Manufacturers already have descriptions. So why not use theirs—especially since many provide copy specifically for vendors to use as they need? Because everyone else may be doing the same thing, which diminishes the SEO value of your page. Plus, the manufacturer isn’t writing product descriptions with your customer in mind, which can make the content less likely to convert.
- Using boilerplated content across your pages. If you sell seven widgets and the only difference is color, why not slap the same PD on each page and simply swap out the color? Because that reduces SEO value for the content and can also become repetitive and boring for your customers.