In the bigger picture, your product description is where you tell the story that your photos can’t. Today, we look at crafting those words that will get you sales.
I bet that many of your product descriptions are terrible.
Or at least not as good as they could be.
You may have overlooked it as you probably invest more time in technical things, like marketing and ecommerce conversion rate optimisation.
In the bigger picture though, product descriptions fill in the missing gaps that your product photography leaves. Because…
A well-written ecommerce product description explains what your product photography can’t.
It tells a story, echoing your brand’s image but is also informative and educating. Sometimes even entertaining!
To get your product descriptions to such a high standard, you’ll need to put in some work.
If you have experience writing content in any way, great.
If not, you’ll be a pro after reading this article!
By the end of this article, you’ll know:
- How to write a product description
- The best kind of product description for your product
- The best product description examples for various products
But before you start reading, let’s make sure you fully understand what a product description is.
What is a product description?
A product description is content used to describe your product.
Even the most basic product description should highlight the features and outlines the benefits of the product.
A good product description provides a compelling reason and emotive story, convincing your customer that they need this product in their life.
It answers any questions your buyer may have, and ones they may not know they have.
A product description is more than just words.
It’s a series of elements that come together to display your product to your ideal customer.
A product description can consist of:
- User-Generated Content
- User Reviews
A product description is anything that gives your customer a bigger idea what the product is, what it does and how it can solve their problem.
So let’s take a look.
What does a good product description look like?
Product descriptions work hand-in-hand with quality product photography. One fills the gap that the other one leaves.
A quality product photo will show the shape, size, pattern and colour of your towels.
But only the description can say:
‘Made from Egyptian cotton of the central grazing lands, these towels have a softness that rivals your favourite childhood blanket’.
Take a look at this real-life example from ThinkGeek, an online retailer selling sci-fi and pop-culture related products.
Their creative product descriptions are so good, that they’ve become a part of the product itself.
They are product descriptions that sell.
With just one read, it’s simple to see why ThinkGeek are so well known for the product descriptions.
How to write a product description
So now you know how a compelling product description looks, let’s take a look at how to make one.
Product description generators and copy-pasted templates aren’t perfect.
You can easily go and download an online template or use a product description generator, but that may do you more harm than good.
A good product description is unique, different and tailored for every product.
Most of your customers will be risk-averse (reluctant to take risks). Therefore, your writing needs to remove that element of risk.
No copy/paste product description template can provide you with that.
But don’t worry. You don’t have to pull your compelling description out of your…head.
There is a reliable formula that can be used if you’re unsure how to write a good product description.
This formula can be used to create your own product description template you can repeat through your inventory and every product detail page.
Be careful, because this is not a concrete rule for all products. Some products may convert better with a mix of both long and short descriptions.
- Short, concise product descriptions: satisfy scanners, customers that want necessary information, straight away.
- Long, detailed product descriptions: help buyers that need more convincing and want added value.
Some products may not need anything other than a handful of dot points.
Each product is different, as you’ll now see:
Optimum Nutrition provides a minimum amount of information on their most popular product.
Because they know their customer.
In-depth knowledge of your different types of customers (often called a buyer persona) is crucial when it comes to writing a good product description.
Now you’re going to see how to create that persona.
Know your buyer persona to create a great product description.
As you’re probably aware, a buyer persona is a representation of your customer, based on data and market research of your current customers.
Optimum Nutrition (from the example above) are able to provide so little information because they know that their buyer persona only cares about a few things.
By having a clear definition of your buyer persona, you will be able to communicate your product in the best way.
In this following example, you’ll see how Lamps & Co. have created a product description tailored to their buyer persona – a new mother.
Lamps and Co. know that comfort is a high priority for a new mum. The first sentence addresses these pain points by using words like soft cotton and delicate.
Health is also important, so the description then explains the anti-allergy materials and gentle materials.
Mothers also care about versatility, so you are told that it can be used in a variety of ways.
This good product description example is clearly tailored to the brand’s ideal customer. By using relevant vocabulary, you increase the chances of your visitor committing to a purchase.
Finding the best vocabulary for your product description
Another benefit of knowing your buyer persona is that you know the vocabulary that they use to communicate.
As you just saw, good product descriptions tailor the vocabulary the to the buyer.
Consider someone selling jewellery to upper-class women and someone else selling work boots to tradesmen.
A product description for jewelry will not use the same vocabulary as one selling work boots.
For the upper-class ladies, you may use words like:
But for the workboots, more appropriate words are:
When finding certain words that resonate with your target audience, look at your branding and image.
Is your brand completely business and professional?
Are you aimed at young adults that are ok with the occasional swear word or pop-culture reference?
In the example below, you can see how Epic Giftables have used a tone of voice and vocabulary that they also use on social media.
They’ve made a good product description for something as simple as this hand-grenade stress ball.
The same item on Amazon has a product description of fewer than 20 words!
Product descriptions are a great place to echo your image. What words do you regularly use in emails, social media and other PR or marketing materials?
Echo this vocabulary and ‘attitude’ in your product descriptions to present a more cohesive and consistent brand image.
Noticed that the best product descriptions have images?
Your product description doesn’t have to consist of just text. To describe a complex feature, it may be easier to just use a simple logo that represents a feature.
In this example, you can see how Dyson Vacuum Cleaners use images.
Rather than only text in the product description, images are used to quickly remind buyers about the other benefits of their purchase.
Your customers will remember a picture that educates more than they will remember texts that describe.
This means that customer who is just scanning and not reading can quickly gather all relevant information
What is a feature-benefit selling and how to apply it to your product description.
Any good copywriter will tell you that the key to good writing is to talk about benefits, not features.
Why not both? Why limit yourself to just the benefits or features?
If your ideal customer is creative, he will be able to see how the features benefit him.
For your customers that need more convincing, selling the benefits is the better option.
In the next example, you’ll see a product description of a camping stove. The company, MSR, have listed both the features (underlined in green) and the benefits (underlined in red)
TIP: When thinking of the benefits of a certain feature, ask yourself ‘what does this feature let me do’ or ‘how does this feature make my life better?
Product description SEO isn’t just about cramming keywords.
Ecommerce sellers are getting crazy for SEO nowadays. You too may be guilty of googling ‘SEO for Ecommerce’ from time to time!
Being aware and educated about SEO is great. But it’s easy to go too far in your pursuit to please Google, rather than your customer.
Yes, it’s true that a good product description should have solid keyword research, but keywords should not be stuffed into a description.
If anything, this makes Google dislike and distrust your page.
A gentle sprinkle of keywords through your description is enough to make Google like your page and put it more toward the front page.
“Ok” you might say, but what does a ‘gentle sprinkle of keywords’ look like? You’re about to see…
How do you do SEO keyword research for your product description?
SEO product descriptions are more than just stuffing keywords in where you can. Proper planning and SEO keyword research is essential.
There are several useful tools to make a professional keyword research for your products. You might use free tools like Google Keyword Planner or paid ones like Unamo or Ahrefs.
In the following picture, you will see how the tool Ahrefs shows similar terms for the keyword ‘lightweight tent’:
These other suggestions are ideal for you to include in your product description, H2 headings and product page URLs.
It will make it easier for Google to understand that you’re selling a ‘lightweight tent’.
TIP: Get your spelling 100% correct. 14,000 people search for ‘lightweight tent’ every month, but 300 people search for ‘light weight tent’.
SEO goes beyond just the description, though. It’s important that SEO keywords are mentioned in the ALT tags of your images.
Google ‘crawlers’ cannot see pictures, so they look at the ALT tag to see what your picture is about.
If you’re just starting with SEO, all this may be a little overwhelming. But don’t worry. Our free ebook will teach you the very basics of establishing an SEO strategy for your ecommerce store.
If you’re just starting with SEO, all this may be a little overwhelming. But don’t worry, our free ebook will teach you the very basics of establishing an SEO strategy for your ecommerce store.
Download ‘SEO Essentials for Ecommerce’ now!
What does a description that tells a story look like?
Many sellers believe product descriptions must be short and to the point, and let the photos do the selling.
But the truth is, photos can only convey so much value before words need to take over and create a story.
To generate unique product descriptions, use storytelling to build a history and lifestyle around your product.
Storytelling adds value and emotion to a product, something that photos can’t do!
TIP: If your product was created to solve a specific problem, tell the story of its invention in your description.
Does an expanded vocabulary help you write better product descriptions?
When you first start typing your description, you may automatically go one of two ways:
- You start using certain words that you use in your day to day life
- You over-hype the product and sound too ‘salesey’
But stop for a minute and think.
Is your product really revolutionary? Surely you can find a word that’s better than ‘great’.
There are much better words to use, words that will resonate with your customer more.
Better formatting = more sales.
Don’t turn your product description into a short novel. Be descriptive and emotive, but keep it scannable.
In school, we learnt that a paragraph usually consists of 3-4 sentences. That does not have to be the case with a product description.
Ask yourself this: If you had a little bit of interest in a product, would you read the equivalent of a short story just to find out about it?
Err, no. Nor would your customer.
There is nothing wrong with making each sentence a new paragraph.
Just like this blog.
Doing this means that your story is broken up into small chunks and is easily digestible for your customer.
Yes, it may look longer, but to your customer’s eyes, there is less to read.
Before too long, they’ve read a few hundred words and they’re more emotionally invested and ready to buy your product.
Getting technical builds trust
Don’t be afraid to get technical and specific with your descriptions. If your product is of a technical nature, show off your expertise by listing tech specs.
By providing all the technical info about your product, you may answer your customer’s question before he even knew he had one.
Take a look at the following example:
Here we can see how boutique guitar company, Mayones, mentions technical data to educate, inform and build trust.
This can work for you, even if you’re not selling handcrafted guitars. If you mention the technical specifications of your product, you’re putting everything on display.
What are the benefits of technical product description?
- You build a picture of yourself as an expert and your visitors are more likely to buy from you
- You exceed the customers’ expectations and you create a very best buying experience
- You give your customers all information on a plate, so you are saving your time on responding to customer enquiries by email/chat/phone
Make your product reviews do the work for you
If your buyers can leave reviews of their purchases, there’s every chance that your product description has already been written for you.
Earlier, you read how it’s important to use language that your ideal customer uses – so, why not use what they’ve written?
Take a look at the following review for a hiking jacket.
What can you take from this review to help you write your product description? (Clue, it’s all underlined in red).
- Suitable for the toughest conditions (Himalayas)
- Wind and waterproof in the most trying conditions
- Allows you to focus on the experiences, rather than the effort
- Impressive range of motion
If your product has reviews, half your work is already done!
Review your product description over and over.
When you think you’ve finished writing your product description, you haven’t!
It’s time to review it. Take this time to see how it makes sense, but also see how it feels.
Since you’ve been working on each description, it may be hard for you to see if it makes sense. Show it to some friends, ask them if they know what the product is and what it does just by the description.
Ask your friends if they’d actually buy it, based on your description.
Tip: Put your product description into google translate. Translate from English to English and listen to the description being read back to you. This is a great indicator of how your product description ‘flows’.
The best product description generator is in your head.
If you’re still not convinced that you can write a good product description, you still have options.
Finding a great product description writer is simple.
You can find great freelance writers that can write professional and convincing ecommerce product description on websites Freelancer, Upwork and Fiverr.
If you choose to use these services, be aware that ‘you get what you pay for’. No quality writer is willing to write a dozen product descriptions for $10.
Check a writer’s work history, but don’t necessarily ask for a product description sample – would you work for free?
If you’d rather not hunt and find a freelancer, try using the services of a professional copywriting company like Joseph & Conrad.
If you can’t invest your own time in writing product descriptions, you will need to invest some money.
Ecommerce product description examples
Now you know just about everything there is to know about writing a product description that sells.
It’s time you’re going to see a handful of product description examples. Not all of them are good, but they’re shown here for a reason!
1. Bad product description example
Here we can see a great example of a bad product description – there isn’t one. In this case, would your customer commit to the purchase if he was unsure he wanted it?
What can you learn from this? Well, something is better than nothing!
2. Great product description example
This is a fine example of a great product description. It starts with some creative writing, a list of technical specs as well as a list of features. Everything that needs to be said has been said!
What can you learn from this? If you’re not too sure what to do, keep it simple. Don’t get too fancy. Use bullet points to list product features.
3. Creative product description example:
In this example, you can see a creative product description. How does it differ from a traditional product description?
- There is a mention of one of the ingredients, and then you’re told why that’s a good ingredient (Feature & Benefit)
- There is a fantastic use of vocabulary, the writer knows the audience
- There is a tab for specs and ingredients
What can you learn from this? A few fancy words and some clever writing (and humour) can bring an otherwise dull product to life!
4. Niche product description sample
Here we can see a product description that works well for a niche product – maternity dresses. The reader, a pregnant woman, is engaged by reading vocabulary that’s relevant to her situation.
- Empowering vocabulary, good knowledge of the customer
- Social proof in the form of a quote from Vogue magazine
- Dot points of benefits and features.
What can you learn from this? Use wording that will resonate with your reader, no matter how niche your product is!
After reading all the intricate details of writing a product description you’re on your way to becoming a professional product description writer.
Now it’s your turn to do try it out!
There are no set rules for you to follow, but there are effective practices that can help guide you to create the best product description for your brand.
- Don’t use generic product description templates
- Always present features and benefits of your product
- Speak your customer’s language
- Optimize, but don’t over-optimise for SEO
- Have a friend play the role of editor.
If you feeling that your SEO knowledge is lacking or needs a boost, download our free ebook and learn some handy SEO tricks to help grow your organic traffic.
It’s also worth mentioning that you should give your product descriptions an update every year or so. Test things like vocabulary and structure from time to time to see if it has an effect on your conversion rate.
Remember, that what works for others may not work for you – tread your own path!