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Tips and tricks to scale your business from the experts in eCommerce

How To Write Product Descriptions That Sell

Posted by Dominique Robinson on Aug 25, 2016

a man's hand writing product descriptionsWhat do readers think when they see your product descriptions? Are they enticed into making a purchase, or do they immediately glance over your product with cold, uninterested eyes? If you fall into the latter, this article is for you. In order to spark excitement into the hearts of potential consumers, developing a compelling product description is a necessity. To master the art of writing product descriptions that sell follow these six proven methods to convert readers into buyers.

1 | Define Your Ideal Buyer

Learn what is important to your target market by creating a buyer persona.

A buyer persona is a character you create who reflects what an ideal consumer within your target market looks like. Unlike demographic data, personas give a face and a personality to the consumer.

Personas uncover the personal details about consumers that demographic data does not. Information like where a persona shops, where they like to eat, what sites they like to visit, and what hobbies they enjoy is the type of insight that makes buyer personas valuable. Understanding what makes a person tick and the motivation behind their purchases allows online retailers to create a look and feel about their products that are sure to grab the reader's attention.

However, creating a buyer persona is easier said than done. In order to create a useful persona, you must have an in-depth understanding of your customers. Discover who is actually buying your product. This can be as simple as a facebook search or as complex as setting up interviews with current customers. Find out as much information as you can to apply to your Buyer Persona, things like:

  • Background: Basic information about their life or company
  • Job Description: Responsibilities, likes, and dislikes
  • Information Sources: Where does he/she do their research
  • Goals: Short term v.s. longterm
  • Pain Points: Customer's challenges and emotion attached
  • Preferred Platforms: How your customer absorbs content
  • Objections: What about the sales process turns customers off
  • Role in purchase process: Influence in purchase decisions
  • Marketing message: Messaging that speaks directly to this person
  • Buyer's Journey: Also, find out the customers' buying process. From the time they land on your website util they have received the product, what is their buyers' journey?

When creating product descriptions keep the buyer persona in mind. Doing so will help guide you to cracking the code for converting readers into buyers.

2 | Read Great Copy

In sports, you become better by watching the greats. Ask any professional athlete, and they'll tell you they had to develop their game by first learning from someone better than them. Copywriting is no different.

If you want to become a better copywriter you have to look at other people's examples to learn what works and what doesn't. When I was a writer for my college newspaper, my editor would tell me to read over the New York times before writing my article. He'd say, "read not for understanding but for inspiration".

When writing product descriptions, instead of reading the New York times, check out other big name retailers sites to see how they write about their products. Online retailers, like Modcloth, do a great job of gaining readers attention with well-written product descriptions. When looking at different sites, take note of the writing styles they use. Notice the tone of the description, and if the writing matches the brand's personality. What kind of words do they use to describe the product? Ask yourself what does the post make your feel and practice writing in a way that draws an emotional response from your readers.

3 | Find Your Tone

"It's not what you say, it's how you say it". Your product description is the chance for you to show the brand's personality.

Consumers do not want to read cookie cutter descriptions. They want to identify with products that reflect who they are, not some generic message that lacks the personality necessary to really make a connection with consumers. The more you stand out the more likely your message will be heard. Define your tone of voice and stick with it!

Your tone should be unique to your brand. It will ultimately define who you are and solidify your spot in the market. Your tone is also what differentiates you from your competitors. While you may have competitors who sell similar products, the tone and feel of your sites should be totally different. If you are not sure of what tone fits you, think back to your persona. During a conversation, what tone of voice would that persona have? Is it fun and exciting, or more distinguished and professional? Whatever it may be, channel it into your website and product description.

4 | Use Sensory Words

Which description sounds better? "Try our new, sweet, unforgettably flavorful, chocolate glazed doughnuts", or "try our new chocolate doughnuts"? If the first description made your mouth water, good, that's the power sensory words have.

Sensory words are adjectives that appeal to the five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. When used correctly, they allow potential consumers who read your product description, to visualize how much better their life could be with your product.

One disadvantage of online selling is that customers are not able to view or hold products for themselves. While they do have pictures to look at, the feeling just isn't the same. Using sensory words, however, helps give products some of that feeling back. Sensory adjectives are powerful, and when coupled with product descriptions, they create an experience.

Be sure, that the sensory words you use also match your tone. If the two contradict one another you run the risk of confusing your readers. Establishing a tone of voice through sensory words is a great way to make your product description more attractive to readers. Next time you are writing a description, keep these tips in mind and captivate your readers to the point they just have to buy your product.

5 | Highlight Features and Benefits

Features and benefits are two separate methods for describing a product and are ultimately what will land you the sell. One answers the question, "what does it do?" while the other answer, "what does it do for me?"

Product descriptions require a mix of both features and benefits to successfully attract customers. When highlighting product features do it in a way that is visually effective and easy to read. Pictures, color options, size measurements, and features should be included in every product description.

Pictures should show your product from multiple angles. Customers want to see exactly what they are paying for, so show them, and put some thought into your pictures. If your product has a different feature than a competitor, be sure that you have a picture that demonstrates that feature. Don't be afraid to stand out; a little extra flair goes a long way. Say your product is a hammock, pictures of it in someone's front lawn sends a completely different message than a picture of it against a plain white background. Also, make sure your pictures are professional and well lit. Investing in a little studio equipment can really make the difference.

Color options and sizes, when applicable, are very important. These features need to be easily recognizable and need to stand out. Consumers expect instant gratification. When they struggle to find out if the product they want comes in the size and color they are looking for, they won't hesitate to leave your page and look elsewhere. If you sell internationally something as simple as metric conversions can lead to lost customers. Be mindful of your audience and don't make it difficult for them to find everything they need to make a decision.

Product features and benefits can be tricky when writing a product description. Writing a paragraph about product features, specs, and other details can be a real bore. Instead of writing out product features, try creating bulleted lists. A bullet list is a great way for customers to quickly see what makes your product so great without feeling overwhelmed with information. But listing features is not enough. By pairing your bulleted features with the benefits they have a much greater impact on consumers. As mentioned before, benefits answer the question what's in it for me? Writing a paragraph describing the benefits builds excitement for consumers. This is the place to use your tone and sensory words to really convince the potential customer that this is the product they have been looking for.

Check out this example of a product listing from ModCloth's website. Notice how they highlight the benefits of the headphones by giving an enticing paragraph that shows off their personality and tone, while also creating value. Also, take note of how the features are presented in a bulleted format.

screen shot of a Mod Cloth product description

6 | Make it Scannable

The internet is overwhelmingly full of different messages, so do yourself a favor and make your product descriptions scannable. In order for your copy to be scannable, you have to be able to draw attention to your most important information in a non-obvious manner.

The goal behind making your copy scannable is to allow readers to quickly decide if your content is of interest to them or not. The people who come to your page are looking for quick solutions to their problems. In fact, research shows that people only read 16% or the words on an average web page. Making your product description easy to skim through and easy to read is more digestible for consumers than blocky paragraphs.

To make sure that your product description is scannable consider using:

  • Subheadings that catch the reader's attention
  • Bullet points to draw attention to features
  • Video or photos to raise their level of desire
  • White space that guides readers through your content

Web content is more effective when readers can quickly see value in your product. Scannable product descriptions get your message across faster and when it comes to the internet, faster is always better.

Product Descriptions that sell

Next time you post a product description, stop and think about your audience. Consider who are your writing to and what motivates them to buy? Understand who you are as a business and incorporate your style into your descriptions.

Avoid bragging about product features too much, and focus on the benefits and value your product offers. Scannable features +  enticing benefits = engaging content. Effective use of features and benefits is key when creating product descriptions. Combining these six methods makes more interesting product descriptions that are sure to turn readers into buyers.Optimize Your Supply Chain with SkuVault WMS. Request a demo.

Topics: eCommerce, eCommerce Businesses, Inventory Tips and Tricks