How To Write eCommerce Product Descriptions That Sell

17 Feb 2016

You might think things are moving at a really fast pace and that everything went a bid overboard. And maybe you are right. You may choose to stick to your old guns and keep your product description as basic as it was always. But you will miss out. It has become much more than that, so give your best and create impeccable description for your products.

The way your products are described basically represent everything your online store is about.

It is the first step your visitors will go through while thinking of buying your product. No matter how good the product is, or how perfect your online store looks, your product description is the one that has the best shot of pulling your visitor in.

Coffee shop

Seems like a lot of weight put on a few lines or a paragraph of text, right?

There is a simple explanation for it: an online product description replaces all the staff and convenience a potential buyer usually experiences when browsing a physical store.

In store, they can see the product, feel it, imagine its purpose and role in their everyday lives.

If they don’t understand something about it, they can walk up to the first staff member they see, and ask their question, which will probably take less than a minute.

When their questions have been answered, they are left to make a decision. That can be an immediate purchase, or they could be still weighing their options.

They may be thinking that buying right now might save them more time and money than driving to other stores and considering other options.

And there is the importance of your product description: it needs to cover all the steps listed above.

Unlike the physical store experience, online store is much easier to leave, and it only takes a few seconds to look for an option in another online store.

Prior to writing any product description, take some time to think about this:

  • Your product description should leave no questions unanswered.
  • It should provide an experience of having that product.
  • It should make the visitor want to own the product.

Sounds easier said than done, right?

Bonus: Download free PDF checklist and learn how to write a killer product description.

Don’t worry – below are the key steps towards product descriptions that work in your favour, and some examples to help you along the way.

Make it easy to scan

Some people might be spending hours on online shopping, studying every detail, while others may only invest a few seconds of their time to decide whether a product is worth their further time and their money.

However, this doesn’t mean that those who usually spend more time browsing through online shops will be willing to look for information that isn’t obvious – they will just leave, and try somewhere else.

This doesn’t mean you should solely list five bullet points with key information and leave it like that.

It also doesn’t mean that a full list of features or a page-long text should be the first thing your visitor will see.

Instead, the most engaging product description will consist of one or more paragraphs and a bulleted list of most relatable features. BigCommerce agrees it’s a key process towards relatable demonstration of your products, using your own voice.

Here is a fantastic example from Innocent’s coconut water presented this exact way, not leaving any information out, while making you really want that coconut water:

Coconut Water product descriptionScreenshot:

In the matter of seconds, you can also find out more about ingredients and nutritional value, but the text along with the bullet points are the ones that invited you in with a clear, comprehensive and resonating description, literally only using 120 words.

Use your audience’s language

Knowing who you want to market and sell to is the first step towards any process in your business.

The reason we are mentioning it here, is to emphasize the importance of the words you use.

If you are selling to high-school teenagers, it makes a lot of sense not to use the vocabulary of a 40-year-old executive, and the other way around.

Bonus: Download free PDF checklist and learn how to write a killer product description.

Using words and phrases of your target audience will make it easier for them to relate to your product, find it applicable in their own lives and believe you genuinely care about them.

This way, they will know you will hear them out, rather than simply hoping they will buy your products without knowing they truly matter to you.

ThinkGeek knows how it’s done – here is the description of a carry-on suitcase:

Suitcase product descriptionScreenshot:

As you can see, they went that extra mile to describe the suitcase (and the need for a good suitcase) in a way a typical traveler would.

Emphasize benefits over features

The fact that a blender’s power is 1000W or a phone’s battery is the one of 2600mAh may be important information, but the chances are that it is a very limited amount of people who are aware of what these numbers represent.

Most of such technical information means nothing unless put in a context, or, far better, explained as an actual benefit.

That 2600mAh phone? It will probably go two days on one charge. And the 1000W blender is probably able to blend whatever you put in it.

This is the difference between the simple feature listing and emphasizing the benefits.

This goes towards that aim to provide a feeling of owning a product.

What would change?

Why could it improve a certain experience?

What makes it so good?

Why is it better than what the person already owns?

One of the Nespresso machines provides a perfect example:

Coffee maker product description


There you have it: ‘one touch milk system’, ‘at the simple touch of a button’. This is how they say ‘we want to make your life easier’.

They could have, instead, written a bullet point saying ‘one touch feature’ or something similar, but this way, they provided you with a real benefit of having this machine.

Bonus: Download free PDF checklist and learn how to write a killer product description.

Tell a story

Another way of letting your visitor know of the experience they could be having if they buy a certain product is – storytelling.

Coming up with a great story definitely isn’t easy and requires some extra time and effort, but it can greatly pay off in the long term.

This will largely depend on the type of products you sell. You are the one that knows your products the best, so try and think of stories that can go along with your products.

ModCloth did a fantastic job with one of their black dresses:

Moodcloth product description


They literally described what could be a movie scene and put their dress in that context. Amazing, right?

Use your social proof

One of the biggest compliments any business can get, eCommerce or not, is other people spreading a positive word about it after enjoying its products or services.

This can be done in many different ways and it’s really up to you to decide which one fits your eCommerce business the best.

You can feature websites you were mentioned in by providing ‘as seen in’ section. You can use your social media accounts to gather feedback from your customers, embedding relevant social media posts on your product page.

Earlier mentioned ThinkGeek uses another way of showcasing their social proof.

One of the tabs on the product pages is ‘customer action shots’, and this is how their customers enjoy their Star Trek hoodie:

Social proof

This allows you to see there are many people buying this product, they are loving it and happily sharing it with the world.

So talk to your existing customers, ask them about their experience with a product they have purchased and encourage them to share those experiences with you!

There you have it!

These are steps you can take for all your new products and improvements you can implement to your existing ones.

Remember, an engaging product description is scannable, relatable, benefit-oriented and leaves no questions unanswered!

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