The psychology of writing great product descriptions

A common mistake among copywriters (even professionals) is writing product descriptions that simply describe. This is wrong because the aim of product description is to sell your products not label the features. The best e-commerce product descriptions leave an impression at first glance and instantly communicates the benefit of the product instantly.

An excellent product description must answer the following questions

  • What is the product for?
  • How does it work?
  • Who is it for?
  • Why should users buy?
  • What is the unique selling point?

Your target audience can see but not touch the product so your product description must work hard to convince your audience to click the “Add to Cart” button after reading the text.


People believe their choices are based on the rational review of options they’re presented with. In reality, emotions influence purchases and determine decisions. The last line of defence to convert sales from an undecided customer is your product description. The art of writing convincing product descriptions is not a skill everyone can master. The points we’ve discussed will help to guide you through the process based on the audience you’re trying to convert and the best way to optimize your product copies throughout your e-commerce site.

Tap into the buyer’s guilt

All consumers have buyer’s guilt. Before a purchase, they already feel guilty for spending money that could have been put to better use especially when they are rewarding themselves. A smart product description writer knows how to reassure the buyer in a way that not only removes guilt, converts a sale but also leaves the customer with the pleasant feeling of happiness and satisfaction. Mozrecommends the following tips to eradicate buyer’s guilt.

  • Ensure they know they’re getting the best bargain for a one-time offer
  • Compliment them with words like ‘deal’, ‘steal’, ‘snap’
  • Give the product an air of exclusivity
  • Describe the product as essential
  • Highlight various uses for the product so it serves more than one purpose
  • Avoid words like “expensive”, “costly”, “treat”.

Get to the point

The NNGroup carried out a study and found that most online readers only skim content at the start of a sentence or paragraph, not at the end. Hence, avoid empty sentences filled with unrelated words and always provide the important information first. Even a single text that doesn’t offer value to the user can be distracting.

Use short words, sentences and paragraphs to drive your point. You have a short space to tell a full story that motivates the user to take action so avoid jargon, wordiness or irrelevant language.

Use the USP to sell more

What sets your product apart from other brands? Did you spend years formulating a working formula because you want it to be exceptional? Is it handcrafted? Is your brand family owned? Call it out and use that as your unique selling point.

Center your copy on the product benefits and result

Your product is only valuable if it solves a problem for your target audience. Some brands lose sight of the core features of their products after spending years creating and promoting certain products and focus their description on the features and specs of the product. An excellent product description highlights the benefits with the features and shares it in a way that emphasizes value for the user. Most people don’t care about the details, they just want to know how it can enrich their lives and it is the duty of the product description writer to describe the benefits in a compelling way.

Use emotional language

Research from the psychology of advertising posits that the emotional response of a customer to an ad has more effect on the decision to buy a product rather than the content of the ad. Contents go viral because of the emotional influence on consumers, which means your target audience is likely to buy from you based on the emotional response your copy educes in them. Words that help your reader feel more includes savour, aroma, decadent, destiny, luxuriate. A good product description writer knows how to balance the use of trigger words so it doesn’t lose its meaning.

Optimize your copies for SEO

Consider your user personas and the type of keyword they are likely to use when searching for products in your niche. This ensures your product description aligns with what your customers need and improve your visibility on search engines. Look for terminology and phrases that are popular with your audience and use the following guides:

  • optimize images with filename, tag and image descriptions
  • avoid jargon that complicates decision making for your shoppers
  • use keywords or phrases in the body, headline or subheader of the product descriptions

While SEO shouldn’t be your main concern when writing product descriptions think about how it can help your digital marketing campaign.

Create an image in the buyer’s mind

Once you know how to apply keywords for SEO, set the scene in the mind of your ideal customer. Let them know that they aren’t just buying a product but entering a lifestyle for a select few. This is what will keep them coming back for more. It is not those who have luxury that buy iPhones annually but those who want luxury, same as Virgin Airlines that sells the extravagant jet lifestyle or Hublot that with luxury in each timepiece. A celebrity like Floyd Mayweather who has worn a pair of boxers on Instagram will likely see most young men aspiring for the same lifestyle shop for the exact same pair.

What’s your brand’s voice?

The tone your copy takes should mirror your brand. Establish a guideline for products on your site with a clear voice backing your company that customers will come to identify as yours. The voice must communicate in a language visitors relate to. For a high-end furniture retailer, the language would evoke prestige, style and luxury. For a reputable clothing line, it would include creating a casual persona and using slang that is fitting. An example is Firebox peanuts that markets itself to young, successful people with disposable income to spare. The copy is bold, exciting and unusual and features classic reverse psychology as it advises you not to shove handfuls at once into your mouth because of the powerful chilli mix.

Turn a short product description into a captivating story

A proven way to write product description that converts is to write user stories. This is a description and explanation of the product. It answers what your target audience wants from the product and why they want it. It’s a simplified requirement description. In writing product description, user stories help to determine the user need and capture the main benefits of the product. A good user story must incorporate the following features

  • Each feature should be independent
  • They must provide value of the product to the user
  • they shouldn’t be stuffed with details but provide information that help the user to make estimates
  • users stories should be concise, not long

An imaginative product description writer knows how to do the research, assess and create a persuasive description for your product.

10 brilliant techniques for writing e-commerce product descriptions that converts

Read inspiring copy from other great brands

Before tackling a product description, gather as much information from similar brands known for writing successful copies to see what worked for them. Reading inspiring product descriptions will help you create an even better copy. There are websites, blogs, magazines and books that offer valuable info for writing great copies. Read a few; understand the product before writing the product description.

Write for your target audience

The first thing to note when writing product description is to know that your product is not for everyone. If you write for the public in mind, it becomes unfocused and pathetic because it doesn’t address anyone in particular. Vegetarians aren’t clicking to see the menu of a steakhouse, healthy living enthusiast won’t be found on Dominoes browsing through beef filled pizzas. Your product description should be written for your ideal buyer. The greatest product descriptions address your buyer personally and feels like a conversation where you’ve answered all the questions they would ask.

What does your ideal buyer love or hate? Are they okay with informal words like crap or sucky? What questions are they seeking answers to? Incorporate the answers you come up with in your product description so it resonates better with your target audience. The goal of every copy is to convert and what better way to convince your audience than to use their own words.

Don’t make the competition a priority

Its’ easy to see flashy copies that look attractive on your competitor’s website and ask “why don’t we have that on our site?” it’s easy to follow the lead of others and play safe but doing that only makes you generic and generic copies don’t win! Focus on the product you’re trying to sell, create a strategy that is concise, clear and obvious to your audience. Now you can check the competition to see what their strategy is and what you could offer to set your product apart.

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