What to Include in Product Descriptions

Writing product descriptions is an essential activity in e-commerce. At Daily Posts we have many product description projects on the go at any one time. From clients wanting 30 promotional items written about in an engaging way, to Fortune 500 companies requiring 25000 descriptions per month, to clients with duplicate copy product description issues needing to refresh their sites, the process is very similar.

Effective e-commerce descriptions can turn window shoppers into buyers, which will help your store become and remain successful. Bad descriptions can turn likely buyers into website bounces. When you begin to write descriptions of products in your online store there are certain things that you should do in order to drive the best possible results.

Don’t Leave Questions Unanswered

Perhaps the biggest mistake when writing about products online, alongside not proofreading, is not answering the obvious questions. If someone is looking for ink cartridges for their Parker fountain pen and come across a description for Lamy cartridges they may assume that the cartridges only work in Lamy pens. You need to be explicit. The sentence “These cartridges work in any international standard cartridge fountain pen.” could be the difference between lots of sales and only those to Lamy customers.

In a nutshell writing products descriptions takes following a format and expressing yourself in a positive, relatable way. It takes understanding the motivation of the people you want to buy the products, and giving them the information they need to make a buying decision. It takes relating benefits to the features, and answering questions. If you can do these things well you will end up with good descriptions for your products.

Think About Motivations: Pleasure Seeking and Pain Avoidance

When sitting down to write about a product it is a good idea to think about the motivation of the audience. Who are they and why might they want the product? A simple mental heuristic to use is to consider the pain they are looking to eliminate from their life or the pleasure they are seeking. All product sales boil down to pain avoidance or pleasure seeking motivations.

Consider for a moment a parent buying school clothes for their primary school children. They will want to ensure that the clothes tick the boxes (i.e.. it is the correct attire for the particular school), but they will probably want to get the process done as quickly as possible. Their motivation is to avoid their kids running out of school clothes, and for them to look good, but their immediate motivation is probably to tick the job off their list so that it isn’t hanging there any more. Now think about buying a new watch. The mental process and motivation is probably very different. Sure it could be a list ticking exercise if buying a gift, but the buyer will likely be far more emotionally invested in the decision. They will be pleasure-seeking rather than pain avoiding. By thinking about products in this way you can key into the motivations of your audience and develop descriptions that appeal to them.

Link Product Features and Benefits

Most product descriptions will have a list of specific information regarding the product in question. Things like the dimensions of the product (how big it is, how much it weighs) should be mentioned along with available colours, materials it’s made of, and other specifics that describes the basics of the product. If there are other options as well as the standard product be sure to list them so the customer understands that they have choices while shopping. Do so in a way that is clear and precise, and avoid overwhelming the reader.

You may want to focus on one important feature if you’re describing a simple product. By choosing to focus on that one point you can show the potential buyers why the item is unique and how they will benefit.

Map Out the Product Uses

Sometimes when people are browsing online stores they might not know a lot about what they’re looking to purchase. In order to help these customers understand more about the products they’re looking at it’s important to list and explain the uses for each product. Since the person can’t physically examine the product they’re viewing, you have to use words, pictures, images and videos to communicate with them.

You should frequently explain the benefits of using the product. Buyers want to make sure that they’re spending their hard-earned money on a product that will make their lives easier or better in some way. Your e-commerce descriptions have to make it very clear what they’ll be getting when they decide to buy =the product from your store.

As you detail the uses and benefits of the products, make sure you use simple language that every target customer will understand. Try to steer clear of industry or technical terms. If you have to use those terms be sure to explain them so the customers understand what you’re talking about. Ensure that your e-commerce descriptions are accurate and that claims aren’t over-inflated. Your success is not just about the sale these days, it is dependent on the online reviews you get too.

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