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A great product description is one of the most important features needed for an effective product page alongside user reviews, images, bold calls-to-action and delivery information.

The benefits of writing unique product descriptions are obvious – firstly you avoid getting penalised by Google for having duplicate content on your site, and secondly it’s a great sales opportunity.

There are few areas where sites can really differentiate themselves from their competitors and copywriting is one of them.

It’s a chance to entice the customer, upsell your products and inject a bit of excitement and personality into your site.

So with this in mind, here are six things to consider when writing product descriptions.

For more information on this topic read our blog post on 10 essential features for creating great product pages or download our Checkout Optimisation Guide...

Write for your target audience

All ecommerce sites should have a target audience in mind and tailor their content accordingly, which includes product descriptions.

The type of language used and the tone need to appeal to the type of customer you expect to visit your site or you risk putting them off making a purchase.

For example, a site selling baby products should possibly adopt a warm tone and emphasise the quality and safety benefits of its items, while a fashion retailer targeting younger consumers should emphasise the style of its products and how they fit with a current trend.

Or if you're Firebox, a gadget and gifts website that markets itself as the place that sells "the coolest things you can buy," then this is how you make a travel mug sound exciting...

Be consistent

Though you might be selling a broad range of products it’s important to maintain a level of consistency in your product descriptions, as consumers expect to find the same tone of voice across a site.

Similarly, the length and detail included should remain consistent otherwise customers may be disappointed when product pages don’t live up to expectations.

Make sure it fits with your brand identity

Product descriptions should also needs be in keeping the brand’s identity, so if you run a sophisticated clothing label you may not want to adopt a chatty, casual tone.

The copy on a website is an important part of building a brand and should match the kind of tone adopted in other areas, such as advertising and social media.  

For example, Net-A-Porter labels its descriptions as “Editor’s notes” and describes one of its jumpsuits as a “fabulous choice for exotic vacations” – not the kind of thing you’d expect to read on Gap’s website.

It also takes the opportunity to cross-sell other items show in the product image.

One of the finest examples I've seen is this from the J. Peterman Company...

Benefits are more important than features

For most products it’s likely that customers will already be aware of the main features, unless it’s something complicated like electricals or white goods.

But for most consumer products the factual information and specification can be spelled out in bullet points, so the description should be used to persuade the customer to make a purchase.

This involves selling the potential benefits of the product, such as why it will make the buyer more fashionable or make their life easier or more enjoyable.

Read this example from Mothercare – the cot will protect your baby’s gums and is high enough that you can easily lift them out, what more could you want?

Remember that you’re trying to motivate the customer into buying something from you, so use emotive language that piques their interest.

Use bullet points

As mentioned above, it is a good idea to mix up the style of your descriptions to include both paragraphs and bullet points.

This allows you to be creative and sell the product with a compelling description before listing the key details and specs, like in this example from House of Fraser...

Remember to get your keywords in

As much as Google goes on about SEO being about quality content the fact of the matter is it still works from keywords, so you need to ensure they appear somewhere in your product description.

So if you’re selling an evening dress, ideally you want to get that keyword in the title of your product description and in the body of the text.

But repeating the keyword more than a couple of times is also a bad idea as it’s unnatural and looks dodgy, so make sure the description still flows properly and the keyword isn’t shoehorned into the text in a clumsy way.

David Moth

Published 13 May, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1679 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

The keywords point is important not just for Google but your internal site search tool (if you have one of course). You can't expect visitors to find your products if they dont contain the key phrases they type in to find them.

about 3 years ago

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Michaela Clement-Hayes

Absolutely David.

Copywriting remains an extremely important part of marketing, yet people continue to underestimate its potential. (As a copywriter myself, this is quite frustrating!)

The J. Peterman Company is a fantastic example of how a product description should be written - informative and creative, yet unique and slightly humorous. It's perfect for their brand!

about 3 years ago

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