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Just be a human. It's fairly easy to do. You are one after all.

This is a follow-up to my previous article five evocative examples of ecommerce copywriting where I highlighted how Onefinestay, Firebox, Norman Records, Firebox, Mr Porter and BrewDog use different writing styles in order to achieve similar goals.

The gains from creating quality copy for your ecommerce site are huge and widely varied: it can make your brand more trustworthy and foster a deeper sense of loyalty. Inventive, engaging or witty copy will entertain your customers and encourage them to stick around. The creation of original copy can also create a deeper job satisfaction because your writers will have more creative freedom.

This is before we've even got to the possible improvements in conversion rates.

How can all of this be achieved? Take a look at some of the examples below for inspiration and always remember the opening mantra.


The outdoor recreation store has an immediately attention grabbing and acerbic sense of humour. I feel right at home here.

The carousel on the homepage not only contains the above example, but also the following inspired piece of stupidity. 

Which downplays the fact that this is an inspired way of laying out information and navigation clearly. (It’s a tried and tested formula.)

This is quickly followed by this mini piece of copy, that through humour creates urgency and and a sense of scarcity.

Everywhere you look on the homepage there’s another chucklesome piece of navigation or product ad, that immediately makes you want to find out more.

When prices, delivery options and customer service are roughly comparable, as a deal breaker I will definitely go with the gang that made me laugh.

It doesn’t just stop at the homepage. The product pages have brilliant little touches. Clicking on ‘when will I get it?’ reveals a hover box revealing all of the shipping options too numerous to house on the page.

And this is a definite winner…

Moosejaw also has a very helpful live chat service, which wins me over with its glorious mix self-effacement and flattery.


Already the brand name is a winner in of itself, but that playful charm can be also found threaded throughout the rest of the site.

There are no other price comparison sites that would offer up such an option, that's possibly why the real-world language feels so refreshing.

And of course there can't be agony without...

There used to be an option that sorted results by ‘spite’, offering the longest duration flight with the highest price and number of stopovers. The copy in the hovering text-box read: ”Is your boss making you angry? Make ‘em suffer!”

Can’t imagine why that was jettisoned. 


The US retailer, which offers a new product deal every day, puts maximum effort into its copy. Marrying humour, intrigue and product detail in just a few short sentences.

The homepage reveals the hook within the second line, following on from a concise piece of product detail.

Clicking on the product page itself reveals the satisfying pay-off. 

Woot doesn’t just have great copywriters, it also seems to have some classic comedy writers too.

And who could resist this call to action?


There’s something about the stark simplicity of Dropbox’s text that makes it some of the best copywriting out there.

Can you explain what your product does in three words?

Does your service name and describe its offerings in such incredibly concise, plainspeaking descriptions?

Are your customers rewarded merely for just setting up the product and learning about its various services?

This is also great because it gamifies the whole set-up process and encourages users to fully invest in the product.

Natural History Museum

Ben Davis recently covered the Natural History Museum’s revamped online store and highlighted various examples of brilliant copywriting.

For a start, the product copy is scientifically accurate. The 'standing T. rex soft toy' is not the 'standing T-Rex soft toy' or even the 'standing T. Rex soft toy'. The species name, rex, is lower case and the genus, Tyrannosaur, is always capitalised. The name is italicised, too. It's vital that all of these conventions are adhered to or else the NHM would suffer the wrath of sticklers, pedants and trolls from the scientific community and beyond.

standing T. rex soft toy

It's also not afraid to have fun though. "Think all dinosaurs are fearsome and ferocious? Not these cute and cuddly creations."

dinky triceratops

Offerman Wood Shop

You may know Nick Offerman from his role as the grizzled manly man of simple manly pleasures Ron Swanson in sitcom Parks and Recreation, however did you know that his character isn't that far removed from the real-life Nick Offerman?

OWS is his actual wood shop where you can purchase bespoke goods online and just because Nick Offerman is a beloved comic actor and stand-up comedian doesn't mean he forgets to make an effort here.

The about page sums everything up beautifully with a lot of homely warmth.

And the product pages are particluarly brilliant, with humourous copy that is hard not to be seduced by.

I won't tell you how many of these I've ordered.

A boy's kazoo is made out of plastic. A man's kazoo is made out of wood.


Graham Charlton took a look at 13 best practice lessons AO.com in May and one of the major highlights was its commitment to jargon-free product information.

Technical information about electrical products can be baffling to the average consumer. Simple questions of why one dishwasher is better then another, or why it may be worth paying an extra £100 for, can be hard to answer without going into explicit technological detail.

As Graham states: AO.com answers such questions in a number of ways. Firstly, with a summary of key aspects that are likely to be of concern for customers, like running costs and noise levels. Meanwhile, a quick summary from AO's experts helps to explain the product's benefits. 

The retailer uses creative copywriting to produce unique product descriptions, which sell the key benefits of products in a more human tone. 

For more advice, check out Graham Charlton’s post on what makes great ecommerce product page copy.

Additional thanks to Hubspot for bringing some of these companies to my attention.

Our Festival of Marketing event in November is a two day celebration of the modern marketing industry, featuring speakers from brands including LEGO, Tesco, Barclays, FT.com and more.

For more on copywriting…

Check out these very informative articles from the Econsultancy blog:

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 27 August, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (1)


Calum McGowan, Delivery Lead - Native Apps at Auto Trader Limited 2

Copywriters need to tread a fine line between being chatty, friendly, and downright irritating or patronising... if they go too far, I switch off...

about 2 years ago

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