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While product page design has improved in the past few years, an often neglected area is sales copy. 

A common mistake is to simply place the manufacturer’s product descriptions on pages. While this approach is easier, a more personal touch and unique tone of voice can help your product pages stand out and really sell the benefits of products. 

I'm going to explain why good sales copy is so important, and look at some examples where retailers are getting this spot on... 

Why product page copy matters

SEO benefits

When many of your competitors are using the same manufacturer's product descriptions, there is a real opportunity to strand out in search results pages, since your description will be unique. 

Customised product descriptions also allow you to provide more text and keywords for search engines to index. 


OK, if you're selling photocopier paper, this is tricky to do, but just the sense that a real human being is writing product descriptions can set them apart. 

What are the ingredients of great product page copy? 

There is no hard and fast rule here and, as you will see from the examples, good sales copy can take many different forms. 


Product descriptions should be unique to that website. Customers will appreciate that the page has been written specifically for this product, while there are the SEO benefits mentioned earlier. 

Convey knowledge of the product

If the customer reading the description can get the sense that the copywriter knows the product well and has used it, then this makes the copy more trustworthy. 

Don't stuff it full of keywords

Of course, retailers want to make sure their target keywords are in product descriptions for the search engines, but if it becomes too obvious to the visitor, it's a real turn-off. 

A good copywriter should be able to get the target keywords in without overdoing it. 


Product sales copy should be easily readable. Customers don't need huge swathes of text, as this makes information hard to scan and digest. 

Use of short paragraphs, bold text, bullet points, images etc can help to make copy more visually appealing. 

Some product pages have to convey a lot of technical information about products, such as tech specifications for laptops. By putting this information into a table, Comet makes it easier for customers: 

Express key benefits of products

Good sales copy needs to be persuasive, and should convey the benefits of products, what it will do for them, how it will improve the customer's life, and so on. 

The higher the price, the harder you have to work on the copy

If you're selling packs of pens or printer paper, then a basic description of the product should suffice, but if you're selling big-ticket items, then the copywriter will need to work harder. 

If it's a luxury item, then the sales copy should reflect that. See the J Peterman example below. 

Tone of voice

The examples below all show a friendly and natural tone of voice. According to Alice Little, Content and Community Editor at Lovehoney, this is all important: 

We try to write in a friendly, natural way that gives first time customers the confidence to try our products and reassures our more experienced purchasers that we have the knowledge and expertise they're looking for.

We always aim to make it easy for the customer to see themselves using the product and feeling the benefit. We also give hints and tips in a product description to make the customer feel excited about using the product before it's even arrived.

Here are five of the best... 

Appliances Online

I've chosen this example, as it highlights how improving sales copy can immediately improve conversion rates. 

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

It has worked too. The new sales copy was introduced along with other product page improvements, which increased sales by 9.5%.

The J Peterman Company

The sales copy on this website is inspired, and totally unique. 


Patagonia uses a friendly tone, but still conveys the benefits of its products, and uses bullet points to outline the key features. 


There aren't many examples that are SFW on the site, but here's one, an example of the natural tone that Alice referred to above.


The product page copy on Firebox matches the brand perfectly, as well as really selling the benefits of products, in the case the Magic Wand TV remote. 

Which retailers are producing great sales copy? Please leave your comments below...

Graham Charlton

Published 10 November, 2011 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

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Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

Great article & tips Graham. One site that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months when it comes to providing persuasive copy to frame & sell the product or service being offered is Groupon. It's surprising how some pretty standard products can be brought to life with the use of creative copywriting, and this style of copy has certainly played a role in persuading me to purchase a few deals!

almost 5 years ago

Derryck Strachan

Derryck Strachan, MD at Big Star Copywriting

Really interesting post. Product descriptions are so often the unsung heroes of website content. We've worked on product descriptions for Ecco Shoes and Science Museum Shop recently - both clients approached us with SEO as their primary concern but there is clearly an opportunity to sell more effectively. Product descriptions are so often just lists of features - by turning those features into benefits and optimising the copy you're making your content work much harder.

almost 5 years ago


Catherine Toole

Great post but just thought I'd make the point that for many of Sticky Content's clients, outsourcing hundreds of product pages to be professionally written is a (financial) pipe dream and both resource and copy skills in house are scarce. So we focus on helping clients create much stronger copy formats for product pages, with language, tone of voice and execution guidelines that are easy to follow. We also focus on training in house writing teams to use the formats well, product managers to supply better source content and stakeholders to stop sabbotaging these efforts at sign-off stage! Hope this helps...

almost 5 years ago

David Sealey

David Sealey, Head of Digital Consulting at CACIEnterprise

An additional suggestion would be to test content approaches using MVT. Each user will have their own reasons for wanting a product so why not try different heading and intro paragraphs to find winning combinations?

Obviously it would not be possible across a huge product catalogue due to the amount of copy required. However creating focus products and categories for testing could unlock additional conversions very quickly.

almost 5 years ago


Craig McGregor

Worthwhile article, as is anything that helps us to focus on the reader, rather than the product spec. or worse, SEO keyword mash...
The comment on Groupon also reflects the fact that over 20% of its payroll are writers, proving investment in content makes a big difference to response, and then of course the bottom line.
At ContentETC we train hundreds of writers each year to get better, and (even more) "non-writers" on the skills needed to gain online impact and engagement. Surprisingly, these are skills that CAN be learned, and I always find the killer app is the writer's attitude and focus, more than their vocabulary or grasp of grammar. If the message works, rules are redundant.

almost 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Catherine - I see what you mean, and that's why most of the examples here are from relatively small/ niche retailers.

However, even with a large product range, retailers could test this sort of approach on a limited number of pages, and if it increases conversions, then the extra resources required may be worth investing in.

almost 5 years ago


Kristi Moe

Bliss spa has great copy for its natural product descriptions:

elemis cellutox active body concentrate

clean up (and ‘lean’ up) your act with this wobble-ridding detox wash

Take a ‘firm’ stance on a orange-peel-afflicted extremities with this tang-tastic treatment. This luxe, cleansing body oil blends Seabuckthorn, Sea Fennel, and Juniper to help rid your body of tush-terrorizing toxins caused by diet, stress, or a ‘couch potato’ lifestyle. Whether you use it alone or to jumpstart a body detox program, this turbo-powered toxin-trashing trio of ingredients diminishes the appearance of a dimpled derriere and, because it’s punctuated with a shot of zesty, refreshing lemon, you get a much-needed kick right in the pants. (Hey, de-dimpling deftness don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ‘zing’.) 3.4 oz

over 4 years ago



Having read this I believed it was extremely informative.
I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this information together.
I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments.
But so what, it was still worth it!

almost 4 years ago

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