Having good product descriptions on your online shop is as important as having great images or a technically flawless website. Not only does it contribute to a positive customer experience, but it contributes to the credibility of your store, it can help your online shop rank higher, and boost conversions for your site’s visitors.
Before we get started, here is a small table of contents to show you what you'll learn today:
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to write a good product description, let’s define what makes a product description good in the first place.
For starters, an effective product description will boost sales on your site. When customers are well-informed and make a connection to your product, they are more likely to buy your product. In essence, your product description is your sales pitch, isn’t it? It informs the customer just like a salesperson would. It’s also one of the final steps consumers take when making a purchase decision.
A good product description reflects your brand and your target audience. It can really help bridge the gap between what your brand is and who your customers are.
A good product description will help your online shop rank higher as well. You probably already understand the cyclical nature of SEO. With more people finding your site, you’ll get more visitors and more sales. Higher conversions signal to Google that you are a good website and this will help you rank even higher. Having great texts in your product descriptions will get you there.
At this point, you understand that good product descriptions can boost conversions, strengthen your brand voice, boost trustworthiness, and improve your site’s SEO. However, it’s important to see what consumers have to say about everything. Here is a chart from eMarketer showing what US smartphone owners say are the most influential factors of a product page in their purchase decisions.
Clearly, many elements influence consumers during their online shopping experiences. 83% of all respondents talked about product page elements as being most influential (i.e. product images and product descriptions).
It’s worth noting that product reviews and star-ratings also cracked the top 4, both with an overwhelming majority of respondents responding to those elements.
There are a lot of things to think about when putting together a good product description. Here are a few tips on getting started!
Before you begin writing, you should ask yourself a few questions to help guide your product descriptions:
These questions are basically a mix of product questions and customer questions. Product questions are relatively easy, especially with regards to specifications. However, knowing how you want to address your audience and what kind of language they use is essential for the vibe of your online shop.
Answering a few questions about the product (and product use) before you start writing will make it easier to know what features to highlight.
With regards to asking questions about your audience, more on that below.
Knowing your audience is important for creating a good product description. If you haven’t yet created a buyer persona, you really should. Creating a profile of your ideal customer can help many of the different departments in your company. When it comes to product descriptions, it helps you realize what is really important to them.
For example, if you sell high-end, professional headphones (like the ones in the next section), you probably have a different target audience than someone who sells gamer headphones or trendy, designer headphones. This should definitely affect how you write about your products.
If you work in a niche market, then you already know about how important it is to focus on your core audience and “speak their language”.
Recommended reading: How to Sell Unique Products to Niche Markets
A good product description should focus on the product’s features and benefits. Obviously, the features are a bit more clear cut. The benefits will require a bit more creativity and knowledge on your target audience.
However, both features and benefits allow for creative writing. Be sure to use some positive adjectives that highlight them.
In the example below, you can see the product description talking about the “elegant design”, “remarkable sound performance” and “outstanding tonal balance”. Considering these headphones are at a higher price point than your average headphones, the product description reflects that in its language.
The product description touches on both the product features and its benefits. (Source: Future Shop).
An extended product description continues a bit further down the screen.
There is also an extended product description further down the page which goes into greater detail about the headphones’ features, benefits, and specifications. Once again, not only does it inform the site’s visitor on a high-end product, but all these relevant texts and keywords will help the product page’s SEO and, in turn, help the page rank higher.
The product description goes on further down the page. Future Shop knows that their customers are very knowledgeable when it comes to audio equipment so they give as much information as possible.
Once you know who your audience is, make sure you try to touch on their emotional side as well.
In advertising school, copywriters and designers are always taught that babies and puppies sell products. Now, we can’t always use puppies and babies to sell everything (or can we?), but the core concept remains relevant: Emotions inspire people.
Looking at the same Future Shop product page as before, towards the bottom, there is a section about the makers of these products, Focal. If you’re a true audiophile, this company description surely touches you. Here is one paragraph from this text:
Focal’s ambition is to make every occasion you listen to music a moment of privilege, where music is respected and emotions are roused. For them, innovation and tradition come together to enhance the performance of hi-fi sound and the beauty of music. Their desire is to open a gateway to new sensations and emotions, giving you the chance to experience pleasure in its purest form. Focal products are also lifestyle objects, objects of everyday life. That’s why every tiny detail has been researched, designed and tweaked. This makes them exceptional products capable of flawless performance with a distinguished style.
If this poetic product description were recorded into music form, wouldn't you want to listen to that song on a Focal product?
Generally speaking, extremely long product descriptions aren’t necessary. In the case above, this is a product selling at an extremely high price range, so it is fitting that the product description is a bit longer than usual. In most cases, however, you’ll want to make the product description a bit shorter and easy to read. Bullet points can really help with this.
On the following page from Dotty Fish, the product page really does a great job with this. Along with the detailed product images and clean design, the product description does a great job highlighting the products and features in these bullet points.
This product description from Dolly Fish does a great job blending storytelling and highlighting benefits and features. The bullet points also make it much easier to read.
Some important points highlighted in the bullet points include information on the material (breathable leather), non-slip sole (so our babies won’t get injured), perfect first shoes (emotional touch), and the fact that is podiatry tested (our babies’ health).
Remember, sometimes your users will skip the rest of the description and just skim the bullet points. That’s why it’s important to highlight the most important features and benefits here.
Although this will probably happen organically if you write a good product description, it’s important to keep your keywords in mind. From a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, using the right keywords is going to help bump your pages up in the search rankings.
On a side note, we touched on product reviews already in one of the earlier tips. Besides building up credibility, collecting and displaying product reviews bring SEO benefits to your product pages as well. The biggest benefits being:
Again, thinking about those important keywords from an SEO perspective is going to benefit your page immensely.
Of course, when we think about product descriptions, we think about texts. However, you shouldn’t ignore those other product page elements as they are also extremely important to conversions. They might lack words (ahem, your images’ alt texts should be optimized for SEO), but they do answer consumer questions. Be sure to include as much as possible regarding the different angles and uses of your product in the images.
For more information on creating the perfect product page, check out our free whitepaper:
Product descriptions are not something to be overlooked. They can tell stories, answer questions, and speak to your target audience in a way that builds connections. They can also really help boost your page’s ranking in search engines and bring more traffic to your online shop. Make sure they get the attention they deserve!