Product descriptions are used to describe a product’s value proposition to potential consumers. The purpose of product descriptions is to provide potential consumers with the benefits and features that a product possesses in an attempt to convince consumers why they need that specific product. Product descriptions are more than just a “product overview” and aid heavily in influencing consumer buying behavior.
To sell their products, companies, and especially ones within the E-Commerce industry, must know how to write a good product description. For example, it has been found that the most desired information that consumers look for when viewing products online are product descriptions (76%), reviews (71%), and images (66%). With this information, we come to understand that writing product descriptions that catch the eyes of consumers and can persuade one’s buying behavior must be achieved because consumers can’t physically touch and see online products.
Below, we will review what companies should avoid when creating a product description, and how companies can create their own product description template based on the 10 product description tips that will be discussed.
What to Avoid When Writing a Product Description
Not incorporating SEO practices in your product description: When writing product descriptions, it is vital that companies use keywords to ensure that their product ranks higher online than other companies with similar products. For this reason, companies must analyze the keywords that other companies use in their product descriptions and use their competitors’ keywords in an attempt to lower their competitors’ SEO rankings. Think about when you search about a product that you need such as a new backpack. Are you going to go through multiple pages of google to look at potential backpacks, or are you going to focus on the backpacks that were linked to the first search page?
Using pictures and videos that are deceiving or have poor quality: If the pictures for a product are low-quality and taken at poor angles, this may lead to a potential consumer leaving your website without even reading the product description. Companies must also ensure that their products match the product description that it is next to. Pictures may be misleading where consumers find that the product quality seen and talked about online does not match the actual quality in person. This can lead to a decrease in sales as consumers send products back for being deceiving.
Focusing on the features of a product, not its benefits: Companies often fall victim to writing product descriptions that only describe the features of their product. To write a product description that sells, companies must explain the product’s benefits, and the solutions that their product can provide to consumers. For example, if your company sells shoes that are known for comfort, explain how the materials that the shoes are made of creates this comfort, do not just list the materials that the shoe is made of.
Using manufacturer provided descriptions: Copying your manufacturer’s product descriptions can cause two problems; one relating to SEO, and another relating to your brand’s identity. For example, search engines penalize websites that use the same copy as other sites which will result in your product description page ranking lower. Companies must create a unique product description that is in their own writing. Using your manufacturer’s product descriptions can also lead to a loss of brand identity as consumers see a shift in tone through a product description alone.
Targeting the wrong consumers: When writing product descriptions that sell, companies must write a product description that will attract its demographic target market. For example, when writing product descriptions for children’s toys around ages 8-10, companies must be able to cater to the reading level of these children. Since the target market is ages 8-10 the product must be an easy read for children and should be full of imagery to excite them. Once children are excited about these toys, they may look to their parents to purchase them. As we can see, product descriptions can increase consumer buying no matter what age the target market is.
Incorporating grammatical and factual errors in your product description: If your product description contains grammatical errors, it can stray potential consumers away from your products because it makes you seem less credible. If the quality of your writing is poor, what does that say about the quality of your products? If your product description includes features and benefits that do not match with the actual features and benefits that your product can provide in person, you will lose both customers and sales. This lowers the credibility of your company and the trust between you and your customers.
Lacking detail and writing the bare minimum: When your company begins formulating product description examples, you must be sure to make your product description detailed. If a consumer cannot see the product’s picture and bases it off its description, the description must be full of imagery to explain what it would be like to have that product without seeing it. If the product description simply lists its main features, the consumer does not gain a sense as to what it would be like to own the product themself. For example, instead of stating that a dress is 100 percent silk, good quality, and water resistant, you could say something like “This gorgeous red dress provides the greatest comfort in its silk fabric, where you won’t need to worry about spilling your drink at important events.”
10 Tips for How to Write a Good Product Description
Make your product description scannable: Companies that know how to write a product description make their product description scannable to consumers. This essentially means that product descriptions must be easy to read by the eye, formatting matters significantly. Product descriptions must be concise, yet both powerful and persuasive. For example, having long sentences in your product descriptions will lead consumers to either put your product back on the shelf or leave your company website. Four ways to ensure that your product descriptions are scannable are:
Using a larger font size.
Using bullet points.
Incorporating white space.
Example of a scannable product description
From the product description above, we come to understand how using headlines, larger font size, bullet points, and white space in your product descriptions ensures that your product descriptions are scannable. Although it is concise, look at how easy that description is to read through its formatting!
Avoid basic phrases- be specific: Product description writing can be very difficult because there are a variety of features and benefits within every product. When developing product description examples, it is important that you avoid using basic phrases such as “good product quality”. Every company claims that their product has good quality, but instead of using this basic phrase, you must provide information as to WHY your product has good quality. For example, you may want to provide details about the structure of your product and the materials that it is made of. Being specific about what your product entails allows consumers to decide if they believe that your product is worthy of its price or not. You should also include at least one unique feature of a product that you believe makes it sell.
Example of a product description that is specific
This product description for Federate Women’s Utility Jackets is effective in establishing that it has “good product” quality by providing details about its specific features such as its windproof membrane and water repellency. This company uses its features to show why their jackets have good quality without simply stating that they are “good quality”.
Focus on product benefits and solutions: Product descriptions that sell are more than just a basic product overview. Product descriptions must include the benefits that a consumer can gain from a product as well as the solutions that this product can provide. This will allow for consumers to gain an understanding of how a product can improve their life. Without these two factors, consumers would not be persuaded to buy a product since the product’s overall value would be missing. It is important to emphasize that consumers are less interested in general details about features and highly interested in a product’s benefits.
Example of a product description with benefits
This product description is effective because instead of stating the general features of the welly bandages, in the beginning, this product description begins by explaining how it provides consumers with the ability (benefit) to cover wounds in difficult places. The first paragraph persuades consumers to buy this product as it makes consumers believe that well bandages are the ONLY bandages that can cover hand wounds that are in difficult places.
Develop a product description that contains sensory words: When questioning how to write a good product description, you must understand how important sensory words are in ensuring that you develop product descriptions that sell. It has been proven that sensory words increase sales, because they engage the brain and increase the amount of brain processing that occurs. Although, you must focus on using sensory adjectives specifically to accomplish using the correct sensory words which are engaging.
Example of a product description with sensory words
This Wendy’s product description is a perfect product description template for understating the impact that sensory words have on persuading consumers to buy a product. Words such as “maple glaze” “juicy”, “big sweet”, and “savory bite” attract the senses of consumers, where they feel tempted to try out the taste of this chicken sandwich. For example, these sensory words increase our brain activity which leads consumers to think about what this chicken sandwich would taste like prior to even trying it. This gets consumers curious and increases their consumer buying behavior!
Focus on appealing to your target market- understand your customers.
Prior to the actual development of a product, companies must assess who their target market is. Every product is divided into different types of target market segmentation, where companies gain a sense of who would buy their products based on its benefits and features. Product description examples must be generated based on a product’s target audience. If a product description does not appeal to the intended audience, your product will fail to sell effectively.
Example of a product description that appeals to its intended audience
When confused about how effective product description writing can appeal to and connect an intended audience to a product, use this product description as a guide. For example, the benefits of this drink are boldly stated as “2 portions of fruit”, “contains 6 different types of fruit”, and “is a source of vitamin c”. Therefore, it is evident that the intended audience for this drink are people who attempt to have and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With the benefits boldly stated, people who carry out a healthy lifestyle would be persuaded to buy this product since it contains a variety of fruit and is a good source of vitamin c.
Use superlatives and “power words”: Using superlatives and power words is a great example of how to write a product description that will persuade potential consumers. Superlatives are exaggerated expressions of praise and power words are words that naturally allow a person to have an emotional response. 6 examples of power words are:
When using superlatives, you must be careful when saying that your product is the best. For example, if your company produces cameras and you know it does not have the best quality lens over all other cameras, you must refrain from using superlatives because it is deceiving. On the other hand, if your camera does have the best quality lens, you must explain how and why your lens has the best quality. With the use of descriptive power words, consumers will become excited to purchase your product as they put the price behind them; power words will convince consumers your product is worth buying no matter what the price is.
Example of a product description with a “power word”
This product description uses the powerful word “wonderful” which evokes a sense of emotion in consumers and increases their chance of buying this gel hand soap since they may feel emotionally attached and provoked by the product description.
Optimize for search engines: When developing a product description, you must optimize for search engines to ensure that your product page ranks higher than your competitors. Your company must use the right keywords to rank above your competitors, but it is important to refrain from using too many basic keywords, since it confuses google and makes your company seem less credible. There are a variety of online tools such as Keywords Everywhere and Keyword Surfer which can aid in your keyword research process. To accomplish the best SEO practices, you must put keywords in your page titles, meta descriptions, and ALT Tags in your product description page. Putting keywords in these three places will allow for your product description page to place high on google.
Use social proof for a credibility and popularity advantage: One of the best ways for how to write a product description that sells would be incorporating social proof because it creates a sense of credibility and popularity. Social proof refers to the idea of normative influence, where people conform to fit into society. For example, people are often led to buy a product with the highest reviews because it makes a product look popular, yet there are other ways to lead a consumer to buy your product through your product description. For example, you can create polls and surveys from current consumers and incorporate them into your product description to look more popular and credible. You can also include quotes from both current customers and current employees, but you must provide a picture with their name because it adds credibility to the quote itself.
Example of a product description with social proof
This product description includes a poll from current customers to emphasize that over 90 percent of current users say that Glossier’s mascara lasts all day, does not flake, and does not smudge. This poll increases the credibility of Glossier’s mascara because it is coming from actual consumers, rather than the company itself saying these factors. This poll also makes the Glossier mascara appear to be popular with its high-poll-ratings, which will persuade consumers to buy this product.
Appeal to the imagination of potential consumers:
A general product overview will fail to persuade consumers to buy your product, which is why you must appeal to the imagination of consumers. It has been proven that if people hold an item physically, it increases their desire to want the product. Therefore, it is necessary that online product descriptions contain imagery to allow consumers to imagine what it would be like to have that product without it being at hand. You must use imagery that attracts one’s senses!
Example of a product description with imagery
This product description is a perfect example of how imagery can persuade consumers to buy a product. Throughout this entire product description, consumers are overwhelmed with imagery such as “delicate, succulent peaches and sweet, sun-soaked apricots”. These descriptive words increase consumers’ curiosity about trying these peaches and apricot smoothies which will affect their buying behavior.
Avoid the use of mini stories: Product description writing should never be focused on mini stories about the upbringing of the company itself. When mini stories are provided in the product description it takes away from the product and its benefits. Instead, you could focus on incorporating a unique feature of a product that makes it sell, a feature that is unique to your product only. This will allow consumers to focus on the benefits of your product and how it is different from/ better than your competitors.
Your future product description template should include the 7 key factors to avoid when writing a product description and the 10 tips that have been provided above. You must understand that writing product descriptions based solely on features instead of the benefits and solutions that a product can provide for consumers WILL NOT allow for your product to sell successfully. You must also be sure that you understand WHO your target audience is before writing your product description and must include at least one unique feature of a product that makes it sell because it will differentiate your product from your competitors’ products. Want more? – Check out these articles “How to become an approved vendor for Petco” and “How to become an approved REI vendor” to learn more about product descriptions that sell and what retailers look for in product innovation.