How to write product descriptions to increase sales

Telling a story

When it comes to setting up and managing an eCommerce business, learning how to write product descriptions may seem like a relatively simple task. On the other hand, if you sell multiple products, it can feel monotonous and repetitive. However, product descriptions shouldn’t be glossed over or written in a hurry.

An effective product description has the power to convert a browser into a customer.

 

Recent research shows that 87% of shoppers say that detailed product content is important to their overall purchase decision.

A successful product description requires the right balance of storytelling, rich content and SEO awareness. Use the following guide (with real-life examples) to learn how to write product descriptions that will boost your sales.

Related: How to create a compelling eCommerce product page

Learn how to write product descriptions that tell a story

As you write product descriptions, try to describe an experience, not just the product itself.

Focus on making the reader envision themselves using (and enjoying) your product.

If appropriate, go as far as describing a time or place.

Look at the description of this hair product on Birchbox. The text evokes the real feeling of being at the beach with language like “just-stepped-out-of-the-surf” and “back-from-the-beach scent,” while also explaining how its product can do the same.

How to write product descriptions Bumble
Image: Birchbox

Product descriptions that tell a story are persuasive to potential customers, nudging them towards the “add to cart” button. The story doesn’t have to be all flowery language — it can also include informative details. In fact, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand after they consume educational content .

Apple is the masterclass example of marrying storytelling with information within their product descriptions. Cameron Craig, who worked in PR for Apple, told the Harvard Business Review:

“Our mission was to tell the story of how our innovative products give customers the power to unleash their creativity and change the world.”

You can see just that in the product description of the MacBook Air. The copy immediately educates the reader on how this product will optimize their personal and professional lives.

How to write product descriptions MacBook Air
Image: Apple

Write product descriptions that highlight your unique value proposition

What makes your product different than the rest? Your unique value proposition (UVP) is your product’s differentiator, and you should include it near the beginning of your product description to quickly convince customers.

If you aren’t sure what that might be, do a little competitor research to see what other brands say about similar products and figure out why yours is different.

For example, refer to GoPro’s description of their latest Hero7 camera. The fact that this camera is the only one on the market with “HyperSmooth stabilization” is one of the first items you see (and mentioned twice above the fold). GoPro also highlights it’s waterproof and rugged features — two of their best UVPs.

How to write product descriptions GoPro
Image: GoPro
How to write product descriptions GoPro2
Image: GoPro

Related: Find your unique selling proposition to build a website that really works

Master product descriptions that consider your target customer

As you explore how to write product descriptions, think not only about your target customer, but also how they will use the product.

Focus on the benefits for the customer.

 

While features are important and have their place (more on that later), use the benefits to write compelling copy that convinces the customer why they need the product.

When thinking about the product and customer, ask yourself:

  • How will it make their life easier?
  • What problem will it solve?
  • What advantages will it provide?

Those are the types of benefits you should highlight first and foremost in your product description.

Read Goop’s product description — they immediately dive into what the product will do for the customer’s skin — and you’ll see there are no doubts about the benefits.

How to write product descriptions Goop
Image: Goop

Use product descriptions that match your tone to your buyer persona

When you write a product description, you also want to consider your target customer so that you can speak directly to their buyer persona.

One way to accomplish this is by matching the tone of the product description to your ideal customer.

For instance, if your audience is millennial consumers and you’re selling a lifestyle product, you can inject humor and frivolity to catch their attention.

On the other hand, if you sell professional-level tech products targeted toward business buyers, you’ll want to keep the tone more serious and detailed.

The perfect example of tone is Dollar Shave Club, a brand that made a name for itself with irreverent humor. Notice how their product description reflects its overall brand voice (and matches the tone of their audience) with tongue-in-cheek jokes.

 How to write product descriptions Deodorant
Image: Dollar Shave Club

Make your product descriptions concise and scannable

The above-the-fold section of your product page should contain the best copy. Remember that every word matters. Potential customers can scroll or click for more information if they’d like. That means your initial product description should be concise and to the point.

Whether you offer an expandable description or tabs below the fold with more features and details, the idea is to make the first product description scannable to hook the customer.

Scannability is also crucial for mobile customers so that they can see product descriptions easily on their phones.

Make sure to keep mobile-friendliness in mind as 79% of smartphone users made a purchase on their mobile device in the past six months.

Many brands use bullet points to help with scannability in their product descriptions. Notice how Home Depot includes bullet points in both its initial product description, as well as the expanded product overview.

How to write product descriptions Mower
Image: Home Depot
How to write product descriptions Mower2
Image: Home Depot

Include multiple high-quality images with product descriptions

Holding a product is vital to consumers. When it comes to the customers who choose to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, 62% say it’s because they want to see, touch, feel and try out items.

Ecommerce brands can overcome this hurdle by including stellar product images from multiple angles.

 

You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional photographer to take product pictures (although if you have the budget, it can be worth it). High-res camera phones with portrait mode make it increasingly easier for eCommerce business owners to DIY product images.

When possible include images of the product in use, like someone wearing a piece of clothing, a customer using a tool — or even a screenshot of a digital product. These types of images help contextualize the product in action, which makes it seem more real and tangible.

Raw Spice Bar, a company that sells spices (essentially just ground up powder), still manages to use images to their advantage. They show an enlarged version of the spice, so customers can see texture and color, as well as the spice in its packaging, so customers can visualize what to expect. Lastly, they include an image of a meal where the spice is used, helping to put the product in context.

How to write product descriptions Spice
Image: Raw Spice Bar

Related: How to take product photos that will help sell your goods

Incorporate customer testimonials with product descriptions

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool in driving sales for your eCommerce business.

Customer testimonials and reviews are the best types of UGC to include in product descriptions.

Reviews help to provide social proof that other satisfied customers purchased and used your product, which goes a long way to encourage potential buyers.

Nearly 90% of consumers report that UGC influences their purchase decisions.

Depending on the layout and format of your eCommerce site, you can include a link to the product review page, or have native reviews underneath the product description.

Some brands opt to cherry-pick positive reviews or testimonials and include it as a quote in their product description.

Related: How to develop customer testimonials for your eCommerce site 

Make product descriptions searchable with SEO

If you want more customers to find your product with organic search (via search engines such as Google or Bing), write product descriptions with SEO in mind.

Each individual product page on an eCommerce site is another opportunity to include high-quality content that’s indexed by search engines.

When product-descriptions are SEO friendly, those indexed pages can hopefully rank for your ideal keywords. This means a potential customers types in a related query and your site appears as a top result in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

If you haven’t already, do some basic keyword research, so you know what terms and phrases to include in your product description. Keywords are terms that directly relate to your product that a potential customer might type into a search engine when looking to find it.

Make a list of keywords and include them naturally in product descriptions, details and anywhere on your product page.

Don’t forget about long-tail keywords— these represent longer phrase/question searches rather than specific two- to five-word keywords. To give you an idea, instead of the keyword “cleaning supplies,” a long-tail keyword would be “affordable organic cleaning spray solution.”

Google tells us more and more consumers use conversational search queries. Searches with “do I need” grew in popularity by 65% — these are searches like: “what size generator do I need?”

Their advice on using this to your advantage? “Lock down keywords and phrases typically associated with [your] businesses and then consider natural language search phrases that customers might be using to find them.”

Make product descriptions that include useful and technical details

After you craft and hone your initial product description, include technical and specific product details. As you’ve seen in the examples above, the product details section typically comes below the fold and under the initial product description.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not as important.

Consumers have specifics needs and concerns when it comes to purchasing a product, and details can be a make or break when it comes to conversion. Just think: what if someone has a skin allergy and can’t find the materials for a clothing item?

Your goal with product details should be to answer any question before a customer asks it, and provide useful information to help them on their buying journey.

A good example is Macy’s — they include the height and clothing size of the models in their product pictures. These details give the buyer additional insight into how items fit on an actual person, for example where a dress hem might fall.

How to write product descriptions Macys
Image: Macy’s

A/B test your product descriptions

Once you nail down how to write product descriptions, don’t stop there. A/B test descriptions against one another to try out different tactics and find the best options. You can formally A/B test with marketing tools such as Google Optimize, Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer.

Alternatively, you can do informal A/B testing by using different versions or formats for descriptions on similar products to see which sells better over a certain period of time.

Every eCommerce business is different, and there’s no-one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to product descriptions.

Testing your product pages will allow you to improve your descriptions to increase traffic and sales.

Make sure to check in with all product pages, if one seems to be selling better than the rest, try to repurpose that description on the low-selling products. Remember that data and metrics will help you refine your process.

Editor’s note: With dedicated product pages, GoDaddy Online Store makes it easy to update your product descriptions.

Learn how to write product descriptions to drive more sales

Product descriptions have the power to increase sales for your eCommerce business dramatically, yet even large corporations struggle with them.

Take a look at this case study: Overstock.com used freelance writers to enrich product descriptions for the top 10% of their products ahead of the holiday season. This move led to an 84% increase in organic traffic.

The main takeaway? Don’t get disheartened when setting up your eCommerce store. Follow this guide, and with a little hard work and persistence, your product descriptions will increase conversions for your online store.

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Erik Deckers.