Product descriptions are incredibly easy to take for granted given how ubiquitous they are with online marketplaces. Whenever you visit a product page, you expect the description and you expect it to be written in a certain way. It can come as a shock to realize that someone wrote those descriptions at one point. This usually happens when the tables are turned and suddenly you find yourself operating your own ecommerce system. You understand your products, you know what they do and how to sell them, but actually writing that description can still be difficult. It can even feel as if they are supposed to write themselves.
We are here to help. With our expertise in web development, we have worked on multiple ecommerce sites and have come to understand how to craft powerful product descriptions. These simple tips and tricks will allow your ecommerce site to stand out from the crowd and dominate the market…
Be Descriptive and Evoke Emotion
When it comes to consumers and their spending habits, at first it appears to be a mostly logical affair- one dictated by reasoned comparisons of utility and value. For instance, if you have two items which are virtually identical, with one that costs $25 while the other costs $15, it would make sense that you would always buy the $15 item. Interestingly enough, consumers do not operate in this fashion. Purchases are emotionally charged decisions rather than rational ones.
This is the explanation as to why branding is an effective tool. Do you buy Jif peanut butter, or Skippy? There is a difference in price and quality between the two brands, however not to the extent that people will agonize over their choice peanut butter. Our choices when it comes to such goods are quick and almost automatic. In this case, consumers will pick what they are familiar with.
When it comes to taking advantage of the emotional response, retail items will evoke emotion through packaging. In the world of online products, our tool is the product description. Do some self-reflection and think about the target audience of your product. What emotions drive them? If you are going to sell hot chocolate, then bring back warm memories of holidays with the family. Likewise, if you are selling sports cars, focus on adrenaline and adventure.
Avoid the Trap of the Feature List
Even once you master appealing to emotion within your descriptions, many people often develop a blind spot. The feature list is seen as one of the most simple and straightforward parts of a product description. “What does your product do?” The first response is to answer that question, listing off everything your product is capable of. There is something that must be kept in mind here however, people do not actually care what your product does. What concerns them is the end result of those actions- how it makes them feel.
Consumers appreciate narratives and feature lists are a frequently missed opportunity to integrate your product into the consumer’s life. Take this example feature list for a mop-
- Extendable grip
- Ultra-durable cloth fiber
- Extra absorbent brush head
Why should the consumer care about these features? While they are able to reach that conclusion themselves, it is better if we lead them to it directly.
Hard to reach spots are a thing of the past
Ultra-durable cloth fiber
Guarantees your mop will stand the test of time
Extra absorption power
Clean twice the mess with half the effort
In this second example we provide additional context to the features of the mop. This allows us to fully integrate the emotional response in not only our product descriptions, but our feature lists as well.
Consistency is Key
Ideally, the layout of your website should be designed in such a way as to make the information you are trying to convey to your consumer as clear and direct as possible. While a large part of this will come down to how a site is designed, the actual content on the site does matter. Even if the layout is simple and intuitive- the product titles, features, and descriptions must remain consistent.
Let us use an example. Compare shopping for furniture on eBay versus Ikea. Because all of eBay’s content is user generated, it becomes nigh impossible to police content for consistency. Ikea on the other hand has a team responsible for the maintenance of their ecommerce systems which allows them to follow a set of standards for every item listing.
While a Billy the Bookcase might be found cheaper on eBay, it requires much more effort and vetting on behalf of the consumer. Because of this, the consistency Ikea provides means that despite higher prices, they are able to retain a larger number of consumers. If your website and descriptions are maintained in such a way that they make shopping an enjoyable experience, then you too will be able to put yourself at a premium as compared to your competitors.
The rules that govern product descriptions are the same as any other form of sales. Emotion, narrative, and clarity are the three pillars that will guide your writing. The techniques we have listed here are proven to increase traffic and drive sales. Keep them in mind and refine them when possible to make sure that your website’s content continues to shine.