Write Powerful Product Descriptions

Learn what turns shoppers into buyers.

by Dennis L. Prince
- Aug 09, 2013

Most agree there's little value in redesigning what already works. In online sales, product descriptions have been discussed and disseminated at length. Even so, with each year, the consumer environment and shoppers' attitudes continue to change, requiring sellers to continually realign their messaging to meet the buyers' wants and needs.

When it comes to product descriptions, it might be time for you to refine how you define what it is you're selling. Here are some things for you to review in determining if your product descriptions are meeting today's customer expectations. You might discover your descriptions are in need of a refresh to attract more customers and result in more sales.

Create, don't copy

Hopefully, you have a sizable inventory of products to offer that will attract a large audience of potential customers. When the masses arrive to shop from you, your job is to give them something compelling to read in your product descriptions, preferably such that they make a purchase.

If you copy and paste standard product descriptions, perhaps the ones provided by the manufacturer or supplier of what you sell, you'll set yourself up to be just another provider of the same goods available elsewhere, maybe from hundreds of other retailers. In effect, you're telling your customers you have nothing new to offer in regards to the product. You're subliminally encouraging them to shop around for the same goods described the same way, offered somewhere else. Yikes!

The key is to make sure your product descriptions create a relationship between the product and your business

The key message here is to make sure your product descriptions create a relationship between the product and your business. In that way, you'll be able to connect with customers in a way that truly caters to their shopping needs and desires—all thanks to your creative product descriptions.

Make it useful

Your product descriptions need to, well, describe your products. What that means is you need to textually represent what you're selling by relaying size, color and other specifications your customers need to know.

Of course, you'll want to include images of your products, but don't rely on images alone to serve as your product descriptions. You'll learn a bit later why this could be a critical misstep. Show images, but ensure you have accompanying text to support what the image conveys and vice versa.

Make it matter

Beyond the straightforward description of the product and its details, be sure to speak to the product's usefulness.

Designers and manufacturers go to great lengths to include unique features that make their products better than others and more suitable to particular needs or situations. Be sure to include information that helps your customers understand what your products do, what problems they can solve and why they're the products to buy.

Sure, other retailers might also be selling the same item and that's why it's imperative that you step forward as the seller to best explain how the product—as you're selling it—is the best purchase.

Make it personal

As an integral function of courting customers, your product descriptions should explain how the product will benefit them personally. Include text that speaks directly to the customer's wants, hopes and wishes. When you write, "It's the warmest cold-weather jacket that doesn't restrict you and won't slow you down," you've made a personal connection with the customer, indicating you understand what they want and, most important, why they might want it.

Google rewards online content providers with better ranking placement when providing unique site content

Product descriptions need to speak to customers and explain how a purchase (from your business, specifically) will improve their situation and add enjoyment to their experiences. Use the pronouns "you" and "your," and so on, to literally speak to your customers; that indicates you seek to serve them on a personal and meaningful level.

Fuel the search engines

Here's the real payoff when you craft better product descriptions: Your products stand a better chance to appear as the most relevant online search results. When you (and many others, it's true) use a copy-and-paste approach to describing products, online search engines can't discern one from the other.

Google, in fact, implemented its Panda Farmer search algorithm change in 2011, to reward online content providers with better ranking placement when providing unique site content (such as product descriptions) rather than lesser-quality copied content. Therefore, write your product descriptions to include key product information, explain how the product serves the customer, why it's the best choice among others and make the proposition that your business is the place to gain total satisfaction.

This is the "value add" content that search engines are looking for when culling the best results for customers' online search queries. More to the point, the search engines are wary of duplicated content on the Web, especially in these days of content mills and link aggregators that clog our path to finding what we seek. Keep your content original, among your competitors as well as within your own site. That is, don't duplicate information within your own store pages, and you'll rise above the fray and get more views of what you're offering.

When you take a fresh approach to crafting your product descriptions, you convey that you're more interested in catering to your customers as opposed to merely schlepping around an indifferent inventory. You needn't write the most lavish descriptions on the Web, and you certainly don't want them to become so lengthy that you risk losing your customers' interest. Still, offer descriptions that efficiently describe your product, that explain their beneficial features and that convince customers they've just found exactly what they've been seeking.

About the Author

Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay…and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues.

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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