Ecommerce

How to write meaningful ecommerce product descriptions

 

Writing meaningful product descriptions can be a challenge. The temptation to leave this vague and focus on more interesting tasks is high. If you really want to see a higher conversion rate you have to make your product information key to that activity.

Many users will buy elsewhere if a key piece of information is not evident in the description. This is based on product questions:

  • Will this fit? = Size Guide, Dimensions
  • How heavy is this package going to be, could I carry that to the car myself? = Weight of product
  • Is this going to be waterproof? windproof ? = specific features the user is looking for

Write first, Edit Second

The object of writing is to write. Too many people try to edit as they write and this leads to a much slower and more arduous task when you have 300+ product descriptions to be writing about.

A good method for writing product descriptions is to make yourself a quick template to speed the process up.

 

What is the product’s full name?

Good Example

Montane Men’s Atomic II Waterproof Jacket

The Brand, gender, model, core feature and product type are all listed in the title. This is a strong naming convention for an ecommerce product. Remember to never make your product names generic, even a plain white T-Shirt should not be called “White T-Shirt”, it would perform better being called a “Fruit of the Loom Cotton short sleeve T-Shirt”

 

What is the Product’s primary use?

Good Example

Fully waterproof and very breathable weather protection that won’t restrict the way you move. Perfect for demanding outdoor days.

The above example reinforces the features in a one line statement and ends in the primary use, placing the customer into the context of why you would likely be using this product. The product solves a problem, writing from that context will strengthen your copy and remove that generic technical feel normally seen on the brand owner’s website.

 

What are the key features of the product?

The way to start this is by listing all key features, then expand them into emotional sentences (to humanise and soften the copy for the end user).

  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Breathable
  • Increased Movement
  • PERTEX Shield Fabric
  • Dry-touch
  • Water Repellent
  • Mountain Cut
  • Articulated Arms
  • Vented Hand Pockets
  • Internal Tab
  • Soft Fleece Chin Guard
  • Wired Peak

Using the above example we can expand into the following copy

Waterproof, windproof, breathable, increased movement becomes:

Montane’s Atomic II Jacket is a versatile lightweight mountain rain shell that’s fully waterproof, windproof and breathable, and cut to let you move without restriction.

 

PERTEX Shield Fabric, dry-touch, Water repellent becomes:

Made using remarkable PERTEX® Shield fabric (now with a dry-touch back for more comfort when you’re in the wet), its hardwearing nylon face also boasts a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish that makes rain droplets bead and run off before they get a chance to penetrate the fabric.

 

Mountain cut, articulated arms becomes:

Its ‘mountain cut’ means it’s useful for any demanding outdoor pursuit. Articulated arms mean that you can extend to full reach without losing coverage, and the tailored hem won’t lift when you stretch yourself.

 

Hood features Internal tab, soft fleece chin guard and wired peak becomes:

The cleverly designed hood has three adjustment points and a wired peak and an internal tab allow to you lock it down and roll it away if it’s in your way. A soft fleece chin guard around the face and mouth area keeps you comfortable when you need to hunker down inside the collar.

 

Vented Hand Pockets becomes:

The two mesh vented hand pockets are positioned where they won’t get in the way of your harness or backpack straps.

 

What are the specific technical details of the product?

The technical details can be authored with the same exercise. This information is often written in less emotional language and gives the key details for the user to scan through. It is worth having this in addition to the technical specification table you often have on ecommerce sites.

A good example of a technical block would be from “go outdoors”:

Subtle changes in the design include internal hood adjuster drawcords and newly styled reflective features, whilst the updated Dry touch fabric backing now gives you less of a cold feel when next to the skin.

  • Microtaped seams throughout increase the breathable surface area
  • Full length YKK front zip with internal storm flap and rain drain
  • Hook-and-loop adjustable cuffs with mitt grab tabs for easy use with gloves or mitts
  • Single hand operated adjustable, elasticated drawcord hem prevents weather entry and heat loss
  • Subtle SCOTCHLITE™ reflective details for mountain safety

 

Create a Scannable Format

After your copy has been written your next task is to spend time on making it as readable as possible. This can be about sentence structure, but also the overall formatting of your text is important. It’s very off-putting to have to scan through large blocks of text, with very little breaks in the formatting.

Formatted Product Description

Having your content in a scannable format will allow the user to read through the key information and find the specifics they are looking for.

Some Quick Tips

  • Use colour as well as weight to show content hierarchy
  • Use bullets to highlight key information
  • Use subheadings
  • Use a readable font
  • Use line spacing and format your text with italics and bold to highlight key features

 

Use meaningful sub-headings

In the example image above you can see that I pulled out a single key term that generalised the block Protective Shell, Shield Fabric, etc. These headings act as signposts to the content that sits under them, reading content online is not like reading a book.

You want the user to be able to scan. If for example, you were only interested in the features of the jacket’s outer shell and the hood features this break up of the content assists you get the information much quicker than the example on the left.

It’s important to note that both of these content blocks are the same, yet look at how much structure well-formatted headings are giving the example on the right-hand side.

SEO Tip: Google places a lot of weight on headings so you might want to include your product name again in this text.

 

Include all key features

If you don’t say it your competitor will. If you are selling something it’s important to be as descriptive as possible. Users are making much more informed choices about what they buy today than what was common in the past.

The buying cycle often goes from research, into price comparison before making the purchase, this is why well-populated product pages, with good images of the product in different viewpoints, has more success that vague product pages.

It’s good for the customer, great for conversion, has the advantage of increasing your SEO, so all in all it’s a great place to invest attention and activity within your business

 

Where possible show utility of product through video/Photography

Photography is essential to successful ecommerce, a video is also very effective but can cost your business a lot if you cannot afford to bring the activity in-house. It is possible to use your images to showcase the features of the product, while it might seem like a lot of effort on the face of it, this is actually what a lot of your potential customers are looking for.

The jacket looks great, but showing the hidden pockets, the fold in hood within the collar, the inner mesh pockets, the sleeve groove for your headphones is only going to help the user picture how this product looks physically.

 

Conclusion

  • Write copy that helps the user get a full sense of the product.
  • It’s important to be as descriptive as possible with your content.
  • Use formatting, colour, headings and images to break up the text into more digestible chunks.
  • Write lists, expand content, then edit.