How do you write good product descriptions?

Product descriptions play an important role in increasing sales. In fact, what you write can mean the difference between actually making the sale and an abandoned shopping cart.

What is a product description?

Product descriptions are the words you use to explain what a product is and why customers should buy it. More importantly, a product description provides information that photos can’t. As such, it goes without saying that they are a must in e-commerce.

Why are product descriptions important?

Let’s take a look at some statistics.

According to Salsify:

  • When deciding to make a purchase, 87% of consumers rate product content extremely or very important.
  • Aside from price, it’s the description as well as ratings and reviews that influences customers to make a purchase—regardless of product category!
  • 50% of shoppers have returned an item they bought online because it did not match the product description.

Other reasons include:

  • They’re necessary for your products to be found on search engines.
  • They help to build trust with shoppers—great descriptions are informative, lend credibility, and show that you’re professional.
  • Product information prevents customers from leaving the page by answering shoppers’ main questions.

Without this essential marketing copy, how will a shopper know if what you’re offering is the answer to their needs? What will convince them to buy?

Both sides clearly benefit from good product descriptions.

That’s why businesses with an e-commerce component – no matter how big or small – can’t afford to be lazy with their product descriptions.

How do you write a good product description?

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it – product descriptions take time to write.

They’re even more time-consuming if you want them done well, because high-converting product descriptions require research, strategy, and some knowledge of SEO.

When it comes to writing e-commerce product descriptions, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

1.    Know your target buyer

The best product descriptions are:

  • Enticing, so that customers want them;
  • And convincing, so that customers feel they must have them.

The only way to be able to write copy that achieves that is by having a clear picture of your target buyer. The more you know about your potential customers, the better you can write for them.

So who are they? Where are they? How old are they? What makes them tick? Why might they be looking for such a product? And so on.

2.    Use clear, simple language

Product descriptions are not the right place for extravagant vocabulary—shoppers will not take the time to decipher what’s written.

Want to keep your reader’s attention? Then:

  • Choose your words wisely
  • Keep sentences short and easy to understand
  • Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes

TIP: Make sure product descriptions are accurate. Otherwise you risk ruining your own reputation and losing customers.

3.    Consider length and format

How you present information – what works best – depends in part on the product.

Some product descriptions are paragraphs of text. Others are a few bullet points. Many are a combination of both.

How to write good product descriptions: Consider length and format

At the end of the day, the goal is to format the description so that it is reader-friendly.

If you’re selling pencils, for example, there’s really no need to write all that much. A few bullet points would suffice—unless they’re ultra-luxurious and you have to justify the price tag.

If you’re selling something of a technical nature, on the other hand, you might need to do more explaining.

Related: Is there an ideal product description length?

4.    List features, highlight benefits

Don’t make the mistake of writing descriptions that do nothing more than describe. Remember that your buyers are human and that means you must appeal to their rational and emotional sides.

How to write good product descriptions: List features, highlight benefits

5.    Include keywords

To show up in search results, you’ll need to strategically include keywords into your copy. That means the words actual people use to search for your product category. You’ll also want to incorporate keywords in page titles, meta descriptions, and image tags for maximum impact.

Related: Search snippets: How to write meta descriptions that increase your click-through rate

6.    Be focused, be succinct

Filler words and burying important product details in walls of text will result in shoppers going elsewhere—no one wants to work that hard to figure out if an item is worth adding to the shopping cart.

How to write good product descriptions: Be focused, be succinct

Focus on what’s important and leave the rest, if and where necessary, for the ‘more information’ section.

Related: Why is no one buying from my online store?

7.    Don’t copy and paste

No matter how short on time (or lacking in inspiration) you are, don’t resort to copying and pasting descriptions. Google does not like duplicates. For the best results, take the time to write original copy.

These 7 writing tips are the bare minimum for successful product copy. Skip one and you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Related: Examples of great product descriptions and what you can learn from them

What else can you do to increase online store sales?

It has to be said, however, that product descriptions alone can’t do much to increase sales.

The same Salsify research mentioned above found that:

  • 70% of shoppers need to see at least 3 product photos while shopping
  • 86% like to read at least 3 reviews

So clearly multiple factors work together to result in sales.

What does this mean for you?

Aside from a quality product and responsive customer service, you must also invest in a proper website, quality photographs, and commit to ensuring a safe online shopping experience for your customers.

Related: E-commerce website problems: Are you making these common mistakes?