The Complete Guide to Writing Product Descriptions

By Team AmeriCommerce Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Writing product descriptions is one of those chores that seems so simple at first, but when you really get into it you realize just how complex it actually is. Whether you're a veteran of Ecommerce, or you're just starting up and need some advice, this blog post will help you understand the true ins and outs of writing great product descriptions. And with studies showing that 'Well written content can improve usability by 124%' it's worth a read...

Find your voice

Before sitting down to write your product descriptions you need to discover what kind of tone your online store will have (or already has).

Your tone can depend on a number of things. For example:

  • The type of products or service you offer. The tone of voice will differ greatly between a maternity wear store and a joke store
  • Who you want to appeal to. Again, the tone of voice differs when addressing pregnant women shopping for clothes and teenage boys shopping for pranks.

Your tone of voice should differentiate from competitors too, so it's worth researching this. Do you have a competitor that is doing well, but has a very uptight style? Make yourself a fun alternative. 

The entire tone of your store must reflect your personality and values, and whilst your product description must reflect this too, you should always alter your tone to become slightly more conversational when writing product descriptions. This will offer the opportunity for deeper engagement with your customers.

Write to your ideal buyer

So, obviously you want to attract as many buyers as possible to your online store. But if you make the mistake of aiming your product descriptions at this huge group of people you risk missing the mark completely, and actually engaging with no one.

To produce great product descriptions you need to create an ideal buyer persona. To do this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this person male or female?
  • How old are they?
  • What are their interests?

You can take this as far as you like until you feel confident that you've found and understand your ideal buyer. When you have this buyer persona, aim your product description at this one person.

Imagine you're in a brick and mortar store, speaking face-to-face with this customer. Address the questions they have; use the word 'you' -- make it a personal experience.

Be different

Most product descriptions end up becoming a list of useful, but deathly boring, features, and this isn't going to engage your buyer. 

Avoid generalization such as 'This top-of-the-range' bike'. Customers read sentences like this so often that they have lost all meaning. Be specific. Discover what it is that makes your product 'top-of-the-range' and explain this to your customer. 

You can also try making your product descriptions relatable. It can be fun to tell a little story about your product or ask relatable questions like, 'Ever spilled red wine down your white blouse?! Yep, us too. That's why we use [store name] stain remover!' 

However, whilst you're telling unique stories and wowing your customers with persuasive language, you mustn't forget to include all the boring bits! A customer may love your style and really want to buy your product but they simply can't if the vital information is lacking.
Remember to include all of the specifics like:

  • Dimensions
  • Color
  • Estimated delivery time
  • If the product needs anything extra to make it work (e.g. batteries)

Always make sure you are one step ahead of the game. We all keep such a close eye on our competitors that it's easy to fall in line with them. Soon you may become so similar that there's nothing to differentiate you anymore.

You could also stand out from the crowd by taking the opportunity to include something unique about your store in the product description. For example, 'We only use naturally sourced ingredients'. Facts like this could really help secure sales.

Think like a writer

The first rule of writing is: Your first draft is never your last. 

You should read and redraft your product description at least once. Perhaps leave it for a few hours and come back to it with fresh eyes. Or better yet, get completely fresh eyes to look at it by asking a friend to critique it for you. You'll almost always find either a grammatical error or a sentence/word that you thought worked well before, but now you hate it. 

Once your content is redrafted there is even more work to be done (sorry! It'll all be worth it in the end -- promise!). Now you've got to make your product description appealing to the eye and easy to read. You can do this by:

  • Creating bullet points like this one! Bullet points are great way for readers to digest important information without being bored.
  • Creating bold headlines or subtitles (like we've done in this post) to draw attention to your product.
  • Making sure there's enough white space around your text. If not, it could look like you've written a lot more than you have and instantly send busy internet shoppers elsewhere.

If writing just really isn't your thing then maybe think about hiring a professional copywriter to do it for you, but remember, no one knows your product like you do.

Optimize for SEO

Okay so we've established your ideal buyer, we've figured out how to write product descriptions that will appeal to him/her -- what next?

Now we have to make those product descriptions easy for him/her to find with the use of SEO keywords!

At this stage you will have already written a beautiful product description, and it is important not to destroy that with awkwardly placed, over-stuffed keywords. The keywords that you think will lead your ideal buyer to your site may already be in your product description, in which case that's great! But if not, try thinking of just two or three keywords that your ideal buyer would search for in Google and cleverly incorporate these into your product descriptions.

All of this being said, it really is vital that you don't overthink this part of writing your product descriptions. There's no use weighing down your content with countless keywords because although it may lead people to your site, if it's overbearing it will send them away just as fast.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this post gave you more of an insight on how important product descriptions are for generating sales. In a way, product descriptions are your only opportunity to openly brag about how great your products are so they must be done right!

What have you taken from this article? Let us know in the comments box below :)

About the Author

Team AmeriCommerce

AmeriCommerce is an ecommerce software platform serving over 5,000 merchants since 2005. Whether you need one online store or multiple stores, AmeriCommerce has the tools to help you Sell Stuff! By staying passionate about selling stuff online and fostering a loving and deep partnership with our customers, AmeriCommerce is the ecommerce software that simply cares more. Learn more about AmeriCommerce at www.AmeriCommerce.com

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