Create Engaging and Informative Product Descriptions

How To Create Engaging and Informative Product Descriptions for e-Commerce Businesses

Last Updated on 01st Apr, 2024

Product descriptions are crucial elements of any e-commerce website. They can draw customers in, provide the information needed to make a purchase decision, and ultimately boost sales. However, many online stores struggle to craft engaging and informative product descriptions.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain the key steps and best practices for writing product descriptions that captivate your target audience and drive conversions. By the end, you’ll have all the knowledge and tools you need to take your e-commerce product pages to the next level.

Understanding Your Target Audience

Before you start writing product descriptions, it’s essential to have a clear picture of your target customer. What are their needs, interests, and pain points? What language and tone do they respond to? The more you understand your audience, the easier it will be to craft descriptions that resonate with them emotionally.

One effective way to gain these insights is to develop detailed buyer personas. These are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data from market research, customer surveys, and interviews. A persona should include demographic information (age, gender, income level, etc.), as well as psychographic details like values, motivations, and shopping behaviors.

For example, let’s say you run an online store selling high-end kitchen gadgets. One of your buyer personas might be “Foodie Francine.” She’s a 35-year-old professional who loves experimenting with new recipes and impressing dinner party guests. Francine values quality and innovation and is willing to spend more on premium products that will elevate her cooking. With this persona in mind, you can tailor your descriptions to highlight the cutting-edge features and gourmet results each gadget offers.

Highlighting Benefits, Not Just Features

Many e-commerce product descriptions make the mistake of simply listing an item’s features and technical specifications. While these details are important, they don’t tell the full story of how a product will improve the customer’s life. That’s why it’s crucial to go beyond the specs and focus on the benefits.

Features are the factual aspects of a product, such as material, dimensions, or included accessories. Benefits are the positive outcomes of those features for the user. For example, a blender might have a “1200-watt motor” (feature), which results in “faster, smoother blending for perfect smoothies and soups” (benefit). See the difference?

Customers want to know what’s in it for them. How will this product make their lives easier, better, or more enjoyable? When describing benefits, use active language that helps the reader imagine themselves using and loving the product.

Some Key Phrases to Integrate Benefits

  • “So you can…”
  • “Which means…”
  • “Allowing you to…”
  • “Giving you the power to…”
  • “Helping you achieve…”

Let’s look at an example of how to combine features and benefits into an engaging product description using the blender example:

“Equipped with a powerful 1200-watt motor, the BlendPro effortlessly whips through even the toughest ingredients, so you can enjoy smoother smoothies, creamier soups, and more consistent results every time. The durable stainless steel blades quickly work through whole fruits and veggies, helping you pack in more nutrition with less prep. And with one-touch presets for your favorite recipes, you can create restaurant-quality dishes at the push of a button, giving you more time to savor and share your culinary creations.”

Can you see how those benefits (easier blending, smoother results, faster prep, one-touch convenience) bring the features to life? That’s the key to product descriptions that sell.

Using Natural, Conversational Language

Just because you’re writing for the web, you don’t have to sound stiff and robotic. In fact, product descriptions are the perfect place to let your brand’s unique personality and voice shine through. Write like you’d talk to a friend, using simple words and short, punchy sentences.

Imagine you’re having a face-to-face conversation with your target customer. How would you describe the product to get them excited about its features and eager to experience its benefits? Aim for the same natural, enthusiastic tone in your writing.

This conversational style is especially important for connecting with millennial and Gen Z shoppers. These shoppers value authenticity and are turned off by traditional “sales” ad speak. They want to buy from brands that feel genuine and relatable.

Few Tips for Keeping Your Language Conversational

  • Use contractions (you’re instead of you are)
  • Ask questions (Looking for a better way to…?)
  • Include sentence fragments (…that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without)
  • Sprinkle in asides (We know, it sounds too good to be confirmed)
  • Choose simple words over jargon (delicious vs. palatable)

For Retailers

  • Higher Conversion Rates: A streamlined checkout process can improve conversions.
  • Competitive Edge: Early voice-commerce adoption helps retailers gain a competitive first-mover advantage.
  • Improved Brand Visibility: Product listings on voice assistant platforms increase discoverability.
  • Enhanced CX: Voice commerce provides an additional sales channel and upgraded consumer experience.
  • Deeper Consumer Insights: Data derived from voice searches provides valuable consumer behaviour insights.

Of course, you’ll want to adapt your tone and language to align with your specific brand identity. For example, an edgy fashion brand aimed at teens will sound very different than a high-end furniture maker targeting affluent homeowners. The key is to develop a consistent voice that resonates with your unique audience.

One great example of conversational yet on-brand copy is the product descriptions from sock company Bombas. Check out this snippet:

“These socks were designed to keep your feet happy, no matter where they take you. With a cushioned footbed and honeycomb arch support, they hug your feet in all the right places. The moisture-wicking material keeps things cool and dry, while the seamless toe means no more annoying bumps or rubs. Plus, for every purchase, we donate a pair to someone in need, so you can feel good about treating your feet.”

The description is warm and playful, reading almost like a pep talk for your feet. The casual language and focus on benefits make the socks feel less like an inanimate product and more like a supportive friend for your adventures. That’s the power of excellent conversational copy.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Product Descriptions

Of course, writing engaging descriptions is not enough—you also need to ensure potential customers can actually find your products online. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. By strategically integrating relevant keywords and formatting your content for online reading, you can boost your visibility in search engine results and attract more organic traffic to your product pages.

Start by identifying the primary keyword or phrase for which each product page should rank. Use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahrefs to research the search volume and competitiveness of different terms. Generally, you’ll want to target keywords that have a high search volume relative to their competition level.

For example, let’s say you sell women’s yoga pants. A broad term like “yoga pants” might have a very high search volume but also intense competition from significant activewear brands. A more specific, less competitive keyword like “high-waisted yoga pants with pockets” could be more accessible to rank for a while, still attracting a decent amount of search traffic.

Once you’ve identified your primary keyword, weave it naturally throughout your product description, aiming for a density of around 1-2%. Please don’t overdo it or resort to keyword stuffing, as this can actually hurt your SEO. Just use the term organically in your copy, especially in critical spots like the page title, headings, and image alt text.

In addition to keywords, the formatting of your descriptions can impact SEO. Search engines favor content that is easy for users to read and navigate. Break up long blocks of text with headings, bullet points, and short paragraphs. This makes your descriptions more skimmable for online shoppers while also giving search engines cues about the page’s content and structure.

Finally, remember to optimize your product images. High-quality visual content is crucial for e-commerce SEO. Use clear, professional photos that showcase your products from multiple angles. To boost each image’s relevance in search results, include the main keyword in its filename and alt text.

Complementing with Product Images and Videos

Speaking of visual content, more than product descriptions are needed to showcase an item and persuade customers to buy fully. You need to complement your engaging copy with equally compelling product images and videos.

According to a study by BigCommerce, 78% of online shoppers want to see more images from e-commerce brands, and 30% want to see more video content. Visuals help customers better understand a product’s features, quality, and use cases. They bring your descriptions to life and create a richer, more immersive shopping experience.

For product photos, aim for a mix of shots that show the item from different angles as well as in context or use. For example, if you’re selling a blouse, include images of the front, back, and any unique details like buttons or embroidery. However, the blouse should also be shown on a model or style as part of a complete outfit to help customers envision how they might wear it in their own lives.

When it comes to product videos, there are a few different types you can create:

  • Demo videos showing the product in action and how to use it
  • Explainer videos highlighting key features and benefits
  • Customer testimonial or review videos for social proof
  • Styling or how-to videos offering tips and inspiration
  • Behind-the-scenes videos sharing your brand story and values

For example, if you sell kitchen gadgets, a demo video could show a chef using your high-powered blender to whip up a smoothie in seconds. An explainer video might use animations to illustrate how the blender’s unique blade design creates a vortex for smoother results. A customer review video could feature a real user raving about how much easier the blender has made their morning routine.

The goal of any product video is to educate, entertain, and convince shoppers that their lives will be better with your product in it. Use storytelling techniques to draw viewers in and create an emotional connection. Keep videos short and sweet – aim for 30-60 seconds to maintain attention spans.

When creating visual content, maintain a consistent brand aesthetic across all images and videos. Use the same color schemes, fonts, and overall style to create a cohesive look that aligns with your brand identity. Optimize your visual content for fast loading speeds, as slow-loading pages can deter impatient online shoppers.

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Testing and Optimizing Your Product Descriptions

Just like any other aspect of your e-commerce marketing, product descriptions should be continually tested and optimized based on performance data. What engages one audience might fall flat with another, so it’s essential to experiment with different approaches to see what works best for your unique customer base.

A/B Testing

A straightforward way to test product descriptions is through A/B or split testing. This involves creating two slightly different versions of a description and showing each one to a portion of your traffic. Then, you compare key metrics like time on page, conversion rate, and bounce rate to see which version performs better.

For example, you might test a more technical, feature-focused description against a benefit-driven, story-based one. You could also try different tones of voice, like a playful, pun-filled description vs. a straightforward, fact-based one. The key is to isolate one specific variable (length, tone, focus, etc.) so you can attribute any difference in results to that particular element.

In addition to description copy, you can also test different types of images and videos, product page layouts, and more. Just be sure to run tests long enough to reach statistical significance, usually at least a few weeks or a month.

Reviewing Analytics

Beyond A/B tests, regularly review your e-commerce analytics to identify which product pages are performing well and which ones might need improvement. Look at metrics like:

  • Time on page: How long are shoppers spending on each description? Longer times might indicate they’re engaged with the content.
  • Bounce rate: What percentage of visitors leave the page without taking any action? High bounce rates could mean your descriptions aren’t compelling enough.
  • Conversion rate: How many shoppers who view a description end up making a purchase? Low conversion rates might suggest your copy isn’t effectively selling the product.
  • Search rankings: Where do your product pages appear in search results for target keywords? Well-optimized SEO descriptions will rank higher.

Based on this data, you can identify underperforming pages and tweak the descriptions, images, or other elements. For example, you may need to add more user-generated reviews for social proof. Or the page may lack key information shoppers are looking for, like sizing details or care instructions.

Continuously monitoring and improving your product descriptions based on data ensures they’re always working hard to convert browsers into buyers. Plus, it allows you to stay responsive to changing customer needs and preferences.

Integrating User-Generated Content

One powerful way to enhance your product descriptions is to integrate user-generated content (UGC), such as customer reviews, ratings, and photos. This type of social proof can greatly influence purchasing decisions, as shoppers trust the opinions of their peers more than branded marketing messages.

In fact, a study by TurnTo found that 90% of consumers say UGC influences their purchase decisions more than promotional emails and even search engine results. Reevoo reports that having reviews on a product page can increase conversion rates by up to 76%.

There are a few key ways to integrate UGC into your product descriptions:

  • Display star ratings and review snippets near the top of the page to convey social proof instantly
  • Include a detailed review section with filtering options for different attributes like size, age, or experience level
  • Showcase customer photos and videos of the product in use
  • Use pull quotes from glowing reviews as subheadings or callouts throughout the description
  • Aggregate star ratings and critical feature ratings from across the web to show reviews from multiple sources

For example, let’s say you’re an outdoor gear retailer selling a popular backpack. In addition to your standard product description highlighting the pack’s features and benefits, you could include a section with customer reviews raving about its comfort, durability, and organizational pockets. You might feature photos from social media showing real customers using the pack on their adventures. You could pull out a quote from a particularly enthusiastic review to use as a callout, like “This pack has taken me from the trails of Patagonia to the streets of Paris – I never travel without it!”

This kind of authentic, user-generated content helps build trust and overcome objections by showing that real people have bought and benefited from the product. It allows customers to see themselves reflected in your brand and envision how the product might fit into their own lives.

Of course, displaying UGC on your product pages means you need a system for collecting and curating that content. Encourage customers to leave reviews by sending post-purchase emails requesting feedback. Use hashtags and branded photo challenges to collect user-generated images on social media. And consider incentivizing UGC with discounts, loyalty points, or social recognition.

Be sure to get permission before reposting customer content on your site. If you offer incentives, clearly disclose that in the review to maintain transparency.

Writing for International Audiences

If your e-commerce business serves customers in different countries and regions, you’ll need to adapt your product descriptions accordingly. Writing for an international audience requires more than just translating your content into other languages. It would help if you also considered cultural differences, regional terminology, and localized search habits.

Start by identifying your top international markets and the languages spoken in each one. Then, invest in professional translation services to ensure your descriptions read naturally and fluently in each language. Please don’t rely on automated tools like Google Translate, as they can miss cultural nuances and result in awkward phrasing.

In addition to accurate translation, you’ll want to localize your descriptions for each market. This means adapting things like:

  • Units of measurement (metric vs. imperial)
  • Currency symbols and formats
  • Product names and terminology (sneakers vs. trainers)
  • Seasonal references (summer vs. winter)
  • Cultural touchstones and humor
  • Local search terms and keywords

For example, let’s say you’re a beauty brand expanding into the South Korean market. Translating your existing product descriptions into Korean isn’t enough. You’ll need to research the specific skincare concerns and ingredients popular among Korean consumers. To appeal to local preferences, you might highlight different product benefits, like “brightening” or “purifying.” And you’ll want to use culturally relevant references and slang to connect with younger audiences.

Localization also extends to your product images and videos. Show models and settings that reflect the diversity of your target markets. And consider creating unique visual content for each region to better resonate with local customers.

Finally, optimize your international product pages for local search engines and keywords. Google may be the dominant player in the West, but other search engines, such as Yandex, Baidu, and Naver, are more prevalent in certain countries. Research the search habits and terminology used in each market to ensure your descriptions are easily discoverable.

Writing effective international product descriptions requires balancing global brand consistency and local market relevance. By investing in professional translation, cultural adaptation, and regional optimization, you can create descriptions that engage and convert shoppers across borders.

Measuring the Impact of Your Product Descriptions

As with any e-commerce strategy, it’s essential to measure the results of your product description efforts to ensure a positive return on investment (ROI). Review key performance metrics regularly to track the impact of your descriptions over time and identify areas for improvement.

Some key metrics to consider:

  • Conversion rate: The percentage of product page visitors who make a purchase. Higher conversion rates indicate your descriptions are effectively persuading shoppers to buy.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page. High bounce rates on product pages suggest your descriptions aren’t engaging enough to keep shoppers browsing.
  • Average order value: The average total amount spent per customer order. Adequate product descriptions can upsell and cross-sell related items, increasing the overall value of each purchase.
  • Time on page: How long visitors spend on each product page. Longer times suggest shoppers are engaging with and absorbing your descriptive content.
  • Return rate: The percentage of purchased products that are returned. High return rates could indicate your descriptions are misleading or failing to set appropriate expectations.
  • Customer feedback: Qualitative data from customer reviews, comments, and support inquiries. Look for common phrases or questions that signal areas for improvement in your descriptions.

Tools like Google Analytics can be used to track these metrics over time and compare the performance of different product pages. Look for patterns and correlations between description changes and critical results. For example, if you add more detail about sizing and fit to a clothing product page and see a corresponding dip in return rates, you can infer that customers previously did not have this information.

In addition to these quantitative measures, consider running occasional customer surveys or user testing sessions to gather qualitative feedback on your product descriptions.

Ask open-ended questions like:

  • What information was most helpful in making your purchase decision?
  • Was there anything missing from the description that you wanted to know?
  • Did the tone and language of the description align with your perception of the brand?
  • How could we improve our product descriptions to serve your needs better?

Analyzing this mix of complex data and customer insights will give you a holistic view of how well your product descriptions are performing and where there’s still room for growth. Use what you have learned to optimize your approach continually and stay responsive to shopper needs.

The Power of Storytelling in Product Descriptions

The most effective product descriptions don’t just convey information—they tell a story. They paint a vivid picture of how the product will improve the customer’s life and make them feel. By weaving storytelling elements into your descriptions, you can create a deeper emotional connection with shoppers and inspire them to take action.

One robust storytelling framework is the classic hero’s journey. This timeless narrative arc involves a character who goes on an adventure, faces challenges, and ultimately triumphs – emerging transformed. You can adapt this structure to your product descriptions by positioning the customer as the hero and your product as the tool that helps them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

For example, let’s say you sell a high-end kitchen knife set. Your product description might tell the story of an aspiring home chef who dreams of hosting elaborate dinner parties but struggles with dull, flimsy knives that make prep work a chore. Enter your knife set – the key to unlocking their culinary potential. With sharp, precision-forged blades and ergonomic handles, the knives help our hero chop, dice, and mince with ease and confidence. They’re able to create restaurant-quality dishes in half the time, impressing guests and fulfilling their hosting dreams.

See how that description takes the customer on a journey from problem to solution, with your product playing a vital role in the transformation. That’s the power of storytelling. By inviting shoppers to imagine themselves as heroes, you make the product feel more relevant and essential to their lives.

Storytelling can also be used to highlight your brand’s unique history, values, and mission. Customers today want to buy from companies that share their ethics and contribute positively to the world. Use your product descriptions to share the stories behind your products and how they reflect your brand’s core identity.

For example, if you sell sustainable clothing, your product descriptions might tell the story of how each garment was made from eco-friendly materials in fair trade factories. You could highlight the names and faces of the artisans who crafted the pieces, giving customers a personal connection to the people behind the products. By sharing these stories of environmental and social responsibility, you differentiate your brand and give customers a reason to feel good about their purchase.

When crafting product description stories, use sensory language to engage multiple senses and transport readers into the scene. Describe the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of using the product. Use metaphors and analogies to link unfamiliar products to familiar concepts and experiences. And don’t be afraid to infuse your brand voice and personality into the narrative to create a distinct tone.

Above all, ensure that your product stories are genuine and authentic. Avoid stretching the truth or making claims you can’t back up. Today’s consumers are savvy to marketing spin and will quickly see through any attempts at manipulation. Focus on true stories that showcase your product and brand in an honest, relatable light.

By harnessing the power of storytelling in your product descriptions, you can create a deeper, more meaningful connection with your target audience – one that inspires trust, loyalty, and long-term customer relationships.

Conclusion

Writing compelling product descriptions is both an art and a science. It requires a deep understanding of your target audience, a knack for storytelling, and a data-driven approach to optimization. By following the strategies and best practices outlined in this guide, you can craft descriptions that not only inform and engage shoppers but also drive measurable business results.

Remember to focus on benefits over features, use natural, conversational language, and optimize for search engines and different regional markets. Complement your descriptions with high-quality visual content and social proof from customer reviews and user-generated content. And continually test and tweak your approach based on performance data and customer feedback.

Most importantly, infuse your product descriptions with your brand’s unique stories, values, and personality. In a crowded e-commerce landscape, brands that forge authentic emotional connections stand out and thrive.

Strong product descriptions are an investment in your online store’s long-term success. By taking the time to master this essential skill, you’ll be well on your way to higher engagement, conversions, and customer loyalty. So get writing—and happy selling!

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