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7 Tips for More Effective Product Descriptions in Ecommerce

Did you know that 98 percent of online shoppers have been dissuaded from purchasing a product due to incomplete or ineffective product descriptions? Furthermore, almost a third of all shoppers never buy a product if they can’t find all the information they need.

Writing effective product descriptions will not only land you more sales. By being accurate in your product descriptions, you will also set the right expectations and reduce the number of requested returns. Furthermore, customers who have the right expectations will be more likely to leave positive reviews, leading to a higher product rating and more sales in the long run.

Here are seven powerful tips for writing effective product descriptions in e-commerce.

1. Know Your Buyer Persona

Before writing your product descriptions, you need to know who you are writing them for. The reason this is important is that a product description needs to be more than a list of the product’s features. Instead, it needs to show visitors exactly how the product will benefit them.

Using tools like Google Analytics and CRM data, you can learn about the demographics of your average customer and website visitor. Knowing the age group, gender, location, etc. of your average buyer is just the start.

That’s because your buyer persona can vary from product to product, as opposed to your overall target audience. You can delve a bit deeper into your existing sales data for each product to learn about your buyer persona.

You need to know what motivates the average buyer — what is driving them to buy a product such as yours. What problems are they facing? How are you providing a solution? What are their pain points? How does the product fill a desire for pleasure?

2. Clearly Explain the Product’s Uses and Benefits

The product description must be easy to read and explain both the features of the product and its benefits. Focus more on the uses and benefits as opposed to technical features.

For example, when it comes to electronics, there are often a lot of technical terms that the average user may not be familiar with. While more tech-inclined users will appreciate the added information, you might want to consider adding the technical jargon at the end. First, however, tell the user exactly what the product can do and how they can use it.

For example, instead of going into specifics about the battery type, tell the user how many hours the battery lasts.

Explaining the uses and benefits of a product is a lot easier when you understand your buyer persona. Speak directly to them and address their doubts, concerns, and fears. Tell them what is in it for them — lay it all out using easy, simple language fit for your target audience,

3. Use Bullet Points to Break Down Descriptions

You should avoid large blocks of text in your content, whether you are writing a blog post or a product description. People tend to skim through online content rather than scrutinize it. A lot of people are in a rush, and even if they are not, there is so much other content out there competing with yours.

It’s a lot easier for a customer to exit the page and look for a blog post or product description that is easier to read and understand than to spend the time straining their eyes reading yours. You are writing online content, not an essay for a college professor.

Other than using simpler, easier-to-understand words, a great way to improve the readability of your product descriptions is to break them up. First, focus on breaking long sentences into two. Instead of a comma, consider adding a period to form two sentences. Make sure you are making the necessary edits to make the two sentences grammatically correct.

Then, break up your paragraphs into smaller paragraphs. For product descriptions, one to two lines per paragraph is ideal, and you probably shouldn’t go over three.

Finally, bullet points can be extremely effective for breaking up your product descriptions. Bullet lists add structure to your descriptions; without them, it’s like reading a blog post. Use bullet points to break down the top uses, benefits, and features in an easy-to-understand format.

Limit each bullet point on the list to one or two lines. The longer each bullet point is, the less you stand to gain from using bullet points in the first place. You can bold the opening part of each bullet point, but that is optional.

Breaking up your product descriptions with bullet points will also help with your SEO rankings.

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4. Avoid Extravagant Claims and Superlatives

Avoid hyping up your product too much. Sure, you want to let your potential customers know about its amazing features and benefits. At the same time, if you make extravagant claims, a lot of them will be disappointed after purchasing it.

You need to be honest and accurate. Stand behind your product, but don’t overdo it. You’ll do more harm than good. If customers have higher expectations that you can’t fulfill (and be realistic and honest with yourself), more of them will request refunds. In addition, more of them are likely to leave negative reviews on your listings.

Even if your e-commerce store doesn’t have the capacity for customers to leave reviews (though it should have), customers can make YouTube reviews or write review posts on independent blogs. It’s just not worth it.

Similarly, avoid using superlatives that make it seem like you are trying too hard.

5. Use Your Brand’s Tone and Voice

Always maintain a consistent tone of voice throughout your product descriptions. Your product descriptions should seem like they were written by the same person. Here are some tips:

  • Create a general structure to follow for your product descriptions, so customers can easily compare two products.
  • If you are hiring freelance writers, draft some writing guidelines for them to follow.
  • Aim for a similar readability score across all product descriptions.
  • Maintain the same mix of professionalism, friendliness, etc. throughout all product descriptions.

There are several tools you can use to check your readability score. Here are some I recommend:

  • Readable (I recommend using the Flesch-Kincaid test)
  • Hemingway App (aim for an 8th-grade reading level or less)
  • Grammarly (aim for a score of 90 or more)

6. Consider Using Sensory Words

Sensory words are those which relate to the five senses: touch, sight, smell, taste, and sound. Using sensory words in your product descriptions isn’t always a must, but it can make things more “real” to readers and increase your conversions.

How can you incorporate sensory words into descriptions? It’s not as difficult as it might sound; simply use words that describe ways people can experience the product using one of their five senses.

For example, if you are selling a spice, you can talk about its “tantalizing aroma.” Depending on the product, you can talk about enchanting music, delicate or ultra-soft velvet, or a dazzling display.

Nevertheless, it is critical to remember what we talked about earlier: Avoid over-hyping the product or using too many superlatives. You don’t want your product description to seem like poetry. Aim to be realistic, down-to-earth, and to-the-point.

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7. Include Social Proof When Necessary

Finally, consider including social proof in your product descriptions. An oft-cited statistic is that 88 percent of online consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

However, did you know that the average consumer reads 10 reviews before making a decision? Not only that, but most customers don’t trust average star ratings until there are at least 40 reviews.

Allow customers to leave reviews on your product listings. Actively encourage them to do so by sending post-purchase emails asking for their opinions and linking to the review section on the product page. If you are listing products on a third-party marketplace, it is critical to know their guidelines regarding encouraging and incentivizing reviews before you do that.

However, reviews aren’t the only way to add social proof. Testimonials are slightly different from reviews in that they can go a bit more in depth. You can display them alongside a picture of the customer leaving the testimonial (with their permission), or you can even have them create a short video testimonial. You can display it on your homepage to add social proof to your entire catalog.

Furthermore, you should add social proof directly into your product descriptions. For example, you can take a highlight or two from your best reviews or testimonials and use them as quotes or bullet points, while citing the names of the reviewers. Or, if your product received an award, make sure to mention it in the description.

Finally, you can talk about security verifications or accreditations in your product descriptions, as long as they are relevant.

Final Thoughts

Consider split-testing your product descriptions as a way to optimize them. For example, you can create two different versions of a product description and spend some time using each one. By doing this with a few descriptions, you can figure out which version is more effective.

Also, a great way to write better descriptions is to spy on your competitors and learn from their writing strategies (of course, don’t copy their descriptions outright, as that is plagiarism).