Good product descriptions are essential if you’re trying to create a strong online business presence. They can help to create a brand identity and can be the make or break factor when customers are deciding whether to part with their cash. To create product descriptions that sell you'll need to ask, and then answer a few questions.
Who is the product for?
It’s essential that you have an idea of your customer demographics. The best way to do this is to flesh out a customer profile and keep this in mind when creating product descriptions. This customer profile should include things like:
If you have a picture of a specific person that you’re writing for it will make it easier for you to tailor your product description to this customer. You’ll then need to think about the kind of features that they value. An older customer is more likely to value craftsmanship and quality while a younger customer might be more concerned with the aesthetics and more likely to buy into ‘fast fashion’. Unless you know who you’re aiming your description at, it will be impossible to create a successful product description.
Let’s say I am selling wool jumpers. I have done my research and come up with a set of demographics that represent my customer.
She has a job that provides her with a reasonable disposable income
She’s a homeowner
From this, I can create a product description that I think will appeal to her. The focus will be on the quality and craftsmanship of the sweater, with some ideas of how it can be worn and its versatility (indicating that she is getting a good deal).
Made from a soft blend of 20% cashmere and 80% merino wool, this luxury crewneck sweater can be worn as a base layer or on its own in warmer weather. Dress it up by teaming it with a high waisted skirt and boots or go for a casual look by wearing it with your favourite pair of jeans.
On the flip side, let's say I am selling cheap and cheerful t-shirts. After researching I have come up with a set of demographics for my customer. These are:
She might have a Saturday job so she can spend her earnings on clothes
Lives with her parents/just started uni
This customer doesn’t care about quality. She wants something cheap and disposable, that she can customise and eventually throw away when a new trend rolls around.
Add a pop of colour to your look with a brand new tee. Available in a rainbow of shades, you can choose your look to suit your mood. Cut it, tie it, crop it… just make sure it’s you!
These are two very different product descriptions, but they each reflect the customer they are aimed at.
What is the product and why should the customer choose it over competitors?
A successful product description will include all of the essential information that a customer would be able to see first-hand in store. You need to preempt and include the kind of information that a customer would usually ask a shop assistant. That’s a given. But what the customer won’t get in-store, and where an online product description has the upper hand, is a carefully crafted paragraph on HOW this product will enrich their lives.
This is where creative copywriting can really make the difference between simply describing a product and selling a product. In fashion, this could mean suggesting how or where a customer could wear an item. If you’re selling a food or drink item, maybe suggest a way to use it (e.g. Pour a shot of our Freelancer gin, add crushed ice, lime and ginger ale and voila! An easy but delicious cocktail). Be specific. Instead of describing a product as ‘great’ or ‘excellent’ you need to let the customer know why they should buy your product.
You want to make the customer feel as though they are making the right choice. This can be done through a variety of ways including:
Making the customer feel as though they have got a good deal, or that your product will save them money in the long term e.g. “These premium leather sandals will last you for summers to come.”
Describing your product as an essential, suggesting that your customer needs it e.g. “Ensure you avoid dehydration with this easily portable water bottle”
Suggesting that your product can be used in a variety of ways, so the customer is getting their money’s worth e.g. “This dress can take you from the boardroom to the bar. Wear with flats during the day, then restyle by adding lipstick and heels for a night out on the town”.
Tone of Voice
I suppose this is where I’m meant to tell you that in order to sell, you’ll need cheeky product descriptions. Really it’s all down to your customer profile. Puns and cute phrases are all very well if you’re marketing to a specific audience but often customers prefer informative, well-written copy. Imaginative is great, gimmicky is not. There are lots of great examples of product descriptions online that you can find inspiration from.
Innocent smoothies are great at treading this line. Their copy is playful without being saccharine. They have also created easily scannable copy by including a checklist of features so that the customer can easily see the benefits without having to read through the body of the description if they are pushed for time.
One thing that’s worth noting is the lack of exclamation marks in all of the product descriptions we’ve looked at so far. Exclamation marks should be used very sparingly, if at all.
In order to create product descriptions that will sell, it’s essential that you know your audience. You need to create informative, easily scannable copy so the customer can easily find what they are looking for. Although it might be tempting to create extensive beautifully written paragraphs of text, product descriptions should be no longer than a couple of paragraphs with benefits or features listed separately.
If you want to elaborate, link to a separate web page with additional information on your products so the customer can read further without being overwhelmed with information on the product page. Lastly, it’s no use having great copy if your photographs let you down - so make sure your product descriptions are accompanied by equally professional images. Good luck!