Retailers stand out with unique product descriptions

by | Oct 14, 2016 | Digital retail, Omnichannel

E-commerce, technology and retailers themselves have pushed more and more suppliers to provide product descriptions for the items they offer. Retailers often take the descriptions from the suppliers and add them directly to their e-commerce sites, in part because it’s easy to automate. It’s time saving, yes, but it might not be the best plan. Having that information is important for suppliers to communicate to retailers about all the product offers, but it’s not as great for helping retailers differentiate themselves from the competition for their customers.

The supplier’s product information is likely the same copy sent to every other retailer the vendor serves. If that product is sold at 20 online retailers, then when a customer does a search for it, the product info is often the exact same word-for-word for each listing. When all the results look about the same, how are customers to decide the best place from which to purchase the item?

It’s worth the time and effort to create unique and original product descriptions for your e-commerce site to stand out from the crowd of other online retailers.

If your product description and item attributes list are more detailed, more nuanced, has more personality or all of the above, you’re more likely to get the sale, even if someone else is offering that product for a cheaper price.  Here are three reasons why:

  1. Google loves originality. Google’s algorithm hates duplicate content. If Google’s crawlers have seen your content before, such as repeated on other retailer websites that sell the same product, you run the risk of duplicate content penalties that could push your product page lower in search results. On the other hand, Google’s algorithm loves original content, the more detailed the better. And if Google likes your stuff, it’s easier for customers to find your stuff with an online search.
  1. Customers prefer enticing copy. Most product descriptions from manufacturers or suppliers are utilitarian – direct, straight to the point, no romance. That’s not particularly enticing, and that’s why marketing exists. Customers crave information about the products they purchase online. When you offer it to them, they start to trust you and that makes them more likely to buy from you. Putting extra time into your product descriptions tells customers that when the item arrives, it will meet their expectations.
  1. Brand continuity matters. When you have many products from multiple manufactures and suppliers, the descriptions you import with automation can be in a hodge-podge of styles. Writing your own product descriptions can present them to customers with your brand voice, and when they browse multiple items on your site, there’s a continuity of style that helps instill expectations for your customers.

There are many more reasons why to create original product descriptions, these are but just a few. It’s all well and good to say why, but what about how? Each product and retailer branding is different, so I can’t get into specifics, you’ll have to manage your unique branding. But there are some general things to consider for putting together unique and effective product descriptions.

  1. Keywords. Know what your customer is searching for and how it applies to your products, then include those words and phrases in the unique product description. Think of variations of what they might search for, too. For example, if the item was a “backpack”, you would use that keyword but also might consider using “book bag.”
  1. Item attributes. Set your offering apart; don’t just go with what the manufacturer said about its product, go more in depth. Your customers are hungry for information, and when they have enough information about a product to satisfy them, that’s when they’ll make the purchase. Make sure your product description is “scannable” so people can quickly pick out the important item attributes right away. Having item attributes is also helpful in case a customer is searching for something specific, such as “red book bag.”
  1. Sense appeal. Use product copy that appeals to the reader’s imagination. Appeal to as many of the five senses as are appropriate for your product – sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. There are other ways to appeal to a consumer’s senses, though – a sense of urgency, sense of trust, sense of necessity and, of course, common sense. Knowing what your customer wants in a product can help you determine what descriptive words are going to connect with them, such as “sturdy red book bag.”

Again, these are just a few things to consider for effective product descriptions, but should definitely get you on the right path towards discovering what works best for your products, brand and website. Though unique product descriptions take a little bit more time, thought and effort, the results could be very well worth it.

More than 65,000 companies trust the SPS Commerce platform for supply chain automation, order fulfillment (EDI), managed product content, retail analytics and more. Contact SPS Commerce today to discuss how our solutions could help your retail business.

SPS Commerce Blog Team