How to write effective product descriptions

by Sep 18, 2014Omnichannel, Retailers, Suppliers

In today’s omnichannel world, everything revolves around the item. While it’s certainly important to build loyalty through branding and customer service, there’s no denying the item is what a customer searches for, purchases, reviews and shares.

Items are the foundation of the retail industry, but there are unique challenges surrounding the management of item information. Today’s customers expect more. More product information, more detail, more reviews, more photos and videos, more side-by-side comparisons. And, the list continues to grow.

Create rich product descriptions with these details:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Dimensions
  • Shape
  • Condition
  • Usage
  • Materials
  • Accessories/options
  • Features
  • How it works
  • Where it came from
  • Why customers want to buy it

The online shopping experience must offer enough product detail to foster a sale to completion. And the information must be accurate. Get it wrong, and you may lose customers, field more returns and tarnish your reputation with bad reviews.

Though we’re experts at managing item data, it’s up to you to write accurate and enticing product descriptions. If you’re struggling, here are some great resources to help you out:

From Etsy’s blog: “How to Write Irresistible Item Descriptions”

Lauryn Ballesteros put together a handy worksheet for writing an item description. Besides the usual criteria regarding product specs, Ballesteros includes questions intended to help identify an item’s top features and define the item’s “wow factor.”

Ballesteros also encourages sellers to use their item descriptions to address customer concerns. For example, if an apparel item is made of cotton, be sure to list whether or not it’s pre-shrunk material as this may be a concern for a potential buyer. Item descriptions should answer questions and thereby facilitate sales.

From the Freelancers Union: “How to Write a Killer Product Description”

It makes sense that a group of writers would offer up some insightful and worthwhile tips when it comes to writing product descriptions. In this article, Antonia Blair wisely recommends writing the description “for the person who wants the product” and telling the story of the item. Think about the potential buyer and describe situations when he or she would use this item.

And don’t forget specific details, such as measurements! Not a lot of apparel companies offer this information, though it’s extremely useful for shoppers navigating the confusing and inconsistent world of clothing sizes.

Blair also instructs sellers to use high quality photos, a topic we’ll touch on in a future blog post.

From eBay’s selling tools: “Writing a Good Title and Description”

eBay’s selling guide offers tips that apply to any online seller. Though some of the information is specific to the auction format, this guide includes which details to include and also reminds sellers not to use confusing acronyms or sensationalist words that might detract from your credibility.

Better item data leads to more sales while building customer loyalty. These resources should help you get started with crafting better product descriptions.

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Kristi Whitman

Manager of Marketing Web Ops at SPS Commerce
Kristi is passionate about web optimization, useful design, and emerging digital marketing technologies. She probably spends too much time on the Internet. Her blog posts typically focus on e-commerce and the habits of online shoppers.
Kristi Whitman

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