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Ecommerce Product Descriptions: What to Include and Avoid

A product description is one of the critical areas of your ecommerce store that will influence users to convert and make a purchase. It is important that care and time is taken when writing your product descriptions to ensure a user has enough information to make an informed decision. Properly written, a description avoids a user from having to leave your website and go to a competitor to source the additional information they require, which could result in a lost sale.

Below is a list of tips to follow when writing the product descriptions on your website.

Package your descriptions in bite size pieces – they need to be structured

Product descriptions need to be easily read on screen and need to follow a structure that suits your products. It is also a good rule of thumb to segment your product information into different types, with the most important information at the top of the description and then flowing down in order.

A basic structure for product descriptions can include:

  • Short description – a short 2 to 3 sentence paragraph which introduces your product and notes the main features of the product
  • Features and benefits – a list of short sentences which detail the features of the products, in order of most important to least important.
  • Technical specifications – the specifications of the product (e.g. brand, pack quantity, product dimensions, warranty etc). This will be used by your users to easily compare and contrast your product offering and work out which one will best suit their needs.


Get to the point – Use clear and concise language

It is important to use clear and concise language when writing your product descriptions. When a user is reading your product description, they want to quickly scan the page to digest the features and benefits of your products. Make sure you stick to the facts and avoid using overly descriptive words. Writing in succinct language will allow your users to cut through the fluff and get straight to the information that is important to them so they can take action and make a purchase.

Keep it uniform

When writing your product description, it is key to keep the information, tone and structure uniform. Implementing uniform product descriptions is helpful for users as it will allow them to easily understand and compare products on your site. Many companies will write a style guide for their website to ensure all writing is the same style, with the same voice and tone (see MailChimp style guide example http://styleguide.mailchimp.com/). While you do not need to create a document as comprehensive as the MailChimp example, having a quick one pager which outlines the requirements for all staff will be helpful for not only outlining what type of content is required but also for keeping product descriptions consistent.


Add a video

Adding a video to your product descriptions can not only work as a great selling tool to demonstrate your products to your users but also help them understand the key features and benefits. Many product suppliers will provide videos of their products, which can be shot on a smart phone and edited using free online video editors. Where possible, it is a good idea to brand your videos and upload to your own video channel which will protect them from being deleted/removed by a third party.

Do not copy and paste your product descriptions from another source

It is crucial not to copy and paste your product descriptions from other sources. This will not only be seen as duplicate content by Google, it will also mean that the above points are not covered and result in unclear, varied descriptions that could place barriers in the user’s way and decrease conversion.

When adding a new product description to your online store, ensure you spend time on your product descriptions, remembering to follow the above steps to give all your users the information they require to take action and make a purchase.

By Kate Faulkner

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