A product description is the element of an online listing that explains what an item is and why its worth buying. A well-written product description can transform your online store by qualifying, persuading, and informing the reader, as well as boosting your listings visibility.
To be effective, it needs to do more than simply describe the product. A robust product description will inform your customers, convey your brand, and get your store visited by searchersbringing in sales and boosting other key performance indicators (KPIs).
Download this guide as an easy-to-follow worksheet with a product description template and helpful examples.
FILE TO DOWNLOAD OR INTEGRATE
Download as Google Doc Download as PDF Download as Word Doc
Thank you for downloading!
Refresh / Send again Google Doc PDF Word Doc Send it to me
Heres how to craft an effective product description in seven easy steps:
1. Set Objectives for Your Product Description
While it isnt necessary to spend time mapping out extensive plans and goals for each product description you write, its important to start by evaluating what success will look like.
An effective product description will:
- Qualify: Demonstrate to the customer that theyre a perfect fit for your brand and product.
- Persuade: Supply compelling reasons that the customer will benefit from making the purchase.
- Inform: Provide relevant and factual information that increases buyer confidence and decreases return rate.
- Boost: Optimize search engine results to get your listing seen.
Though the main goal is to create conversions, good copywriting can increase performance across multiple key retail metrics . If your store is already up and running, identify which KPIs could be improved and keep them in mind while revamping your listings.
Here are a few KPIs you can consider:
- Return Rate
- Bounce Rate
- Shopping Cart Abandonment
- Store Traffic
Return rate can be significantly impacted by honing in on your listings specificity and accuracy. Delivered items not matching their product descriptions is one of the main reasons for returns, according to SaleCycles 2020 survey. It reports that 64.2% of shoppers have returned purchases due to listing discrepancies . So, the more informed your customers are, the less likely they are to return their orders.
Bounce rate can be mitigated by crafting functional descriptions, as well. Whether customers are comparison shopping or checking out an ad, they ultimately navigate away from a page if they feel theyre in the wrong place. By using tone and content thoughtfully tailored to your target demographic, your writing can retain on-page interest by qualifying and demonstrating the customers compatibility.
Shopping cart abandonment is usually caused by friction in the checkout process, so product listings are your first line of defense against it. By clearly disclosing influential details in the product descriptionlike price, shipping cost, delivery date, and handling timeshoppers are less likely to abandon their orders when met with this info later on.
If any of these factors are less-than-ideal, the product description is the perfect place to justify them in alluring ways:
A package arriving three weeks after the purchase date is much easier to swallow knowing that the goods are handmade-to-order by a skilled artisan. Similarly, buyers are less likely to seek the same product for a cheaper price elsewhere if proprietary materials and superior construction give it an edge.
Maybe youre not getting enough visitors to your store in the first place. Poorly written or nonexistent product descriptions have a huge impact on search engine rankings, so structuring your listings with SEO in mind is a surefire way to drive traffic.
By knowing where to focus your attention and how to track your listings success, you have the foundation for a profitable product description.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
The next step is to define your buyer. Do you sell to stay-at-home moms or business executives? Are trend-seeking 20-somethings your target crowd? Or perhaps you cater to a gamer fandom? Whoever your potential customer is, thats the person you need to focus on talking to in your product description.
To do this, first create an image of your target buyer in your mind. Picture who they are, what they do, where they hang out, and which needs they have. This is often called creating a customer profile, and its an invaluable marketing tool.
Learn how to identify your target customer and create a practical customer profile with our guidecomplete with resources, examples, and free templates.
Having a solid image of your ideal customer makes creating a connection much more effective by conversing with them through your writing. This step is key to a good product description because it turns product-centric copy into a vibrant, customer-centered conversationand thats what sells.
Here are two versions of a product descriptionthe first written with zero focus on the customer profile and the second written with the customer profile in mind:
The information is detailed and accurate, but theres no chance to make a connection with the reader and qualify their fit for the product. (Source: The Horse Junkie)
By rewriting the product description with the target audience (horse lovers) in mind, the listing relates to the customer and draws them in. (Source: The Horse Junkie)
The difference that targeting your ideal buyer makes in your copywriting is tremendous. With a customer profile in mind, lets go over how to turn those details into effective product descriptions through conversing with your audience.
3. Establish Your Listings Tone
Tone is the personality of your store or brand as conveyed through your writing and how it comes across to your target audience. Having a consistent and potent tone is a large part of successful branding on a broad scale, but even just incorporating decisive tone into your product descriptions can have a big impact.
As a writing tool, tone can be defined by asking this question:
How, where, and why would you talk to your target buyer in person?
Consider a hypothetical meeting with your customer in your mind: Would you meet them in a professional setting, like an office or business conference? Maybe a casual encounter at a coffee shop or craft beer bar? Or possibly a chat to pass the time during your kids playdate?
Knowing the dynamics of an in-person conversation will point you in the direction of your ideal tone. Any exchange will naturally take on a tone of its ownbusiness, technical, casual, cheeky, sassy, instructive, etc. By adapting that to your copywriting, youre drawing the customer in and providing them with reason to stay on the page.
This description of a hydraulic arborists saw clearly targets a hard-working commercial customer by using a professional, no-nonsense tonewhile still managing to keep it conversational. Incorporating highly technical, industry-specific terms, details, and features contributes to the tone perfectly. (Source: Northern Tool + Equipment)
In contrast, this backpack product description uses a bold, animated tone that appeals to hip, on-the-go women seeking form and function. (Source: JPeterman)
See the difference?
Once youve examined your customer profile and set the tone for the conversation, its finally time to talk about your product.
4. Turn Item Features Into Must-buy Benefits
Many entrepreneurs focus solely on hard features, specs, and key details in their product descriptionswhich is all highly important informationbut the true goal of an effective listing is conveying the idea that your product will make the buyers life better. Sure, you want to make your products high points shine, but your real focus should be creating the perfect excuse for the buyer to snap it up.
To do this, youll need to convert facts about your product (like construction details, intended use, special features, material, and specs) into user benefits. Heres a powerful example:
By considering the target audience and using decisive tone, the description of this Kindle translates hard facts into purpose-driven, relatable benefits.
The writer could have mentioned that the device has a high-capacity 1600 mAh lithium-polymer battery, but converting that raw feature into the benefit it provides allows shoppers to envision the experience of minimal charge time. Similarly, the product is described as being lighter than a paperback to read comfortably with one hand, which is far more compelling than simply stating that the device weighs 6.4 oz.
A successful product description will turn impersonal details into personal advantages. To do this effectively, youll need to focus your attention on what your target buyer values. Heres a look at each feature described in the Kindle product listing and how it speaks to its specific audience, based on their needs:
- 300ppi Display
- Nonreflective Screen
- LED Front Light Display
- Exclusive Typeface
- Dedicated Functionality
|What Buyers Value||How the Feature Benefits Them|
|What Buyers Value||How the Feature Benefits Them|
|What Buyers Value||How the Feature Benefits Them|
|What Buyers Value||How the Feature Benefits Them|
|What Buyers Value||How the Feature Benefits Them|
With that solid inspiration in mind, youre ready to build a product description that reaches, compels, and informs your buyers.
5. Focus on Format & Length
According to Chartbeats analysis on page views and engagement , you have a staggering 15 seconds to win your customers interest before theyre closing out of your stores tab and moving on. Thats a small window of opportunity, so its crucial to make your listings as eye-catching and scannable as possible.
Product descriptions are not the place to write a mountain of proseits practically guaranteed that your viewers wont read it. Instead, create a quick-scan layout that puts your products benefits front-and-center, like this:
|Product Description Element||Format|
|Intro||Brief lead-in of 12 sentences|
|Benefits||Bulleted list or collection of headers with short explanations|
|Body||Complete description in 13 paragraphs|
The quick-scan format works because shoppers love fast facts. After a brief intro , use bullet points or bold headers to deliver key benefits in an eye-catching format. Then, write your complete description in the body . If its long (say, 300 words or more), break it into bite-sized pieces with subheads followed by one- to three-sentence follow-ups.
You can choose to close with an alluring statement that leads customers to the ADD TO CART button, like: one click makes it yours, or even limited availability for seasonal items.
Different product types and platforms will call for different product description formats, but following this guide is a great place to start. Especially if youre tackling an entire inventorys worth of listings to be written, sticking to a template maximizes efficiency and consistency. In fact, its how experienced copywriting professionals crank out product descriptions in volume, so it can make your job simpler, too.
Now with your buyer and tone in mind, benefits listed, and format set, its time to write.
6. Write Your Product Description
Write your first draft swiftly and without hesitationit will lead to a more direct, natural voice. Thoughtfully consider your target audience and tone, but dont get caught up in running edits. Youll be able to polish and refine your work later on.
Keep these considerations in mind as you dive in:
- What are the goals you have set for your listing(s)?
- Who is the target buyer youre trying to reach?
- What kind of tone would an in-person conversation with them have?
- Which features of the product should be highlighted, and how do they translate into consumer benefits?
- How will the format of your product description take shape?
As you write, think about incorporating proven copywriting techniques into your work. Readers respond negatively to product descriptions that come across as over-engineered or packed with marketing-speak catchphrases, but a few simple devices can improve your copys impact.
- Create a Sense of Urgency
- Ask Yes Questions
- Appeal to the Senses
To persuade customers to buy now rather than later (which often turns into never), you need to reasonably convey that its in their best interest to do so.
Mention stock scarcity to compel viewers to act quickly with additions like, Only three left in stock! or Only 2 size SM available!
This online store compels visitors to buy with limited stock notices (Source: TheGood)
Limited-time offers are also highly effective sales drivers. Explaining the time-sensitive nature of the purchase with copy such as, Sale ends tomorrow, dont miss out! is a great way to boost conversions.
Building time-dependent deals into your checkout process is another way to impart a sense of urgency. By letting the customer know to Order in the next five minutes to score free shipping! on the product page, youre increasing the likelihood of a sale.
A tried-and-true principle used in sales and copywriting alike is that answering yes to a question makes a customer more likely to answer yes to following questionsincluding the question of whether or not to buy.
Think about how your products benefits relate to your target buyer, and youre sure to find some queries with obvious yes answers. For example, Does your cats litter box make the room smell not-so-fresh? or Are you dreaming of a seaside getaway?
An effective product description should encourage your reader to connect with the item youre offering. A powerful way to accomplish this is to infuse your writing with sensory words.
Reading a listing that vividly describes how the product feels, tastes, smells, and looks actually activates sensory parts of the brain , making a real and lasting impact on the customer. Think of words like these that apply to your item:
This product description uses terms like cloud-weight and buttery hand-feel to appeal to the readers sense of touch. (Source: Boll & Branch)
Above all, write your copy to be customer-focused rather than brand-focused . Counterintuitively, what matters and speaks to the customer is almost certainly different from what matters to the retailer. So always consider how your writing will be perceived by your audience and do the most to make it personal.
Once you have a first draft written, read it aloud to yourself. Does it sound conversational and appropriate? Does it flow nicely and naturally, without any clunky sentences or unnecessarily big words?
If you can confidently answer yes to those questions, its time to bring your product description into the final stage.
7. Revise for Perfection & Search Engine Optimization
The next step is to edit your work. First, go back over each word carefully to check for spelling and grammar errors.
Most popular word processing programs, like MS Word and Google Docs, feature smart-editing tools that highlight mistakes for you and offer suggestions. More advanced alternative options, like the plugin Grammarly, can improve the revision process and even offer help with fluidity and tone.
Grammarly is a free plugin that can perfect your product descriptions.
After your writing is polished and cleaned up, its time to make it search-engine friendly through SEO. The goal of this step is to promote visibility and get your listing seen by as many people as possible.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
The practice of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to a website or page from search engines
Its important to avoid writing your product descriptions with a laser focus on SEO. Modern search engine algorithms are highly sophisticated, so whats good for your reader is good for your rankings. Antiquated SEO practices like keyword-stuffing and shooting for a hyper-specific word count will actually work against you in the modern age of ecommerce.
A basic (but crucial) SEO technique is to identify the target keyword searchers will use to find your product. This should be included in your title and/or description, and its usually as simple as plastic wineglasses or artificial plants.
For more information on finding the best keywords to boost your stores traffic, check out our Ultimate Beginners Guide to Ecommerce SEO .
Enter your chosen keyword into Google and see what pages are ranking. Explore their product listings and evaluate their copy. What consistencies are there? How do the layouts of their product descriptions look? What kind of language did the writers use?
Overall, search engines reward clarity and user-friendliness . The top-ranking products on Google will almost certainly have descriptions that clearly inform the reader and stay firmly on brand. Use them as guidance and inspiration, but keep in mind that uniqueness is a hefty contributor to SEO as wellso make sure your copy is 100% original.
This product description targets the primary keyword pepper mill as well as some additional, more refined keywordslike wood pepper mill and marble grinder. It also provides clear and concise information that appeals to readers and Googles search rankings.
(Source: Crate & Barrel)
Lastly, understand that SEO extends into other aspects of your store, as well. Good product photos that dont exist anywhere else on the web will boost your rankings, and they should contain your target keyword in the filename, alt tag, and caption. Reviews also contribute to your listings visibility, so incentivize your buyers to weigh in.
Supplementing your product descriptions with customer reviews provides social proof to promote sales. It can also help boost your search engine rankings.
(Source: Bed Bath & Beyond)
Dos & Donts of Writing Product Descriptions
A good product description can make or break a sale. Here are some final tips for crafting yours:
Be personal. Use the word you to speak directly to your buyer. Ask questions, incorporate product-centric stories, and make it feel conversational. Use justified superlatives (like top-rated on Trustpilot or brightest flashlight in the world with a 100,000-lumen output). Did your product win an award, receive notable mention, surpass a standard through testing, or earn an impressive number of 5-star reviews? Those are substantial recognitions that carry meaning for your customers. Check for readability. Go beyond your writings format to make sure your product description looks good and legible on the page. Font color, typeface, background, and placement should all work together to be on brand and, most importantly, readable. Use unjustified superlatives (like best in class or top-ranking brand). If there isnt any real class or ranking that youre referring to, nix it. Use hollow verbiage (like excellent quality or cutting-edge ). Opt for descriptive specifics instead of meaningless filler. Use excessive jargon. Your tone will dictate whether or not its appropriate to sell your target buyer using specialized, highly technical languagebut in most cases, it is confusing and off-putting. Use copied content. As mentioned above, duplicate text from elsewhere on the web hurts your search engine rankings; its not a good look for your brand in general.
Theres a lot that goes into crafting high-quality copy, but anyone can do itand the results are worth it. Spending a little time honing in on your customer profile, tone, and format will lead to increases in conversions, along with other important KPIs.
Once youve nailed the art of writing successful product descriptions, enhance your listings even further by learning how to take professional-quality photos with your cellphone and expanding into product videos, as well.
All constructive product listings start with a solid ecommerce platform . We recommend using Shopify to run your storeits affordable, scalable plans let you list an unlimited number of products, track inventory, manage SEO, and market your products.
With the right platform and a minimal investment of time, your ecommerce store can reach and sell more than ever through constructive listings and product descriptions.
You May Also Like:
- How to Start a Retail Business
- How to Start an Online Store
What is an item description
The description of item contains information about the product and serves to complement what is detailed in the data sheet . Remember that this will allow the buyer to quickly find all the specifications that characterize the products.
What is the purpose of item description
The goal of the product description is to encourage you to purchase it . The best-selling items often have the most detailed product descriptions. A product description should include information about the product’s features, benefits to the buyer, and any problems that it solves.
What is a good product description
A good product description should focus on the product’s features and benefits. Obviously, the features are a bit more clear cut. The benefits will require a bit more creativity and understanding of your target audience. However, both features and benefits allow for creative writing.