If you’re running an online retail business, selling more products is undoubtedly your number one priority. And with so many people buying online these days – the UK spent £114bn online in 2015 – it should be easy, right? Unfortunately not. With so many businesses selling online – more than 100,000 in fact – some with potentially the exact same products, you really need to boost your site and differentiate your brand from the competition in order to secure a healthy portion of the sales. Here we’re going to look at why well-crafted product descriptions are the perfect way to do just that, as well as offering some tips for refining yours.

Original product descriptions are essential for good SEO

If all or any of your product descriptions are currently a straight lift from the manufacturer’s descriptions, or even from a competitor’s website, you will receive far less organic web traffic to your website. This is because Google and other search engines screen out duplicate content in their results – they will show only one instance of the same content to users, so if yours is duplicated from elsewhere, there’s a high chance it will be virtually invisible to searchers.

In contrast, original, well-written product descriptions which contain relevant keywords will benefit your site’s SEO by showing your site to be useful and relevant to users’ search queries.

Product descriptions are a chance to build your brand

Your product descriptions say a lot about not just the products in question, but about your brand as a whole. So you need to take the opportunity to infuse each description with your brand’s core values an personality.  How do you want your product range to be seen? As cutting-edge? Affordable? Luxurious? The words you use in your descriptions can reflect these values.

Each description should follow the same format and use the same tone of voice – it’s about building a familiar experience that customers can build a relationship with.

They allow you to sell your customers on the benefits of your products

Aside from the aforementioned SEO issues, one of the major problems with ‘out-of-the-box’ manufacturer’s descriptions is that they tend to focus on the features of products rather than the benefits that they provide to the customer. This is a problem because people really don’t care that much about what features your product has – they want to know what it can do for them and what impact it will have on their lives.

Here are a few examples of how you can turn features into benefits:

“150W sub-woofer” becomes “Powerful bass lets you feel the music more.”

“Heavy-duty battery” becomes “Battery has long life, so no need to constantly recharge.”

”100% polyester” becomes “Dress is made from Polyester, so it will last longer, dry easily and resist wrinkles.”

They appeal to the senses

The best product descriptions enable the reader to feel a little of what it would be like to own the product, and they do so by using language that connects with senses, like taste, smell and touch. By connecting with the senses, you can build a direct link between the customer’s desires and preferences, and the product you are selling. Here are a few examples of the kind of sensory words that you may wish to use:

  • Silky
  • Smooth
  • Tangy
  • Earthy
  • Floral
  • Sweet
  • Soft
  • Salty

They tell stories

“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” – Roger C. Schank

With so many competing brands out there with similar products, the challenge really is to differentiate yours from the rest. Telling stories wherever possible is the perfect way to do this, as it gives the customer a deeper insight into your brand, and makes them feel that their buying something with character and heritage.

The stories that you tell might relate to the vision of your founders in creating the products, or in assembling a particular range of products from external sources. They might relate to the thousands of hours of testing and development that have taken place to create a product at the top of its field. Or they might speak of something more ephemeral, like the subtle images of nature that inspired your product designers to make certain choices.

With so many products to choose from, the flow of information can become too much for consumers. Stories can simplify the choice. As Duncan Stuart of Kudos Organisational Dynamics said, “stories are an elegant solution to the problem of too much information. Humans are wired to process stories and understand them.”

By telling stories, you create in your customers’ minds something more powerful for them to own than a simple physical object, and once they’ve connected with your story they may already feel invested in your product.

By putting your product descriptions at the heart of your e-commerce business, you can not only increase your sales, but build a brand that stands out in the crowded marketplace.

About the author
Derryck Strachan, 
MD, Big Star Copywriting. During the last 10 years Derryck has helped hundreds of businesses get better results from their SEO, product description writing and content marketing. Big Star have a strong stable of writers and an impressive list of B2C clients in travel, fashion, food & drink and online retail, including eBay, Hilton Hotels, Thomas Cook and Ladbrokes. Find out more here: http://www.bigstarcopywriting.com/blog/

Call Graham Jones Graham Jones, Internet Psychologist

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