Tell it like it is

Powerful product descriptions drive sales. Here’s how to do it. CHRIS THOMAS

Chris Thomas

By Chris Thomas

Last week I blogged about creating hot headlines to improve your online sales. For this installment it seems logical to put the spotlight on product descriptions!

How important are they? The answer is “very!”

In a recent online retail customer experience survey it was found that around 60% of top e-commerce sites used very brief product descriptions.

Only 10% had what was described as “exceptional product copy”.

It was noted that almost 70% of potential customers left online e-commerce sites without purchasing, because the site didn’t provide them with enough information to make an informed purchasing decision.

So it seems many people simply abandon shopping carts because they’re not given enough information to buy.

It’s a big job beefing up product descriptions, especially if you’ve got a large online inventory. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!

So start with the biggest selling and most popular items and work your way down.

Short of hiring a copywriter, here are a couple of quite cheap tips to help you improve your descriptions.

User reviews

The best inspirations for hot product descriptions are customer reviews, either your own or those on other sites. (Yes, it’s just a little on the sneaky side.)

The easiest way is to create a table, with the classic “pros” and “cons” in one axis and “emotional” and “logical” in the other.

Here’s an example for a jewel watch where customer review snippets have been captured (from a site like Amazon, where customer reviews abound) and placed in a table:

Here’s the resulting user-generated description:

Kenneth Cole Women’s Stainless Steel Watch

  • This unusual double chain bracelet band and watch is an instant attention getter
  • Kenneth Cole design features hypnotic mother-of-pearl face and is pleasing to look at
  • The high polish silver hands compliment the shimmery dial
  • No worries while washing hands, because this watch is water resistant to 30 metres
  • Simple to adjust the size… no jeweller needed
  • Secure and elegant jewellery clasp
  • Case is a slim 9mm and only 18mm wide
  • Bracelet dimensions: 13mm wide & 7.75 inches long

Pretty snazzy!

Turn boring features into compelling benefits

In the example above, I also really like the way features and benefits are woven into the description!



Mother of pearl face

Pleasing to look at!

Water resistant to 30 metres

No worries while washing hands

Simple to adjust the size

No jeweller needed

At the risk of sounding very “Men are from Mars…” men are typically “feature focused” – we love the specifications!

Women are typically more “benefit driven”; really wanting to understand how a product will enrich their lives, make life a little easier or make them more attractive!

And there’s nothing wrong with that…

Whether your product is aimed squarely at men or women, turn your features into benefits by continually asking, “so what?”.

As you’ve seen above, they’ve asked the magic question “so what?” for almost every feature.

So if the feature is “Water resistant to 30 metres” ask yourself so what and write down a list of answers. Pick the best benefit and weave it into your description.

It’s easy with a little practice.

Have fun!


Chris Thomas heads Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

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