In this article
The customer is now on your page, looking for the perfect product that fits his/her need.
The very last step is convincing the customer to click the "add to cart" button.
With an effective product description.
This means the product description is one of the most important aspects of your online shop when it comes to conversion.
Even though it holds incredible power, a good product copy can be hard to write.
It can be especially mind-numbing when you have a long list of items on your product page to work through.
We've broken it down into 8 easy-to-follow rules about product description writing that will help you create product copy that sells.
Writing Effective Product Descriptions
Click the links to Jump to sections
- 8 Easy Rules to Write Product Descriptions That Sell
- Know Who Your Target Audience is
- Focus on the Product Benefits
- Tell the Full Story
- Use Natural Language and Tone
- Use Power Words That Sell
- Make it Easy to Scan
- Optimize for Search Engines
- Use Good Product Images
- Bonus: How To Create (And Test) Your Own Product Description Template
1. Know who your target audience is
The first step to writing product descriptions is to define your target audience.
You want to be able to define which features would be of most interest to your potential buyers.
This begins with understanding your buyer persona, and a breakdown of the characteristics of your potential customers. Your buyer persona will help you understand which features will be most valuable to your customers.
As you are writing your product description, keep these questions in mind:
- How did this person arrive on your page?
- What are his or her interests, generally?
- Why would this person be interested in your Shopify store, specifically?
- How would this person describe the product to a friend?
- What features or benefits would interest this person the most?
By keeping these questions in mind as you write your product copy, you will be better able to write a product description that sells.
For example, take a look at this product by The Salt Lady.
The buyer persona is not just any person who is shopping for a lamp.
Instead, the buyer persona is likely interested in all-natural remedies for the home, especially when it comes to allergies. In this case, the potential buyer would likely be interested in learning about these remedies in the product description.
Rather than focus on the decorative features of the lamp, like most other product descriptions for lamps, The Salt Lady focuses on the features that would appeal to her buyer persona the most.
This leads perfectly into rule #2 for writing product descriptions.
2. Focus on the product benefits
As a business owner, you are understandably excited to share all of the qualities of your products. You want to show that your product has the best features and the most unique specs.
The buyer, however, is not necessarily interested in the mundane features of the product. Instead, they want to know how it can benefit them.
A product feature is a factual statement about the product that provides technical information. A product benefit, on the other hand, tells how the product can improve the buyer’s life.
If we take a closer look at the product description of the very unique item from above, we can see the key features of the product as well as the benefits.
In this product description, the product features include 100% pure Himalayan salt, a weight of 4-6 lbs., and an on/off cord and light bulb set.
The product benefits include reduced EMF pollution, purified air, and reduced symptoms of allergies, asthma, and headaches.
Another example can be found in the product description at The Yankee Candle Company for their sample-size votive candle.
So what makes this candle so special? Well, the answer lies in the direct benefits that it will bring to the buyer.
They clearly outline the benefits of owning this tiny candle, most of which center around convenience. Rather than pushing the generic scent or even the role of a candle in the home, they are highlighting the benefit of having this particular sample size candle.
The main benefits that customers can expect from this candle are:
- You can sample this scent without investing in a bigger, more expensive candle.
- It is the perfect size for small moments throughout the day.
- It is a great addition to a bigger focal point, such as a centerpiece at dinner parties.
- It is safe and easy to use. You can essentially light the candle and walk away.
The content of your product description should convince the potential buyers that it will improve their lives in obvious, measurable ways.
Before you begin writing your product descriptions, make an outline of the features and benefits of your product. Think about how the product either increases pleasure or reduces a pain point.
For every feature that you list, figure out how this will directly benefit the buyer.
If the feature is 100% Himalayan salt, then the benefit is reduced allergies.
If the feature is a 1.75-ounce candle, the benefit is that it can be used in small spaces, such as a nightstand, a bathroom, or an end table.
Translating features into benefits like this will help you write more persuasive product descriptions and more quickly.
3. Tell the full story
A good product description should give all relevant details, convince the buyer of its benefits, and pack an emotional punch.
Emotions influence buyer behavior, so your product description is the perfect place to elicit emotions.
How do you do this?
By filling in any gaps that potential buyers may have about the product.
Sivana Spirit does an excellent job of this in their product description for their Natural Amethyst Ring.
The product description includes features, sure, but it goes further into the story of the key feature: the amethyst.
It does this by focusing on the traditional spiritual benefits of amethyst. It focuses especially on the ways in which it can be used, making it easy for the customer to imagine having this ring in his or her life.
Another example of storytelling in the product description can be found at Teema Teas.
In the product description for the "Immortality Tea", we learn about the historical significance of this type of tea as well as its many benefits.
By including the story about its traditional uses, the reader automatically envisions the tea being carefully cultivated hundreds of years ago and shared among the people in rural China.
It allows you to imagine a life with this tea. It kind of makes you want to have this tea in your life, as well.
By telling a mini-story about the product, you are much more likely to connect with the potential buyers on an emotional level rather than a transactional one. This is key to converting your potential buyers into actual buyers.
When it comes to telling a story in your product description, try to answer these questions
- Who originally made this product?
- What inspired them to make this product?
- What was the journey of making this product?
- How would this product look at the buyer’s day-to-day life?
Setting a scene like this will help the buyer envision this product in a way that features and specs could never do. If you can get the buyer to imagine the product as an emotional conquest or companion, then they will likely forget that they are being sold to.
4. Use natural language and tone
If you read your description aloud, does it sound like a real conversation that you would have with your friend?
Or does it sound like a computer-generated string of words?
If your product description isn’t something that you would say to your friend about the product, then it’s time to inject a little life into them.
Bringing this natural tone—one that you would use in a real conversation—will help your customer connect with your brand.
Nasty Gal does this exceptionally well, using the tone of "fun-loving girlfriend" throughout the entire site, even in the product titles.
For example, rather than selling regular high-heel shoes, they are selling sassy shoes that one young woman might recommend to another.
This girlfriend tone is carried throughout the website, from the product titles, product descriptions, color scheme, down to the very name of the company.
Another example can be see with Mrs. Meyer’s all-natural dish soap.
The product description uses natural language that you might use in a real conversation with your friend. There are no empty adjectives or sweeping claims. It’s just a helpful description of the product that highlights its benefits.
The tone sounds natural and is in line with the general tone of the brand, overall.
Using a consistent tone that matches the brand builds trust with the customers and makes certain ecommerce brands much more memorable than the thousands of others currently selling products on Shopify.
5. Use power words that sell
There are certain words and phrases that naturally elicit an emotional response in humans. Luckily for Shopify store owners, this also increases sales.
By being mindful of these words and phrases, you can more easily convince your customers to take the leap and make the purchase.
Jon Morrow at Smart Blogger describes these as "power words." He has an entire list of words that can help make your product copy more enticing.
Bangs Shoes packs power words into their product description that makes you forget that you're about to drop $60 on a pair of shoes.
These shoes are a "delicious" experience that will help you "rock" life, whatever that means to you. They bring "positivity" as you are out "exploring" and make your entire experience a whole lot better.
You can almost hear your best friend telling you about these shoes and that is exactly what they wanted as they were writing this product description. Because who can turn down a product that is recommended by your best friend?
As you write your product descriptions, look for any descriptive words or adjectives that could use a little bit of dressing up.
Rather than using words like “nice” or “high-quality”, opt for power words like “stunning” or “sensational”.
By sprinkling these good descriptive words into your product descriptions, you are subtly convincing the buyers that your products are exciting, impressive, and worth the purchase.
6. Make it easy to scan
People have short attention spans and read-only about 16% of what's on the page. So your product description needs to be able to capture that coveted 16% in an effective way.
You can do this by making your descriptions super scannable.
As in, the buyer is able to find exactly the information he or she wants without wasting time sifting through other pieces of information.
Make your product descriptions easy to scan by including bullet points, short paragraphs made up of just a few sentences each, lots of white space, and different size fonts.
Health Warrior does a great job of making a scannable page for their chia seed bars. They include different size fonts, a short paragraph, and bullet points of the key benefits of the bar.
As you are writing product descriptions for your Shopify store, look for easy opportunities to follow this same scannable structure.
Ingredients and specs can easily be put into bullet points. The story and highlights can easily be put into a short paragraph. The product title can be put into a heading.
By making your product description easier to read, you are less likely to lose a potential customer during the process.
7. Optimize for search engines
In virtually everything that you do on your Shopify store, you should be optimizing the content for search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the easiest way to attract new customers to your page, which is the very first step in convincing a person to buy your products.
Optimization begins with keywords, which are usually the search term that buyers use to find the product that they are shopping for.
With a little bit of keyword research, you can quickly discover which keywords are best for your Shopify store.
"Women's black dress pants", for example, is a keyword that could easily be optimized in your online store.
With a quick search for women's black dress pants, you will see the top results include some variations of the keyword, such as “black dress pants for women” and “women’s casual & dress pants”.
Look for the bolded words in the descriptions to get an idea of what Google currently favors.
If we click on one of the listings on the first page, we can see how they use this keyword on their site to appear in the search results.
They use the keyword, or a variation of it, both at the top of the product page, as well as in the product title.
For good measure, and in line with best SEO practices, Shopify recommends placing your keyword in your
- Page titles
- Meta descriptions
- Image tags (called ALT tags)
- Product descriptions
For a better idea of which keywords you could use for your product, run your keyword through LSIGraph to generate a list of related keywords. This tool crawls the internet to find which pages are ranking the highest on search engines for your selected keyword. Then it lists the most commonly used keywords on those pages.
This will give you an idea of what is currently performing well on search engines and can be used in your product titles or product descriptions.
With this list of related keywords, we can see that the word “cheap” is a popular search term and could easily be used within your product title or description.
Keep in mind that it is best to have the main keyword within your product title as it carries the most weight with search engines.
Will adding the keywords to your product titles and descriptions earn you a number one ranking on the search results page?
But it will definitely help make your product easier to find for those who are actively seeking your product.
If you need to optimize a large number of products, the applications like the Search Pie app can assist you in mass modifying meta tags and taking care of all your SEO requirements.
8. Use good images
Even if you master product description writing, you must still have quality images to go with it.
So an important aspect of your product description is actually in the photo itself.
Quality photos will show the customer all of the key features of your product. They will also allow the customer to imagine having this product in her life.
For example, Vitamix, a brand that sells professional-grade blenders, uses quality images and videos on its product pages to help make the sale.
Rather than telling you about the engine or the capacity of the blender, they show you a picture of a blender filled with food items as well as an inspiring video about the motor.
You will also notice that they use enticing power words and list the benefits within the very short, scannable product description.
By showing what the blender is capable of, both in technical and practical ways, the customer is able to immediately imagine having this blender at home, in real life.
Canon does the same by providing both video and quality images to display the features of their PowerShot camera.
The features are displayed in a way that feels a bit like you are poking and prodding at the camera yourself. If you held this camera in your hands, you would likely pull at the screen, extend the lens, and use the flash as you tested it out.
But since you cannot hold the camera in your hands, the images do all of the poking and prodding for you.
Why does this work?
Because research shows that customers who are able to hold a product in their hands are much more likely to have the desire to own the product. The same can be said for images or videos that encourage touch.
Understandably, you may not have a professional video service to prepare something so spectacular. But you can, at the very least, be sure to provide quality photos of your product that clearly display its benefits.
Create (and test) your own product description template
Even with these eight rules for writing product descriptions that sell, you may still want to use a product description template.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all product copy.
Instead, try to make your own description template. Take the time to consider the quality criteria that your target audience is looking for and be sure to include it in your descriptions.
A few helpful questions to guide your writing may be
- What problem is your product solving?
- Which power words have you included?
- Did you include the full story?
- Would you say this to a friend?
- Does your image clearly display its key features and benefits?
Once you’ve found a nice formula for your product descriptions, test them out. Implement these rules on a set of your products and monitor the results. Pay attention to whether or not it helps increase your sales or boost your organic traffic.
If the new product descriptions indeed increase sales, then go ahead and make similar changes to the rest of your products within your Shopify store. If not, then examine your changes and look for opportunities to improve them.
There's more to product descriptions than salesy pitches
These eight rules are based on consumer research and have been proven to be effective in increasing sales. The main takeaway is that your product descriptions shouldn’t push your product so much as cut to the main points about why it will improve your customer’s life. And if you can convince your customers of that, then your sales will increase.
Another way to get more sales is to bring more traffic to SEO and backlinks. You'll find step-by-step guides and more on the Ultimate Shopify Marketing Resource for guides, success stories, and case studies.