Anyone can have an e-commerce website. But the difference between having a successful e-commerce website and one which itself becomes a financial drain is the conversion rates you achieve – that is, the number of people who actually buy something having arrived on your website.
There are many different factors which can affect how likely someone is to make a purchase once on your site, and some of these relate to the design of your site and how easy it is to actually make a purchase. But one substantial factor that will determine whether people buy or fly is the quality of your product descriptions. According to Craig Anderson of Smashing Magazine,
“Quality product descriptions can transform e-commerce conversion rates – it’s common to see increases of 30-100%.”
As he goes on to point out, you can also see considerable improvements in the actual amount of inbound traffic you to your site to.
In a moment we’ll look at what you can do to improve the quality of your product descriptions and thus your conversion rates, but first let’s take a quick look at why they’re so important.
Why are quality product descriptions essential?
Aside from a picture of the product and the accompanying price, your product description is the only thing that visitors to your site have to go on when making a choice about whether to purchase or not. An exceptional product description will have a positive impact and convince them that yours is a product worth having. A poor quality description will do just the opposite. It’s important to bear in mind the following points regarding product descriptions in general:
All products descriptions should be original – Those which are copied from elsewhere are likely to fall foul of Google’s rules on duplicate content, and may also be in breach of copyright laws.
The search engines increasingly look for high quality content when determining where your page should rank
The quality of your product copywriting will affect how your products are perceived
Anatomy of an effective product description
A high quality product description is one which is not just linguistically appealing and easy to understand, it also one which is effective in describing exactly what a product is and what it will do for the prospective customer. It should also work effectively within the nuances of modern web communications. Common characteristics of all effective product descriptions include:
Succinctness – While search engine optimisation needs dictate that your product descriptions should be of relatively substantial length, they should also not waffle on or be overly long. A good product copywriter can tell the reader everything they need to know within around 50-125 words. Obviously the correct length will depend on the nature of the product, but if you focus on getting the details across and cutting out the waffle you can’t go too far wrong.
Clichés and superlatives – Be honest and tell your customers what the product is and why specifically they should buy it. Telling them it’s the ‘best’ or ‘one of a kind’ will rarely ring true and is likely to be a turn off.
A familiar voice – Your product descriptions should have their own distinctive personality. Doing so will make them more memorable, and will show that you’re different from your competitors. The tone you adopt should fit in with your brand story and the image you’re trying to convey.
Finally, once you’ve nailed the product description, don’t give them a chance to get distracted and go elsewhere. Round off your description with a convincing call to action which tells the reader why they should make the purchase and how exactly they can do just that.
Chris is a UK copywriter at Big Star Copywriting, a Devon-based copywriting agency who create content for top brands around the world. He frequently blogs about content marketing, copywriting, search engine optimisation and other matters relating to the ever-expanding world of online marketing.