If you think that creating product descriptions to increase conversions doesn’t really matter, think again. Several recent studies show that consumers care about product descriptions. They particularly care that those descriptions are complete and accurate and that they provide the critical information they need to make a buying decision. That’s the assessment of Practical eCommerce based on one recent consumer survey:

“…Shotfarm, a provider of product images, surveyed 1,500 consumers in 2015 and 2016 and found that 95 percent of respondents believed that online product descriptions were important (17 percent) or very important (78 percent) to their buying decisions. The same survey found that complete product information, including a good product description, and a high-resolution image had the potential to also build customer loyalty, reduce shopping cart abandonment rates, and stave off returns.”

Make Products Real for eCommerce Consumers

That makes sense. After all, when people go to a brick and mortar store, they can carefully examine and compare products. They can pick them up and turn them around. They can’t do that online, which is why the content you use, both words and images, to demonstrate what your products do is so critically important.  It’s also one of the reasons the average eCommerce conversion rate is 4.2%, while brick and mortar stores see somewhere between 14% and 20% (Forrester).

The Best Product Descriptions Do More Than Describe Products

One key takeaway from the Shotfarm survey is it’s not enough simply to tell prospective buyers what a product does. Another is, if you’re simply copying and pasting manufacturer copy, you’re making a potentially costly mistake. Those manufacturers are not necessarily marketers, and they’re not trying to sell your products.

To create product descriptions that sell your products, you need to follow best practice strategies, including the following 5:

1.  Aim Your Copy at Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a fictionalized representation of one of your market segments. It’s based on key demographic, attitudinal and behavioral characteristics members of that market segment share. When you create buyer personas and aim your product descriptions at them, you move from product-centric copy to customer-centric copy. Said differently, using buyer personas to create product descriptions ensures you’re meeting specific customer needs, not simply saying your product does this or that for some generic customer.

2.  Push Benefits over Features

Product features are things that products do. Product benefits are ways those features help customers or improve their lives. For example, a feature of a cleaning product might be that it kills germs. The corresponding benefit is that your family will stay healthy.

It’s a critical distinction because consumers care about benefits (the ways that products will help them solve their problems or live their lives better) much more than they do about features. To ensure your descriptions are focused squarely on your customers, list all of a product’s features, and then translate each into a specific benefit.

3.  Define Your Tone of Voice, and Stick to It

Your business is, well, a business, but as far as prospective customers are concerned, it’s also a person, one who has individual traits, values, and attitudes. Those aspects of your company’s personality need to come across, clearly and unequivocally, in the tone of voice you adopt in your product descriptions. Are you, for example, caring and customer-service oriented? Do you have a sense of humor, or do you come across as cold and corporate?

To increase conversions, you need to connect with buyers on an emotional level, showing them who you are and what you care about. Make sure that the tone you adopt for your product descriptions is consistent with both your brand and the buyer persona at which that description is aimed.

4.  Don’t Forget to Edit

Once you’ve settled on a buyer persona, a tone of voice and product features, it should be relatively easy to pen your first draft, but your first draft should never be your last. That’s where editing comes in. You don’t edit just to make your copy grammatical, you edit to make it more persuasive and engaging.

To make your descriptions more compelling, make sure they’re clearly focused on the customer and their needs, not on you or your company. Keep copy simple and easy to read. If necessary, replace any insider jargon with more common language. Avoid generic phrases, always strive for specificity. Finally, it can be helpful to read your copy out loud—this sometimes helps identify confusing or stilted constructions.

5.  Don’t Forget about SEO

You’re not going to sell many products if prospective customers can’t find them online—that’s why optimizing product descriptions for search engines is so important. Do your research to find out what words and phrases buyers are using to search for products like yours. After you’ve settled on a list of keywords, weave them organically into your copy (you want your descriptions to sound natural), especially in your headlines and subheadings.

Quality Can Make or Break Your eCommerce Business

The quality of your product descriptions can make or break your eCommerce business. To increase conversions and sales, make sure you understand who your customers are and your descriptions speak to their needs and problems. One way to do that is to partner with designers who have deep experience with eCommerce sales.

To learn more about product descriptions to increase conversions, or about the ways our Magento eCommerce site design, development and maintenance services can help you provide your customers with the kind of UX that will optimize your online sales, contact us today.