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How to improve website conversions – Part 3: Effective Product Descriptions

Welcome to our third installment of this series of articles on improving website conversions for e-commerce businesses (click here to visit the first and the second posts in the series if you missed them). This time we focus on an very important topic, effective product descriptions. Imagine you are a customer. You have found a great looking website, beautifully presented. It has high quality images showing all of the products, dimensions and functions, giving you the feel that this is a great ecommerce store to buy from. Your gut tells you that this company might be a trustworthy place to shop with.

But as you click through to a specific product you like the look of you find the product description is non-existent.

Would you still buy a product with no description? Would you buy if the description simply re-iterated the name of the product?

Effective product descriptions

In order to get a customer to buy you need to draw them in, with images and words. Here are questions, which you should ask yourself as if you were a customer, to help you put together a compelling product description

  • Why would I need to buy this product?
    • Am I totally clear on its purpose?
    • Is it clear what it will do for me to make my life easier/better/happier etc.
    • What are the dimensions of the product?
      • Weight
      • Size
      • Colour
      • Material
      • Why should I buy it from this shop vs. another shop?

One company that has great product descriptions is Made.com

Their descriptions are very comprehensive. Take this one as an example, for the Fonteyn media unit:

made.com product description
made.com product description

It's packed with practical information about the product (delivery, ease of construction, how the doors open) and credibility-building information that sells the product (press features, designer credentials). There are even photos from customers who have bought the product previously showing how it looks in situ. Plus customer questions about the product with quick responses from the Customer Services team.

made.com product images
made.com product images

Products like the media unit above can't afford not to have a great product description, given their price. But for products, which are cheaper and perhaps less of a considered purchase, great descriptions are a requirement too.

Shopify's excellent blog offers some tips to follow to ensure you implement effective product descriptions. Here's a short summary

  1. Focus on your target customer, and sell the product to them as you would face to face. Make them believe the product is best suited for them.
  2. Provide all the benefits of the product, not just features. Describe the problems it solves.
  3. Don't use generic descriptions like 'great product quality' or 'goes with any outfit'; be specific when describing features and benefits.
  4. If it is justified, through research and robust statistics, use superlatives.
  5. Use visual imagery to bring to life the positive feelings that will come as a result of buying the product.
  6. Use story-telling to bring the product to life - how it came to be made and why.
  7. Sensory words help the customer go beyond the visual sense of what a product looks like, but how it feels, smells, tastes, sounds. Research into effective selling, tells us that descriptions which invoke a multi-sensory response are more likely to sell than those which don't.
  8. Use social proof to add credibility and positive 3rd party endorsement.
  9. Make the descriptions easy to read, by using headline text, bullet points etc.
Have you seen a great example of an e-commerce website with good product descriptions?? Let us know and we'd love to showcase some more examples for you.