How to write compelling product descriptions

A great product description is half the job done.

Ever read a product description so well-written it made you want to click ‘buy’ right away? If you haven’t, boy, you’re missing out.

Take this description of a candle:

“Good enough to eat
Nothing smells better than a batch of warm cookies fresh from the oven. This Baked Cookies candle is the next best thing! Fill your senses without the guilt and transport yourself straight to grandma’s kitchen. With notes of vanilla, sweet cream, cookie dough and cinnamon it smells so delicious you’ll want to gobble it right up!”

Perhaps not this exact one, but we’re sure you’ve come across a compelling description before and felt memories or happy feelings flooding your body, without ever smelling the candle itself.
This is the feeling you want to create for your customers.

Because your online customers often don’t have the touch-and-feel element they get in-store, they’ll rely on you to describe the experience of tasting, wearing or feeling your products to help them understand what to expect.

Include all of the following elements in your product descriptions to provide sufficient information and enable your customers to emotionally connect with your products before they buy them.

Include important facts about your product

When your customers shop online, it can be difficult to envision a product without the touch-and-feel element they get in-store.

How long is this shirt?
Will it fit me the way I’m imagining it?
How soft is the material?
What season would this shirt be best suited to?

Will it keep me warm enough in winter?

Ideally you should try to prevent questions like these by providing sufficient information, such as

  • dimensions / sizing
  • materials / ingredients
  • country of origin
  • available colours or variations
  • relevant certifications (e.g. certified organic)

This helps your customers decide whether the product they’re looking at meets their needs.

In addition, you want to ensure you include anything else that your customer needs to know, e.g.

  • available for pickup only
  • free delivery
  • no returns unless faulty
  • custom-made to order, will be dispatched within 3 weeks
  • on backorder, will be dispatched on June 1st
  • display product with light scratch marks as shown in image
  • sizing runs small, we recommend to order one size bigger than you usually wear
  • bestseller
  • award-winning product (include details, e.g. won The Design Institute Most Innovative Design Award 2019)

However, as necessary as this information is, it doesn’t usually tell much of a story. It’s dry data. Important, but boring. 
So, let’s move onto the next element.

Paint a picture

The next thing your customers will do, is to imagine how your product fits into their lives.

What type of plant could I put into this pretty pot?
Does this shirt match any of my other clothes?
What would it look like if I hung this painting in my living room?
What would I use this notebook for?
How would this amazing chair look in my living room?

A compelling product description, alongside great in-situ product images, is a fantastic way to get creative and paint a picture to help customers build an emotional bond with your product.

Craft a scenario that describes how your product could be used and enjoyed, e.g.

“This is the perfect comfy chair to relax in after a big week with a book and a beautiful cup of tea. Plush and cosy, like sitting on a cloud. The ultimate me-time spot – you’ll never want to get up!”

Without even seeing this chair, doesn’t the idea of sinking into a comfy chair persuade you to get one, even just a tad?

Add personality

Lastly: Add some personality! 

Using your brand tone-of-voice, incorporate your brand personality into your descriptions. This ensures consistency, as well as reminds your customers why they like your brand.
It allows your customers to connect with your product on a personal level.

For example, if you target a mature audience, make sure you speak their language and use words they would use in conversation. Don’t include any Gen-Z slang because it’s not something a mature audience would relate to. Try to use examples that matter to your audience and incorporate something they care about. (If you’re unsure about this, try this exercise.)

Apart from great images, informative and enticing product descriptions are key to selling successfully online and preventing returns.

What does a good product description look like in practice?

For some great examples, check out these product descriptions we found on Facebook Marketplace:

Next up: Learn which two types of product photography are crucial for selling successfully online.

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