9 Copywriting Tips and Techniques For eCommerce Product Pages

Copywriting Tips for ECommerceWhat should I say? How much should I say? How much is too much? Or, for that matter, too little? Who’s my audience? Will they understand what I’ve written? What format works best?

But, wait, I’m not a creative writer! Help!

If you’ve ever muttered these questions to yourself while pouring over your eCommerce product descriptions, than this article is for you. If you’re struggling to write copy that converts, this post is also for you.

Let’s discuss 10 copywriting tips and techniques for eCommerce product pages.

Your job is to create a vivid picture in the shopper’s mind. Your picture must be tantalizing and clear, so much so that the shopper imagines holding the product and using it.

Take a step into the multi-faceted world of creating writing. You are equal parts prose writer (vivid descriptions) and journalist (just the facts, please). A combination of the two creates winning product pages that convert.

Tip #1: Go Back to the Five Ws

You remember these, right? Many of us were taught way back in grade school to use the five Ws when writing or describing something. It’s also a trick of the astute eCommerce writer. Let’s use these five Ws to craft persuasive product descriptions.

  1. WHO is the product for? Is your target audience male or female, young, middle age or retirees? Are they a defined group of people such as fitness fanatics or new moms?
  2. WHAT are the pertinent details? This is where material, size, feature and function comes in. The HOW can also land here. This is where you’d list how a product works (this doesn’t apply to all product descriptions).
  3. WHERE will your customer use the product? Is it decorative or utilitarian? For indoor or outdoor use?
  4. WHEN would your customer use the product? Is it seasonal? Does it have a long shelf life or an expiration date? What’s the occasion?
  5. WHY should your customer purchase the product? Is it better than the competition? Is it useful? Will it improve quality of life?

Tip #2: Avoid the Expected

What’s the expected? It’s something that goes like this:

“You’ll love the excellent product quality of this camera. It makes all your shots look great.”

Boring. If you’ve ever been stuck for just the right word, you may have found yourself typing in something so expected that it isn’t believable.

You write the words believing them, but what your customer sees is “Yeah right, that’s what everyone says. Why should I believe you?

Consider this Zappos description of men’s shoes:

  • Water friendly synthetic nubuck upper.
  • Extra padded soft textile liner.
  • Swellular technology provides superior comfort, support, and traction.

To avoid the expected, take Zappos’ lead and don’t call a product great or excellent. Describe each of the reasons why it’s excellent thus giving your customer the sought-for proof.

Tip #3: Combine Bullet Points and Descriptions

It’s a good practice to include both bullet points and creative, compelling descriptions.

Combine creative descriptions with a bulleted list of features to create an engaging product description. It also meets the needs of three types of consumers:

  • Those who want a quick look appreciate the bullets.
  • Those who want a longer description enjoy the prose.
  • Those who want to know everything there is to know before they hit “add to cart,” want both bullets and paragraphs of description.

Tip #4: Stay Away from Long Sentences

One web expert suggests the optimal length of an online sentence is about 50-60 characters. Another suggests using 15-20 word sentences.

The bottom line is that long sentences are difficult for your shoppers to take in. Use shorter sentences, and keep paragraphs at 1-3 sentences.

Today, busy people don’t want to read extremely long blocks of product descriptions. Break up paragraphs. Avoid wordy phrases. Separate sentences and avoid the joining them together in your product description.

Tip #5: Speak Simply

A decade or so ago, newspaper writers wrote for people with about a sixth grade education. You should aim for about the same.

Stay away from complex words and don’t use ones that have to be looked up in the dictionary.

Tip #6: Write in the Active Voice

The shirt can be worn in many different ways. This is not active voice.

Active means that the subject of the sentence is doing the action. Active voice is clearer. You’ll be more persuasive when using active voice. Let’s change the sentence to active voice:

You can wear the shirt trekking through the jungle and at your office on casual Fridays. Better, right?

Tip #7: Don’t Use Clichés

If you’re trying to be enticing and original, don’t distract you readers with cheesy, unoriginal, slang sayings. Some of your visitors may not even know what you’re talking about.

Be descriptive and very clear at the same time. Remember – you want the shopper to buy the product not shake their head in confusion.

Tip #8: Use More Verbs

Verbs sell your product. A Harvard study found that verbs are more compelling than adjectives. Verbs make an impact.

Tip #9: Tell a Story

Reel them in. Make your eCommerce shopper feel just how great their life would be if they bought your product.

Appeal to their emotions and then justify the story with hard facts in your description. Let’s take the following case study as an example:

Case Study: J. Peterman

If you haven’t visited this online retailer, it’s time to head on over to J. Peterman now. Even their tag line, “Traveling the world to find uncommonly good stuff,” paints a vivid picture for the shopper.

They use a combination of gorgeous prose and specific details. Consider this excerpt from their description of a woman’s tunic top:

Dipaka takes me to see her llamas as they drink water at the River Chili, outside Arequipa. It’s quiet here, except for the water rushing over the rocks. Powder blue sky stretches out for miles… I bet you’ll be wearing this, or something like it. Epiphany Tunic (No. 4236).

The description draws the consumer in so that not only can they see themselves wearing the top, but they visualize themselves wearing it at the River Chili!

Peterman doesn’t stop with the intriguing description. Their product pages also include the important details such as fabric, sizing, colors, washing instructions and reviews.

The Take-Away

According to smashingmagazine.com, quality product descriptions can transform e-commerce conversion rates — it’s common to see increases of 30-100%.

When you write great copy, you earn your customer’s dollar by showing them just exactly why they need to buy the product from you and not from someone else. You are believable, and thus you engender their trust.

If you take the time to put these tips and techniques to work for you as your work on your eCommerce product pages, you’ll find the following true:

  • An increase in your conversion rate.
  • A lower return rate.
  • A decrease in cart abandonment.
  • Better search engine rankings.
  • Fewer phone calls from confused shoppers.

Looking for help crafting better product pages? We’re here to help you conquer the competition and earn your customer’s loyalty with great product descriptions. What’s more, we guarantee your results. Contact us today to increase your website’s conversion rate!

Image: Lucas

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3 thoughts on “9 Copywriting Tips and Techniques For eCommerce Product Pages

  1. Very nice and usefull blog. Though, you do know you’re missing #7?

    1. Hahaha! I came up with the post title first, then made the points, and never finished #7. I fixed the title. Thanks Jessica.

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