by: Hanna Walther
News flash: Well-written product descriptions can dramatically improve conversion rates… which means you’ve most likely got some work to do. Product descriptions are an important aspect of any ecommerce site because they are often the final deciding factor of a purchase.
Customers read the description and based on how thorough and persuasive it is, and make a choice one way or another. And while it is a powerful aspect of selling, creating strong copy can be a challenge for many businesses.
If this sounds like you, keep reading! This post is all about how to craft compelling product descriptions for your ecommerce site that can bring in massive conversion rates.
Since many ecommerce businesses don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, the online experience is the only spot they have to offer products to customers. There’s no in-person conversation or rapport building like there is when you browse the aisles of a retail store with a customer.
Because it’s mostly a solo experience for shoppers and you’re competing for their attention with the rest of the internet, you have to be succinct and persuasive when selling online. This means every touchpoint with a product should be sales-focused. And that’s exactly what you can achieve with the right product copy.
We’ve talked at lengths about the importance of the way you position your product through sales copy. However, it’s time to gain a deeper understanding of your customers and how to influence them to buy, regardless of which phase of the buyer’s journey they may be in.
The psychology behind consumers and the tactics that persuade them to purchase has been studied for decades by Dr. Robert Cialdini, Ph.D. in Psychology. His findings are spelled out in 6 principles in his award-winning book, Influence.
In this post, we’ll be sharing Dr. Cialdini’s principles of persuasion and describing how sellers can implement them into product descriptions in a way that is subtle, yet captivating.
The 6 principles of persuasion study the factors that affect people’s decision-making when shopping or making a purchase. These factors are boiled down to 6 principles that can be used to a seller’s advantage when interacting with buyers during the sales process.
Knowing your audience is essential to writing any product-related copy. How could you know what to say without knowing who is reading it? This can help to understand which features will be most valuable to customers. Some questions to think about while crafting copy can be:
By knowing more about your audience and writing copy that caters to their specific persona, you can make connections through your product, which creates an emotional incentive to purchase.
These are a great way for buyers to see how a product will fit into their lives and why they need it. Depending on what their pain points are, features and benefits will paint a picture of what the product can do to make improvements in their lives, the value it can add, and why it’s worth the price.
It’s also important to mention that a customer more than likely will not make a purchase the first time they interact with your product. The buyer’s journey doesn’t start and end with a click and purchase. There is awareness (acknowledging the problem) and consideration (examining solutions through research), to be done before they are ready to buy. Because of this, a shopper on your site may be in the two other phases of the buyer’s journey as they interact with your product.
To create a space for buyers to browse and save products they love, Cialdini discusses the idea of Consistency. By having options on your ecommerce site like creating a wishlist or favoriting a product, you are encouraging them to complete small tasks before asking for something bigger, like making a purchase.
Consistency trains our brains that small tasks are manageable and eventually lead to being comfortable making a bigger move, even in a buying scenario. It explores the idea that people tend to act in a way that is consistent with their past decisions and beliefs.
In order to attract new customers to your product page, SEO optimization is key.
Using keywords you know are highly relevant to your product, and ideally with a low search volume, is the best practice in properly utilizing SEO within your product descriptions.
Keyword research is its own beast - we cover it here in great detail. However, the keywords best suited for your products should be included in the following places:
Remember to write for customers first, and SEO second. No doubt that SEO is a huge contributor to ranking on any search engine, but what happens if shoppers find you and then don’t understand the value of the product because the description is simply filled with keywords? You likely won’t win the sale. (Keep in mind that Amazon SEO has different best practices and we will cover those later in the post!)
Fortunately, there are quite a few user-friendly and powerful keyword tools (some even have free options) to discover the best keywords for your specific product, with insights like what performs well on search engines, what is highly competitive (read: expensive), and which terms will suit your ad budget.
Copywriters often hear the advice, “Write the way you talk,” and that can certainly be applied here. To put it plainly, shoppers will struggle to buy your product if they can barely get through the description.
Make sure to inject some personality and life into your descriptions, so it feels more like a conversation you’d have with a friend. Coming off stuffy, bland, or robotic will turn off buyers and encourage them to seek out a competitor’s product.
Language should be helpful, descriptive, and casual. Don’t use jargon, cliches, or analogies that people won’t understand. But don’t forget— the language on your product descriptions should be consistent with the language you use on your marketing collateral, your voice on social media, your packaging, and anywhere else your product exists.
Nothing boosts conversions quite like customer reviews. These can be hard to come by, but reviews can keep your product converting long-term once you have them. Positive reviews and testimonials showcase the fact that you provide great customer service, a quality product, and you’re a credible business.
Whether you display reviews on your product pages, they live on a specific page on your website, or you encourage customers to leave Google reviews… Whatever the tactic your business deploys, reviews speak volumes for any product and business.
Reviews and testimonials are the cornerstone of Social Proof — a concept defining the power of group influence and how it can impact decision-making in others, particularly what they shop for and buy.
When you see other people enjoying a product, especially if you know these people personally, it alleviates any uncertainty or doubt about buying the product. That is social proof at work.
You’ll always want to work to prevent any additional hurdles that prevent the customer from purchasing. Typically, social proof does this through customer testimonials and reviews to help establish business credibility.
You can also find success with new customers by applying the principle of Reciprocity, based on the idea that as humans, we feel inclined to return the favor if someone does something nice for us.
Businesses can use Reciprocity by offering rebates after a purchase, discount codes, and offers for first-time buyers. The motivation with an offer creates the thought process of “They gave me a discount on a great product (or even a free extra in their packaging), so I should return the favor and leave a review.”
One last thought on motivation — don your consumer hat for a second.
What is a common reason you don’t buy something after debating the purchase? Research shows that consumers get overwhelmed by the “risk” of an online purchase, with thoughts and uncertainties running the gamut from, “Will it fit?” to “What if I lose money on this item?”
Here’s where Risk Reversal comes into play. This principle represents the fears and uncertainties most consumers have and how businesses can persuade them otherwise. It’s pretty simple, really — by offering risk reversals like a money-back guarantee, free return shipping if they aren’t satisfied with the product, or a free trial on a service or subscription model. All of these options can alleviate the worry and stress that buyers feel when they’re making a purchase online.
It’s not groundbreaking information that consumers are more likely to purchase from a business or buy a product that is associated with an authoritative figure. This can be a lawyer, doctor, scientist, or any other person in a position of authority in your industry.
The credibility and trust created by these figures are represented by the principle of Authority.
Businesses often rely on “expert opinions” in their product descriptions to convey the legitimacy of their products. For example, a business using a certified Yoga instructor to endorse their high-quality yoga mats on various marketing campaigns, ad collateral, and product descriptions is a great way to build credibility.
Reviews can also establish a company or product’s credibility — why would someone held in high regard in their profession or community endorse something that was any less than quality? We rely on those individuals to guide us, even in a small way, when purchasing products.
Authoritative figures can also include rewards from renowned review sites or Best Seller badges on various online marketplaces. Amazon’s Choice is a popular badge for sellers and has boosted conversation rates by 25% for some products. You can (and should) also display any press or media attention you’ve received to showcase the buy-in from various trusted outlets.
If you’re launching a product or looking to boost sales in a short time, you can use language that creates urgency for shoppers to buy. Text like “Limited Time Offer!” or “X left in size Medium” fuels demand for the product that may not have existed otherwise.
This tactic is based on the Scarcity principle, where buyers see ads or offers for a product claiming only a limited amount is available. They become more intrigued, and are more motivated and persuaded to buy because they don’t want to miss the deal or the chance to have the product (ecommerce leveraging FOMO for the win!).
88% of ecommerce businesses who use video instead of text in product descriptions saw an increase in conversions. That could be you! You can get as creative as you want with product videos, and enlist the help of employees to participate, particularly those who are confident on camera.
This touches on the principle of Likeness — the idea that buyers want to buy and interact with products and people that they like and enjoy. Creating videos allows your buyers to see a personal side of your company, build a connection with more than just your product, but the team (or even a mascot) behind the product.
Phew! That was a lot. Now let’s get into a bit of Amazon-focused content that we know you’re here for!
While much of the content above can be applied to Amazon, these next three sections are specific to Amazon and how its algorithm, A9, works to determine which products should rank for specific keywords.
First and foremost, you have to be sure the language you are using matches what customers are searching for when they’re browsing or shopping.
Keywords sprinkled throughout the title, bullet points, and description of a product listing will boost the search ranking of that specific product.
The secret with keywords is to be specific to your product.
For example, if you’re selling home decor items like a blanket ladder, it may be beneficial to use “wood blanket ladder” or “blanket ladder for home,” instead of just “blanket ladder.” Adding some detail to a keyword helps the algorithm know what you’re selling, and when to show your product to people who use those search terms.
If you’re looking for some help with keywords and how to rank on Amazon, check out this post. We go into extensive detail about how to optimize your keyword research, find the right keywords to rank on and start making more sales.
Massview has several keyword tools that can help you to find the right niche to target, including data on what shoppers are searching for, what language they use, and which search terms end with a sale.
A few things to remember with keywords, regardless of where you’re selling:
Think of your title like the subject line of your best marketing email.
It’s also the spot where Amazon’s algorithm places more weight on keywords.
Through our own experimenting, we’ve found lengthier titles with more keywords tend to get ranked higher. We recommend keeping your title under 200 characters.
With a longer title, you have more opportunities to accurately describe the product and what it can offer. The search terms you are targeting must be included in the title and description. These help drastically with helping your product show up in relevant searches.
In your title, be sure to include the product type, brand name and model, and any unique selling points that will turn a buyer’s head.
Remember you still have bullet points and a description section for more details, so make the title interesting enough so the customer visits the page and reads your description.
Bullet points are an important part of the product description because they sit above the fold on your product page, and are some of the first text a buyer reads about your product. They’re also indexed for SEO and keywords, so be sure to implement some of your high-ranking search terms here.
Bullets should specify key product features, and how these are better (or offer more) than the competition. Keep them easy to understand and value-driven.
Bullet Point Recommendations
Many say while the product title is like the introduction, the bullet points are the initial, light conversation, and the product description is where shoppers get to know the product and decide if they’re going to buy.
Descriptions on Amazon cap at 2,000 characters.
Share your value proposition in the product description to make a product stand out. Focus on how this product can improve or add value to a customer’s life.
Don’t focus the description on being heavy with keywords. That’s what the title, bullet points, and backend search terms are for! Instead, emphasize connecting with the reader, drawing them in, acknowledging their wants and needs, and helping them feel something by providing a solution— your product, perfectly described and wrapped up in a shiny silver bow.
Massview tip— Don’t include any sales or promos in the product description. This violates Amazon’s policies.
A+ content is exclusive to Brand Registered accounts on Amazon. It can help to increase conversions, promote your brand, and boost sales.
A+ content is located underneath the bullet points but before the product description on a product listing.
Inside Seller Central, Brand Registered accounts can access the A+ content tool to create visual product descriptions for their product pages. Using modules, sellers can customize the way their descriptions look and keep their customers interested through compelling visual templates, instead of tons of text.
For sellers who can access this content, you can create up to 7 modules to creatively tell your brand story through imagery, text, and appealing design. You can include your logo, product shots, and other branding that you think will help convert buyers.
1. Focus on how your product is different
This is not the place for bullets, paragraphs, and long-form content about your product. Share the content that makes your product unique, and what sets you apart from the competition, while also remaining concise and fun.
On the topic of competition, make sure you do some research and see what your competitors are doing on their pages, and do it better!
2. Make it digestible
Think about a well-done print ad or landing page you’ve seen that stopped you in your tracks to admire its simplicity, but power. This is what you should aim for with A+ content.
3. Treat it like a FAQ page
Answer commonly asked questions, provide the highlights and important product information so shoppers know exactly what they’re getting. No unpleasant surprises = happy customers!
There’s no denying that product descriptions are pivotal in the success of a business, starting at the conversion rate. They can also create emotional connections with shoppers, and play a critical role in the persuasion and influence behind why a person makes a purchase.
If you haven’t read Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini yet, we’ve given you a minimum of 6 solid reasons why you should. Your perspective and understanding of using principles of persuasion in a marketing strategy will improve tenfold, leading to more sales, better-targeted audiences, and customers who feel seen and understood.