Admit it, your product descriptions could be better

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Not so long ago when e-commerce was younger, so much younger than today – when people were afraid to put their credit card number onto an input field on a website – people would just search for information online and buy stuff offline. Not to mention there was no Magento, online stores ran on wooden PCs and stuff, and there were dinosaurs and stuff running around. Kidding about the dinosaurs, although they did tend to appear on many websites in form of an annoying animated GIF. I remember in these hard times for online merchants there was one awesome online store here in Croatia that every geek knew about and bought from. This store was known for their amazing product descriptions. They were so fun, people would come there just to read them and have a laugh, even if shopping wasn’t on their to do list for the day.

One of the most common issues I see with online stores nowadays that is rarely talked about are poor product descriptions. Although you can see it in almost every niche, it is extremely common in certain niches such as electronics online stores.

What online stores tend to do is, they take the default product description provided by the manufacturer and just copy/paste it to their stores, or import lots of products with their default descriptions through some CSV file. There are several reasons why this is bad, some of them more obvious than others:

  • You will have exactly the same product description as hundreds or even thousands of other websites. Without unique content, how do you think you will outrank the competitors on search engines? What you’re doing to your on-site SEO with this is extremely terrible.
  • The default description provided by the manufacturer is usually not written to be used as a sales copy, it’s more of a technical specification. To a user, this is just a boring read that he should be seeing in some sort of table.

How do I know my product description is poor?

Imagine yourself as a visitor on your online store. You are reading a product description. After you read it, can you answer these very important questions:

1. Why would I buy this product?

Is it completely clear to me what this product does? What is this product’s purpose? How it looks? What’s the size of it? Weight? Condition? Is it something I can eat or is it something that I, like, totally shouldn’t eat?

2. Why would I buy this product from this website?

Is there any reason why I’m supposed to buy this product here and not from some other website?

3. BONUS QUESTION: Did I just read something awesome I wanna tell my friends about?

And I know some of you use the word AMAZING lightly, but don’t. When I say amazing product description I mean, after you read it you were like opening Skype (or ICQ if you live under the rock or something) and going like “OMG mate you HAVE to see this s**t! lol http…” or “Dude, did you know you can do THAT with this? :O http…”.

How to make my poor product descriptions totally awesome?

The benefit of having unique, engaging and awesome product descriptions is pretty obvious: you’ll achieve better search engine rankings, you will convert visitors better, and if that’s not enough for you, amazing product descriptions will even generate traffic through viral effect. The real question is, how should awesome product descriptions be written? Well, there are no guidelines, it’s different for every product type and every target audience, but there are some awesome examples I can show you!

One of such examples is an online store we’re very proud we built – KeepShooting.com. Go have a look, read the descriptions of some products that are featured on the homepage, you’ll have fun, I did 🙂

There’s an entire series of descriptions about zombie Apocalypse on KeepShooting, you have to read the new products regularly to catch-up, it’s like a novel.

Do you have any examples of online stores with awesome product descriptions?


About Toni Anicic

eCommerce Consultant

SEO. Professional gaming. Home-brewed beer. Magento Certified Solution Specialist.

Read more posts by Toni / Visit Toni's profile

7 comments

  1. Should I link to another product on KeepShooting? Because the one I linked in the article went out of stock… I tend to forget we have 120 000+ visitors lol

  2. Ahahahha…. “Zombies are probably not coming any time soon, but you will sure regret not having the Gerber® gator machete pro if I am wrong. Pick one up today for only $39.95.”… This is indeed the coolest product description I have ever read…

  3. Hey @Toni, nice post!

    Just want to share something from my “kitchen” 🙂

    One of my clients has ~ 400 products. He decided after adding the ~60 – th product to start to play with “Duplicate” button in Magento admin panel, so he has mistakes in all next 340 products. Sometimes he missed to change the product image, title, description and url key.

    Even more … he has multi stores under one Magento installation and he shares some products between the stores using the same product description and titles. Ohh yeah … we have duplicated content.

    For sure this reduces the conversion rate!

    So … Shop Owners, take care for your products description if you like to sell more 🙂

  4. If you’re expecting to make money taking an Ingram Micro file and uploading it into an e-commerce platform, you’ve got a lot of competition doing the same wimpy, lazy, no-content, lack-lustre, limp-wristed fail.

    It’s why I don’t buy a lot of stuff from you. Nothing differentiates you from your competitor and your site’s worthless when I need information about what I’m trying to buy.

    Descriptions sell, and Google loves em…

  5. Great article, Toni…

    I’ve seen great product descriptions (these are in fact deal descriptions) on a number of group buying sites – they are focused entirely on selling the deal, and it apparently works pretty well…

    Go ahead, check some of the most popular group buying sites for your city and you’ll see how their deals are presented… they are all about immersing the customer in the experience and making emotional connections which should lead them to purchase decision.

    So, why don’t “regular” merchants focus more on creating amazing, relatable stories around their products?

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