Ways to Write Product Descriptions that Sell
Think about what makes you buy a product. There are always a great many contributing factors, but what's the biggest? Is it when the products are described in the simplest of fashions? I'd be willing to bet not. Just as we need visual representation when browsing a product, so too do we need a quality description of said product. Anyone can see the blue coat on your site so there's no need to describe to us that it's a blue coat. What makes this blue coat special? Why should we buy it? How would it benefit our lives to purchase this coat? These are the questions you'll want to answer in your product descriptions.
Not only will you want to answer these questions for customers, but you'll also want to invoke a variety of emotions when you do so. You're writing these descriptions in order to sell to real people, not robots. It's easier for a customer to purchase a product that they feel something for. As the store owner, this may be easy for you to do. Since you care about your products, all you need to do is transfer that feeling to the customer in your descriptions. Let's take a look at a few ways you can write product descriptions that sell.
Focus on Your Ideal Buyer/Target Audience
Let's hearken back to that blue coat. What kind of coat is it? Is it a blazer or a pea coat? A heavy-duty ski jacket? This will matter when you're trying to describe the product. What kind of coat it is and how it can potentially be used is something you'll want to focus on. You don't want to try to market a pea coat to someone who is looking to bring a coat when they go camping. Knowing the people who would potentially purchase a particular product and then marketing specifically to them is critical. Think Geek (now run by its parent company, GameStop) had a particular knack for knowing exactly who they were catering to. Look at their description of a waffle maker they were selling. It's not just any waffle maker.
Immediately, you can tell who their target audience is. From start to finish they are consistent in catering to this one niche of people: those who may not cook a lot, but love to play games and catch Pokemon. This isn't targeted to a woman looking for a waffle maker so that she can make them for her friends for brunch. Think Geek knows who they are, what they sell, and who they are selling to and they make that very clear in their descriptions.
Speaking from personal experience, I have read product reviews and sometimes I've passed on a given item. Not because the description was bad, but because, while reading the description, I discovered that the product wasn't right for me. And that's okay! I'll tell you why it's good. 1. That site won't have a return from me for later as a result of me purchasing something I didn't want or need. 2. The description knew exactly who to cater to. This will undoubtedly result in the key audience going for that product. These are the kind of results you want to aim for when focusing on your target audience in product descriptions.
Make it Easy to Read
As much as you want your product descriptions to appeal to your readers, you also want to make sure they actually read the description. Avoid long, clunky, and copious paragraphs. We live in an world of instant gratification, so the likelihood that the customer will want to take their time to read an extensive description is slim to none. Keep your descriptions short and sweet, but obviously not so short that they can't even whet their whistle. Many times, having bullet points is extremely helpful. Using this format, you can get a good amount of information across without it being too overpowering.
You don't necessarily have to choose between bullet points and paragraphs either. You can use bullets for listing things, like ingredients, and paragraphs for supplementary information. If you use both in one given description, just be sure not to make it superfluous, otherwise a customer is likely to skip altogether. LL Bean does a great job of incorporating both bullets and paragraphs in their description of a rain jacket.
The description delivers a lot of information and benefits to the product, but it makes it incredibly easy to scan. Imagine if all of this information was jam-packed into a series of paragraphs; it would certainly be overwhelming to a customer. By using the paragraphs to depict the benefits and using the bullets to characterize in-depth information, the consumer is able to make a sound decision in a quick amount of time without being bombarded with text.
Entice with Benefits
This is where you would want to answer they question of why a customer should want to purchase this product. As the store owner, it's easy to get excited about your own products and want to while away the time by describing every teeny tiny detail. Don't do this. Instead, explain why your potential customer will benefit from it. How will it improve their lives? Clearly, we all get that you think it's great. But why should they? Let's take a look at this product description of a couch from Joss and Main.
It's difficult to sell you on the benefits of a couch. I mean, we already know why we need the couch, right? This description not only provides the concrete benefits to the couch, but it also implies the ambiguous benefits. Wood, L-shape, reversible orientation, foam-filled, seats 6, and its neutral hue are it's explicit benefits.
These details scream that the the couch is versatile due to its reversibility and its neutral hue. Don't like the orientation? Change it. Want to spruce it up with some fuchsia throw pillows? Go for it! The wood speaks to the sturdiness of the couch and the foam speaks the the comfort. When you combine these two factors with the fact that the couch seats up to six, you automatically think about the time with your family and friends that was planted into your brain at the beginning of the description.
Your brain goes to work imagining all of the many possibilities that this couch can bring to your life. It invokes an emotion within you, stirs some feelings and makes you feel comfortable even though you don't yet have the couch. It has done its job of explaining the benefits to you. This is how you would want to sell benefits within the description.
Use Sensory Words
Oftentimes it's easiest to get a potential customer to imagine owning a product when you appeal to their senses. Using the right words, you can engage the customer and evoke sensory imaging which would only benefit you. It's an entirely different experience than using your regular adjectives. The examples given above don't reference too many adjectives other than those necessary simply because adjectives can generally weigh down a sentence. In this instance, that's not the case. Your sensory words are different because of the power they hold. Check out this review from David's Tea about their special Valentine's Day chocolate covered strawberry tea.
When you read this description it's hard to remember that we're talking about tea! The moment the description mentions "drizzle" your mind goes to work envisioning the image. I'm not sure about you, but I think about all of those chocolate commercials where they're whipping the chocolate around and letting it dribble off the spoon. "Savoury and sweet" allows you to dream of the taste. Most people know the refreshing taste of a strawberry, but imagining the sweetness of chocolate combined is enough to make your brain pop. The mentioning of decadence and indulge is where they win you over.
The description has packed so much sensory imaging into a small description, but it wasn't overpowering in anyway. It was just enough to give you a taste of the tea.
A good product description doesn't force a product down a customer's throat. A good product description tells a customer why they need a product without actually saying so. If written well, the product description will allow the product to sell itself. Not one of the above descriptions directly say, "You need this product because..." or "This product is great because...." No description should ever read that way. Make the product shimmer, shine , and dance in front of the customer's eyes and they're sold.
There are other ways to write product descriptions that sell. You can look for additional ways by looking at products that you might like. People who work in the business of selling products to other people are some of the toughest people to sell a product to. So, how does a description win you over? Employing these tactics are likely a win-win for everyone.