When it comes to ecommerce, product descriptions can make or break a sale. Since customers cannot examine whatever they’re hoping to purchase physically, they must rely on the product photos and description presented on a product page to verify all the information they need. Product descriptions specifically are required to provide any information customers cannot gain from the product photos provided to them.
While it can be easy for business owners to approach product descriptions by simply jotting down everything they can think of to describe the product and calling it a day, there are certain actions that should be avoided for the description to be effective. Below, we detail the most common mistakes ecommerce business owners make when writing product descriptions.
1. Copy/Pasting Manufacturer Descriptions
Relying on manufacturer descriptions is the most common misstep ecommerce businesses make—especially when they’re strapped for bandwidth. If your products come from a manufacturer who provides a ready-made description, it’s easy to assume that what has been provided will suffice and move on to other tasks.
However, keep in mind that every other business buying from that manufacturer likely has the same idea, which means your product pages will not earn any SEO points—and might even be hidden for containing “duplicate content.” Make sure you write unique product descriptions that Google and other search engines will see as different, but still relevant.
2. Spelling, Grammar, and Other Errors
Even if you don’t see the value of perfect spelling and grammar in your everyday life, many potential customers will view these types of errors as unprofessional. Even worse, they may decide that careless spelling and grammatical mistakes mean your company lacks the detail-orientedness, knowledge, and polish required to earn their business.
To avoid this, always proofread your product descriptions before you publish them to make sure that there aren’t any errors. Using a tool like Grammarly as a plugin for your web browser—or even just asking a second person to read over each description prior to publication—can help you avoid mistakes that customers may use to judge.
3. Not Enough Information
Because online shoppers cannot look over items themselves, they rely on product descriptions to tell them everything they need to know about a product. To ensure that they have enough information to make an informed purchase decision, consider all of the specifications potential customers might have in mind and include them in your product description.
After that, consider any additional information that might set your item apart—or at least assure customers that they’re ordering exactly what they think they’re ordering. If you are able to answer all of a customers’ questions about a product upfront, they’ll feel more comfortable moving forward with a purchase.
4. Too Much Information
On the flipside, you don’t want to inundate your customers with too much information. As contradictory as this may sound, there is a “happy medium” of information you’ll want to include to make sure that your customers learn what they need to while remaining engaged in the copy they’re reading.
For example, extraneous information—such as “T-shirts printed on a Cricut EasyPress 2 Heat Press Machine”—likely won’t matter to customers and should be left out of product descriptions. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about their needs during the purchase process, and then get rid of any information that may not speak to that.
5. Leaving Long Walls of Text
No matter how much extraneous information you try to remove, some products are so complex that they require a lot of supporting information to assure customers that they’re ordering the right thing. The common mistake here is leaving all of your information in large chunks of text, which can be intimidating for customers to pick through to find the details they care about most.
If you must include a larger amount of information on your product page, make sure it’s broken up in a way that is more palatable to readers, with smaller blocks of text that have subheadings so customers can find the information they’re looking for quickly. When you can, list specifications typical in your industry in bullet points to allow for an even quicker skim.
6. Using Boilerplate Copy
Another mistake business owners make to save time is using boilerplate copy across all of their product pages. This consists of “fill-in-the-blank”-type copy, where the product’s individual characteristics are added to specific areas of the text, but all supporting sentences and phrases are the same. While easier to complete, it can come across as clunky to readers.
To ensure that each of your product descriptions flows in a way that can be read naturally by customers—and to avoid duplicate content flags from Google—you’ll want to approach each description differently to highlight the product’s most relevant features and benefits. Of course, product descriptions across different variants of the same product can remain pretty similar since only a small part of the product is different.
7. Overlooking the Benefits
If you know your product well, it’s easy to list out all the features and specifications for customers to read. But what about those special details that will actually sell the product? Make sure you’re letting customers know how they will benefit from using your product in addition to exactly what it is.
Will your product reduce the amount of time it takes to do a task? Will it take up less space in their closets? Make them more eco-friendly? Your product description is a sales pitch as well as an informational source, so make sure you’re including why customers should care about the product in the first place.
8. Relying on Buzzwords
It may be tempting to include buzzwords in your product descriptions to appeal to trending topics and make your products seem more current. However, in a majority of cases, this is not a best practice because modern customers are savvier than ever to buzzword overuse.
Consider whether your product really does fit in with any trending topics/buzzwords you plan on mentioning, or whether customers viewing the description might view it as an opportunistic stretch to make a sale. Additionally, consider how often you’re able to update your product descriptions, since the topic in question is not likely to remain a buzzword for long—and may end up making your listing sound dated.
In the world of ecommerce, product descriptions are vital components of convincing customers to follow through with a purchase. Avoid the mistakes listed above, and you’re more likely to see your bounce rates fall while sales soar.