Walker Hill Group

Are Your Product Descriptions Costing You Sales?

Your customers’ buying experience can make or break your bottom line. With people buying online more than ever, this article explores a fresh framework to create an experience worth raving about. And it all begins with the place people click “buy” – your product descriptions.
Often mistaken as the place to dump the specs, features and information, your product descriptions are your 24hour shop assistant.
They have the power to showcase your brand’s personality while inviting your browser to test drive what you’re selling. Ultimately, browsers want to witness who they could become with your product in their lives. In a matter of seconds.
Furthermore, product descriptions are a place to make someone feel something. Because it’s been proven: we buy with emotion and justify with logic. So don’t let your marketing efforts go to waste. Give your copy the best chance at selling by providing visitors not just words to read – but words that will capture their hearts and minds. Here’s how:

1. Benefits Based

When a potential customer lands on your product page, they want to know what they’re getting. In particular, they want to know:

  • What is your product?
  • Who is it for?
  • Why is it worth buying?
  • How much does it cost?

While it can be tempting to address these with a list of factual product features, product benefits demonstrate why the product matters to them.  
Consider the bObsweep Vacuum & Mop.

The product features are listed, however, the opening paragraph paints the scene of who this product is made for (busy homeowners who want a clean home). This is backed up with key features (extra long brush, a remote control) paired with the benefits (vacuum with fewer passes, enables users to manually direct the vacuum).
Coupling benefits to key features paints a picture for your potential customers. It joins the dots so they can clearly articulate how your product may improve their life.
Your Turn: Comb your product descriptions for opportunities to insert benefit-driven copy. Plug your features (or the descriptions your factory manufacturers gave you) into this formula to create compelling copy:
This ____ (feature) helps you _____ (benefit) OR
This ____ (feature) helps you _____ (benefit) so you can _______ (hidden benefit).

2. Captivate. Kill The Cliche.

The fastest way to hand your audience to your competitors? Bore them. A product of our evolution, our brain is fundamentally wired to pay attention to that which we cannot anticipate.
In primitive years, it kept us alive. On the internet, it gets you paid.
Delighting your customers with fresh words saves you from being lost on generic terms they’ve heard before. Cliches keep you in the sea of sameness and have your visitor concluding that they’re read what you have to say before. Thus, prompting them to scroll by your words.
Write descriptions that matter to your people. That surprise and have them rallying behind you.
For example: Most skin care companies would put the product’s name on the packaging. Not Frank. Instead, you’re greeted with: Guess what? You’ll be naked in one minute. Even their product description mashes unusual imagery that still works: “…and soft as a kitten with a blowout.”
Cheeky? Yes. Unique? Yes. Predictable? Absolutely not.

You thought candles were for the faint-hearted?
Malicious Women Candle Co has a thriving business and fanbase by breaking the paradigm of candle gift-giving. Their labels are addictive to consume, often displaying messages we may think, but would never dream of parading on a present.
With a label for almost any occasion and relationship, their product catalogue is entertaining and shareworthy (and we’d dare you to try not to find one applicable to all of your close relatives and friends).

Your Turn: Brainstorm how you can be fresh in your customers’ minds. What are they expecting to hear? List out the cliches and common phrases. How can you avoid these and change up the phrasing?

3. Thoughts On Them 

Your visitor should be the hero of your product description. In fact, the word “you” is one of the most persuasive words you can harness to connect with them. So while you may have created the product, shine the spotlight where it belongs.  
Take Shopify.

They could have said, “We help you build your business.” But everything, from the heading to the supporting text addresses the shopper and paints a picture of what’s available for them.
Your Turn: Scan your copy for the word “we” or “us”. How you can re-write the sentence to be shopper focused?

4. Wattage Words

High wattage words speak to the deepest desires of your customer. They spark something within that connects to your words. Knowing certain words have a profound effect on our psyche, Jon Morrow compiled a list of 700+ power words that are proven to boost conversions.
These persuasive words​​​ trigger a psychological and emotional response and are broken down into 8 different categories: greed, curiosity, sloth, lust, vanity, trust, anger and fear.
Being aware of these words allows you to build a product story that appeals to your customer. Take J Peterman. They are known for their evocative product descriptions and the Alpha Female Blouse is no exception.

Their curated word choice includes: sophisticated, alpha, potent, dignified, elegant, queen, powerful, accomplished. Paired together, they express a desired feeling that many females can aspire to. And this blouse? Positioned as the embodiment of that.
Your Turn: How does your customer most want to feel? Consider what adjectives, verbs and power words would resonate and inspire that feeling. Sprinkle those words throughout your copy (be sure to avoid generic words!).

5. Stake In Their Story

Anything we buy beyond our basic needs, fills the void between who we are and who we wish to be. By speaking to who your customers’ vision they hold for themselves, you become a partner in their personal evolution and journey.
Nike gets this – and they craft their messaging in alignment. They’ve strategically positioned their products to be more than what you wear, but a statement about the person wearing them.

Their current campaign, pictured below, puts a stake in the ground for the type of people they want to represent and are rooting for.
Similarly, Bryan Anthonys creates jewellery centred around an affirming message or theme. This particular piece, Blank Slate, serves as a reminder to potential buyers that “life is messy” and to “wear this as a reminder that it’s never too late to start again”.
This messaging tap into a customer’s deepest desires to be more and manufactures a meaningful connection between their customer, their desired identity – and the product. This is customer loyalty that messaging can buy.
Your Turn: List out the ways that your product helps your customer become an even better version of themselves. How can you include these in your product descriptions?
These five psychology hacks harness the emotions of your potential buyers. Because despite millions of years of evolution, emotions are the very foundation on which decisions are made. Finessing your product descriptions to provide a buying experience that not only delights, but ignites a meaningful connection will optimise your around-the-clock shopfront.
Your words tell the story of why someone should buy from you. Make it a story worth buying into.​​​​​​​
If you’d like more help in implementing these tips or just don’t have the time to re-vamp your online store, click here to book your free marketing consultation and discover how we can help.Taliah is our in-house Conversion Copywriter and Account Manager. With experience in overhauling outdated website content, crafting email campaigns that get opened (and earn you dollars) and writing words that capture the hearts of your customer, she’s the girl to put your best-written foot forward.

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