Product descriptions: the overlooked e-commerce silver bullet

E-commerce is wild.

You’ve got a chance to sell something without a physical store and make money while you sleep.

A boat load of money, if you get it right.

And since setting up an online store has never been easier, we’ve all got a chance to make it rain.

I mean, you can get hooked up with Shopify in next to no time for $29 a month with a pretty decent online store.

That’s nothing.

But of course, if you’re making ‘nothing’, that $29 starts to add up super fast. If you’re on a higher plan, it’s even worse.

And it’s tempting to just run with ads for Facebook, Google and Insta.

It’s not wrong – pay per click ads + e-commerce are made for each other.

But there’s more to online success than having a bottomless pot of money to dig into.

So what’s the secret?

Why do some online stores enjoy a roaring success whilst others fade away into obscurity?

If you strip away the brand equity and endless advertising money, all the great online stores have these things in common:

1. they have amazing product photos
2. they have proper product descriptions

Which essentially comes down to selling you the experience, not the product.

Now obviously, if you’re an online store selling power tools, there’s only so much you can write about the amazing drilling experience you’ll have when using the Makita 3-Moder 800W and its highly durable design.

But that’s why you have to know your audience.

People looking for that kind of power tool know what it’s for.

But they may need to be told why it’s better than a previous model or a competing product.

They don’t need to be ‘sold’ the same way people would for other products. This changes how you write your product descriptions.

Let me illustrate with a current example.

Right now I’m helping a young aspiring entrepreneur with her online store.

She sells all natural products from organic shea butter to organic coconut oil and items to make your own beauty products.

Her problem is that she’s burnt all her cash on pay per click ads and has had bugger all sales to show for it.

People are clicking the ads, visiting the site but not buying.

Her product images are fantastic and we’re working on making the site load faster.

The site generally looks good and in line with a store that sells all natural products.

But you know what stood out like a sore thumb?

The lack of product descriptions.
Or rather, the lack of meaningful descriptions.

She sighed when I told her she needed to fill these out. All 50 of them.

I get it though. Writing product descriptions is not a fun job.

But when you’re making low sales (or no sales), you have to bite that bullet.

An example of a missed opportunity for her is aloe vera gel, a product she has plenty of in stock and wants to sell more of.

Product description just says it’s organic.

And that’s about it. Like there’s nothing there to say why this is better than aloe vera gel that isn’t organic.

Nothing there to say why you need aloe vera gel in your life, where its source from, what it can be used for, how it can be consumed, how it comes packaged – nothing at all.

People can buy aloe vera gel almost anywhere but why should they buy this particular aloe vera gel from this particular online store?

Another example of a missed opportunity is an aluminium tin which can be used for storage of creams or whatever you end up with when you embark on a DIY project.

Now, there’s nothing sexy about an aluminium tin. But it has a blank description.

What should she do?
She could write a bit more about it – what sort of things work best when stored in this as opposed to plastic, maybe dimensions, capacity, recycling potential (after all, this is an audience that is all about natural products).

I mean you should get the picture right now.

Don’t ignore your product descriptions.

It’s the difference between a drizzle and a downpour.

Whether you have 10 or 1000 products, you still gotta fill them out.

Set a goal to write 5 product descriptions a day and stick to it

By the end of the week, you’ll have 35 done.

By the end of the month, you’ll have 140, and so on.

Slow and steady, like a constant drizzle.

So to make it rain with your online store if everything else is in check:
1. Don’t leave your product descriptions blank
2. Write something meaningful
3. Repeat

If you really want to go one step further, add some text to category and sub category pages – nothing fancy, just 1-2 sentences.

See what a difference that makes to the experience.

SELL people on the experience. 

Unless you’ve got an absolutely unique product, people will just go with the cheapest option.

But when you write product descriptions that highlight the benefits of buying products from you vs anyone else, you’ll start to see a difference.

Write good product descriptions. And never leave them blank.

Now get out there and tame that e-commerce beast!

ps. if your SEO consultant isn’t giving you advice on product descriptions in order to make your online store rank better and make more money, ask them why not. 

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