Get Creative With Your Product Descriptions?

Ever notice how the same product on multiple sites has the same manufacturer’s description? It’s usually a features list, boring text, and is not that descriptive. Why do they do this? Laziness? Copy/paste? Using the same product feed?

Stand out from the crowd by mixing it up…

Don’t be boring

Inc.com wrote a recent article about Awful, Boring Business Writing. It’s a great look into the boring text many online businesses have, and how to break free and be creative.

When you write like everyone else and sound like everyone else and act like everyone else, you’re saying, “Our products are like everyone else’s, too.”

Having your text stand out and be different from the other sites selling similar products can leave a lasting impression. Or at the very least get a potential buyer’s attention for more than a millisecond.

A few ideas to start the process

So you’ve decided to be different with your product descriptions. I’d still recommend having a small section that uses standard feature lists and specifications so the details are still on the page. But beyond that, try experimenting with various ways to get your shopper’s attention:

  • Owner’s take on the product
    If the owner is passionate about the industry, and is quite knowledgeable about the product, have a small section where he or she gives their opinion. Straight talk from the owner can be helpful to shoppers trying to make a decision.
  • Sell pet products – What did your dog/cat think?
    If, for example, you’re selling pet products, have your pet try out the toys, the pet food, etc… and capture their “feedback” in they way of a video, commentary, or pictures. This will not only grab people’s attention, but give your store a unique angle most other stores are missing.
  • Specific examples / uses
    Think up a unique way your product can be used, and cite that as one of the benefits. A rain suit that doubles as a great tool to help give your dog a bath. A swiss army knife that every grandfather should have for helping open presents for the grandkids on their birthdays.
  • Silliness can sell
    If you have the knack for humor, try injecting a bit of laughter into your product descriptions. At the very least you may illicit a smile from a potential customer. If it goes over well, it could lead to links on Facebook and Twitter, and hopefully to increased sales once you have their attention.

Maybe you should use standardized text?

As I was writing this post, I came across a blog post from an ecommerce expert, John Lawson. John’s post is about how long and unique descriptions are bad for business. His opinion is that with the plethora of options out there for finding products (shopping comparison sites and services, product finders, etc…), products need to be quickly categorized and easily identified. John believes that short, standardized text for products is a good thing.

With too many people having too many descriptions about the same “blue widget,” it no longer is an asset, it is now a liability for search optimization, management and storage, so they are streamlining it to make it easier to find.

He’s not advocating for no creativity. Instead, he feels the creative unique element is best left to blog posts, videos, and customer reviews.  It’s definitely not mainstream thinking, but it is something to consider.

So which way works best? Unique and descriptive product descriptions, or short / standard text for better cataloging? I believe you can combine the best of both worlds, by providing specific feeds with standard text to the shopping comparison engines, including some manufacturers features/text, and making your products stand out with unique words and pictures.

What do you think? Which method works best for your store? Please share your comments with your fellow readers.

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4 Comments

  1. Dana says:

    Doing both a short and long description allows you to meet both types of customers needs. Use the short or bullet type description at the top of the More Info page and then below the fold give a long detailed description for those who want details. We use “tabs” to break up our content in the long description and give visitors the ability to see the info. they want to see. The long description of products is certainly good for SEO, but works great below the fold so it is not overwhelming to site visitors.

  2. I’m glad I came across this article. I’m in the RV industry, and it’s a little hard to come up with unique content, especially in such a competitive market. I’m going to be trying to be more creative in the future.

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