What's Wrong With Your Product Description?

Informative and Persuasive: The Recipe for a Good Product Description

Product Description
Product Description. Anthony Harvie / Stone / Getty Images

If you are an ecommerce website selling green widgets, it follows that your product description will provide customers with an adequate amount of relevant information about green widgets. I know that sounds obvious. But we have all come across ecommerce websites that seem like they were designed for someone who knew exactly what they wanted to buy.

What Is the Role of the Product Description?

There might be some people who make up their mind about what to buy even before they come to your ecommerce website.

But there are several others who are just browsing; hoping to come across a product that will work for them. Then there are those who accidentally come across your website when searching for something in Google, or some other search engine. Make sure that the information you present readers is helpful to each kind of visitor.

What Should a Product Description Include?

Before I answer that question, let me take a step back. Why are you writing the product description in the first place? If your answer is, "to assist the customer in making an informed purchase decision," you are on the right track.

In addition to providing relevant product specifications, your product description should include one or more compelling reasons to make the purchase. Instead of mentioning, "the shoe is black in color," if relevant, you could say, "the shoe is grainy black; the most popular color in men's business dressing." This provides information, as well as a reason to buy.

And that is at the heart of any successful product description on any ecommerce website.

Is There Such a Thing As Too Little Information?

There can be a debate about how much information is too little information. So use your judgment in providing the right amount. If you feel that many customers will be prompted to visit other online destinations to get more information, such as the manufacturer's website, then you have provided inadequate information.

Is There Such a Thing As Too Much Information?

This may sound counter intuitive, but the number of ecommerce websites that provide too much information probably exceeds those that offer too little. That is not to say that the information they provide is relevant. On the contrary, most of these overloaded websites are simply regurgitating vendor-provided information.

Less Is More When It Comes to the Product Description

It is erroneous to assume that more information is better than less. In fact, the greater the quantity of information, the more a visitor will have to struggle to get to the relevant information. Information overload is a genuine problem on ecommerce websites.

Product Descriptions Must Have Unique Text

One way to virtually ensure that you get rid of information overload is to make sure that all your product descriptions are unique. The moment you deprive yourself of the luxury of pasting vendor-supplied information, you lose the temptation of providing an overdose of information.

Unique descriptions also provide a much superior search engine optimization for your ecommerce website.

How Should the Information Be Presented in a Product Description?

If the "too little" vs. "too much" information dilemma seems like a catch-22 situation, then there is a solution: provide basic information and a short sale pitch for the product. But make additional information easily available. By expanding a section, or clicking a "read more..." link, the user can get more information on a topic that is relevant to them.

Follow the Basic Principles of SEO Copywriting

Writing search engine friendly copy is not about repeating keywords. Make sure you follow the best-practices of writing for humans and search engines.

Make Sure to Include the Right Images

Relevant images make your product description come alive. Do not miss out on the opportunity to impress and persuade customers by using high-quality images.


Unless a visitor comes to your website with a fixed idea about what she wants to buy, your product description will influence her purchase decision. That is why you should give the product description the importance it deserves.

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