This article was written by Michelle Weger.
“Can I help you find anything today?”
Those words are so synonymous with customer service that the instant you read them, you probably pictured an employee brightly greeting you as you walk into a store. And if you’re like most people, imaginary-you likely answered with one of two things:
- “No thanks, just looking,” or;
- “Yeah, actually, I’m looking for…”
Whether you prefer to browse or you’re looking for something specific, you know that an employee is available to answer any questions you might have:
“What does this do?”
“How much is this?”
“Do you have this in a different size?”
“Why do I need ____?”
Good customer service representatives are also good sales people. They can tell customers about your products and services, help them understand why your product is better than the competition, or show customers how to use or benefit from the item.
So how do you replicate that experience in your ecommerce store?
You don’t have the benefit of a person greeting each and every customer who shops in your online store. While some customers may contact you with questions or concerns, the vast majority won’t. Instead, they rely on something every online store is equipped with: a secret customer service representative.
That’s right. Every single online store has this feature, but not every single online store takes full advantage of it.
I’m talking about your product descriptions.
Like I talked about when we shared the Marshmallow Principle, product descriptions can make or break a sale. While this is especially obvious with seasonal products, it applies to everything you sell.
When customers can’t see your product in person, you need to fill in the details they’re missing.
Well, that seems simple enough, right?
You just need to write something that:
- Makes up for the customer not being able to physically see the product
- Does all the work a customer service representative does
- Is enticing, sales-focused, and on-brand for your business
- Is clear, concise, and has correct spelling and grammar
- Upsells other products and services that you offer
Okay… maybe there’s a bit more to it.
A great product description needs to hit two key points every single time:
Regardless of what you sell, your customers need to know certain things:
- How big is the product? What are the measurements?
- What is it made of?
- How many are included in the package?
- If it’s a service, what is included?
- Are there any other specifications that may affect their purchase (for example, if it’s battery-powered, are the batteries included?)
- Does it come in different sizes, colours, or options?
If your customer can’t visualize what the product looks or feels like, they’re probably not going to buy it. This information is important, but it isn’t the most important thing about your product descriptions.
Why should someone buy your product?
It’s not enough to say “because it’s great” or “because they need it.”
Your product descriptions need to compel your customers to click “buy.” While including the physical description and a great product photo are key in getting them to visualize the product, it does no good if your customer can’t visualize how the product will fit into their life.
This is how product descriptions become your secret customer service representative. You don’t have the benefit of a person who can tell the customer how great your product is; that’s what your product description needs to do.
Some of the things to think about when providing emotional information in your product descriptions are:
- Why does the customer need this?
- Why is your product better than the competition?
- What features make it unique and therefore better?
- What happens if they don’t have this product in their lives?
- What will it look like in use?
Does it actually make that much of a difference?
In short, yes.
As an example, let’s say we’re selling the all-new Venture Creative Collective Candy Bar. As our hypothetical customer, you love candy bars, so you find yourself on our website. Which of these product descriptions gets you more excited about the product?
The Venture Creative Collective Candy Bar is made from milk chocolate. There is caramel on top with peanuts in it. It comes in a shiny package and weighs 1.5 ounces and measures 5 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ x 1/4″. The ingredients are…
Have we lost you yet?
What about if we write it this way:
Feast your eyes and your stomach on this delicious treat from Venture Creative Collective. This candy bar is loaded with 1.5 ounces of milk chocolate, caramel, and peanuts enveloped in a bright wrapper that you won’t be able to resist tearing into. Go ahead – treat yourself.
- Measures 5 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ x 1/4″
- Ingredients: Chocolate, caramel, peanuts, sugar…
By writing product descriptions that mix these two key points together, you can tell a story about your product that makes it stand out, increasing your sales and getting your customers excited about the products you sell.