Writing Product Descriptions that Sell

My mother-in-law wanted to sell an old sapphire ring. She wasn’t sure of its value, so we looked through Etsy for similar rings. One listing in particular caught my eye.  After reading its product description I wanted to buy it. The ring was described in a way that stirred up something inside me. I WANTED THAT RING. I had to have it. And I wasn’t even shopping with the intent of buying one. That product description created an emotional connection that moved me to action.

The scenario I described above shows how a product description can turn a shopper into a customer. Consider them the final point in the conversion funnel. You went through the trouble to market and advertise your work. You got the customers attention and they clicked on a link to visit your site. Now it’s time to close the deal with a motivating description.

Many of us use the standard product descriptions provided by a fulfillment company.  This is especially true of t-shirts. These are usually brief, bland, uncompelling, and result in duplicate content.

How to improve on this?

  • Entice your web visitor with headlines. Since I hail from Zazzle land, let’s use them an example. If you shop for women’s shirts, you’ll be greeted with this headline:

  • The landing page says “Wear Your Personality” and “Customize your wardrobe for a truly unique style!”  It commands your attention right? Short one-liners such as these can draw a shopper in.
  • Tell a story. You want the shopper to imagine using the product and enjoying it. The example below is from Paper Source.  For their Bee Kind Valentine Kit, they use puns to describe it in a way that is fun and stirs the imagination.Use humor when appropriate. Emily McDowell is popular for her tongue-in-check messages on greeting cards. She also has other products such as this gift bag:

Where to start?

Writers use the Who, What, Why, When, Why and How method for telling their story. You can use this method as well. Some questions to consider when developing a product description:

  • Who is the product for? Who is the targeted customer?
  • Why would someone use this product?
  • Where would someone use this product?
  • When should someone use this product?
  • How does it work?
  • Does it solve a problem?
  • How does it help the customer?

Other ways to boost product descriptions:

Social Proof. Let’s talk about this for a minute. The phrase is thrown around quite often in the ecommerce industry. But what is it and how does it help?

Social proof is evidence that increases a visitors confidence in your site.  It’s usually some sort of metric, like number of Facebook likes, number of YouTube subscribers, or number of times a product page has been favorited or shared.

Customer testimonies or product reviews can also provide social proof. And if your item was featured in a popular magazine or show? Even better. I saw an example of this when I was looking at a product page on Zazzle. I’ve highlighted it in yellow, it says “As seen on NBC’s Today Show”.


I will confess I have a long way to go in creating stellar product descriptions. I’m a designer and not a writer. This stuff is hard work. Perhaps too much. Can’t a product or design just sell itself?

There are plenty of sites that use that approach, and it works. But if you are in a highly competitive market and trying to differentiate yourself from the pack, revamping your product descriptions might do the trick.

So let me ask you, what’s your approach to writing product descriptions for your ecommerce store? Care to share any bits of wisdom? Let me know in the comments below.



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