What are product descriptions and what is their purpose?

Basically, product descriptions are a detailed descriptive text with technical or descriptive data belonging to the product. A product description conveys to potential customers the nature, the most important properties as well as the features and functions of an item in a web shop.

The aim is to inform the customer, to give him a description, a positive impression and a mental image of the product. In addition, the salesperson wants to strengthen the trust in the shop and in the product through the right linguistic style.

The aim of creating optimal product descriptions is also to encourage the customer to buy the item exactly from this shop. This explains why it is not just a matter of promoting the product, but ideally of building up a relationship of trust. Ultimately it’s all about marketing and SEO. Unlike in a stationary shops, the customer here only has an online shop in front of them, which should also suit them stylistically.

Well written product descriptions have two aims:

  • They should increase the conversion, i.e. the purchases in the shop. Because only a well-informed customer, whose questions have all been answered in the product description, will buy.
  • They are supposed to reduce the rate of returns. If the return rate of the product is clearly above average, information obviously relevant for the buyer was missing in the product description.

In your opinion, which three factors have the greatest influence on the return rate?
(multiple answers possible; n=297; source: e-commerce guide)

  • Detailed product description 85% 85%
  • Professional packaging 47% 47%
  • Short delivery time 45% 45%
  • Offer of assistance 39% 39%
  • Product reviews from buyers 19% 19%
  • Small additions to the delivery 8% 8%
  • Rewarding customers who seldomly return anything 4% 4%
  • Miscellaneous 2% 2%

Good product descriptions will reduce returns rate

Did you know that in 2018, in Germany, around 280 million parcels and 487 million items were returned after having been ordered online? This corresponds to every sixth order, as WELT reports.
The costs of a return are enormous. They average € 19.51. That is the result of a recent study by the research group Retourenmanagement (‘Returns Management’) at the University of Bamberg. This results in a total cost of € 4.6 billion – to be borne by retailers and customers alike.

Of particular concern is the fact that around 30% of customers return the goods because they do not match the product description. For this reason alone, great attention should be paid to a good and informative product description. This is where the automatic text generation with a Text Robot can be of immense help. It will allow you to dramatically reduce time, costs and effort compared to manual copywriting while increasing the quality of product descriptions. And on top of that you can reduce the return rate.

Tips: What should be included in a product description?

When writing optimal product descriptions (but also good text in general), copywriters should therefore pay particular attention to the following elements:

  • Product name as headline: it should be meaningful and contain the most important elements and keywords, if applicable
  • Product text or detailed article description: it should fit the target group and be meaningful, highlighting the appropriate characteristics and features as accurately as possible
  • Technical data is best presented in the form of tables
  • Photos and videos, with which the customer can get a better impression of the product
  • Reviews and test results that can support the customer on the one hand, but also have a confidence-building effect on the other.

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Example 1 for a good product description

optimal product description example 1

Optimal product descriptions now resemble landing pages. Generous photos show the product from several perspectives and in different colours. For quick decision makers there is an immediate opportunity to buy the product in their size.

optimal product description 2

When the customer scrolls further down in the product description, they will find all the information relevant to them. The product is described in detail in a continuous text of 100 to 200 words. What’s more, in this case additional trust is created, as it is also indicated which superstar is wearing the shoe. This is followed by a listing of the most important information nicely summarised in the form of Bullet Points.

optimal product description 3

Positive reviews from other buyers, in addition to the product description, will convince even hesitant buyers and increase the chance of a purchase, thus increasing conversion.


What should product descriptions look like?

Let us take another look at the content of a product description in detail: An optimal product description should inform about everything the customer needs for making a decision and answer all their questions. The customer should only have to leave your product page for specific details (e.g. descriptions of a complex technology) – and above all should under no circumstances have to leave your online shop.

The content of sales-boosting SEO product text strongly depends on the kind of product and your product range. If you are looking for a current smartphone or notebook, you will naturally look more for technical data. On the other hand, in categories such as clothing or shoes, images are more important. See also the examples in this article.

In the case of visually ascertainable products (e.g. clothing), the most important characteristics are also presented in written form – such as details of the outer and inner material, shape, type and composition, collar, pockets and fastenings, heel shape, care instructions, and, last but not least, patterns and colours.

This not only allows the customer to get a better impression, but is also important in the interest of being found in search engines. Because well-prepared product descriptions as SEO text demonstrably contribute to a better ranking in the search results of search engines like Google. As a result, at the end of the day, they increase the conversion rate and the return rate is demonstrably reduced.

The product text can contain advertising elements which can then be prepared for specific target groups. But the optimal product text should above all answer the potential questions of the customer.

Practical tips: comparative text and tables

Technical data and descriptive properties of the product, as you can find them in the data sheets, can also be decisive for another reason. Especially in the consumer electronics trade (especially for notebooks and smartphones), retailers use the data sheets to generate comparison pages that clearly show the differences between the products.

On the other hand – and this even takes a step further – retailers also generate complete product descriptions from the differences with the help of a Text Robot. Even across all industries and kinds of products. This way, product descriptions can also be automatically generated for the most diverse output channels, whether for the online shop, marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay, newsletters or even for a blog.

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What are your biggest challenges in content production?
(multiple answers possible; n=112; source: uNaice survey)

3 basic rules: creating an optimal product description

Detailed product descriptions inform customers about the features, functions and added value of the product. Product descriptions with added value are only the tip of the iceberg – especially if the customer is uncertain before buying and finds the same product at several suppliers. That’s why it pays off to invest some time.

When it comes to product descriptions and advertising copy, less is more with regards to the customer’s limited attention. This applies in particular to the descriptions in the product text: they should be as detailed as necessary in terms of content, but in as few words as possible. This is particularly true for the mobile version of the webshop – quite simply because the smartphone screen offers less space than a desktop or notebook screen.

Product descriptions written with the potential target groups in mind create the necessary trust and provide interested parties with the product information that is relevant to them. They lead to more credibility towards the seller. And ultimately to a higher conversion rate and higher sales in the online shop.

Checklist for creating product descriptions – 5 things copywriters should pay attention to!

  1. Meet the expectations of the reader: From experience, customers have certain expectations regarding the structure of product descriptions or product pages – you need to fulfil them. The more complex the page, the more difficult it becomes to find your way around.
  2. Optimise the information content: facts instead of paraphrases and too much advertising embellishment.
  3. Write short sentences: Avoid sentences that are too complex. Keywords and dashes may help with the structure. (You see, it works!)
  4. Structure the product texts in a modular way: Give the reader several possible “anchors” as entry points. This way, they can skip paragraphs and still find their way around well. This is especially important for retailers who also sell via Amazon.
  5. From the general to the detailed: Similar to an editorial text, the reader should first find the most important thing (ideally also the keyword) and at some point be able to abort reading or search further down for details.

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What should a product description look like? – the best tips for advanced writers

Outsource information: Certain (often technical) terms will be familiar to some of your customers, but you will have to explain them to some of your target group. Use links and anchor text so that you do justice to both target groups.

Product text with bullet points: The classic design rule of offering the reader numerous entry points can also apply to your product description or advertising text: Highlighting the most important information clearly with bullet points or by bolded text can be an advantage, especially if it is a mobile shop. Eye tracking studies show that well structured text leads to a higher conversion rate.

Try out different variants: A product description can be prepared for the target group by hand or with the help of automation tools. Try out different variants (A/B tests) and measure the respective conversion rate using randomly displayed variants. A product description that does not work at first glance can still work well with a different target group.

Focus on social media: Ensure that customers can post about your products in social media easily and with just a few clicks. Facebook and Twitter in particular, but also Instagram and Snapchat are important networks in ecommerce that are well suited for sharing. Create incentives for storytelling and let customers talk about your products in connection with raffles, for example.

Practical tips: How to use testing to find the optimal product text

A shoe mail order company knows that special series of certain sneaker models are in high demand among a certain young target group. However, this is not associated with positive (“hip”) brand awareness for your shop. So an additional shop can be created with a small but suitable product selection for the target group.

This micro-site will be very image-heavy, contain less text, but will be equipped with elaborate video content. Here, the value of good testing will become apparent, because the experienced ecommerce team had not anticipated certain details.

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Example 2 for a good product description

Example product description furniture 1

OTTO shows another example of a good product description with a corner sofa. Here too, photos in numerous perspectives can be found at the beginning of the product description. To be able to view the photos in full size, the potential buyer can also view them in full screen mode.

In which colours, covers and variants a sofa is available is one of the most important questions for prospective buyers and immediately follows the photos.

After a brief description of the most important features in the form of bullet points, the detailed product description begins, followed by the relevant key data in tabular form that could be important for the purchase decision.


Look at product descriptions from the customer’s perspective – and from an SEO viewpoint

What will they look for, what will they be interested in? This question must be answered in terms of content on the one hand, but also in specific terms on the other. After all, you write primarily for your customers, and only secondarily for Google or Amazon – the most important search engines. The good thing about it: Google’s and Amazon’s goal that the customer efficiently finds the information and features of a product that are relevant to them is identical with the customer’s interests. So there is no difference between product text for SEO and for the customer.

To make it a little easier for the robots of the search engines (as well as for your customer), you should name the elements according to the common guidelines, especially respecting the headline architecture. Each page should have exactly one heading H1, while subheadings (H2 and H3) can follow similar logical rules as in a printed document or term paper. The structure should be reflected in the navigation level and sidebar. The footer structure should also contain headings and be structured hierarchically.

These headings are not only an end in themselves and an orientation aid for the client, they also make it possible to accommodate the important SEO keywords. Their main purpose is to ensure that your product description appears as high up as possible in the search results (the search results list, SERP) on Google in the right search environment.

  • Tip: Good shop systems allow a clean definition of text elements. Use these to generate your product descriptions, if possible data-based, using existing attributes. In the medium term, you can use a Text Robot to automatically generate text. Here, we can support and advise you. Just get in touch with us!

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Fit product descriptions also to mobile

Think of the desktop version and the mobile version of your webshop separately. Almost every third purchase in Germany now takes place via a mobile device (32 percent, according to IntelliAd Media). The share of purchases done via smartphone continues to increase. Since 2018, mobile traffic in ecommerce has overtaken desktop traffic.

By now at the latest, every online retailer should have turned his attention to the mobile channel. Depending on the target group and product category, you will in fact already receive more than half of all access and / or sales from mobile devices. For this you should have a special mobile shop.

M-Commerce

The percentage of online purchases via mobile devices is rising steadily. Use a Text Robot to automatically create the necessary variants for different devices.

You should at least choose a different structure than for your classic webshop. The advantages and disadvantages of responsive web design are closely related: On the one hand, responsive web design is not only easier to handle because additional variants of your website are generated automatically.

On the other hand, however, you will provide all the elements and text that you also display in the ‘classic’ view – this can be too much. By the way, Google also regularly recommends the use of responsive design, especially in ecommerce, web shops and online shops. Web shop operators should pay particular attention to Google’s new Mobile First index, which has been rolled out since last autumn.

Again, make sure that the individual modular elements, text blocks and headings are designed correctly.

This also has an impact on the structure of the product description: you should work with shorter blocks of text online and be even stricter than before in getting from the important to the detailed. Because only a few customers will read or scroll to the end. Additionally, it is more difficult to capture and compare different products on a smartphone and the situation when reading is often different. You should therefore rely more on a modular structure of the product description and work with tables.

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Writing texts: way back when – yesterday – today!

The next step: Automatically generated product descriptions

Do you already have a well-maintained database with all properties of all products? Congratulations – you are already better equipped than 90 percent of your competition. Because from such a database, content such as product descriptions, advertising copy and product text can be created systematically and automatically – even for large product ranges and in different languages.

Automatic text generation with a Text Robot

Automatic text generation with a Text Robot: any number of text variants can be generated on the basis of structured (product) data. Click on the image to start the animation.

Automatically created product descriptions can be generated according to fixed rules – or varying, according to different sets of rules. Unlike a classic translation service, the quality of such foreign-language text variants is always consistently good. Text Robots also save time and money, as your entire product range can be described in another language within hours after the basic settings have been made.

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FAQ on SEO text, descriptions and advertising copy

How long should SEO text be?

SEO experts, marketing departments and content producers have been arguing about the question of the optimal text length for years. Today it is widely agreed that there is no such thing as the optimal length of a product description. Well-optimised webshops with not too short product descriptions usually end up on the top ranks for most enquiries in the ecommerce context.

This has to do with the fact that longer texts are often more complex and contain the relevant terms and keywords. So, it’s more about depth than length – and an appealing text that meets the necessary criteria as split content is difficult to create with just a few sentences.

With regards to product descriptions and product text, it will therefore always be important to answer the relevant questions about the product. They should provide the target group with the information they need to make a comprehensive decision. Thus, if it is good, the product description reaches a certain length anyway, so there is no need to artificially “inflate” it to meet supposed SEO criteria.

What role does keyword density play?

If you read up on the problems of SEO texts, you will very quickly come across the term keyword density. It refers to the frequency of a particular term in relation to the total number of words in a text.

While many SEO experts used to have precise ideas about which keyword density is ideal for content (2.5 is a value often found here), we now know that this element is important, but as is so often the case with search engine optimisation, it depends on a variety of factors.

Therefore, write clearly legible text and make sure that the most important terms appear frequently, but not obtrusively often. Keep in mind that it makes more sense to optimise a text for several important terms instead of just dulling it to a single keyword. Don’t get too bogged down in synonyms, but choose the most important terms.

What is WDF * IDF ?

WDF * IDF is the ratio that describes how your text compares to other text on the same topic. With the help of the WDF * IDF analysis, you will find out what other keywords you can use to be found as well as possible.

Similar to the classical measurement of keyword density, it is not a matter of exact numbers, but of the possibility to search for suitable terms.

What is the role of bolding and highlighting?

It is not certain whether bold or italicised terms are given more SEO attention. What is clear, however, is that terms that are highlighted in some way in a longer text are more noticeable to the reader.

Again, you should bear in mind that it makes no sense to write primarily for a search engine, but rather for the reader. Highlighted text parts help the reader to find their way around the text, meet their expectations and better remember the relevant content.

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The optimal product description, the ideal design of the web shop

If you are not yet ready to have a fully usable database with all products and features – and this is much more likely – you should talk to us about the next steps on your way to the optimal product description.

Based on extensive experience from our customer projects, we can systematically analyse your needs and thus increase your conversion rate step by step. You are unsure about the quality of your product descriptions or need assistance with the editorial design of SEO text? We can analyse your web shop and advise you on the optimal automated generation of item descriptions.

Conclusion: With optimal product pages and product descriptions you will achieve higher sales!

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Text Robot - the rules are changing

Read our white paper on automated content production with a Text Robot now and find out how you too can dramatically accelerate product description creation.