10 Sure-fire Steps to Crafting Fly-Off-the-Shelf Product Descriptions

Most product descriptions are doing it wrong. Here’s why you should care and what you can do about it - in 10 sure-fire steps.

person at desk writing product descriptions on paper

1. Define your quintessential buyer
2. Create a connection
3. Allure with benefits
4. Captivate the imagination
5. Seduce the senses
6. Know when to show, not tell
7. Save the “yeah, yeah” for the Beatles songs
8. SEO your way into showing up
9. Sway with social validation
10. Set up a successful structure

Hey, we get it. There’s so much to do to optimize your product pages for conversions - the list is longer than the early morning line at a Black Friday sale (did everyone make it out alive last week?). Your time is - unfortunately - finite, and it’s easy to let this part fall by the wayside. 

Creating solid, persuasive product descriptions may not be on the winners’ podium of the list for you, but get ready. We’re about to tell you why it should be - and how, with the right product descriptions, “winners’ podium” can go from just a metaphor for your task prioritization to a reality for your business. 

Spoiler alert: Your “descriptions” must be more than descriptions.

Excuse me? Are we attempting to pull some rabbit out of the “magic English language” hat here? Nope, no sleight of hand or trickery - read on to find out. 

Powerful Product Descriptions 

Let’s first make sure we’re on the same terminology page. What exactly is a product description and what makes an enticing one?

Technically speaking, product descriptions are marketing copy. They explain what a product is and why customers should buy it. Although they’re the customer service representatives of eCommerce, unfortunately they can’t draw you in with a friendly hello and a bright smile. 

So, what you have on the page is that much more crucial to keeping your customers from bouncing to the next page - and away from your business. 

Just like your friendly neighborhood mall Santa, they come in all shapes and sizes. They can be a sentence or a short paragraph or a bullet list or some combination. They can be formal, punchy, or whimsical. They can be underneath product images or lead the product page. 

Highly converting product descriptions, however, have these key qualities in common:

  • Establish target group: they help visitors quickly determine whether the product is a good match for them
  • Persuade: their compelling messages convince visitors to take a closer look
  • Show up: they are search engine optimized, naturally using the right keywords and language to appear in search results

The most conversion-critical factor, however, is whether you can cultivate a strong customer connection to your product and brand. Do this with the right mix of creativity and compelling information, and you’ll hook more visitors than a deep sea fishing boat.  

The cherry on top? You’ll land more sales and boost your visibility as you rank higher and higher in Google, which will get you more visitors, and...well, it’s just a beautiful cycle that keeps on giving. 

So, how do you actually craft these magical morsels of sales gold? Without further ado, let’s jump into 10 steps to a fly-off-the-shelf product description!

1. Define your quintessential buyer

Who is your ideal customer? We’ll tell you who it’s not - everyone. 

Try to sell to everyone, and ultimately you’ll sell to no one. Your descriptions will be too broad and general, and it won’t be clear to buyers who the product is for.

Know specifically who you’re targeting, and address them directly and personally. 

Imagine: what kind of humor do they appreciate? What language might they use, especially when talking about your product? What questions or concerns might they have? What are their needs? Desires? What drives them?

Does it sound like we just described the elements of your buyer’s persona? Bingo, that’s because we did. Go get your lottery ticket now. We’ll wait. 

If you don’t have a persona for each product type, get to it stat! Having a profile of your ideal customer helps you determine what is really important to them. This then informs how you write about your products.

Schmidt’s does a great job of zeroing in on their target audience and addressing them personally. People who are sick of industrial chemicals and are looking for an all-natural, long-lasting way to fight their stink are assured they’ll have their needs filled with language like “Really Natural. Really Works”, “Plant Based Ingredients”, and “Our Never List.”

Schmidts ideal buyer targeted language

2. Create a connection

The product descriptions that convert successfully build a connection with the buyer. A conversational tone is great at facilitating this. How would you address them if you were face-to-face, in the store? Ask and answer questions as if they’re right there with you, and use their language to create a website experience that resonates. 

A great way to check in with your descriptions is to read them out loud. If they sound like an actual conversation you might have with your ideal buyer, you’re well on your way.  

What else is key to building connections? 

At the risk of sounding like a life coach here, the simple truth is that humans are emotional beings with daily challenges. Acknowledge, empathize with, and address these challenges. Show that you understand their pain points and demonstrate how your product alleviates them. 

Welly, with their bandaid kit, clearly calls out and validates the everyday challenge of bandaging tricky wounds. They offer their solution - bandages specifically for fingers, toes and knuckles - to (quite literally) relieve this “pain point.” 

...see what I did there? 

Welly uses bandage challenges to create customer connection

It’s also important to make sure your language is well-balanced. Connect with your audience but don’t lose your brand voice. Avoid dramatically changing your tonality between products and stay in tune with the fundamental essence of your company.

3. Allure with benefits

Remember that “magic English language” hat? No tricks, just a deceptive misnomer - your descriptions must be more than descriptions.

Here’s what we mean: product descriptions that just describe your products are simply going to fall flat. Why? It’s not enough just to lure Google’s search engine web-crawler with a product details breadcrumb trail - that’s only part of your conversion process. 

There are real people with real heartbeats looking at your product pages and *they * are your goal. Convince them why they should do business with you - and this means not just describing what your product is, but the benefits your customers will enjoy. 

How does your product resolve their pain points? What can they achieve with it? How will it help them? What is its value?

Instead of simply describing the features of its soap, Dr. Squatch highlights the benefits - “knocks out grime” and will “strike out any stink.” It’s built tough to combat even the muckiest of days.

Dr. Squatch soap description specifies benefits not just features

Think solutions, not just specifications.

4. Captivate the imagination 

Research has actually shown that touching products increases a buyer’s purchase intentions - quite a powerful persuasive effect. 

Perhaps one day humans will master object teleportation, but until then, visitors to your website won’t be able to hold your products. This leaves you, woefully constrained by the present, to carefully craft an experience for them. 

Help your customer envision that the product is already in their possession. It can be helpful to call upon the powers of nostalgia and mini-stories to induce positive memories and lower the barriers to persuasion.

How will they feel when holding, wearing, or using it? Will it remind them of a fond childhood memory? How does it meet their current needs? Stir the imagination in the cauldron of possibility! 

Firebox builds the reader a vision with its Fizzics DraftPour - it eliminates challenges like battling crowds. It transforms even cheap lagers into luxurious draft pints with enhanced aromas, flavors, and mouth-feel. It even replicates the local pub - without the local pub ickiness. 

Firebox stirs reader imaginations with experience of Fizzics DraftPour

“Nothing beats a freshly pulled pint in your favourite pub - except maybe a freshly pulled pint in your very own home.

Never battle with crowds, struggle for a seat, or have to hang about outside on the pavement just to enjoy your favourite beer again! The Fizzics DraftPour gives you nitro-style draft beer from ANY can or bottle. Even the cheapest economy lager can be instantly transformed into a luxurious draft pint with just one pull of the lever. 

The DraftPour may be a sleek piece of kit, but it’s deceptively high tech under the hood, applying sound waves to convert your beer’s natural carbonation into a smooth micro-foam. These diddy little bubbles create the optimal density for enhanced aroma, flavour, and a silky smooth mouth-feel. 

Get a fruit machine and a few boxes of pork scratchings in and you’ve basically completely replicated your local pub. Sticky bar-top and ancient, dubiously-stained carpet not included.”

At the end of the day, don’t sell a product - sell an experience. 

5. Seduce the senses

A great way to help your reader experience your copy while reading (and imagine owning your product), is to dazzle them with striking, vivid descriptions. 

We know that sensory words activate more of our brain’s processing power and increase sales. Since we have 5 senses (sorry Marvel Universe fans, Spidey sense doesn’t count), that’s 5x extra captivation power! Take full advantage of this phenomenon and engage as many of the reader’s senses as you can. 

Green & Black’s stuffs their product descriptions full of sensory adjectives that convince not just with taste, but sound and touch - the “jammy, raspberry flavour” offers “bursts of acidity” while the hazelnuts offer “creaminess and crunch.”

Green and Blacks chocolate description uses sensory adjectives

Don’t forget that emotions and memories are also very tied to the senses - tap into that nostalgia mine and help customers relive cherished experiences.

6. Know when to show, not tell

Effective imagery and visuals are often critical to helping a reader imagine ownership. They are also not limited to product photos -  icons and graphics can also convey important information for customers.

Hydrant, a powered electrolytes brand, uses a clear graphic to communicate their flavor profile. The tart-to-sweet scale is efficient and unambiguous.

Hydrant electrolytes brand uses graphic to communicate flavor profile

But the visual opportunities don’t stop there.

If a picture says a thousand words, imagine what a video can say! 

A survey of eCommerce business owners conducted by LiveClicker revealed an 88% success rate in driving conversions with the implementation of videos on product pages. They’re an outstanding way to say more with less, and give your readers a richer understanding of the product that would be impossible otherwise.

7. Save the “yeah, yeah” for Beatles songs 

When marketing copywriter’s block hits, sometimes we might feel compelled to fill in blanks with phrases like “high quality” or “best in class.”

...cue the Beatles song. Except the “She Loves You” part.

These are “yeah, yeah” phrases. When a reader comes across these sorts of claims, they think to themselves, “Yeah, yeah. Everyone else says that too.” Reality check: who ever describes their products as mediocre or second-best?

“Yeah, yeah” phrases and superlatives like “best” and “most advanced” sound insincere. They can hurt your credibility unless they’re specifically justified with corresponding details. 

Amazon puts its money where its mouth is with the Kindle Paperwhite, citing its 300 ppi glare-free display, storage capability, and long battery life.  

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite lists superior justified features

If your product really does have superior quality, or really is the best in its category, present definitive reasons why these statements are true. Is it differentiated from your competitors through special expertise? Is it exceptionally fine-tuned through extra years of testing? Are the materials sourced from a special region?

Round out your product story with real details that set you apart from the din of the rest of the internet. Your conversions will thank you.

8. SEO your way into showing up

The most persuasive product descriptions in the world still won’t convert if they don’t get read. 

If you’re pulling together all the elements of an effective product description and using your target customer’s language, you’ll likely have already included important keywords in your text. 

It’s still important, however, to be intentional about using relevant keywords and power words to give you that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) bump. Just be sure not to overdo it - write for humans first.

If you’re stuck finding keywords or don’t know what gets searched most often, take a look at Google’s Keyword Planner, Semrush or Ubersuggest for inspiration.

9. Sway with social validation

You’ve carefully selected customer language and addressed a clearly defined target audience. You’ve identified benefits, not just features. You’ve engaged all the senses and even invoked a familiar vision or two. 

Even with all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed, there may still be some lingering purchase hurdles keeping your customer from taking the plunge. How does it look on a real human? Do others like it? Will it last? 

People are often driven by community and attracted to items that are popular. If customers are unsure about their final decisions, usually they are ultimately persuaded by positive reviews and testimonials which indicate popularity. 

Does your product line have customer favorites? Highlight them. Personal endorsements render your business more approachable and relatable.

REI, an outdoor gear provider, includes customer reviews on each page, with a rating system. Their climbing shoes even offer information about typical fit - if the shoes tend to run small or big, and narrow or wide.

REI gear provider includes product reviews and typical fit info

10. Set up a successful structure

Imagine you’re building a house. You’ve gone to the effort of sourcing beautiful marble floors, high quality hardwood, and top of the line appliances. The elements of your house are shaping up to be a proper dream mansion. 

Ready, set, construct!

...then you build a stylish hardwood clothes closet in the middle of the kitchen and a marble-floored bathroom in the garage. Oh yeah, and that 9-burner stainless steel gas stove goes in the bedroom, right?

Oh my.

If you just facepalmed like we did, surely you’ll understand how construction strategy and structure apply just as strongly to product descriptions. You’ve created all the right pieces to build product pages that convert, but how do you put them all together? 

Any description with a clearly defined buyer, which is rich in benefits and sensory language, is still only as effective as the functionality of its presentation.

On one side of the spectrum, you can provide far too little information to be useful - this can cause customers to bounce.

On the other side, a tsunami wave of text will sweep them away into the next town - and right into your competitor’s business.

Let’s be clear: product descriptions are not like rain ponchos (those ultimate symbols of fashion you grab on the discount rack at the grocery store). Ultimately, there is no “one size fits all.” Different products have different strengths, and different customers have different needs. 

However, as a broad guideline, a rewarding product description is generally scannable and efficient with lots of white space. It has a sweet-spot combination of short, informative paragraphs of prose and a quick, at-a-glance bulleted list of benefits. 

If you’re stuck on where to get started, here’s a suggested flow below - but remember, you need to cater to your customer and remain flexible based on their needs.

  1. Magnetic headline: Your product title is your hook. 
  2. Problem setup and benefits-rich paragraph: Address a pain point and describe how your solution helps.
  3. Essential benefits list: Spotlight your key benefits with an easy-to-read bulleted list
  4. Finishing-touch motivation: Eliminate any remaining purchase doubts with social proof or reviews, and polish things off with a solid call-to-action.

Get Started

Now you’re equipped with the tools you need to transform your product page game. Build your stories, enrich them with details and visions of what customers can achieve, and let your passion shine through and inspire your readers.

Hey, did you hear that whooshing sound?

There go your products, flying off the shelves! 

Overwhelmed at the thought of producing so much content all on your own? Fret not, there's a way to save incredible time - and money - by automating your product descriptions.

Unsure where to start? We’re here for you! Xanevo offers a unique capability in highly customized product description generation - helping whip up that secret sauce for you. 

We use an AI-assisted technology to automate over 31 million texts a month based on your style preferences, product data, and real professional copy written just for you. Your descriptions are indistinguishable from human-written text and can even be translated into 110 different languages at the click of a button! 

Book a free 30-minute consultation with Xanevo today to fast-track your journey to streamlined product rollouts. Stay SEO-focused and up to date - not to mention one step (or thousands!) ahead of your competitors. 

Stacy Yee content marketing specialist

Timo Tzschetzsch


Timo is one of the founders at Xanevo and he is responsible for marketing. This mainly includes the web presence, the marketing strategy, and the social media presence. Due to his business background, he is also responsible for financial planning.

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