Lots of traffic/views on your item but no sales. Sounds familiar?
Unless it’s a really hot product that sweeps people off their feet, this is the scenario for most sellers who list their product online:
- you list the product
- you start promoting it
- you get some (or a lot of) traffic and views on the product
- but you make 0 sales. Zero.
In most cases, it’s got nothing to do with your item. It’s fine. Your item is wonderful. What lacks is something totally different.
Can you guess?
Your description does not convince the visitor.
You’ve read a lot of info on product descriptions for ecommerce, you’ve applied a lot of principles (write clearly, list all the features, use a simple language etc.) but nothing yields. The cha-ching doesn’t happen (or happens too little).
If you’re questioning why you don’t make sales even though that product description looks just perfect, here’s the answer:
Good descriptions are not enough. They have to be smart.
Smart descriptions hook into the reader’s mind, get her to stay longer on your item, feel that this is what she needs, and all of this happens in a jiffy – and subconsciously.
Basically, it’s not enough if you wrote product descriptions that follow the golden rules of copywriting.
You have to hack your description.
In order to convince a visitor – who just stumbled on your product – to click on that “Add to Cart” button, your product description needs to do three things:
- get them to stay longer on your product
- appeal to their needs more than describe your product’s features
- make sure it’s easy to skim through but hooks them on to read more at the same time
If you can do these three with your product descriptions, you will effectively convert more visitors into customers.
And it’s really simple to get these done if you know a few hacks.
That’s exactly what we’re going to look at…
5 product description hacks that can convert more traffic/views into sales
1. Benefits, not features.
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” – Theodore Levitt
While this is an age-old wisdom in copywriting, we all do this easy mistake: we write all about the product. And it’s killing your sales.
Yes, it’s very important that you specify all the features of your product but visitors “do not connect the dots”. That is, they won’t connect a product feature to the benefit. You have to explicitly mention it.
Whenever you list a product and write its description, always think about what benefits someone buying the product has.
I’m not saying visitors aren’t smart enough – it’s just that the world is in a hurry and talking about the benefits explicitly makes it easy for the visitor to know your product better.
Always talk about the benefits.
Tie every feature to a benefit and write about it.
2. Test, test, test: the first line of your description.
“You can’t bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them into buying it.” – David Ogilvy.
The father of advertising (and copywriting too, if you ask me) David Ogilvy had a thing for the opening lines of a copy. It’s called the “hook”.
The first few words are the words that will decide whether a buyer stays on your product page to learn more or not.
Have a boring, generic opening line and the visitors hits the back button!
Your opening line should be interesting. It’s the hook that holds the visitor and prods her to read more.
And there’s just one way to come up with interesting lines that increase conversions (of visitors into buyers). Write a lot of them and test each.
There’s no shortcut here – no magic formula to come up with lines that work all the time. The only way is to write a lot of lines and then keep working on multiple variations till you have 3-5 lines that are interesting enough.
Then, it’s time to test each of these lines.
Testing the lines is easy. Just follow these steps:
Step i) Modify the description for an item to have a new opening line.
Step ii) Measure the conversion (views vs. sales) for about a week.
Step iii) Modify the description again and replace the old opening line with the new one.
Step iv) Measure the conversion for the same number of views.
Repeat this for all the variations you could come up with.
Sure, this eats up a bit of your time (at best, 5 minutes) but it’s worth every second of your time you put into it because it will optimize your product and create more sales.
3. Bulleted Lists are your BFF.
Here’s a simple question: did you read every word of this article?
Most likely, the answer is no. And it’s okay.
We skim through lots of text. And yes, this includes 200-300 word short, product descriptions. People have no time to read every word of what you write, apparently.
That’s why you should remember two things when you format your description.
- Bulleted lists.
- Short sentences.
Long paras of text put-off people.
If you describe your product in a continuous narrative of words and sentences, that visitor is never going to read it.
In order for someone to read your product description, it should be simple, easy to skim through. You can achieve that by breaking up your paragraphs and adding lists.
Got a bunch of features to describe? Use bulleted lists.
Lists make it extremely easy to read and get what your product is all about. And people are attracted to lists more than paragraphs and sentences.
Got a bunch of stuff to talk something about the product? Break it down into short sentences and really short paragraphs.
You’ll notice that most of this blogpost has very short paragraphs. (mostly 2 sentences long).
That makes it easy to read.
You can also use special characters (*, #, $, ^ etc.) to lay emphasis on some parts of your description (applicable for Etsy sellers and other marketplaces where you can’t format the description). In other places, you can use bold and italics.
4. Put reviews right into the description.
Here’s a solid fact from the world of online selling/buying:
88% of the people read reviews to find out if you are a trustworthy online seller. That’s almost 9 out of 10 people.
But here’s the problem:
The reviews are usually tucked in a different part of your shop. A visitor has to click-through to your reviews to read them. Most people do that – because this is about spending money on something.
But you can make it better with a very simple hack.
Include a couple of reviews right in the description.
While most handmade sellers aren’t doing this, big ecommerce players are definitely using it to their benefit. They include reviews right on their “sales page” to convince people that their product is just the best.
Reviews increase trust. Put them in the description and you increase the chance of the visitor staying on your page because she’d stop to read the review. It’s human psychology. We like to read what other customers have to say about the product/shop.
By making it easier for the visitor to get to the reviews, you’ll be making it easier for them to trust you and your shop.
And that helps increase sales.
5. Add links to variations, similar products.
Does it come in black? – Bruce Wayne.
This is probably the most important product hack you can apply instantly.
People look for variations, similar items, similar ideas all the time. You go shopping for a hand-woven scarf, you’ll also look for various color options and designs / patterns. That’s just human nature (unless you have an ultra-sharp focus and know what you want exactly).
While most marketplaces and platforms (like Etsy and Shopify respectively) let you add variations to your listing (which shows up as a drop-down), you should make sure you add links to other variations (in design or pattern).
If that’s not possible, add links to similar products from your shop.
On the surface, this hack goes contrary to the golden rule of product pages – have no distracting links that can take the visitor away from your product.
But look carefully and there’s a magic here: when you offer options and suggestions to your visitor, they tend to linger around on your shop for longer. And that increases the chance of a sale.
It’s an extremely simple hack if you already have a bunch of products in your shop.
Bonus: Some more general tips to make your description do the work
- optimize for mobile. Most of your visitors are now on mobile and they are looking at your shop on mobile.
- be very explicit in telling the visitor what your product is, how it’s made.. but most importantly, tell her “why” it is the way it is … appeal to the emotions through benefits
- always end your descriptions with a clear direction for “what next”. The visitor has read your description… what next? Put a word that suggests that the visitor should buy it. Remind the visitor what they should be doing.
Now roll up your sleeves and work on your product descriptions with the ideas you just read about.
Check out how you can hack your product photos to convert more people into buyers! Read this: 5 product photo hacks you should try right now.