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Hey E-commerce Retailers – Your Catalog Product Descriptions are Costing You Customers!

We’d like to thank InBusiness, Inc., one of our preferred Online Marketing Partners, for submitting this blog post that’s full of great information for online merchants.

As an e-commerce retailer, you’re focused on driving traffic to your website, because more traffic equals more sales, right? Not always. Driving traffic to your website is actually a small part of the sales equation. In simplest terms, the timeline of an online purchase looks something like this:

We’ll use Joe as our example. Joe has a problem. Joe loves cycling, but Joe hates his cycling shorts. They’re cotton (never wear cotton when cycling) and they don’t even look cool. Joe hops online to search for a new pair of comfortable, cool cycling shorts. Joe has buyer intent. Joe is, in fact, the perfect online customer. He is about to purchase a new pair of cycling shorts. His credit card is sitting right next to his laptop. Will he buy them from your store?

That all depends on your catalog product descriptions.

Why Most Online Product Descriptions Fail Miserably

Depending on where Joe lands on your e-commerce site, he will either look for the correct category to find his cycling shorts or he may be taken directly to the proper product page. Of course, we want Joe to be able to find what he’s looking for in as few clicks as possible, but once he arrives, this is the moment of truth.


First, Joe will take a quick glance at the image. If he likes what he sees, he will read the price and then the product description. But wait, on this example, the product description is missing. Joe will actually have to scroll down the page to find information and features. Will he do that?

According to online marketing statistics that track bounce rate vs. conversions, all evidence points to no. The potential customer will not always scroll down to find more information.

Positioned for Success

The winning formula for an e-commerce catalog positions the product image, price, best product description, and ‘add to cart’ button all within close proximity to each other.

Your product description not only has to be positioned correctly on the page, but it needs to scream, “Buy me now! I am the answer to your problem!” How can we accomplish that with a product as simple as cycling shorts? By recognizing and solving the buyer’s initial problem.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why does a potential customer need this product?
  • What problem does this product solve?
  • How will this product make the buyer’s life better?

You are the expert. You are the one offering the product. With this in mind, your product description is essentially the “voice of your best salesperson.” Does it sound like the voice of your best salesperson?

In the above example, the first problem was the fact that the shopper has to scroll down to find the product description, but even if he does, the description is still weak. Here’s a before and after. Tell me which one you would purchase.

Cycling Shorts Description – Before

Product Summary

  • Ultralight Shorts are durable and lightweight with a ventilated Tech-mesh liner and MVT Elite Chamois. Available in Men’s and Women’s.
  • Modified 6-pannel design
  • Durable and lightweight Hyperlite outershell hydrophobic polyester
  • Gusseted design removes seams under MVT Elite Chamois
  • Tech-mesh ventilated inner short with elastic leg grippers
  • Two deep, zippered side pockets

The above description has a good start. It lists the different features of these cycling shorts, but if this was a live salesperson, he wouldn’t be your top producer. Why? Because anyone can rattle off an explanation. We call that a clerk. What a salesperson does is connect the dots, from the product to the buyer. The salesperson explains the benefits and provides an education as to WHY these benefits are necessary to the buyer. This creates value.

Side note: The main reason why stores (online or offline) have to constantly slash their prices and run sales is because they haven’t taken the time to create value in the mind of their customers. If you create value, your items will sell, regardless of the price point.

Below is a revised version of this product description. You be the judge. Which would you buy?

Cycling Shorts Description – After

Product Benefits

As a serious cyclist, you’re looking for hardcore performance from your shorts. Our Bellwether Ultralights are athlete tested and world champion approved. Shape, quality construction, and the right materials. We know you need the perfect blend, and we promise to deliver. Why would you settle for anything less?

  • Durable and lightweight with a ventilated Tech-mesh liner will keep you cool and comfortable during even the most grueling workouts.
  • MVT Elite Chamois combines welded channels in a 4-way stretch, gusseted one piece seamless construction. This allows the chamois to contour to your body for the ultimate in rider comfort and performance.
  • Modified 6-pannel design allows the fabric to move right along with your body.
  • Hyperlite outer shell and hydrophobic polyester material ensures the correct balance of breathability and moisture transfer.
  • Tech-mesh ventilated inner short with elastic leg grippers provides comfort while preventing chafing.
  • Two deep, zippered side pockets allow you to carry keys, phone, money or other small items without worry.
  • Available for both men and women.

If you’re ready to add value to your e-commerce retail store, the first place to look is your product descriptions. As you can see from the example above, we know how to turn a clerk into a top producer. Contact us today and you could be reaping the benefits tomorrow.

About the Author:

Robin Bright is the head of E-commerce Content for InBusiness, Inc. A preferred marketing vendor for AspDotNetStorefront. To learn more about effective content strategies for e-commerce, contact her through their website for a free consultation at InBusinessinc.com.

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Posted in Content, Design & Layout, Product Management, SEO, Uncategorized, User Experience | 7 Comments

7 Responses to Hey E-commerce Retailers – Your Catalog Product Descriptions are Costing You Customers!

  1. More and more online stores are opening up around the world to grab the share from customers’ wallet. One thing that has been overlooked by many online stores is the look and feel of their website. Having a right product or service to offer is not enough, the user interface, functionality and design of an ecommerce website also plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining a customer.Our professional designers have just the right experience and skills to design a sophisticated and attractive eCommerce website design for your online store.

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