Previously we’ve talked about the importance of product descriptions for ecommerce websites. We mentioned the Significant Objects project, which showed the influence of narrative on the subjective value of various cheap objects.
In this project 100 second hand trinkets, totems and things you would probably normally throw away were purchased for around $128 and resold online for over $3,600, thanks to the contribution of volunteer writers who created great product descriptions. To take this idea further, in this post we have a look at descriptions for competing leather products sold online.
Small omissions have lasting impact on online shoppers
In a saturated market you should be doing everything in your power to engage your audience. When people search the web they are looking for answers to questions. If you give them relevant, informative and interesting content and they will devour it, remember it and be more likely to act on it. That means more conversions, more sales or more enquiries. Give them something that is lacking in detail, doesn’t answer their questions or is done in an uninspired way, however, and they may go looking elsewhere. Don’t assume the reader will make do because on the internet it’s far too easy to click away.
A couple of recent online shopping purchases got us thinking about the importance of good product descriptions. In the following examples for various lather goods, one company is clearly trying a lot harder than the others.
Some detail but lacking polish
This sort of busy product page is common and yet despite all the detail we’re left with an underwhelming feeling. All you can really glean is a list of generic bullet points and one photograph. It’s not exactly enticing for what is a relatively expensive product and it certainly doesn’t give the reader much reason to part with their hard earned money. Layout is an issue, too – there is no clear path for the eye to follow and it would be easy to miss something. Where this page does do something right is providing ancillary information such as dimensions, warranty and shipping information, to help with the decision-making process. And they use social proof in the form of product reviews to add credibility. However, the overall experience is not a great one considering the cost of the product and there is nothing particularly memorable about the page.
Nice story but lacking substance
The second example is quite a contrast. The writer took a story telling approach to give the product personality. It adds value to the purchasing process and gives the reader something to remember about the product. Readers are probably going to look at several leather bags, sure, but they’ll remember the duffle bag that was inspired by a Vietnam veteran. And, of course, there are great product photos with various closeups and angles, including showing the product in context, giving the buyer an opportunity to get a feel for the product. It does all this well, yet the detail is lacking; no dimensions, no information on shipping or warranties and no social proof, which adds an element of risk from a buyer’s perspective. Overall we prefer this page to example 1, but it could be vastly improved with some simple additions.
Hitting all the right notes
The previous examples hit in some places and miss in others, but the third one wins the day as far as we are concerned. It’s clear this company has paid a lot of attention to their product pages – to capture it all we have to show multiple screen shots. They start with various product images and a unique video showing the product in use at the top of the page. Accompanying these images is all the vital information – price, choice of colours, summary of features, material qualities, delivery, warranty and so on.
Moving down the page, they include an interesting product description with a compelling headline. This description highlights the benefits and gives the reader multiple reasons to want to purchase the product. The product “hits the sweet spot of functionality and efficiency”, according to the site – a nice line that summarises what the product is about. There’s also social proof in the form of a product review by a magazine – this could easily be feedback from a customer, too. You can scroll along this section and further benefits are highlighted with creative ‘insights”. If you want to go searching for detail, you will be pleased by this page.
Moving further down the page still, there’s more brilliant photography, this time showing everything that you can fit into the wallet. This shot finishes off an informative page that does everything it should – it provides relevant information, it speaks to the audience’s goals, allays their fears, uses beautiful product photography, talks in benefits and tells a story. It’s unlikely; having looked at this page, that you could be left with any questions or doubts about the product at all, which reduces the likelihood that you’ll browse elsewhere for a competitor’s product.
This page layout is repeated throughout the site for every wallet. It’s an example of a well thought out content strategy that hits all the notes it should, giving the visitor multiple reasons to take action and few, if any, reasons to leave. The content is relevant, compelling and memorable, they provide all the one would typically need to see. They also do this successfully in the context of their brand.
Why shirk product descriptions?
Not every site does it as well as the third example because it takes experience, time and money to get such a great result. But you don’t even need to go this far – it’s clear in the first two examples that the addition of some basic content would help significantly. At the end of the day, if you don’t make the effort to provide relevant, informative and memorable product descriptions, why expect your customers to make the effort to purchase your product?
If you’d like to chat more about product descriptions, get in touch.