Your Guide to Writing Effective Product Descriptions

computer with an example of a product description on it


March 27, 2020 (Updated: February 10, 2023)

In this article…

Your product description is a critical mechanism that introduces your product to your target market. Customers determine if they want to purchase your product based on the product description. For this reason, product descriptions must be effective. In the following article, you’ll learn what product descriptions are, how to create them, and the answers to questions you have about descriptions for your products.


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uImage via Flickr by Delante Co

What Is a Product Description?

A product description is an integral part of a product listing that offers insight to the reader as to the nature of a product, its design, and its function. It’s a marketing tool meant to entice a potential customer to make a purchase. Effective product descriptions can be an important part of a marketing strategy that functions to increase revenue, increase a brand’s footprint in the marketplace, and reach new customers.

In order to be effective, a product description should both explain the product and tell the reader how it benefits them. An important characteristic of a product description is that it is brief. For this reason, creating an effective product description means including the most important information and answering consumer questions in a few sentences. The product description should also include important keywords that boost SEO and drive traffic.

Creating a product description requires skillful writing, knowledge of marketing and practices, and a strong understanding of your target market. Some companies create their own product descriptions in house, while others outsource to agency professionals.

What to Include in a Product Description

When you write a product description, be prepared to include these key aspects:

  • First, describe the product in full: To describe your product tell the story of what it is, what it does and what benefit it brings to the customer.
  • Then, provide some key uses: Offering key uses will help the customer visualize and conceptualize the various ways the product fits into their life.
  • Finally, offer proof of your claims: Use customer testimony and reviews to offer proof to the claims you make in your product description. If you don’t have testimonials you can use data, too.

Why Write Effective Product Descriptions?

People use product descriptions to provide a number of business benefits and outcomes. The benefits of an effective product description are:

  • Create Trust with Shoppers
  • Entice a Sale
  • Improve SEO
  • Provide an Informative Resource

Create Trust with Shoppers

When a product description is effective it accurately describes the product. Because of product descriptions, shoppers can be reasonably confident the product they ordered online or over the phone will match their expectations. This helps to create a level of trust between your brand and the shopper.

Trust is a key component to retaining customers and having return purchases, a cornerstone of any digital retail brand. E-commerce shops must work even harder to build and establish trust because they do not have brick-and-mortar locations where customers can view products, touch products, and try them before they buy.

Conversely, when product descriptions offer only a small amount of detail, there’s a greater opportunity for a customer to be unhappy with a product. In these cases, evidence suggests it’s not likely the customer will purchase from the company again.

Simply put, an accurate product description makes for happier shoppers whose expectations are met and fewer returned products. The increase in customer satisfaction promotes customer loyalty, which is important for any brand that wants to grow.

Entice a Sale

A strong product description should be able to lead directly to a sale. It contains all the information that a customer needs to make a decision about the product without them having to go elsewhere for information. This can even include customer reviews. When you keep everything important in one place, the product description makes shopping easier for consumers who want to make sure they are going to get the most out of their products.

By looking at a product description as a tool to drive sales and marketing efforts, it’s clear to see that a critical element includes featuring the benefits that the product offers consumers. When consumers see benefits in a product description it gives them a better understanding of whether or not the product is the right fit for them. When consumers have all the information they need to make a sales decision in the product description, they are more likely to purchase a product.

Improve SEO

Search engines are important to e-commerce stores, and product descriptions are a device that helps stores rank in organic search results. When product descriptions are original and contain product keywords, they help search engines find the products during a search query, which improves the website’s rankings.

Marketers can use this to their advantage because search engines want to serve the best content to searchers looking for products. By strategically including the most important keywords, listings are more likely to be visible to customers looking for your products.

Provide an Informative Resource

Product descriptions serve as an informative resource for customers who are collecting information before they buy. Research on e-commerce suggests customers are more likely than ever to research products before shopping . Today’s consumers are much more digitally savvy and have an understanding that shopping online is different from buying in stores.

In stores, shoppers can touch and try products before they purchase them. Online consumers rely on research. For this reason, and to have the best shot at conversion, customers should be able to use your product description to get a wealth of information without having to leave your site.

How to Write an Effective Product Description

Product descriptions are powerful tools, but only if they are written effectively. That’s why it’s important that marketers understand these steps to write an effective product description:

1. Ask the Right Questions

There are a number of questions to should ask while brainstorming your next product description. The basics are:

  • Who are the buyers? This includes your target audience. If you’re writing product descriptions, you have identified who your key customer base is. If you haven’t, there are a number of ways to do this, like customer service, and using social media resources.
  • What are the details of the product? Break up the basic details of the product into important keywords to use in the description. After it’s complete, the description should offer a clear depiction of product details and answer any questions a customer would have about the product.
  • When is the product necessary?  It’s one thing to tell a potential shopper what a product is, but it’s also practical to tell them when they can use a specific product. This might be useful in the product description for an over-the-counter medication that is to be administered once daily at bedtime.
  • Where can the product be used? If there are any stipulations about where you use the product, that is a strong thing to include in the product description. For instance, “use in a well-ventilated area”.
  • Why would someone buy this product? Talking about why a product is useful helps shoppers decide if they can use the product in their life. For instance, “Buy the Ionic Vacuum because it removes pet hair and allergens from all types of carpets” is an example of a statement that answers why.
  • How does it work? Even the simplest of products can perform better with a quick description of how they are used.

2. Write for Your Target Buyer

An early step in the process of creating the best product description is to write with your target buyer in mind. Many companies have an idea of who their products appeal to. If not, it’s time to learn about your target buyer. In order to do this, you need to have a comprehensive profile of your ideal buyer.

The best product descriptions are ones that make a personal connection with a single buyer persona. To sell products, it’s important to be specific and to connect with your buyer, and in those cases, vague content may not be ideal or effective.

Use this strategy to create a comprehensive strategy for creating a buyer persona:

  1. Collect demographic information: Using analytics tools, you can learn things about customer website traffic. You can define insights like location, gender, and age group from basic marketing tools.
  2. Review psychographic data: These data points tell you about customer behavior and help marketers define more abstract concepts like level engagement with your site or products, why consumers want to buy a product like yours, and how your product impacts their life and goals.
  3. Group data into profiles: Once you’ve reviewed all the data you can pull from marketing and analytics tools, like Google Analytics and Facebook for Business, you can start pairing psychographic data with demographic data and coming up with user profiles. A profile for a retail grocery chain, for example, could be parents in their 30s in the United States who shop for their families and are interested in nutritious foods. This profile takes into account both demographic information and psychographic data.

3. Make Formatting Considerations

When considering your format, include both paragraph content and list content for these reasons:

  • Bulleted or numbered lists: Clean pages are easier to read, for one. They are accessible for people with ADHD and other people with neurodiversity. However, formatting in this way has some limitations to narrative storytelling. For this reason, it’s best to use bullet points for the technical specifications of a product and use prose to explain the story of how the product fits into the customer journey.
  • Paragraph sections: When creating the product description, string together a few eloquent sentences that tell a story about why the customer should use the product. You should be able to do this in a short paragraph of four sentences or less. These should be descriptive and narrative in nature, not technical. The prose part of the description will complement the clean bullet points you use in the technical specifications while providing interesting, key information that appeals to all kinds of people.

4. Decide on KPIs

To determine the effectiveness of your product descriptions, it makes sense to create key performance indicators to measure the success of product campaigns. One way to determine KPIs is to use a method called A/B testing, or testing two different product descriptions against each other to see which performs better.

Some reasons to use KPIs:

  • Higher conversion rates in A/B testing. If your new product description performs better than your old one, in an A/B test you should be able to see a higher instance of conversion.
  • Lower cart abandonment rates in A/B testing. You will also notice that fewer shoppers abandon their carts as more purchases will be made.
  • Decreased instances of people returning to buy versus buying on the spot. The return rate goes down because more customers are shopping and completing their purchases without a need to return.
  • A decrease in customer calls about product questions. When your customer service department fields lots of calls about products, it’s a sign your descriptions could be stronger.
  • Better keyword search rankings and improved SEO. When your SEO goes up for targeted keywords, there is a good chance your product descriptions are performing well. Marketers can track this by seeing how their search results for keywords in the job description improve after launching a product marketing campaign.

5. Share the Narrative

With a format in mind, it’s time to create your narrative. If your product has a story that is endearing, special or particularly interesting, chances are it’s a good one to tell your audience. Adding a unique tale about your product’s journey adds character and creates an emotional appeal to potential customers.

Brainstorm what to include in your narrative. It could demonstrate things like extensive product testing, excellent customer reviews, and hand-crafted charm. Get into the details of what makes your product interesting and practical, and use that to create a story.

If the product is highly technical, feel free to include jargon that will appeal to your target market. Getting detailed about technical specifications can help eliminate confusion.

You should also think about other writing techniques that add intrigue to your story, like asking questions, challenging your shoppers and providing consumer quotes or award information. All of these things are instrumental in helping you tell the story of your brand.

6. Compile and Refine Short, Relatable Copy

It’s important to keep product descriptions brief and relatable. A short paragraph that tells an interesting story and covers the answers to some of the key product questions plus technical specifications in bulleted form can make an excellent product description without too much wordiness. The product page layout should also help to make your copy look brief and clean, using elements like white space to provide visual space on the page.

Tips for Using Product Descriptions to Generate Revenue

With the knowledge and steps to create an effective product description in mind, try these tips for creating and utilizing product descriptions to drive revenue:

Do Keyword Research

Keywords are at the foundation of a good product description. If you’re wondering what keywords to consider, a good place to start is looking at the product descriptions of competing products and identifying keywords and key phrases that make sense for your brand as well.

You can also use online tools that allow you to extract keywords from your website’s search results and the search results of competitors. Tools like this typically tell you how you stack up against the competitors on keywords, and what keywords you should grow organically versus which ones you should plan to buy. Some examples of SEO tools that help businesses isolate important keywords are HubSpot, AHREFs, Moz, and the free tool SpyFu.

Be Very Specific

The more specific you can be in the product description, the better for your customers who use the information you provide to make purchasing decisions. Being specific means including only highly relevant information that offers description,  purpose, and instructions for use.

When brainstorming your who, what, where, when, why, and how questions, dig into the product and come up with multiple questions for each term that help you describe the product in very specific terms. This will help shoppers make a decision about the product.

Avoid Manufacturer Descriptions

Copying and pasting content from the manufacturer of a product you sell in your e-commerce store can hurt your SEO. Additionally, manufacturers are trying to rank for keywords that make sense for them, not for your unique business needs. It’s better to engage shoppers with original, unique, informative content that tells the story of your product’s journey from your brand’s perspective and not the manufacturer’s.

Create Product Intrigue

Use writing techniques to create intrigue around your product in the product description. This makes it a more engaging read for your target market. It also helps you make your product sound interesting and practical. Creating product intrigue can mean using writing techniques like:

  • Asking questions of the consumer
  • Telling a user journey story
  • Challenge the reader

Proofread Carefully

It’s important to proofread carefully when you complete the product description. A small typo, like a missing comma, or misspelled word can reduce confidence in your brand. Building brand confidence is of the utmost importance to businesses that need consumer trust to thrive. If you work in a digital e-commerce business, producing content free of errors and typos is important to your brand and effectively generating sales.

Perform A/B Tests

A/B testing is an important marketing resource. When marketers perform A/B tests they can measure the results of update product description copy against previous versions. This allows marketing professionals to gain insight into what works and what doesn’t work for their product campaigns.

To perform an A/B test follow these steps:

  1. Select a testing variable: The best practice is to only test one variable at a time.
  2. Set a goal: This is the outcome you are hoping to achieve. By setting goals, you are establishing your hypothesis.
  3. Set up a control group and variable group: You should have test group A, the control group, and test group B, the variable group.
  4. Create random sample groups: Test each group against a random sample.
  5. Run your test: In this final step, you perform the test by measuring the results of each product description.

Use Unique Phrasing and Sensory Language

Use creative and unique phrasing that makes sense for your reader, incorporate video and other media when you can, and use sensory language that makes shoppers feel things about your product. By doing this you will create more than just a product description; you create an experience that shoppers can have with your product when they read the product description page.

Look for Social Recognition

If people are on social media talking about your brand, use that to your advantage. By including customer testimonials from reviews on social sites, you can help increase shopper engagement with your brand. This is done even better when you include a photo from the person’s social profile and name, with their permission.

Refine Your Brand Voice

Every piece of content on your website should be refined to your brand voice, and a product description is no different. When crafting your product description, make sure to stay true to your brand by understanding the basics of your company’s brand voice. This might include traits like positivity, informational, youthful, and trendy.

The Benefits of Hiring an Agency for Product Descriptions

After understanding the importance of a good product description, you might be wondering what course of action to take to address the product descriptions for your products. Many companies chose to perform product description services in-house, while others will hire an agency to create product descriptions. The benefits of hiring an agency for product description services can be numerous, including:

Saving Money on Labor

Partnership with an agency saves companies from having to hire salaried writers when many consistent, high-quality job descriptions are required. Being able to keep fewer direct employees in marketing is an immense benefit of working with an agency because it saves companies money when they pay for only the services they use, rather than paying salary and benefits to direct employees.

Getting a Better Product Description

When you work with professionals at an agency, you get a higher quality product because writers are vetted and only maintain their role if they can do it well. Agencies have contacts with writers for all sorts of jobs, including product descriptions, and have connections across industries. For this reason, partnering with an agency can get you a stronger product description.

Ranking for More Keywords

Marketing agencies include professionals well-versed in all areas of marketing, including SEO. With knowledge of SEO, content marketers ensure your product descriptions rank for important keywords that drive the right customers to your business.

Improved SEO

One of the most obvious benefits of better product descriptions is better SEO. There are many benefits of improved SEO, these include:

  • Targeting high-quality consumer traffic
  • Providing more clicks than PPC campaigns on average
  • Improving public relations by bringing more attention to your content
  • Providing competitive advantages over other similar businesses
  • Requiring ongoing optimization that makes your content stronger
  • Reporting and analysis capabilities

Establishing Product Description Metrics

Agencies can be very useful in helping brands establish metrics that allow them to report and analyze their product descriptions. Some product description metrics include tracking traffic, keywords, items in cart and purchases. Defining these metrics helps companies set goals and perform better over time.

Reporting on Results

By using the data available from an e-commerce website’s analytics, agencies can report on the usefulness of a product description and optimize it. Product description reporting provides business leaders and marketers with important data that can be used to make product descriptions even stronger and drive more traffic and sales. Reporting on product description metrics also helps e-commerce professionals understand their seasonality and the behavior of their users.

Examples of Effective Product Descriptions

Consider these examples of product descriptions as a guide when creating your own:

Jewelry Listing Example

Sterling Silver Vintage Ring

This art-deco style ring from the 1930s will be a perfect addition to any jewelry collector’s stash of sterling silver items. Undoubtedly, this unique and spectacular piece of jewelry has traveled a long way and changed many hands over the years. You can be a part of its incredible journey by making it yours today.

  • Measures size 10
  • Stamped 925, genuine sterling silver
  • Art-deco
  • Vintage, good condition with very few scratches and no nicks
  • Ships from Paris, France
  • Free international shipping

What do customers say about jewelry from Custom Jewelers Co? Mary from Portland said, “This ring is beautiful, sized perfectly, and arrived as pictured.” Please allow three to four weeks for shipping.

Women’s Clothing Listing Example

Armani Silk Scarf

This scarf puts the “design” in “designer.” With its intricate pattern of geometric shapes and bright colors, you will captivate audiences like a star. This scarf is perfect for wearing during cold winter months or as a statement piece during the warmer seasons. Silk is breathable so you won’t have to worry about getting too hot or sweating under the fabric, which means it is ideal, in any number of climates, for people who value being fashionable. If that’s you, don’t miss out on this Armani scarf.

  • 100% dyed silk
  • All-natural dyes
  • 70″ inches long — extra long!
  • Authentic Armani with certification
  • Ships from Brooklyn, New York
  • Domestic shipping only

“I will buy all my accessories from your store because of your fast shipping,” says Tom from New Hampshire.

Men’s Clothing Listing Example

Men’s Versace Jeans

These blue jeans will perfectly accentuate your style and passion for top brands. Made with the finest materials, Versace offers comfort and practicality for any man who likes a good pair of jeans. You’ll look stylish for a night out or an afternoon at home. This versatile addition to your wardrobe will be fashionable and long-lasting.

  • Authentic Versace
  • Available in sizes 28″ – 43″
  • Custom tailoring available
  • Ships from London, England
  • Free international shipping on all purchases

Nine out of 10 customers are repeat shoppers. Purchase the newest addition to your wardrobe today, and you’ll find out why.

Women’s Shoes Listing Example

Women’s Louboutin High Heels, Size 9

My good find is your good buy! I found these well-loved  Louboutin’s while thrifting and now they can be yours. Become the owner of a pair of beautiful designer shoes in good condition for a fraction of the cost of new. These shoes will set you apart from the job competition in an interview, or make you look like a celebrity in the streets. You’ll be seeing stars when you buy these beautiful second-hand shoes. Expedited shipping is available if you need them sooner than later.

  • Designer brand
  • 100% leather
  • 4″ heel
  • Characteristic red sole
  • Ships domestically for free

Customers agree that Nancy’s Boutique has the highest quality second-hand products. Here’s one testimonial, “Nancy’s Boutique is where I buy all of my designer clothes. They always arrive as pictured and in a timely fashion.”

Men’s Shoes Listing Example

Men’s TOMS Casual Shoe

Are you looking for the most comfortable, casual shoe made of sustainable, recycled, and natural materials? If so, search no further. This size 11 pair of TOMS casual shoes for men offers comfort and style but not at the expense of the environment. Conscientious shoppers love TOMS and now you can too. Wear them for benefits like long-lasting comfort, fashionable appeal, and long-lasting value.

  • Sustainable fashion
  • Available in all standard sizes
  • Multiple color choices
  • Flexible return policy
  • Free shipping

Data suggests that 40% of people in the fashion capitals of New York and London are concerned that fashion should be more sustainable. Get ahead of the trend when you buy TOMS today.

Software Listing Example

Nolan Anti-Virus Software

“2020’s best virus protection software for gamers” according to The National Software Review about Nolan Anti-Virus Software. Nolan is a respected name in anti-virus protection. The Nolan anti-virus software is specifically geared to the needs of gamers by offering a comprehensive anti-virus software that works seamlessly with your operating system to protect against threats without slowing down your computer.

  • Best new software award
  • Best anti-virus software for gamers award
  • End-to-end virus protection

Business-to-Business Product Listing Example

Multi-Media Ad Listing

Promote your brand with the best in multimedia advertising by appealing to your target audience. Multimedia Ad Company has placements that get you in front of the largest number of clients looking for brands like yours. This means when you partner with MACO, you can expect to increase conversions and get more sales.

  • 200 x 200 advertising space
  • Full-color digital advertising
  • Design assistance upon request

Our ads reach 1 million people online offering you peak exposure to your target market.

Product Description FAQs

If you’re a business owner or marketer looking to learn the most about writing effective product descriptions, you might benefit from learning the answers to frequently asked questions. In the following section, find frequently asked questions about product descriptions and how to best implement them:

What Are Some Additional Questions the Product Description Should Answer?

Product descriptions should answer many who, what, where, when, why, and how questions. Here are some examples of questions that you should ask when brainstorming a product description:

  • What are the technical specifications of the product?
  • How many units are available for sale?
  • What kinds other items do you need to operate this product?
  • How many types of product are available?
  • What colors/styles are available?
  • Will there be any future changes to the product?
  • Who benefits the most from the product?

How Can I Determine If My Product Descriptions Are Ranking for Keywords?

SEO checker tools help companies and websites determine how they rank for keywords that they are trying to track.  You can find out what keywords you rank for without having to use an SEO checker tool. To do this, you want to first look at your own analytics.

When you start to dig into whatever analytics tool you use to help you learn about your website traffic, you should be able to get to a section on “non-paid keywords”, as it’s called in Google Analytics. This won’t give you all your keywords, but it’s a good place to start. Next, you can use a tool called Google Webmaster Tools to learn more about your site and mine additional keywords. You can also strategize around anchor text to help you rank for keywords.

What Analytics Tools Are Free and Available For Me to Measure My Product Description Campaign?

There are many free tools available for businesses to use to run keyword analytics on their product description campaigns. The top analytics tools are:

  • Google Analytics: In many ways, Google Analytics offers the gold-standard in analytics tools. For one, it’s free. It also has a robust suite of features available to marketers that make it an attractive option for a full-spectrum keyword campaign for your product description.
  • Bitly: Using Bitly, you can shorten the links to your product pages but you can also track how they perform with updated product description copy for A/B tests.
  • Piwik: This tool offers unparalleled analytics, combining many of the options available from competitors into one robust, free tool. The one drawback is you have to download the software.
  • Open Web: Open Web Analytics, or OWA, offers a similar experience to Piwik, with a downloadable piece of open-source software and no limit on the data it can hold.
  • Clicky: This popular tool is free up until 3,000 page views a day, but after that, you’ll have to pay a subscription that varies depending on need. However, Clicky is becoming highly favored by bloggers and webmasters for its robust features, so it’s worth a mention.
  • SimilarWeb: SimilarWeb is an interesting tool because rather than focusing on how your page is doing, it encourages you to peek in on your competitors. You can view analytics from similar websites to determine things like what keywords you should target and how to implement a content marketing strategy with your product descriptions.
  • SEMrush: This tool is widely regarded as a leading tool in keyword research. This can help bolster your product description campaign by offering a robust suite of keyword tools that help you build your brand through creative product descriptions.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer:  Moz competes with SEMrush on keyword analytics at every level. Many people in the marketing industry use both tools to get the best results from keyword placement in product descriptions.

What Should I Know About A/B testing a Product Description?

When A/B testing a product description, expect to improve outcomes regarding bounce rates, conversions, and overall customer experience. For this reason, it’s advisable to A/B test product descriptions. Marketers preparing to A/B test should be ready to conduct research and follow the scientific method to determine how a product description performs against a given metric.

Product Description Template 1

If you still need help organizing your product description, try using this template:

[Narrative Prose 2-4 sentences, include a testimonial or persuasive data]

  • [Technical bullet one]
  • [Technical bullet two]
  • [Technical bullet three]
  • [Technical bullet four]
  • [Technical bullet five]

Product Description Template 2

A slight deviation from the first template, this one includes a single line of data or testimonial after the bullet points that of the listing.

[Narrative Prose 2-4 sentences]

  • [Technical bullet one]
  • [Technical bullet two]
  • [Technical bullet three]
  • [Technical bullet four]
  • [Technical bullet five]

[Include a testimonial or persuasive data]

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