Pump Up the Product Page: 11 Tips for Descriptions & Design

Leave the white backgrounds and subpar product photos in the 90s. Shoppers prefer ecommerce sites with flair. Reject product pages with one-photo product graveyards, boasting only the basic buttons to complete a transaction. Marketing firms and company marketing executives miss a huge mark by neglecting product descriptions and page design on ecommerce websites.

Check out these proven tips for displaying products online in a way that offsets customer expectation to drive sales:

Tip #1: Real-feel is the Real Deal

Critics of online shopping (yes, they still exist) argue that nothing beats going to a store to feel the texture and heft of a product and view it from every side. Customers experience an in-store shopping excursion with panoramic photos, product-spins, and real-feel shelving mimicry. Take, for example, luxury brand Gucci. Clean product photos taken from many vantage points inform customers. Product sets featured on shelving give the illusion of browsing a well-lit Gucci showroom.

Tip #2: Focus on Minimalism

Some companies have lost the pretty models holding handbags, tea kettles, and bottles of perfume. In fact, minimalist companies seek out simple black or white backgrounds and even title-free browsing pages showing only thumbnails to promote products. Customers like the minimalist approach because it removes distraction and allows them to focus on product specs.

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Tip #3: Don’t Forget the Video

Product-emphasis videos provide a modern, comprehensive way to inform customers. Upload a video directly to the product page or browse page to offer a dual benefit: showcase quality and educate customers. Lululemon demonstrates product videos in a hilarious, relatable way with product tutorials that customers want with their own loot. The way this friendly, quirky girl relays her tutorial makes Lululemon seem like a brand people could be friends with.

Tip #4: Employ Disruption Tactics

For the bold, outside-the-lines company, the “disruption” tactic ensures that products get noticed. In the case of the Airwalk brand, the product slide mechanism surprises and contextual backgrounds catch the customer’s eye. Those who shop hip brands like Airwalk seek a uniqueness and rebellion that this “disruptive” site projects.

Tip #5: Context Appeals

While it may seem like a contradiction to the minimalist approach, some companies shine by photographing products in real-life situations. Some even feature Instagram and Twitter fans who upload their own photos wearing or using the products. Context photography appeals to customers because it demonstrates proper use, creates community with the product, and inspires purchase.

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Unique product descriptions comprise the other half of ecommerce website success. In years gone by, basic product descriptions and stats were enough to lure and convert browsers into buyers.

Tip #6: Get Colloquial

Conversational, friendly tone can change a dry, technical product description into something relatable. Moosejaw employs a casual, friend-like tone. Take, for example, this tent description, which mixes usable product specs like easy-pitch clips and gear loft with applicable suggestions for hot nights, rain, and solo treks.

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Tip #7: Know the Target Language

Most marketing professionals and content managers know to direct all communication toward the appropriate target audience; product descriptions are no exception. Brands like Roxy and ThinkGeek target customers with language that appeals to the appropriate demographic. Roxy, for example, reaches out to teens and twenty-somethings with hip language like “super comfy” and “beach-gypsy vibe.” ThinkGeek, on the other hand, appeals to techies and trekkies with exclamatory comic book language and nerdy overly-scientific specs. In this way, customers feel like they found the right place.

Tip #8: Diagramming with Descriptions

As both a design element and an opportunity for written content to glow, product diagramming educates customers and boasts superior features. Used most in appliances, vehicles, and other high-cost, high-tech products, detailed product photos are overlaid with numbered feature excerpts, arrows, and other callouts. Each feature then has its own detailed, inviting description. Many companies overlook this opportunity to explain the benefit and the context for each feature by sticking to dry, manufacturer-provided language. Lazy marketing begets skimming and customers will move on. Diagramming with descriptions allows for the beneficial marriage of technical specs and inviting content.

Tip #9: Exercise Five-sense Marketing

Customers can truly experience a product from the other side of the screen with carefully-created descriptions. Sell more with product descriptions that explain how a product will feel in-use, or what sort of life change customers might experience through purchase and use of the product. Exemplifying sensual, story-telling descriptions, J.Peterman clothing brand markets their products with flair. Descriptions, like those shown below, are narrative and well-crafted, allowing customers to experience the product before purchase. J.Peterman product description writers aren’t using sales-speak to unfairly lure customers, but they are putting emphasis on the experience.

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Tip #10: Show, Don’t Tell

Customers do not want to read that a product is awesome, amazing, and top-quality. Allow customers to decide quality for themselves; offer facts and explain benefits. Dot specs and features with usage and perks to maximize customer understanding and assist the cost-benefit analysis.

Tip #11: Live on the Edge

Some companies profit from a bold, no-holds-barred approach to marketing. Follow in the footsteps of startup travel site Hipmunk. This site proves revolutionary among other price-compare travel sites in its approach to service. Customers can compare fares along the “agony” scale, and hotels display according to “ecstasy.” Hipmunk demonstrates intuition to customer needs and offers information that customers want to know – not just what the tourist traps want to portray. It takes guts, but Hipmunk has been top-rated over Kayak, TripAdvisor and others according to CNN, Forbes, and an onslaught of other credible sources as a result of their unique approach.

Well-designed product pages with valuable photos and meaningful descriptions offer many benefits to companies and consumers. Company brand reputation will soar when customers take notice. A well-formed ecommerce site results in inevitably greater buyability and ultimately affects the B2C relationship. Customers will return to a useful site that appeals to their needs and wants.

Have another tip to add? Please share it in the comments.

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Kayla Trueblood

As a published writer/poet, and summa cum laude graduate with a B.S. in elementary education and English studies, Kayla's passion is tied up in language. When she is not enveloped in writing, Kayla is busy planning a wedding with her handsome fiance Joe, arguing with her Jack Russell Terrier, and attending board game fiestas.

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