An over-the-shoulder shot of a person with long dark hair typing on a keyboard. The keyboard is connected to a computer monitor that displays a text document. To the person's left is a laptop with a monitor also displaying a text document.
A product description can be anything from a straightforward list of benefits to a story about the product's creation. The key is to write what will best attract buyers. — Getty Images/alvarez

Unique product descriptions are an important part of any online shop—not only do they display and describe your product, but well-written product descriptions can lead to more sales. Here are eight tips to help you write effective product descriptions for your e-commerce store.

[Read more: How to Build an Online Store]

Write for your audience

Understanding your customer is the first step to a great product description, as this tells you what information is most important to them. Think about your potential buyer’s age, gender, geographic location and interests. How much knowledge do they already have about your product? What is most important to them? A great product description speaks the language of your ideal customer and addresses them directly as “you.”

Include all relevant information

A major job of product descriptions is to educate the customer about your product. Product descriptions need to clearly explain what the product does, how it’s used and other key facts. For example, someone looking at a hiking backpack will want to know things like how much gear it holds, how much it weighs and whether it’s waterproof. For other products, people might need to know about allergens or materials used.

Add value with benefits

While product features are important (as we just discussed above), benefits are what really get shoppers excited. Benefits explain how your product solves a problem or makes the customer’s life easier. Returning to the hiking backpack example, if the feature is water-resistant material, the benefit is “arriving to camp with your stuff still dry.” If the feature is 30-liter carrying capacity, the benefit is “plenty of space for weekend essentials.”

Make it scannable

Research from Nielsen Norman Group indicates people are more likely to scan a webpage than read every word. Make your product descriptions scannable by using bulleted lists, short paragraphs and ample white space. Features and specs are a good fit for lists, while benefits and highlights can fit into a short paragraph. For the product name, use a heading with a larger font.

A consumer study found that 87% of customers read online reviews, and 79% place as much trust in reviews as they would a recommendation from friends or family.

Use relevant keywords

Optimizing your item description with specific keywords helps you rank higher in search results and connects you with people who are looking for what you offer. Do a bit of keyword research to discover what words and phrases people are using to find items similar to your product. You can use keywords in your product title, product description, meta title and image ALT tags.

[Read more: A Beginner's Guide to SEO]

Include rich media

You wouldn’t buy something online without knowing how it looks, would you? Give potential buyers confidence in your product with rich media such as images and videos. Include high quality images that show your product from multiple angles, a video of your product in action, a diagram of important features or a sizing chart, for example.

Convince with social proof

“Social proof” can take the form of product reviews and testimonials on your website, Google, social media or other marketplaces. A consumer study found that 87% of customers read online reviews, and 79% place as much trust in reviews as they would a recommendation from friends or family. Honest feedback from previous buyers can clear up uncertainty and answer questions about how the product actually works, fits or tastes.

Tell mini stories

Put some emotion into your product descriptions with mini stories. Help the buyer imagine life with your product. What can they do with it? Where can they go? How will they feel when using or wearing it? Alternatively, your story could be about the product’s history, its production or the inspiration behind it.

Once you’ve crafted your product descriptions, monitor your conversion rates to see how effective they are. If your numbers don’t increase, make adjustments and measure again.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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