E-Commerce Product Description Guidelines

E-Commerce Product Description Guidelines


When visiting an e-commerce website, consumers are fully reliant on the merchant’s product description for any relevant information about the products or services they are interested in buying. Unlike an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar store, where consumers can go in and physically inspect the product, in the virtual world of e-commerce this is not possible. Moreover, a physical store presents customers with the opportunity of discussing the product’s or service’s features and qualities with a live sales person — a presence that many consumers find reassuring. Many customers simply feel more comfortable communicating with another human being and do not trust the descriptions that e-commerce merchants make available on their websites for the products and services they sell.


E-commerce merchants have the disadvantage of not being able to offer consumers the option of physically inspecting their merchandise before making a purchasing decision. In order to limit this downside, web-based merchants must go into much greater lengths when describing the products and services that they offer, than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. This can be challenging, as descriptions must include facts that may seem too obvious to mention. Still, consumers must have all available information disclosed to them before a purchase is made. It is much better to provide redundant or overly detailed description, than to have a transaction charged back to you because a customer discovered that the item she purchased was not what she actually wanted.


Taking all this into account, the question becomes “How do we make an e-commerce website a more consumer-friendly place and how do we make an online product and service description better?” There are simple best practices that can be implemented to help address these concerns. In order to make sure that your website presents an accurate description of the products and services that you sell and to boost your customers’ confidence in shopping at your store, you should:

  • Develop clear and comprehensive product descriptions. Be as detailed as you can. Provide a PDF or other type of a file with the complete manufacturer product sheet. Also, remember that the e-commerce spans the globe and your website’s visitors can be coming from anywhere. Unless you limit your sales to a local market, you should include in your product description information that domestic merchants may not need. For example, if you sell electric goods, you should state the voltage requirements, as they vary in countries around the world. Also, when you provide the products’ dimensions you should use both English and metric measures.
  • Use product photos and images, if applicable. An image of a product is a very powerful marketing tool. Many of us will not consider making a purchase unless we see what it is we are buying. You should use high-quality images and provide shots from various angles of the product. Keep in mind that high-resolution images can slow down your website and visitors with slower internet connection may have to wait longer for a page to open up.


Image credit: Escolaspfc.com.br.

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