Saturday, September 6, 2008

Improving Your Product Descriptions

After product photos, product descriptions are the most important element in successful online selling. Because your customers cannot see and feel your items in person, you need to provide that experience in your description. Your description can be what turns a browser into a buyer. You might not be the next Nobel Laureate in literature, but with a little time and practice, you can write great product descriptions.

Write your description as if your buyer were blind.
When you write your description, pretend that your customer cannot see your gorgeous photos. Describe the shape, size, color, luster, feel, etc. of your item. Don't leave anything out. Think about what information you would want to know if you were shopping. Always include what materials your product is made of. Remember that most people aren't going to take the time to write and ask you about something you've omitted; they're much more likely to just move on to the next shop.

When possible, include a little information about your process.
Etsy is all about handmade. Unless you are selling commercial supplies or vintage, you should be able to provide a sentence or two about your process. People love to know a little bit about what went into making the piece they are buying. Don't leave someone wondering if you made that gorgeous silver pendant, or just bought it and put it on a chain.

Include measurements in Imperial and metric.
Etsy is an international site. Most of the world uses the metric system, but many Americans are unfamiliar with metric measurements, so include both. 1 inch equals 2.54cm exactly.

Avoid abbreviations and technical terms.
There may be terms that you use every day in your business that your buyer is unfamiliar with. Sometimes you can use this as an opportunity to educate your buyer, but if you define every technical term you use, your description will become long and will most likely turn buyers off. Also, be careful about using abbreviations that are not universally known. An example I often see on Etsy is "convo." New Etsy users are not generally familiar with this term, so I recommend saying, "Please contact me," instead of, "Please convo me."

Add a little of your personality to your descriptions.
For me, this is the most challenging part of writing descriptions. If you can do this well, it will draw people to your shop. If you do this poorly, you can lose sales. Make sure the tone of your writing matches the type of item you are selling. For example, if you are selling fun, colorful, whimiscal costume jewelry, go ahead and write something cute, fun, and whimsical in your description. If you are selling a $10,000 emerald necklace, a different approach is needed.

Make sure your customer isn't surprised.
When your customer receives an order from you, there should be no surprises. Be extremely clear in your listing what your buyer will receive. Your buyer should know the color, size, shape, quantity, etc. before ordering. If you are selling an item with a flaw, however small, be sure to disclose that.

Get a second pair of eyes for proofreading.
It can be difficult to find your own mistakes. Have someone else read your description to check for spelling and grammatical errors or omissions. I also find Firefox's spell check feature to be extremely helpful. (For those of you unfamilar with Firefox, it is a web browser that includes a built-in spell check. Firefox will underline incorrectly spelled words in red for you.)

I hope you will be able to use some of these ideas to improve your listings on Etsy. If you have further advice about writing descriptions, please post in the comments below. I'd love to hear your ideas!

About the author: I am 'Chel, owner of Lava Jewelry and Zbella. I have been selling on Etsy for just over two years, and I am available as a mentor in the following areas: Customer Service, Etsy Policies, Shop Critiques, USPS Shipping, and Gemstones.


Kits and Caboodles said...

You know, I always thought that spell check was built in to the listing process somehow, I didnt really realize it was my etsy browser! lol
I couldnt figure out why so many shops had typos when all they needed to do was click on the word with the red line! lol
my blonde moment of the week! (no offense to blondes of course!)

great tips, btw!

tcarnuccio said...

thankyou soo much! I'm italian and i've got some problems with spelling :(
For everything else, i try and do everything you advice!!!