Don’t Use Manufacturer Product Descriptions On Your eCommerce Store

Product DescriptionsIf you sell more than a dozen products on your eCommerce store, developing original content for each product page can be a big investment. That’s why many retailers simply copy the manufacturer’s product descriptions. Although it’s a cheap and easy way to get copy onto product pages, it’s not a great choice for branding, SEO, and sales.

What is it that distinguishes your eCommerce store from its competitors, many of whom may sell the same products, and some of whom — including Amazon — have marketing budgets that a smaller store can’t hope to match? Often, it’s branding: the way a store presents itself to its customers. A store’s brand — communicated through design, attitude, style, and content — is its most powerful weapon in the battle against the competition.

Unique and compelling copy is a huge part of establishing an effective and appealing brand. The most successful small eCommerce retailers take great care to craft a unique personality for their brand. Taking the bland cookie-cutter product copy from a manufacturer’s website does nothing to help communicate a unique personality.

Branding isn’t the only area in which a store has to discriminate itself from the competition. Identical copy, competing against the same copy on other store’s product pages, is not a recipe for successful search engine optimization. There will, of course, be similarities in descriptions of the same product, but a store that tailors copy to buyer personas and long-tail keywords that show intent-to-buy stands a greater chance of being successful.

The average wholesaler or manufacturer isn’t interested in direct sales to consumers. They’re B2B retailers with very different concerns than B2C retailers. That shows in their product descriptions. They are utilitarian, sparse, and often poorly written. That’s not much of an issue when the intention is to sell to other retailers. It’s a huge issue when selling to an ordinary consumer.

Customizing copy for the audience is Copywriting 101. Retailers who recycle the product pages of manufacturers would fail that class. Effective salespeople use copy to help potential buyers understand why the product is of value to them, how it could play a part in their lives, how it solves problems for them, how it makes them look good, and a thousand other subtle influences.

Replicated copy doesn’t do that. It’s inert. It fills a space on the page and conveys the barest practicalities about the product. It’s a wasted opportunity.

High-quality copy can have a huge impact on sales. Sometimes it’s not practical to create bespoke copy for large product catalogues, but for the most prominent products, taking the time to create copy that reaches out to a visitor is well worth the investment.

Matthew Davis is a technical writer and Linux geek for Future Hosting.

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