Practical Ecommerce

Descriptive Product Content Produces Sales

My wife and I are opening a new business. We are buying a lot of equipment, and I’ve spent more time shopping on ecommerce sites than I have in several years. As a former merchant, I judged those sites themselves almost as much as I did the products I was researching. And I was amazed at the incredible investment some stores have made in unique product content.

I was equally amazed at the lack of information on many others. In almost every product category, I found an exceptionally high quality site that stood above the others, especially for products that are complex and expensive. I also found that the prices for the high-content stores were competitive. That really made my buying decisions easier.

Descriptive Product Content

In short, helpful product information — along with the lowest price — will usually close the order. The kinds of content that are critical today include the following.

  • Original product descriptions. Google and everyone else are not interested in the descriptive hype from a manufacturer.
  • Great pictures. An ability to look at several angles, zoom in, pan around.
  • Videos. Instructional videos or reviews are a compelling way to present your company’s expertise and detailed product information.
  • Reviews. Customer reviews are critical.
  • Blogs. A good place to offer short product reviews and write-ups.
  • Related items. This helps buyers think of options and other accessories they may want or need with the products they are researching.
  • Technical specifications. This usually comes from the manufacturer or supplier: Size, height, weight, and performance specifications.
  • Options. Be clear about what’s included in the product and what might cost extra.
  • Competitive products. It helps to bring competitive products together and present what’s good, bad, and different about them.
  • Flexible descriptions. Since multichannel selling is so popular, you need to support long and short descriptions, different image sizes, and long and short headings.

That’s a lot of content. Merchants who produce any or all of it know what an investment it is. But they also know the return on that investment is significant.

My Shopping Experience

One of the items we need is a high end, automatic coffee machine that can make coffee-shop-caliber espresso drinks, and be as simple to use as an iPhone. I’ve likely visited every U.S. website selling coffee machines — and there a lot of them. I watched videos on a dozen different machines, read reviews, studied blogs, evaluated technical specs, and then repeated that process. These devices cost from $1,000 to $15,000, and I was determined to know what the differences in price actually buy.

The website where I found the information I was looking for is Whole Latte Love. The site’s home page is comparable to several others. It’s attractive and modern, with many paths, and several promotions and featured items.

I found Whole Latte Love from a video it posted on YouTube. As it turned out, that’s where I found most of the competitive sites. Once on WholeLatteLove.com, I realized it was an incredible resource. I rarely left once I landed there. Here are a few screenshots of why I liked it so much. Let’s start with a product page.

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This product page shows all the relevant information in an easy-to-follow manner.

This product page shows all the relevant information in an easy-to-follow manner.

As you can see, the content is very crisp with lots of white space. It’s “above the fold” — i.e. in the upper portion of the page. It includes a terrific picture, zoom, clear pricing and promotional offer, a call to action, and warranty information.

Now let’s look at the rest of the page, just below the fold at the lower portion of the product page. It contains compelling, helpful information.

The first thing is a good video of the product and how it works. There are several other related videos as well. The product video explains the process of programming it, making coffee, and cleaning it. Whole Latte Love offers these videos for its high-end machines, so shoppers can see the real differences in operation and maintenance.

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A video can help demonstrate a product in use.

A video can help demonstrate a product in use.

The “Features” section appears to be original content that describes the machine in helpful detail. It is well written and thought out.

At the top of the section, notice tabs for “The Buzz,” “Blogs,” “Specs,” “Reviews,” “Manuals,” and “Ideal$.” It’s all nicely packaged and more information than you will see in most stores — online or brick-and-mortar.

The image below is “The Buzz.” It’s a terrific idea. It contains all the questions and answers from customers for the various products. This is the gritty stuff, such as, “What product do you actually recommend?” and so forth. It’s very helpful content, and lots of it.

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Knowledgeable feedback to customer questions can fill in holes left by your initial copywriting.

Knowledgeable feedback to customer questions can fill in holes left by your initial copywriting.

I also found terrific details and information in the “Specs” and “Reviews.” This particular machine had more than 20 detailed reviews from customers. Whole Latte Love clearly seeks reviews from customers, asking them to review different aspects of the machines after they have used them.

Finally, here is how the site presents “Related items.” It’s a innovative concept that includes bundling to save money, which Whole Latte Love calls “Ideal$.”

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Sales on bundled items can help up-sell products.

Sales on bundled items can help up-sell products.

Summary

In the end I purchased the espresso machine from Whole Latte Love. I also found several other good stores, however. I visited many of them seeking a better price. After all, regardless of product content, customers — like me — are price sensitive. Make sure you set your prices accordingly.

In fact, with almost all of the items I was purchasing — from printers to video projectors to furniture — I found myself wanting to be loyal to the stores that best answered my questions. Videos are becoming important in the selling process. They are also much more professionally produced than they were a few years ago.

Dale Traxler
Dale Traxler
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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Filip Galetic October 9, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for your insight in this article Dale. If one adage holds true in 99% cases it’s "Image is worth 1000 words."

    Me myself am a big fan of video descriptions on e-commerce websites. This gives me all the info I need in an attractive, succinct and time-saving fashion.

    Also from the ROI side, videos can greatly – I mean greatly, we are talking about a 3-4x increase – boost your ROI as an e-commerce specialist.

    My favorite examples of good video integration in online retail shops are these:
    - http://www.electricshopping.com
    - http://www.onlinegolf.co.uk

    Philip Galetic
    Treepodia.com

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