A formula for structuring enticing product descriptions

A chemical formula

Though B2B and B2C companies face different marketing challenges, and are very different from one another, they do also share some fundamental similarities, one of which manifests itself in a ‘formula’ for enticing product descriptions.

While the layout and the copy of a product description are also important (so much so that we’ll go into that in more depth in our follow up post), there is a formula that all websites SHOULD follow if they want full-bodied, ‘enticing product descriptions’, especially if there’s not much they can do to change or rectify their product page design.

To keep it short, we’re going to refer to our ‘Enticing Product Description’ formula as EPD. Every time you see this mentioned, you’ll know what we mean. If you feel we’re missing out on anything, let us know in the comments below. We’ll be happy to start a discussion.

The “Enticing Product Description” formula that just works

 

Take a look at any great product description and you’ll find it goes something like this:

  1. Catchy SEO optimized title (not always the product name)
  2. Product description (in prose) – including search engine optimised keywords
  3. Bullet lists/sub-headings and prose to include features, advantages and benefits.
  4. Detailed and specific information – sizing tables, colour charts, measurements, etc
  5. Additional marketing materials – videos, downloads, slideshows, pop up charts
  6. Call to action (if you’re a B2B company)

One company that is following our formula pretty much down to a tee is Bose. Head on over to their website or take a look at the screenshot below – for the full product description, you will need to click the picture to follow the link. Not only is their product copy really easy to read, but it’s also beautifully formatted and it incorporates those 6 things that we believe are essential to an Enticing Product Description or ‘EPD’.

Bose gets our EPD formula

 

  1. Product title – not catchy, but followed up with a catchy subheading ‘unwind without wires’.
  2. Features and benefits – nicely fitted together and easy to find because written in a bullet point list.
  3. Lots of subheadings to break up the content and make it easy to skim – ‘better sound built in’, ‘wireless convenience’, ‘get started simply’, etc.
  4. Detailed and specific information under tabs to make it easy to find – including details with pictures, FAQs, accessories and customer reviews
  5. Additional marketing materials can be found under the ‘details’ tab. There’s also a video right near the top of the prose description making it easy for users to watch/listen to that if that’s how they prefer to learn about the product.
  6. Call to action/buy now button is prominent – the only bold, blue colour on the page.

Bose Product Description

3M gets our EPD formula

 

  1. Descriptive heading including full product name
  2. Prose description utilizing product name as a keyword. The description is easy to read and to the point. It’s also not bogged down with features. Sadly though further content is lacking the catchy headings we really like to see but that’s okay because this is one of those companies that does really need to take the more utilitarian approach given its target audience.
  3. Features and Benefits in the first tab – though 3M have approached this very tactfully and just called it features. But something like ‘excellent resistance to abrasion, moisture, alkalis, acids, corrosion and varying weather conditions’ is a benefit too!
  4. Specific information included under ‘specifications’ tab in a neat, easy to read table format.
  5. Additional marketing materials included under ‘video and downloads’ – again, in a neat, tabular format.
  6. Call to Action – Because 3M is both a B2C and a B2B company, they’ve allowed for this when designing their CTAs, incorporating a ‘buy it now’ button. But, for B2B companies they’ve also included a link ‘request a distributor quote’.

3M Scotch Tape Product

Apple gets our EPD formula

 

AND they’ve got amazing product pictures. A fine example of brilliant page layout combined with all the great content.

 IPod Shuffle Product Description

John Lewis gets our EPD formula

 

With a clean layout, the focus of each John Lewis product is on the picture, the price and the brand name. You’ve really got very little to distract you because as on the Apple website, John Lewis has sucked the colour from the entire design, only leaving products in colour, making them the true focus. Sometimes a very useful marketing tactic.

John Lewis Product Descriptions

 

What’s Next?

So, now that you’ve got an idea of how to go about implementing the EPD formula on your own site, let’s take a look at how you can make your product descriptions even better. This part is all down to the copy, how you write, what you say and how you say it. Read the follow up blog post on actually writing enticing product descriptions.

If you would like to talk to Xanthos about your ecommerce website, get in touch.