Adam is a business owner. He sells fedoras in his small shop in the city center. To make shopping easier and to drive more customers, Adam opens an online store, as well. Soon, though, he encounters a problem: his brick-and-mortar store is selling well but his online store isn’t bringing in new customers or income.
Adam’s actually got a fairly simple problem: he hasn’t presented his fedoras well! He quickly took product photos on his smartphone and copied poor descriptions from the manufacturer website. To drive more visitors to the online store and convert them into paying customers, Adam has to put effort into presenting his products in the right way.
While in brick-and-mortar stores people can see the actual products with their eyes and hold them with their hands, in online stores they see products as images. And, of course, in brick-and-mortar stores people can talk to the seller and find out about the features and benefits of the product—in online stores, they have to trust product descriptions.
In this post we’re going to talk about two key things you be doing when showcasing your products in your online storefront: product images and product descriptions.
1. Make Your Products Look Cool in the Images
In brick-and-mortar stores, customers can hold and try products before buying. When customers can see a product in real life and hold it in their hands, it weighs the scales in the seller’s favor.
In online stores, people obviously cannot try your products in the same way—which is why you need to take your online shoppers as close as possible to that feeling of seeing and holding your product, just like in a physical store. Professional product photos taken from different angles will help you.
The easiest way to get professional photos is to hire a pro photographer with a studio. Hiring a photographer may be expensive but you get results in the fastest and the easiest way. However, if you’ve got budgetary considerations, then it’s still possible to take cool product photos yourself.
Just be sure to remember three things: 1) use a neutral color background, 2) place the product on a stand, and 3) make sure the product is well-lit and doesn’t drop weird shadows. You don’t need tons of expensive equipment to take nice product photos but you need a few accessories:
- A DSLR or mirrorless camera or smartphone with a good camera (iPhone 5S and newer will do)
- An appropriate colored background (choose between white, grey, and black)
- A tripod for your camera or smartphone to keep it steady
- A light source (soft light from a window on a cloudy day is perfect). You can also build a light box yourself.
- A reflector to reflect soft light from the main light source
- An image editor like GIMP to edit photos: crop, brighten, or lighten. It’s free and is more than enough for basic photo editing.
Look at these well-lit, detailed photos. Don’t they make your mouth water already? :-)
You can go even deeper in visualizing your products: order a custom modification that will allow your customers to rotate products with a mouse pointer on the product page. Look how it works in a furniture online store based on CS-Cart:
2. Compose Product Descriptions that Sell, not just Describe
Having attractive product photos is only half the battle. Product descriptions are important, as well: from a description a customer understands whether the product can solve his problem or not. That’s why product descriptions should not simply describe, they have to tell a customer what his or her problem the product can solve and how. For example, a laptop lets a customer work anywhere, not only at home or in the office; a fedora can become a finishing touch for a retro party costume.
Although any product solves some problem, different products need different approaches in writing descriptions. Here are eight guidelines on how to compose good product descriptions that sell:
- Show the product benefits the way that the customer understands them. Describe product advantages clearly without excessive words and technical terms. For example, don’t write that this electric guitar has a single coil pickup and a humbucker at the bridge position. Talk instead about what a customer gets from those: “This electric guitar suits melodic solos and bone-rattling riffs”. That’s all a customer needs to know.
- Don’t speak to the customer with fake phrases and silly bunkum. These days, everybody is immune to such statements as “This smartphone is developed by leading professionals and uses the latest innovative technologies”. There’s no point in saying things like this, because you can’t prove anything with facts. People don’t believe your words, no matter how beautiful, unless you prove them with facts.
- Personalize product descriptions. First, decide who your ideal customer is. Then address your ideal customer directly as if he’s standing in front of you. Use the words and the kind of speech your ideal customer uses. Talk to your customer.
- Use words that call for pleasant feelings. Words such as “crispy”, “creamy”, and “smooth” nudge a customer closer to the purchase, because he wants to experience those feelings. Be careful not to overuse these kind of words.
- Entertain the customer with a short story. Tell the customer a catching story about your product. A paragraph is enough to relax the customer and keep him on the product page longer.
- Make the customer’s imagination work for you. When reading a product description, the customer should feel that he already owns the product. Tell the customer what will happen and how his life will change when he gets the product. Sell a dream.
- Show the customer that the product is much in-demand. People prefer popular products. Before buying, customers usually read reviews and look for testimonials from real people. Add a testimonial of a satisfied customer to the product description, plus attach a photo of that customer. You can also write that the product is this month’s bestseller.
- Think through the structure of a description. Writing a long description in plain text is a bad idea. There’s a better chance that a customer reads the whole description if you keep it short, well-structured, and well-formatted. Divide the text into paragraphs, add headers, choose a bigger font size, and format everything. Kind of like how we’ve done here, for example.
Check out this coffee description: it’s short and well-structured, activates the customer’s imagination, and entertains with a short story:
Hope our advice will come in handy and you’ll be able to drive more customers thanks to cool product images and great product descriptions!
- Yan Anderson is the Social Relations and Content Manager at CS-Cart. He's passionate about creating content that explains complicated things in simple terms. Yan loves writing and making videos about the ecommerce industry and technology trends. He manages this blog as an editor.