In an ideal world, every single product description would be carefully and lovingly tailored from scratch. But in a fast-paced, increasingly demanding ecommerce environment, that isn’t always practical.
Companies with a predictable and steady rotation of products can afford to create unique individual descriptions and take the time to A/B test to their heart’s content. But with the rise of Boohoo-style etailers where the stock moves at warp speed to keep up with style and demand, many companies are on the hunt for a more efficient approach.
Enter the product description template. In the right hands, it can shave hours off your product copywriting process and add a mega-efficient link to your chain. But be very careful: if you leave too much up to automation, you could well end up coming across as though you are simply trying to push through as much stock as possible with little care for the finer details.
***A word of SEO warning***
Of course, we all know the old adage: when it comes to SEO, fresh, original content is always your e-BFF. But when you’re using template product descriptions – providing you switch up the words you’re slotting into the relevant places enough – you’re not technically using ‘duplicate’ content, as it’s still relevant to the product page on which it appears.
So don’t stress too much about SEO. First and foremost, product descriptions should be for the customer, rather than something to appease Google.
And it’s safe to say that having a whole lot of similar but relevant copy is a damn sight better than having nothing at all.
Whether it’s a precise three-part structure or you want to go in for the kill with an intro sentence and a whole load of bullets, your customers will appreciate consistency from product to product.
Step one: establish a structure
Whether it’s a precise three-part structure or you want to go in for the kill with an intro sentence and a whole load of bullets, your customers will appreciate consistency from product to product. So workshop a structure that you think brings across the nature of your brand. And stick to it.
Here’s an example:
This *apparel item* is designed in *fabric* for *benefit*.
Cut for a *regular/slim/relaxed fit*, this *apparel item* is detailed with *feature1* and *feature2* lending a *benefit* to your outfit.
Highlight the *feature(colour/pattern)* with *contrasting/coordinating item* for a(n) *adjective* approach to *adjective* dressing.
And now, filled out:
This *short-sleeved T-shirt* is designed in *pure cotton* for *breathable comfort*.
Cut for a *relaxed fit*, this *T-shirt* is detailed with *contrast colour accents* and *dropped shoulders* lending a *laid-back attitude* to your outfit.
Highlight the *oversized fit* with *slim-leg jeans or chinos* for an *effortless* approach to *casual* dressing.
Notice how the placeholders appear pretty regularly with fewer than three words in between: this will help you avoid long strings of repeated words from page to page.
Step two: Categorise your templates
A description for a pair of jeans is going to be very different to that of a backpack, so don’t leave yourself in a position where you’re trying to jam words into places where they simply don’t fit. You could have categories for accessories, tops, trousers, shoes etc. Then subcategories for casual, professional, event outfits etc. Shape 10-20 description templates (depending on your stock quantities) for each category and you can rotate your way through them for months – even years – to come.
Step three: Test, test, test
Refine your batch of templates by trialling them on existing or old stock. Iron out the kinks and make sure they’re all as versatile as possible. By testing them, you can identify anything that’s tripping the process up. For bonus flexibility points, you could play with rotating different segments of the description, Rubik’s-cube style!
Step four: Be careful
You should never forget the importance of proofreading. Automated processes are fantastic until you take your eye off the ball. All too often, we see product descriptions with ‘This trousers are…’ or ‘We love these playsuit for…’. And be certain that the person working with the templates knows their way around the English language, or you could end up with a ‘poke a dot’ situation (spotted recently on a very popular ecommerce shop).
Remember, it isn’t a case of simply slotting nouns and adjectives into place. You have to have sound copywriting and proofreading stages to ensure all components of a sentence agree with one another. But the benefit of having predetermined elements to each and every description will lend both stages some incredible efficiency.
Avoid the pitfalls; work with the experts
We can create them. We can fill them in. We can provide that final proofreading stage. Or we can juggle the whole thing for you, so that you can get on with managing your growing eshop. By investing time and expertise in the early stages, template product descriptions can shave hours (even days) off your team’s workload. They can add an extra element of conviction for your customer. They can inform enough to reduce your returns rate.
What does it all translate to? A much, much healthier bottom line. So if your product descriptions are lacklustre, inconsistent or even conspicuously absent, you know the next step…