Product copywriting and online sales: is Debenhams headed for trouble?
We were saddened to read this morning that one of the UK’s leading fashion giants has reported such a slump in profits.
As stated in the Guardian, Debenhams is partly attributing the 85% decrease in profits to the much-cited Beast from the East. As a result of the maniacal weather we experienced in March, they had to close almost 100 stores across the UK. Nightmare.
Conversely, Debenhams’ digital sales rose by 9.7%.
This should serve as a stark warning to all high-street retailers that they need to be shifting their focus even more towards their online sales. They need to invest in their product copywriting. They need to consider how hard their online presence is working for them during periods when their physical presence is under strain.
And it’s not just weather that can disrupt the smooth running of physical stores: accidents, public transport strikes, staffing issues. Disaster can strike at any time.
Whatever’s occurring outside a customer’s own four walls won’t stop a fashion addict from doing online shopping.
They can easily curl up on the sofa with a cuppa in one hand and a digital device in the other, and scroll through page after page of products.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Being stuck inside with very little else to do is a great excuse to go on a rampant ecom-spree. And with delivery being so efficient these days, nobody minds waiting a day or two for their goodies to land.
79% of shoppers we surveyed would only buy a product if it had a supporting description. 91% said a single spelling mistake would negatively affect their buying decision.
Flawless product copywriting
We recently surveyed most of the UK’s leading department stores. We performed an audit on how well their product copywriting was being executed. And we hate to say it, but Debenhams scored below average on most points, including creativity, consistency and accuracy.
They tripped up with grammatical/spelling errors and usage of manufacturers’ descriptions. They relied on fairly run-of-the-mill product copywriting which didn’t inspire or really inform all that much.
We draw your eye once more to that increase in digital sales above ^^.
If more attention had been paid to the quality of product copywriting, could Debenhams’ online sales have reduced the impact of the slump? Or even negated it altogether?
We think so. In our survey, 79% of shoppers would only buy a product if it had a supporting description. 91% said a single spelling mistake would negatively affect their buying decision. With all this in mind, were Debenhams’ product descriptions letting the side down? It’s a question shareholders should be considering.
If your brand could benefit from a product copywriting audit, get in touch and we’ll take a look.