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How to write compelling product description copy for your e-store - Don't use the manufacturer description

Written by Marco Conti Tuesday, 09 March 2010 13:47

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Don't use the manufacturer description

It's tempting isn't it? You buy your widgets from XYZ Mega-galactic and they sell the same widgets on their website. They gave you permission to use their copy and their photos so all you have to do is go there, copy their text and pictures and you are in business.

Think about it for a minute. Why would I, the consumer, buy my products from you?
For one thing, it's much more likely I'll find the manufacturer website before I find yours. They have been around longer and Google and Co. have certainly given their site a much better ranking.

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But even assuming I am the comparison shopper type and I am visiting all the sites carrying that product, what would make me buy it from your site rather than the manufacturer?

Price for one thing, let's hope XYZ's prices are a bit higher than yours, but even if they are, to the average consumer XYZ will certainly be a more trustworthy place to drop their personal and financial info, so price may not make that much of a difference (and possibly their price may even be somewhat lower).

It may not even be the quality of the site. Most people don't really give a hoot about a site's looks as long as it's not a disaster zone, and we have to assume a manufacturer will have the bucks to hire competent web developers.
So, how can you beat them at their own game?

You got it: better copy and better pictures.

Fortunately, most manufacturers E-stores have terrible copy and often barely average pictures. They are anything but inspiring. Your chance to outsell the manufacturer is to entice your customers with better, more vibrant copy and with more inviting, better quality pictures. Otherwise there is really no incentive for the average customer to buy their products from you. Would you? Don't kid yourself.
("Don't kid yourself" is probably the single most useful advice I could give any new web entrepreneur, by the way. It covers a lot of ground)

Flash animations are a pretty expensive way to dress up your site and they are rarely worth the money. Their SEO value is zero so be careful before spending time and money on things that will not help you sell a single item

If you need confirmation of this, try Googling a small phrase from any product descriptions from your manufacturer. I'll bet you'll get a dozen hits from stores just like yours all over the web. Their owners were just as lazy as you want to be.

When a potential customer searches for the same product, most likely they will get similar results, But that's great news if you think about it. It's is your chance to shine and outsell the competition.

Remember all that money and time you spent with that fancy flash animation?Those cool but expensive icons? Those overnight sessions with your web designer fixing the margins and the font point size?  Wasted time and money. You would have been much better off investing your efforts in proper photography and proper copy. Only when the basics are taken care of should you think about investing in eye candy and refinements few, if any, people will ever notice.

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