Why benefits, not features, are the key to good product descriptions

Product descriptions. Their purpose in life is to sell. How do they do that? By being helpful and informative. It’s as simple as that. Or is it?

You see, being helpful and informative doesn’t always sell. A case in point – the sales assistant in a retail store doesn’t always close a sale by being helpful to a potential customer. To sell, product descriptions must offer more than flat information. They must evoke a sense of need or want.

To evoke need or want in a product, you must help the customer understand how that product will benefit them. Only when the consumer understands this, will they feel compelled to hand over their money. The trouble is, when many companies sell products, they get fixated on their features. And that’s not good for product descriptions.

But why is this the case?

Simply, because features assume that the reader will be impressed by them. They do not, in most cases, mean anything. For example, that “20-megapixel camera” on your smartphone? It means nothing. But, that “20-megapixel camera that helps you capture beautiful shots, day and night” does. It’s a simple tweak that has a profound effect when it comes to selling. And that’s the whole point of product descriptions.

Here’s an example of a hypothetical product description that has fallen trap to the features bug:

“These Levi’s skinny jeans are faded to simulate a vintage look. They feature a skinny, stretch profile and are tastefully finished with oldie buttons.”

Now, let’s change it to this:

Rock that vintage look with these beautiful skinny jeans from Levi’s. Cut skinny with a stretchy material for comfort, these form-fitting jeans will flatter your figure. Old-style buttons complete the vintage look. Casual has never been trendier.”

Here’s another example:

“The new AZON P1 smartphone offers a 20-megapixel camera and a Micro-SD card slot, which is rare on modern smartphones. There’s a large capacity 2,750 mAh battery inside, and this phone boasts an aluminium chassis for durability.”

The example above packs in a decent amount of information. It might mean something to a very specific consumer, but to most, it won’t mean anything.

Now, let’s change it to this:

“With its 20-megapixel camera, the AZON P1 helps you to take glorious snaps day or night — even in extremely low light. There’s a Micro-SD card slot to help you store more, and a large-capacity battery to power you through a whole day. Best of all, the AZON P1 feels beautiful in the hand with its premium aluminium chassis.”

I have bolded the sections of the product descriptions that set them apart. As I’m sure you’ll agree, the second examples are much better than the first ones.

What did I do? All I did was write with an understanding of how different features could help or otherwise benefit the reader. It really was, and is, as simple as that.

So the next time you are writing product descriptions, take a step back. Ask yourself, “how will this feature benefit the customer?”, and write about that. If you can’t think of anything for one feature, that’s fine. Jump onto the next feature. Writing is all about finding your words.

Need help writing your product descriptions? We’ll write them for you for £0.05 per word. Email us at info@contenthero.co.uk to get started, or click here to send us a message. Thank you.

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