Should You Copy, Rewrite, or Create Product Descriptions from Scratch?
Posted Jul 11, 2018 by Vasily Klimov, Kinvasoft

Should You Copy, Rewrite, or Create Product Descriptions from Scratch?

The big question every e-commerce business owner has before the launch is how to fill product pages with descriptions. How do you write informative, neat copy for each product and at the same time stand out from competitors?

It is not about general product characteristics — material, size, color, and others. It’s about content that complements the photo, shows the specifics, and distinguishes the features of products and creates the “face” of the store.

There are three ways to get product and category descriptions, each of which has both pros and cons. Let’s have a closer look.

1. Take Copy from a Supplier’s Website

In order to resell products in an online store, you can use the information from your supplier (pictures in high resolution from their website, specifications, a provided description). Most distributors prefer this.

ecommerce product descriptions

ecommerce product descriptions


Product descriptions on the wholesaler website

This is a unique text — it makes no sense for the manufacturer to take the description of their product from another website. Let’s check if there are other online stores that used the same description without changes.

SEO Review Tools confirms that there are plenty of duplicates:

ecommerce product descriptions


Enter a text fragment

ecommerce product descriptions


See how many times the copy was used by online stores

ecommerce product descriptions


It’s easy to make sure that the copy is exactly the same

The main advantage of this approach is that you don’t have to spend extra time or money working on the copy. When customers go to your website, they see an informative description, which is enough to make a purchase decision.

Cons:

  • Search engines don’t index copy-pasted descriptions as a unique text. If a person just types a product name in the search, there’s little chance your website will be in the top results.
  • Therefore, it’s more likely that the traffic goes to your supplier or a bigger competitor store that posted the text earlier.

If you care for your brand image, think about your own style. A copy-pasted text doesn’t help here.

So it’s better not to copy the product description if you run a small niche store. Search engines will take your description for spam or ignore it at best. There are exceptions to the rule. For some reason, the search engines might decide that your website is the primary source. However, it’s a rare case.

Non-original content works for large stores with 100 000 product positions that have been around for some time. The search engines trust them. If you’ve just opened a store, it’s better to write your own texts. Eventually, it’ll pay off.

2. Rewrite the Original Copy

To rewrite a text means to upgrade/increase its uniqueness with little changes. Simply speaking, you rewrite the supplier’s text in other words. This method is old, and it has its supporters. There are even writers who have become very skilled at creating such content.

Here are a few tricks for rewriting a piece of text:

  • Rearrange the words in the original text. Even if you just change the order of the words, this text will be unique to the machine.
  • Get rid of empty talk. If you make the text shorter by getting rid of lexical redundancy, it will look neater and quite unique.
  • Add details. On the contrary, a text that is too short can be expanded with descriptive details and characteristics. The visitor gets more material to read, and search engine robots will reward this.
  • Replace words with synonyms. Sometimes people just replace the words to increase the uniqueness. No wonder every content exchange company has its own synonymizer app.

This is what a rewritten and abridged text may look like:

rewritten product descriptions


A reduced and revised description

Pros:

  • There’s enough information to get a detailed overview of the product, weigh up pros and cons, and decide on a purchase.
  • Time saver. Fast rewriting gives you about 100-200 symbols per minute.
  • It decreases the effort. You don’t have to create something; you just rewrite the text.
  • Relatively unique content. You get almost brand new copy.
  • You don’t need to be trained to do this. Even a school kid can handle this task.

Cons:

  • It looks like an original text, but it isn’t one — rewritten sentences and a different order of the words may trick a machine, but not a human.
  • If you hire a freelancer for cheap, you risk getting an illiterate text with grammatical and stylistic errors.
  • The quality of the text is low anyway because the aim is to raise its uniqueness, not to create a catchy product description.
  • Reputation risk for a brand, as made clear by the aforementioned points.

All in all, rewriting is still an easy, cheap, time- and effort-saving way of creating content for an online store.

There’s a so-called “heavy rewrite,” when you make a product description out of several original texts found in the top search engine results. It has to do with a correct retelling of the already written and published. Plus, key phrases are used to optimize the text. Such rewriting is closer to copywriting.

3. Go for Customer-Centric Copywriting

You can use the supplier’s descriptions for your website, or you can rewrite texts, changing their form. However, you can also order a text from a responsible and talented freelancer. Copywriters can write product descriptions that will actually sell your products.

What is more, you can take copywriting into your own hands.

It’s rather easy and doesn’t require special training, but the quality of the text, in this case, is almost no different from a professional copywriter’s work.

First, find a source of inspiration — an established store with original texts. If you do your research well, you can find lots of inspiring examples. More and more sellers care about the uniqueness and quality description.

rewritten product descriptions


Just 3-5 sentences can make a compelling product description

Here’s a short checklist for writing product descriptions in your online store:

  1. Write as if you are explaining to a friend why you bought this product.
  2. Try to fit it into 3-5 sentences.
  3. Combine short and long sentences — it makes the text easier to read.
  4. Choose 2-3 key product characteristics and talk about them in 1-2 sentences: “The blade is made of forged hardened steel which has undergone double heat treatment. Thanks to this hardening, the ax will last for many years. ‘
  5. Follow the ‘feature — profit’ line: ‘The wallet has a zip (feature) to keep the contents safe (profit).’
  6. Use calls-to-action, invite people to buy a product at once or take it for a spin.

Learn more: How to Write Product Descriptions That Sell

checking plagiarisms in product descriptions


Another way to check the uniqueness of your text in Grammarly

Pros:

  • You get a new, unique text that engages emotionally and talks about product features.
  • A bit of humor draws attention to the product.
  • There’s no pushy sales language that often occurs in marketing copy.
  • It is memorable and easy to read.
  • It’s short and to the point; there’s no redundancy.

Cons:

  • You need to use your imagination and put yourself in your customer’s place.
  • You need to know your product well and be familiar with how to use it. Then you’ll be able to write lively and helpful copy.
  • It’s time-consuming if you have a large range of products.

To Sum It Up

Copying text saves time, but it doesn’t promote your website at all; rewriting gives you cheap and relatively unique content but makes your store just another one. Copywriting is a perfect option and you can write texts yourself.

So practise! Even if you don’t succeed the first time, you’ll rock it at the fifth!

About the author
Vasily Klimov is the CEO of kinvasoft.com, which develops applications for Ecwid stores, such as Multi-Level Illustrated Menu, and modules for X-Cart 5. He is always open to collaboration and partnership.