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Six E-commerce Copy Mistakes And How To Fix Them
Posted Jul 4, 2019 by Graeme Caldwell, Nexcess

Six E-commerce Copy Mistakes And How To Fix Them

It takes a lot of work to launch a successful e-сommerce business. An e-сommerce platform must be chosen, installed, and managed. Images taken and uploaded. To say nothing of the complexities involved in setting up fulfillment and supply chains. Amidst all that, it’s no wonder product-page copy is neglected.

But copy contributes to sales, and ill-considered or poorly written copy repels shoppers. Copy might be at the bottom of your list of priorities, you might be satisfied with good enough, but if you don’t give copy the attention it deserves, you’re leaving money on the table.

I’m a writer, so I’m particularly sensitive to bad copy, but you don’t have to be as picky as I am to be put off by ungrammatical nonsense that looks as if it was typed in a hurry and never looked at again. Low-quality copy communicates carelessness to shoppers, even when they don’t know exactly what’s wrong with it.

In this article, I’m going to look at some of the e-commerce copy mistakes I see most often.

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1. Feature, Feature, Feature

This is a copywriters’ cliché, but, like most clichés, there’s truth to it: talk about the benefits of a product more than its features.

A feature is something the product is or has. This is a red pair of shoes. This computer has 32 Gb of RAM. This bucket can hold 3 gallons of water. All useful information, but good product copy focuses on how these features benefit the user.

A computer with 32 GB of RAM offers better performance when many applications are running at the same time. It is ideal for data-intensive tasks like video editing. These are the benefits inherent in the features. Tell shoppers what a product is, but focus on why it should matter to them. How does this product solve their problems or enhance their lives?

ecommerce website copywriting examples

2. Taking Copy From Suppliers or Manufacturers

E-commerce retailers often source products from distributors or manufacturers who have their own sales copy. Why not paste it into your product pages? Suppliers may encourage retailers to use their copy, but it’s not a good idea.

  • The copy is written to appeal to retailers, not to consumers who have different concerns.
  • Many of your competitors use the same copy. Identical product pages aren’t a good look when you’re trying to create a brand to distinguish your store from all the others selling the same product.
  • Duplicate copy is bad for SEO. It’s unlikely your store ranks for copy duplicated on other domains.

ecommerce copy

Write your own copy. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, but it does have to be unique. It should embody your brand and talk to your customers.

Learn more: How to Write Product Descriptions That Sell

3. Who Are You Talking To?

Copy is persuasive written communication. The “persuasive” part distinguishes copy from other content like blog articles. The best way to persuade a person is to understand them — to address their concerns and values. The best copy goes right to the heart of a shopper’s concerns and desires.

ecommerce copy

Do they care about the environmental impact of what they buy? Staying on top of the latest trends? Connotations of luxury? Or how a product could save them time? Do they care about getting a bargain, or do they think bargain-basement language is a turn-off?

Why does Costco focuses on low, low prices, while Apple focuses on product quality and experience? Because these companies understand who buys their products. They craft a message that is persuasive to their customers.

4. Airy Nonsense

World-class copy slips into a shopper’s mind, tweaking her neurons with innovative conceptualizations, altering her paradigm while driving her ever onwards in pursuit of that perfect purchase.

Or… it’s just a bunch of nonsense.

ecommerce copywriting examples

Few products are life-changing, paradigm-shifting, or world-beating. It’s inauthentic to claim they are. Unfortunately, e-commerce copy often takes this approach, stringing words together into vaguely sensible-sounding sentences that fall apart if you think too hard.

Sales copy should make products sound good; that’s its job. But not at the expense of overpromising. The best copy emphasizes a product’s positive features and benefits in a way that’s both honest and compelling. Authenticity is key.

5. Lazy Editing

Shoppers don’t come to your store in search of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. But they’ll find them regardless. Bad editing looks sloppy, and it makes shoppers wonder what else the store is being sloppy about.

  • Their’s nothing like a cupcake when your feeling down.
  • Smiths Tools: 100% relaible.
  • Relax with friends, eat well, and getting a good night’s sleep.

It’s difficult to proofread copy that you’ve written yourself. So, let someone else take a look before it’s uploaded to your store. If you doubt your writing chops, hire a copywriter to write product descriptions for you or use a free tool like Grammarly.

ecommerce copywriting

6. Too Much Or Too Little SEO

Product-page copy should appeal first and foremost to shoppers: it is part of an e-commerce store’s machinery for converting them from visitors to buyers. But it also plays an SEO role. Search engines index product-page copy, and it should be optimized to ensure that it appears in relevant results.

But too often I see spammy copy that is unreadable to a human. It is optimized entirely for the search engines. I’m sure you’ve come across copy like this:

Cheap cupcakes. Buy affordable chocolate cupcakes, toffee cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, specialty cupcakes. Small cupcakes, medium cupcakes. Low-cost custom cupcakes. The best cupcakes you’ve ever eaten. Affordable cupcakes for less.

This gibberish might as well have been written by a machine, and only a machine could appreciate it. SEO like this has been worthless for years, but old habits die hard.

If you’re selling cupcakes, you need to mention cupcakes, but look at this copy from a page randomly chosen from the top-ten Google results for the query “custom cupcakes Chicago.”

ecommerce copywriting example

“Delicious and memorable, beautiful designs, and occasion specific are a few reasons why our desserts stand out. We choose the best raw ingredients to make the best desserts.”

Nadiya’a Cupcakes, a first-page result, doesn’t obsessively cram keyword variations into the copy. The copy focuses on the product, the service, and the benefit to customers.

Conclusion

Copy is one component of a product page, alongside images, video, design, and the product itself. But it has an important role to play. The best copywriters command enormous fees for a reason: great sales copy can make a massive difference to the bottom line. But, even if you’d rather not pay for copy, it’s worth spending the time it takes to get it right.

About the author
Graeme Caldwell is a writer and content marketer at Nexcess, a global provider of hosting services, who has a knack for making tech-heavy topics interesting and engaging to all readers. His articles have been featured on top publications across the net, TechCrunch to TemplateMonster. For more content, visit the Nexcess blog and give them a follow at @nexcess.