How to Write Product Descriptions That Help Reduce Returns
Rebecca Fox

March 12, 2023

Clear product descriptions can help reduce return rates by helping customers choose the right products.

The more confident customers are in their decision to buy a product, the less likely they’ll be to return it later on. It’s worth taking the time to create clear, scannable, detailed product descriptions to provide customers with as much information as possible before they place an order.

Why Are Product Descriptions Important for Reducing Returns?

Product descriptions are important because they give potential customers a clear idea of what a product is and what it does, reducing the likelihood of returns due to miscommunications or false expectations. 

Since your customers can’t physically touch your products before buying, your product descriptions become an important factor in whether or not they buy from your store. 81% of customers think that better product descriptions would help reduce false expectations and returns.

When customers have a clear understanding of a product and know what to expect from it, they are more likely to be satisfied with their purchase and less likely to return it.

Product descriptions are more than just a list of features; they are an opportunity to communicate values, increase engagement, and build customer trust.

What’s the Difference Between a Clear and Unclear Product Description?

Whether a product description is clear or unclear can make the difference between a customer buying the right product and buying one they later return.

A clear product description will be clear and concise and give customers a good sense of what the product is and what it can do for them. An unclear product description, on the other hand, will often be vague, hard to understand, and likely to turn potential customers away. 

To make sure your product descriptions are helping you make sales and reduce return rates, ensure they’re clearly written, benefit-focused, and give a good overview of the product. Customers should be able to see at a glance what the product is and what its benefits are.

If customers read a product description and still have questions about it, then it didn’t do its job.

What to Include in a Product Description

A product description should describe the product’s features and benefits, and answer common questions about the product.

Product descriptions should include:

  • Descriptive product title to entice customers.
  • Detailed paragraph that explains and tells a short story about the benefits of the product.
  • Bulleted list of technical product features.
  • Answers to any questions your customers may have about the product.

7 Steps to Writing a Clear Product Description

Follow these steps to write a clear product description that will help reduce returns.

1. Define Your Target Audience

The first step to writing clear and powerful product descriptions is to define your target audience – who is going to buy your product?

For example, if you sell high-end, professional computers, you probably have a different target audience from a store that sells gamer laptops or kids’ tablets. It is important to consider your customers’ intent and motivation in buying these products when you write about them.

As you write your product descriptions, keep these questions in mind:

  • How did your customers arrive on your page?
  • What are their interests?
  • Why would they be interested in your product?
  • How would they describe the product to a friend?
  • What features or benefits would interest them most?

Considering these questions will help you write product descriptions that are tailored to the type of customer who will purchase the product, increasing the chance they will be satisfied and reducing the likelihood they will return it.

2. Tell a Story

Besides giving relevant product details and convincing customers of its benefits, product descriptions should pack an emotional punch and tell a story.

When writing product descriptions, it’s important to remember that emotions influence customer behavior. Therefore, your product description should be written in a way that elicits emotions. 

Lead your customers to imagine what it would be like to own and use your product. How would they feel? How would their lives be improved?

3. Focus on the Product Benefits

Features are technical information about a product, while benefits describe how the product can improve the customer’s life. While features are important, it’s not enough to just list out the product’s features – customers want to know how those features benefit them.

Explain in relatable terms what effect your product will have on the customers, how it will make them feel, and what result they will gain from using your product.

4. Make Product Descriptions Easy to Scan

Nowadays, people have short attention spans and read only a fraction of the text on a page, so it’s important to make your product descriptions scannable and clearly formatted. 

  • Use bullet points to highlight the most important features and benefits.
  • Make sure your product descriptions aren’t too long.
  • Include plenty of white space.
  • Use headers and bolding to break up the page.

Make your product descriptions easy to read by designing them in a clear, scannable format.

5. Use Photos and Videos

In addition to describing your products with words, it can be better in some cases to show than to tell. Consider incorporating product photos and videos to describe the product more clearly. 90% of customers say that product images influence their buying decisions.

Display your products using icons, images, and mixed media such as video to get across as much information as possible and reduce returns.

6. Reflect Your Brand Values and Voice

Is your brand voice casual or professional? Do you like to use tongue-in-cheek humor, or do you keep things more straight-laced?

Use a consistent tone that matches your brand to build customer trust and make your brand memorable.

The way you write about your products should also reflect the values your brand stands for. For example, if your brand has a focus on sustainability, write about how your products are eco-friendly in your product descriptions.

7. Include Sizing Charts

Customers are often hesitant to buy online because they can’t try on the products before purchasing, and each store has slightly different sizing, which can be difficult to determine from images. One of the most common reasons for returns is sizing issues. Providing accurate sizing charts/guides will ensure customers get the right size, which will lower the chance of returns.

Make the sizing charts easily accessible by displaying them clearly on your product pages, and include as many details as possible. Help customers make confident and informed purchasing decisions so that they won’t need to return their products later.

In addition to sizing charts, it is also important to include information about the fit of a specific product in its product description. For example, use descriptive words such as oversized, flowy, or stretchy when describing the product. This will give customers a better idea of what to expect when they purchase the item. 

It Pays to Have Clear Product Descriptions

Product descriptions play a huge part in conversion and in reducing returns. Invest the time and effort into writing powerful product descriptions, and you will quickly see results.

Make product descriptions easy to read, and use complementary resources like sizing charts and media to give customers a clear idea of what your products are and how they can benefit from them.

The more confident customers are in their decision to buy a product, the less likely they’ll be to return it later on. Make sure your product descriptions are clear, scannable, and detailed so customers can get as much information as possible before placing an order.

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