Features Tell, Benefits Sell

Our friend Susie, who we met browsing online for sports tops, is a busy person and shops online whenever she can. For her mother’s birthday, she went shopping for a nice pair of earrings. The first site she went to had a product description that read something like this:

The perfect everyday diamond hoops! These 18ct yellow gold earrings consist of a single row of round brilliant diamonds, claw set on the front of a hinged two piece mount.

 So did the second. The third site was only slightly different.

Now earrings are a bit different from sports tops and Susie was able to determine from the images and the descriptions that the earrings looked dainty, and were made of high quality metal.  Susie is typical of online buyers – she likes to research before you she buys. That’s why she looked in three stores, but when all three say exactly the same thing, how do you decide which one to buy from?

Google doesn’t like a lot of things and one of the things it doesn’t like very much is duplicate content, which is exactly what we’ve seen here – identical product descriptions. It’s a real problem for e-commerce store owners who frequently copy manufacturer’s descriptions onto their product descriptions without changing anything. To Google, that just looks like it’s been copied from another site. In other areas, we might call this plagiarism. We know it’s not, but Google doesn’t, so be aware that  if you’re having trouble with your Google rankings, this could be part of the problem. Putting Google aside, it’s not very interesting or enticing for online shoppers either.

Personalise Your Product Descriptions

You can help differentiate your products from your competitors by tweaking their descriptions. As we saw when Susie bought her sports top, descriptive text allowed her to visualise the product. The benefits were outlined along with the features and this helped her purchasing decision.  Over-the-counter medications provide another example to help you understand the concept of benefits and features.

The selling point for medicinal pain killers aren’t just the chemical ingredients – it’s the benefits they offer. Of course people need to know which drug they are taking because that’s a really important safety aspect, but they want to know that it will treat their particular  pain.  That’s why if you look at the packaging of common painkillers, it tells you what type of pain it will treat – headache, back pain, muscular pain etc. That’s the benefits.

Let’s go back to buying jewellery. How would you describe the benefits of jewellery? They are less obvious than sports tops and painkillers, but the benefits are there, if you do a little research and know your products. Here’s some examples:

  • Oval-shaped dangling earrings are perfect for women with oval faces, drawing attention to the elegance of the oval face.
  •  Teardrop and dangle earrings will elongate a round face and minimise any puffiness.
  • What about the claws on a 2-piece mount in our product description above? Is there a benefit to sell in that feature? There is in the clasps on pendant chains:
    • This chain has a strong clasp that won’t come open. You never  have to worry about it falling off your neck.

Can you see how thinking about what the customer might want to know helps you find the benefits of your product?

So if you have an e-commerce store, or for that matter, anything you’re writing for a website, make the site stand out for your customers. Try to personalise the experience for your target audience. For e-commerce stores,  it goes without saying that you need clear product images, but do tinker with those generic product descriptions.  Help people like Susie see the benefits in their purchases.

Remember the motto: Features tell, benefits sell.

Call us if you need help with your e-commerce store.