Putting together product descriptions is probably one of the most mundane tasks on the web. And it shows.

When I read product descriptions on most websites, I’m reminded of several of the teachers I had in school that would teach us by reading directly out of the textbooks. They were lovely people. But, snore…. No wonder most of us don’t retain much of what we learned in school!

Why do the same thing with boring product descriptions? Would you rather put your customers to sleep or persuade them to buy something? I bet you answered, “Buy something!”

See, you are an excellent student. I knew it!

Now, let’s look at some ways we can liven those boring product descriptions up.

Humour

Do you have a fun and quirky brand? Why not inject a little humour into your product descriptions? It’s not for everyone, but it works really well when done right. When was the last time you had a raving fan base just waiting for you to put our your next product?

Impossible? Look no further than woot.com and thinkgeek.com for ideas.

Woot

I’ll never forget the first time I really “got” woot.com. Before that, I always thought to myself, “Why in the world would people love the high stress situation of buying something in limited quantities that they may or may not need?”

Then, by chance I came upon an offer they had for a flashlight complete with a long narrative about using that flashlight to find the Murderer. Was it Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the kitchen or Mrs. White with the rope in the study? Or maybe it was another story altogether. The only thing that matters is that flashlight is going to help us figure it all out, by golly!

I found it endearing and finally, I understood. You can now add me to the list of loyal Woot customers.

ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek.com not only has wonderfully quirky products that are great gifts for friends or to yourself, but also have some witty one-liners. Just look at this line straight from one of the product descriptions, “We’re not sure if you know this, but Yoda has been known to carve his Thanksgiving turkey using his lightsaber.”

Add that to your valuable mental database of tidbits!

Storytelling

One of the biggest drawbacks to selling online is that people can’t physically touch or see your products first-hand. So, the next best thing is to capture your reader’s attention by helping them visualize what it’s like to own your product with their own imagination.

Let’s say your product is a women’s scarf. It’s quite lovely, high quality, and the pictures are doing it justice well-enough. But, it’s still not selling as well as it could. Maybe a little storytelling will strike your customer’s imagination!

When was the last time you saw a product description like this:

“She stepped out of her front door on an especially chilly winter day. As she went down her front steps steps and strode down the sidewalk, she felt the crisp air brush her bare ankles. Brrr! Thank goodness she had her gorgeous 100% merino wool scarf to keep her cheeks toasty warm.”

Descriptive Words

I just know this violates one of the rules of copywriting. But, I’m going to say it anyway. We need more adjectives and descriptive words in our product descriptions. Not cheesy, filler ones, but real ones that people actually use.

And where’s the best place to get good words? Well, right from your customers’ mouths, of course

When was the last time you read through product reviews to see what your customers are saying about your products? It’s funny, actually. Customers will use words to describe your product in ways you likely never even thought of.

Here are some adjectives I found from reviewers on Amazon.com for a popular Digital Camera that I’m considering buying: “fun, easy to use, crisp, clear, breeze, amateur, quickly, value, creative”.

None of these words are actually used in the product description itself. What do you think I’m more interested in? The descriptive words that help me imagine owning the purchase or basic specs that I don’t fully understand?

What do you think, is it worth a shot? You might just get some new raving fans who can’t wait for your next product or to share it with their friends. And you can always get the best of both worlds by including a fun description first and the specs afterward.

Got some other fun ideas for product descriptions? Let us know in the comments.