4 Common E-Commerce Copywriting Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)
You’re drafting copy for your online store, scribbling feverishly, typing away but you’re still unhappy.
Something’s just not right. And it’s showing in your sales. So you start over, and then over again.
You have a great product so it should be easy.
But how do you describe it?
How do you position your e-commerce site to draw complete strangers in and persuade them to make a purchase? And how do you do all of this while balancing the right keywords so things still read like an actual story and not SEO soup?
MISTAKE #1: FOCUSING ON FEATURES
If you’re selling online, you have to think like a shopper.
And shoppers want an answer to the age old question “what’s in it for me?”
Look, I’ve been guilty of this too.
You get so wrapped up in sharing how awesome the product is that you lose sight of the only thing that makes sales: benefits.
A benefit in its simplest form increases pleasure or relieves pain, in line with the ultimate goals that a shopper has. Remember: customers buy outcomes.
Products are just a bridge to that desired result.
When it comes to actually motivating a purchase, customers could care less about the minutiae.
So instead of keying in on your latest design detail, balance it with something tangible. Take a page from Apple’s book: they only mention the speed of a processor or megapixels in their latest rear-facing camera update because shoppers want to get more done and take better pictures, respectively.
As the old adage goes: facts tell, stories sell. Adding benefits to the features makes your product instantly more engaging, just like a good story.
Now customers can see how to directly apply it to their lifestyle, instead of reading through some out-of-reach concept.
The solution: get organized! Create a list of features with associated benefits. Part of a great sales offer is proof.
If you have a feature that can’t translate into a tangible benefit, then leave it out!
Only mention what customers actually care about– the things that will actually help them achieve their goals.
MISTAKE #2: USING MEANINGLESS WORDS
This trap is too easy to fall into.
You know what I mean, those glittering generalities that do nothing to differentiate you from the competition.
Words like “new”, “best”, “innovative”, “fast-acting”, and the list goes on.
You’ll see them peppered on other websites in your category, in flashy graphics, all caps or bold lettering, but they don’t address one crucial question: “why?”
That question is where you can amplify the value to the customer because it focuses on something that online business struggle with: trust.
It’s not that online shopping isn’t becoming the new normal, it’s that new sites are cropping up every day, new sites with new offers at different price points, all information that shoppers have to absorb and decipher before making a decision. That’s a lot of deciphering!
Trust can accelerate the decision-making process and that comes from cutting through the muck and declaring exactly what you do best–that’s of course relevant to your customer.
That’s the power of good e-commerce copywriting.
Remember: customers are people too.
They can see through the fluff, and often they’re turned off by it. They’ve likely had enough of being ‘marketed to’.
Simply put, they just want the truth–just like you and I would.
So what’s the solution? Get your virtual scissors ready! Read through your copy and remove any words that don’t add value.
Just cut them out.
You’ll see immediate clarity in your copy and you’ll have more room for words that actually matter.
MISTAKE #3: MISSING BUZZWORDS
This is huge.
Customers need a point of reference, a sign post that says ‘yep, you’re in the right place’.
Without it, the only thing you get is a high bounce rate–the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
Your site has failed to become ‘sticky’. In other words, B-O-R-I-N-G!
Solution: So your best bet is to include words that make you ‘searchable’.
Think “what would someone Google if they wanted to find my product?” What’s the first thing they’d need to see?
That’s the first step to making a proper introduction to the person that ends up on your site. If they know that they’re in the right place, they’re more likely to hang around.
That initial confirmation is what encourages further interaction and that’s all you really want when starting a brand-customer relationship.
Every online business owner needs to know this basic equation (don’t worry, the math isn’t intense) when it comes to copywriting:
Engagement + Interest = Sale
We touched on the first half of this equation. The next mistake is a conversation killer in real life and online.
MISTAKE #4: INDEPEDENT STATEMENTS
E-commerce copywriting mistake #4 is all too common.
To intrigue a customer, you have to drive the conversation.
If you’ve gotten their attention enough for them to engage, then being able to hold that interest is the next step down the sales path. Unfortunately, a lot of brands stumble here because their copy is disjointed.
You don’t want to string together phrases that just sound good. They have to build on the previous sentence or concept.
Instead, many websites or product pages read like a litany of facts or a list of bullets: dull, boring, lifeless.
Think of it like links in a chain or better yet rungs on a ladder. What will keep them climbing? Are you tugging at heart strings or introducing humor?
Solution: Good sales copy is just like a good conversation. Avoid the corporate babble or generic terms. Make it relatable, useful, and most importantly, easy to understand.