While every section of your website needs to be optimized, your product pages deserve extra love and attention. Why? Because these pages, along with well-written product descriptions, are the parts of your online store that actually drive sales.

In fact, research from Monetate found product detail pages (PDPs) account for a quarter of all ecommerce landing pages. This means your product pages are increasingly becoming the first touchpoint shoppers have with your brand.

So, if you haven’t spruced them up in a while, it’s high time to do so. We recommend starting with your product descriptions because they play a pivotal role in generating both traffic and conversions.

Well-crafted product descriptions do more than just describe your merchandise. When done right, your descriptions convey your unique voice, get people excited and even help you rank on Google.

In this post, we cover the 11 critical elements to help you create winning product descriptions. Check them out and see what applies to your store!

1. A Distinct & Relatable Voice

Product description writing tip No 1: Inject your copy with a unique voice and tone that speaks to your target audience. If you’re a quirky company that caters to millennials, then you’ll want to adopt a casual tone and maybe throw in a bit of humor.

But If the plan is to target executives at large enterprises, your copy would should feel more serious and professional. It all depends on your voice and who you’re talking to.

Zero Gravity Product Description Example

Check out this example from iPhone accessories store Zero Gravity. Each of their product descriptions are written in a casual and fun tone, which is great because Zero Gravity specializes in bold and distinctive phone cases.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross uses a different voice and tone to sell items like instructor kits to teach first aid, CPR and how to use an AED in emergencies. The Red Cross uses a more straightforward tone that appeals to importance of information and newest measures to teach.

american red cross product description example of instructor kit

So why would you go through all the trouble of sprucing up your copy?

For starters, adopting a distinctive voice—especially one that caters to your audience—strengthens the connection they have with your brand. Speaking the language of your customers makes you relatable, builds trust and increases the chances of conversions.

As a bonus, this practice also enables you to come up with unique content, which helps you with SEO for ecommerce. And this brings us to our next point:

2. The Right Keywords

It’s important for your descriptions to contain the search terms that shoppers would use when looking for your merchandise. This gives you a better chance for your product pages to show up on search engines, which in turn drives traffic and sales.

To first step in optimizing your product pages for SEO is conducting keywords research. Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to search for keywords and identify other terms that your customers frequently use.

google keyword planner search terms example

Let’s say you’re selling journals, planners and notebooks. A quick search of those terms on Google’s Keyword planner uncovers a variety of other search terms, including “ruled notebook,” “unique writing journals,” “lined notebook paper” and more.

Depending on your merchandise, you can incorporate some of the keywords you find in your product descriptions.

Google Planner Example of More Keywords

For example, notice how in their description of an 80 Page Lined Journal Notebook, AnyPromo makes it a point to pepper in relevant search terms into the text.

anypromo product description with keywords

Do the same thing for your product pages. Research the keywords that consumers use when searching for your products, then incorporate those terms into your descriptions. Now, this isn’t to say that you should stuff your description with keywords. Instead, sprinkle a healthy amount of search terms in your copy, while still making it readable and engaging.

Luckily with the help of PowerReviews, we help add structure data to your product pages to get critical and unique review content to be indexed by Google. This means you get more ranking content with the additional reviews you produce.

ratings and reviews SEO search graphic

Want to see how PowerReviews helps brands and retailers increase their reviews SEO efforts? Talk to our team today

3. Showcases Features & Benefits

One of the most common pieces of marketing advice is to focus on benefits over features when describing what you’re selling. People who give this advice make an excellent point.

It really is more effective to tell shoppers how something would benefit them versus just giving them a laundry list of features or capabilities. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore features completely when describing your products. After all, your customers still need to know what a product does and what it’s capable of.

Your product descriptions should have the right balance of features and benefits. They should describe your items and clearly display its specifications, while at the same time, spell out the deeper advantages that each feature brings to the table.

Moleskin classic backpack product description

Have a look at Moleskine’s product description for their Classic Backpack. The left column is very benefits-centric.

It talks about how the product helps you “organize your mobile workspace” and how the backpack enables you to “store and organize everything you need as you navigate your day and connect with the people, places and passions that populate the city unfolding before you.”

The right column, on the other hand, is a straightforward list of features. Adopt a similar approach with your descriptions.

Strive to communicate a product’s features AND benefits effectively, while make them easy to find at the same time.

How to beat amazon banner

4. Visual Product Variations

Do you sell multiple products with different variations like color, size or print?

You’re not alone. A lot of businesses have various similar products, but don’t show buyers every single option. Some ecommerce folks might think it’s easier to simply show a single image of a variant product and provide more detailed visuals with a specific or high-selling item.

Instead, take the time to get great visual content for every single product you have. There’s no reason to provide fewer images or even videos of a variant product.

variant images product description example

No one likes to shop on line and come across this–a small display of images showing the various colors of a sheets for a queen size bed. Before you know it, you’re zooming in and trying to make out what kind of blue is “Lake Blue.”

One of the more important online shopping statistics shows within the next two years, mobile ecommerce is projected make up almost 73% of total ecommerce sales. That means you need to think about the mobile experience and if your customers can see the variant products up close.

samsonite ijet gif

For example, iJet does a fantastic job showcasing the various colors for its Samsonite suitcase. It would be easy to mistake certain colors or see if variant products have different features. But the zoomable and various images give shoppers more confidence to buy.

5. A Good Story

Want your product descriptions to make a bigger impact? Tell a better story. Scientific studies have shown that human brains become more active when stories are told, and people are highly receptive to thoughts, ideas and emotions when they understand a particular narrative.

Depending on your products, it may be helpful to incorporate narratives into your descriptions. Stories make your product descriptions stick. They also help people understand your items better, which ultimately prods them to hit the buy button.

Consider sharing a quick anecdote describing how you came up with a product. Lin Manuel-Miranda does just that in the product description of the “Mr. Write” t-shirt on TeeRico:

teerico t shirt product example

See if you can do something similar for your products. Find a tidbit or anecdote to describe an item and incorporate it in your copy. It could be just the thing that makes you stand out.

6. Easy to Scan the Page & Copy

Part of ensuring your product descriptions are easy to digest is by making them scannable. Scannable text looks more appealing and encourages people to give it a read.
Here are some of the things that can help shoppers easily scan your copy:

  • Short paragraphs: Walls of text make your copy look lengthy, which often bores people away. You’ll want to keep your paragraphs short (i.e., 4 lines or fewer) and succinct.
  • Headers: People on their phone or computer tend to scan product descriptions to find information relevant to them. Help them do that by using headers that break up your content into sections.
  • Bullet points: Lists and bullet points make text easier to read, particularly if you’re communicating product specs and features.

Adidas does all three in its Ultraboost product description, with one tab focusing on features and benefits and a second tab listing the shoe’s specifications.

adidas ultraboost product description example

The specifications tab, we get down to the nitty gritty details of the product, which might not be as relevant for some shoppers, but still important to display.

adidas product details for ultraboost shoes

This helps consumers know more about the product quality and the materials you chose. As more shoppers focus on organic and sustainable products, it’s essential to keep these details available on product pages, but obstructing the description with too long of text.

7. Social Proof

The importance of social proof (i.e., ratings and reviews, customer photos and endorsements) in your product descriptions cannot be understated. Our own research at PowerReviews discovered around 97% of consumers factor in ratings and reviews when making a purchase and 88% specifically look for photos and videos from other consumers.

Clearly, social proof is critical to creating compelling descriptions, which is why you should incorporate them into your product pages whenever possible. Consider the following:

Ratings & Reviews

We’ve already established that ratings and reviews influence consumer decisions to make a purchase, but did you know having them on your product descriptions also lowers your return rates? Based on 10 years of working with over a thousand brands and retailers, we’ve found that companies see a 20% reduction in product returns for items with ratings and reviews.

So, how do you get more of them on your product pages? Start by actively encouraging customers to rate and review their purchases. Send a post-purchase email asking them to provide feedback, and if possible, throw in an incentive for them to do so.

Nordstrom, for instance, encourages shoppers to review their purchases by giving them a chance to win a $1,000 gift card.

nordstrom post-purchase email example

Once you have those ratings and reviews, display them prominently on your product page. Have the star rating as one of the first things people see when they’re on the page, and make sure your ratings and reviews section is prominent and easy to find.

Take the clothing company SCOTTeVEST. In addition to displaying an item’s star rating at the top part of the page, SCOTTeVEST shows the star rating again right above the written reviews section.

scottevest product ratings visual

scottevest reviews display on product pages

What about you? Do you display your ratings loudly and proudly? If not, take a leaf out of SCOTTeVEST’s playbook and make your product’s star ratings more prominent.

Customer Images

The rise of user-generated content (UGC) has changed consumer expectations when it comes to retail visuals. Professional product photos are still essential, but if you want to build trust and convey authenticity, you need to go a step further by including images from other consumers. A study by Olapic found that 63% of U.S. consumers trust customer photos more than brand or retailer photos.

You can easily promote UGC by adding a feature on your product page that lets customers upload photos of themselves using your products. One retailer that’s doing this well is SheIn, which has an upload feature that allows customers to include photos with their reviews.

shein user-generated content reviews

Try to do the same thing with your product pages. Encourage your customers to snap and share photos of themselves while using your products. With PowerReviews, we provide user-generated content visuals for products that help shoppers understand the product more thoroughly.

visual and social collection for user generated content

In fact, our Snapshot of Ecommerce report found 58% of those between the ages of 18-29 find user-generated content important or very important in their purchasing decisions.

Why limit what your shoppers need to make better decisions? See how our Visual and Social Suite helps you generate more authentic content.

8. Excellent Visuals

Fact: human beings are visual creatures who process image data better and faster than text. For this reason, it’s important to include several visual elements in your product descriptions. Aside from your official product photos and the user-generated content mentioned above, consider adding the following visual elements:

Videos

Videos are great when you want to show your products in action, and as it turns out, they can also drive sales. In the fashion industry, it’s been found that video increases conversions by 134%.

SCOTTeVEST, once again, is doing a great job here. All of their product pages have video descriptions that demonstrate the unique features of each item.

scottevest video product descriptions

Diagrams

Diagrams serve as effective visual aids for conveying the size and scale of an item. On Giant Hugs, for example, they have size charts that you can access right from the product page to get a better idea of the size and fit of each piece.

size and fit example on a product page

9. Trust Signals

Consumers are certainly more comfortable when making purchases online, but many still experience fear or hesitation when it comes to buying something they can’t physically see and touch.

While things like great copy and customer photos certainly build trust, you’ll want to go a step further by throwing in additional trust signals in your descriptions. Money-back guarantees or certificates of authenticity alleviate any misgivings that people have about purchasing your products, so include them whenever you can.

This company, which sells pre-loved luxury goods, Fashionphile, does this on all of their product pages. Fashionphile’s descriptions always spell out their money-guarantee to quell any concerns shoppers may have about purchasing from them.

fashionphile promise in product description

See if you can do the same thing with your product descriptions. If you offer any guarantees, communicate them clearly in your text to alleviate trust issues and be on your way toward building brand loyalty within customers that will come back and rely on you in the future.

10. Relevant Offerings

Advertising your promotions on the homepage is great. But make sure you include those sale and offer details in your product descriptions as well.

Check out what Guess Factory is doing. In addition to prominently display the sale price and discount on the top of the product page, Guess’ product descriptions also have a line reminding shoppers of their new arrivals promotion.

guess factory product description showing offerings

Remember, a good chunk of shoppers are likely bypassing your homepage and going straight to your product pages. You want to make these users aware of any offers available that might’ve been missed on another page.

Follow in the footsteps of GUESS by spelling out your offers in your product descriptions.

11. Provide Answers to Your Product’s Most Pressing Questions

See to it that your product descriptions answer any questions that shoppers may have. Failing to do so could lead to site abandonment. According to Forrester, approximately 55% of shoppers in the U.S. abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their product question.

Yikes.

When writing your descriptions, go beyond simply telling people about your products. Consider any questions or concerns people have about your product, and then address those in the copy.

You can also consider adding a Question and Answers or FAQ section on the product page itself so shoppers find the answers they need easily. PowerReviews offers Q&A software to do just that.

questions and answers engaging display graphic with powerreviews

Make it easy for your customers to access important product questions and see who is actually writing the answer with review badges. And for all the brands out there, it’s essential to make sure your customers are getting the appropriate answers on your retailer sites.

That’s why we created Brand Engage, a tool for brands to answer directly to customers on retailer sites that participate in the Open Network.

For example, PING Golf sells plenty of equipment and accessories across retailer sites like the PGA Tour Superstore. But what if someone has a question about a driver that maybe only the brand would know?

ping PGA superstore product page

With Brand Engage, PING can answer questions directly on PGA Tour Superstore’s retailer site to give buyers the confidence to click buy.

Take Your Product Descriptions to the Next Level

Great product descriptions go beyond stating facts about your merchandise. Much like a high-performing retail store associate, your descriptions should engage shoppers, build trust and ultimately sell your products.

Are you happy with your product descriptions and ready to take it to the next level? How are you planning to improve them?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B content for companies in the retail, technology and SMB space.

As an ecommerce business, you always look to get more website traffic, new shoppers, better customer feedback and obviously, ways to earn more revenue.

The good news–you have numerous ways to generate traffic and sales. From search and social media to email and referrals, there’s no shortage of marketing strategies to implement and test.

But the bad news? There are numerous ways to generic traffic and sales.

Without a coherent and up to date ecommerce marketing strategy, you risk falling into the trap of trying too many things without knowing what works. Before jumping into traffic-generating tactics, you first have to iron out your ecommerce marketing strategy so it’s able to connect to the modern shopper.

Think of the perfect ecommerce marketing strategy having a roadmap to show you who to target, how to engage your audience and how to measure your efforts so you only invest ROI tactics. On top of that, you need to know the recent market changes and what it takes to succeed in online sales for 2019.

To help you get closer to your objectives, check out our five step ecommerce marketing strategy for 2019:

Step 1: Know Your Audience & Their Problems You Solve

You can’t have a successful ecommerce marketing strategy if you don’t know who to market. That’s why the first step is to get to know your target audience.

Who do you want to reach with your marketing? What messaging resonates them?

Figuring all that out requires creating buyer personas or avatars of your target customers. Begin by asking questions like “Who do we want to attract to our site?” and “Who are our typical buyers?”

The answers to these questions should give you an initial picture of what your target customer looks like. For example, if you’re a fashion boutique that sells high-end vintage clothing, then one of your ideal audiences could be women in their 30s with disposable income.

View this post on Instagram

Todays vintage vibe. @filson1897 @brixtonwomens @justblackdenim

A post shared by Una Mae's Chicago (@unamaeschicago) on

Once you have a general idea of who to target, you’ll need to flesh out your personas and make them more real. You can do that by sticking to a few rules.

Focus on a Single Person for a Persona

Each persona should consist of a single individual. This means when you’re building the profile of your avatar, the details entered should apply to just one person.

Instead of saying your persona includes women who are 30-35 years old, the persona should be a 33-year-old woman earning $75,000+ annually.

View this post on Instagram

@ashtonswinford in new spring arrivals from @penfieldusa @filson1897 @shophoneypunch & @obeywomens

A post shared by Una Mae's Chicago (@unamaeschicago) on

Of course this seems counterintuitive since you’re trying to sell to many people. However, focusing on a single customer allows you to uncover more useful and specific characteristics about the key shoppers that you want to reach.

Doing so makes your message more relevant and compelling.

Give Your Persona a Name & Photo

Naming your persona and adding a visual component makes them tangible. It also helps your entire marketing team understand the demographic more clearly.

The realer an avatar is to you and your team, the easier it is know the potential customer such as their likes, dislikes, hobbies and overall buying process.

Ratings and reviews banner

Get Very Specific With Your Persona Details

Through audience research, you should uncover demographic and psychographic details about your persona. Use the info you gather to develop a rich profile that answers questions like:

  • How old is your persona?
  • Where do they live?
  • How much do they make per year?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have kids?
  • What do they spend time doing?
  • What problems or issues puts them in your store?

Here’s an example of what a persona page might look like:

customer persona for ecommerce strategy

Consider doing something similar with your persona profile. Create a page for them, give them a name and populate their profile with specific details. This will allow you to get a more accurate target audience.

Step 2: Limit Purchase-Blocking Obstacles on Your Website

One of the key objectives of every ecommerce marketing strategy is to drive traffic to the website. As an online retailer or even brand, you want your audience to go to the exact spot where they can buy your products.

That’s why your website has to be easy to navigate and limits the hurdles to get checked out. The last thing you want is to have a smashing marketing campaign that persuades people to check out your brand, only for them to bounce when they reach your website.

mack weldon quick buy

Check out this example from Mack Weldon, a mens direct to consumer online clothing store. Their site’s “Quick Buy” functionality lets you choose a color, size and presents the checkout cart all on one window before even getting into the product page.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for creating a winning site, but it always helps to make it easy and simple to checkout. And to help you improve your website, here are some general best practices:

Make Sure Your Site Speaks to Your Audience

At this point, you’ve done a lot of research on your target customers. Put all the information into good use by making sure that all the elements of your webpages—from the design and layout to the copy and images—speak to your key audience.

Doing that means using content and imagery with which your target customers can identify. For example, Forever 21, which caters to young girls looking for great deals, uses web copy and imagery to appeal to its audience.

forever 21 one dollar shop

Forever 21’s website has a big, bold design that promotes deals like its One Dollar Shop. The brand also hires models that reflect the types of customers it wants to reach.

The company is constantly trying to connect with its audience by promoting brand advocates and its biggest fans. This helps build a better community between the shopper and retailer.

Promote Trust

Shoppers today are certainly more comfortable buying stuff online, but some still experience uncertainty when making an ecommerce purchase. That’s why it’s important to create a site that instills trust and credibility.

Your site should make customers feel confident about their purchase decisions. You can do that through authentic product reviews and user-generated content that shows shoppers what real customers are saying about your items.

Vans social media post

Invest in a Mobile-Friendly Site

Mobile has overtook desktop when it comes to sites visits. A study by Perficient Digital found that in 2018, 58% of site visits came from mobile devices, and mobile made up 42% of total time spent online.

perficient digital mobile desktop graphic

People clearly love browsing on their mobile devices, so if your site doesn’t look or function well on the small screen, you’re in trouble.

Take the necessary steps to ensure that your site is mobile friendly. At the very least, see to it that you’re using a responsive mobile design. And if you have the resources to do so, consider implementing a mobile-first site experience.

There’s also the issue of speed. Mobile site load times are generally slower than desktop, so you’ll need to make mobile-specific adjustments to ensure that smartphone and tablet users can load your site quickly.

Speaking of speed…

Always Find Ways to Speed Up Your Website

Poor website load times is one of the top reasons that visitors leave an ecommerce site. According to data from Google, when a page’s load time goes from 1 to 10 seconds, the likelihood of a mobile user bouncing increases by a whopping 123%.

Google Page Load Speed graphic

For your ecommerce marketing strategy, you have to include ways to improve site speeds. As Neil Patel points out, 40% of users leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load and 52% of online shoppers said that speedy load times are important to their loyalty to a site.

page load speeds graph neil patel

One way brands and retailers are improving their site speeds is by moving to ratings and reviews providers that use 100% Javascript software on their pages. PowerReviews worked hard to ensure our software was as fast as possible and would not alter page load times being on ecommerce sites.

In fact, we reduced our JavaScript size by up to 26% on product detail pages, which makes PowerReviews more than 40% smaller than some of our major competitors!

How to Improve Page Load Speeds

Speed is paramount in online commerce, so here’s a few other ways to improve your page load times:

  • Avoid Overly-Large Visuals & Files: Visuals are essential in ecommerce, but using images with large file sizes can slow down a website. Avoid using larger-than-necessary images by shrinking their file size through a tool like Resize Image.
  • Choose a More Optimal File Type: Additionally when it comes to image files, converting an image file from PNG to JPG compresses the image without compromising a lot in terms of quality.
  • Prevent Excessive Redirects or 301s: Redirects tell a browser that the webpage you’re trying to visit now goes to another URL. This happens often and seamlessly without customers knowing. However, loading redirect URLs adds another step, which slows down sites. It also makes it more difficult for search engines to rank or read your page.
  • Limit Unnecessary Plugins or Tools: Plugins can add to your site’s load time, so remove anything that isn’t necessary to each page. Again, it’s critical to know what platforms take up the most and least amount of space on your site.
  • Know What Slows You Down: Each web property is different, so analyze the performance of your website to identify the issues slowing you down. Google’s own Page Insights tool is a good place to start. It gives your site a speed score, runs diagnostics and surfaces opportunities to speed it up.

Google Page Speed Test Example

Step 3: Determine Your Marketing Channels & Tactics

Is your website in top shape? Good. Now, let’s talk about the marketing channels and tactics you can use to drive traffic to it.

Social Media

People spend hours on social media daily, which makes social networks effective platforms for getting in front of your potential shoppers. There are plenty of ways to implement social media marketing, but in general, your efforts would fall into one of two buckets:

Organic Social Media Marketing

Organic social media marketing is all about growing your following and reach through natural ways. You do this by posting likeable and share-worthy content that appeals to your audience.

Taking advantage of features like hashtags and mentions to get your content in front of a wider audience. Check out this post from Fatty Sundays.

fatty sundays instagram post

Aside from being witty and timely, the post contains popular hashtags. Fatty Sundays also tagged and mentioned the source of the quote.

Paid Social Media Marketing

Want to pay for more engagement? Paid social media marketing campaigns allow you to extend the reach of your content. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have native tools that get your posts in feeds of users who aren’t already following your brand.

Whether you want to promote a new product or retarget previous users, there are several social ad tools to check out. For instance, promote a specific product page or offer a deal like Firstleaf in this ad.

firstleaf facebook sponsored post example

Or, you can promote a collection of products by using a carousel ad. Side note: it’s smart to know the various Facebook or Instagram sizes for its carousel images and videos. It’s all about ensuring your content is promoted at the highest quality possible  so it fits perfectly into the ad or organic post.

walmart carousel image ad example

No matter what type of tools you decide to use, keep in mind that the best social media marketing campaigns usually have a mix of organic and paid components. Organic brand reach has decreased significantly over the last few years. So as you continue creating engaging content for your followers, you also need to put money behind your efforts to reach more people.

Email Marketing

Social media marketing can do wonders, but don’t rely on it alone to reach your audience. Here’s why: social platforms essentially control the reach and distribution of your posts. A single algorithmic change can diminish the performance of your content.

With email marketing, you have more control over the distribution of your content. The email addresses of your subscribers live in your database, which means you have a better handle of when and how to get in touch with them.

Any good email marketing strategy starts with a compelling offer to get people to hand over the email address. Here’s one from Amika, which gives people a 15% discount in exchange for their email.

Amika email signup discount example

From there, you can craft an email marketing calendar that has a healthy mix of engaging content (i.e., promotions, company news, editorial content) that drives traffic back to your site.

Influencer Marketing

According to MuseFind, a whopping 92% of consumers trust influencers more than traditional celebrities. Influencers clearly have a lot of pull with consumers, which is why it makes sense for brands to engage them.

Influencer marketing comes in many forms but it typically involves building relationships with social media personalities who can influence your target audience.

Think about the people your customers follow on social media. Aside from their friends and family, who are the individuals that they look up to? Whose content do they enjoy consuming?

Once you’ve identified the right people, reach out and see if you can sponsor their content. In some cases, doing this means letting the influencer publish posts featuring your products. Have a look at this example from Wil De Beast, a GNC Canada Ambassador:

GNC influencer instagram example

In other instances, brands co-create content with the influencer. Rather than an obvious ad, the brand’s product appears as a natural part of the influencer’s story.

You can see this in action the following short film by YouTube stars Wong Fu Productions, which they did in collaboration with homeware retailer Simplehuman.

The nature of your relationship depends on the influencer. Whoever you decide to work with, though, choose to align yourself with individuals who fit your brand’s values.

Affiliate Marketing

Already have an active customer base? Set up an affiliate agreement where they’re rewarded every time they successfully refer someone to your brand.

That reward be a commission, free products, or a discount. There’s no one best way to do it, as the best affiliate marketing structure depends on your business model.

Meal prep company Freshly, for instance, implements a “Give $40, Get $40” referral program to encourage its members to share the service with their friends.

freshy affiliate marketing

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a wide topic and it covers a variety of tasks including:

  • Keyword research
  • Content creation
  • Site mapping
  • Website performance optimization
  • URL optimization

It’s incredibly powerful to get your brand in front of people who are actively searching for products you sell. That’s why when implemented correctly, SEO for ecommerce is profitable marketing strategy.

Do note that the keyword here is “correctly.” Engaging in unethical or black hat SEO tactics can lead to penalties from search engines, completely derailing your ecommerce site.

Be sure to stay on Google’s good graces when running an SEO strategy or better yet, hire an experienced professional or agency with a proven track record.

Search Ads

SEO is effective, but it takes time and continuous effort to make it to the top of search engine results pages. If you’re looking for a shortcut to the top of SERPs, search ads are the way to go.

The most popular types of search ads in ecommerce are Google AdWords and Google Shopping ads, or Product Listing Ads.

  • Google Adwords: These are text-based ads that appear on top of organic search results. Unlike social media ads which target users based on their demographics AdWords target search queries. So, if you’re an online retailer that sells teas and tea accessories, you could use AdWords to target users searching for things like “tea infusers” or “loose tea leaves.”

Paid Search results example

  • Google Shopping Ads: Like AdWords, Google Shopping Ads appear above the organic search results. Unlike AdWords, Shopping ads are image-based and they pull from the advertiser’s online inventory. Sign up for a Merchant Center account and upload your products into a feed. Then start creating shopping campaigns to get products appearing in relevant searches.

google shopping PLA for tea

Content Marketing

Marketing doesn’t always have to involve plugging your products. In many cases, creating high-quality content can attract the right traffic—and ultimately, the right customers.

A great example of a brand investing in content marketing is Dollar Shave Club. DSC regularly publishes informative and entertaining content about grooming and lifestyle, which perfectly aligns with its brand.

dollar shave club blog

Offline Marketing

It may be against your instincts to have an offline marketing strategy if you try to drive online traffic. However, a strong physical presence benefits your brand in a number of ways.

For starters, it gives you more credibility. Anyone can build an ecommerce store, but nothing builds your “retail cred” more than having a shop in the real world.

An offline ecommerce marketing strategy also boosts online sales. Research by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found opening retail stores increases an ecommerce business’s site traffic by 37%.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to build fully-fledged brick-and-mortar stores to have an offline presence. Many ecommerce brands are starting small by establishing pop-up shops in select markets.

The online pure play Brandless did just that last year. The company opened a pop-up shop in Los Angeles, where people get to know the brand and its products. What’s cool about the initiative is that Brandless used it to drive online sales.

brandless credit email

A few days after the pop-up event, Brandless emailed attendees with a $9 credit that they can use towards their first purchase on the site.

Step 4: Execute Your Campaigns & Stay Focused on Goals

You’ve done your audience research, tightened up your website and identified the best marketing channels and tactics for your business. The next step is executing your campaigns.

The specific best practices around campaign execution will depend on your marketing channels, but here are some general things to consider:

Keep Your Team in Sync

If your campaign has several moving parts, you need to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page. You can do this by:

  • Appointing a Project Owner: Have one person “own” the campaign. They will oversee its various components and will serve as the go-to person for the campaign. When there’s a project owner, those working on the campaign know immediately who to turn to for questions and concerns, leading to fewer miscommunications.
  • Use an Efficient Communication Channel: One of the best ways to keep your team in sync is to have a shared platform on which people can post updates or raise issues. A project-specific forum or chat room (e.g. Slack channel) where all the stakeholders are present can serve as an effective solution for this.

Set Your KPIs & Metrics

Remember the famous John Wanamaker quote?

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

This line gets passed around in advertising and marketing circles But to this day, countless marketers fall into the trap of trying new ecommerce marketing strategies and tactics without properly measuring and attributing results.

Avoid this with clear campaigns KPIs. Ask yourself what success looks like and determine the metrics by which your campaign’s performance will be measured.

Get the Timing Right

Even the best campaigns fall flat if they’re executed at the wrong time. Make timing an important consideration for your marketing campaigns to maximize their impact.

Keep a marketing calendar that lists all important events and occasions throughout the year. Go beyond the big holidays and pay attention to big pop culture events.

alex and ani game of thrones marketing

Need inspiration on how to do this right? Check out this campaign from Alex + Ani. Launched in May 2019, the campaign centered on two hot and timely themes: Mother’s Day and Game of Thrones.

Step 5: Measure & Analyze Your Results (Success & Failures)

Analytics is a critical component of any ecommerce marketing strategy. With the right data, you determine which components of your strategy work and what doesn’t. This lets you replicate the positive results and improve on things that not going well.

The key to nailing the analytics side of things is proper attribution. By assigning a tracking component to each initiative, you can trace the results to specific campaigns or efforts.

The right tracking methods depend on what you do. If you market on Facebook, take advantage of Facebook’s ad pixel. If you’re running affiliate campaigns, set up your referral links correctly you can attribute sales to the right sources.

Analyze Your Product Insights Thoroughly

You likely have a mecca of product insights in front you–but are you even using this content to make better product decisions?

Ratings and reviews content helps brands and retailers investigate, detail and improve product launches or faulty occurrences with items in general. That’s why we made Product Pulse.

powerreviews top topics product pulse

With the help of Product Pulse, you can dig into the hundreds or thousands of reviews to find common customer sentiment analysis data. For example, it’s easy to see the most popular adjectives for an item at the product level.

You might think it’d be just as easy to dig through reviews and find this data, but we’ve done it, and it’s just not true. It takes a ton of manpower and hours to dig, pull commonalities and even avoid unintended biases with your results.

Or you could use Product Pulse to pull reports on individual products in minutes.

Image describing the rating sentiment of Blackberry Syrup

Want to see it in action? Request a demo today to test drive Product Pulse yourself!

Get a Qualitative View of Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

It’s important to note that measuring and analyzing your activities isn’t just about the numbers. Produce a more qualitative view of how your ecommerce marketing strategy operates and works.

You can do this catching up with your team on a regular and per-project basis. Let’s say you just finished running a major marketing campaign.

After wrapping up, get the project’s stakeholders together and discuss the results. What went right? What didn’t? How can you improve going forward?

Google Analytics Acquisition Overview Example

Combined with web analytics data, qualitative insights will give you the full picture, which in turn can help you take your ecommerce marketing strategy to the next level.

And there you have it! The ultimate guide to running a successful ecommerce marketing strategy. We’ve covered a lot of ground in this piece and we hope it gives you a clear picture of how to best market you store.

Good luck!

Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B content for companies in the retail, technology and SMB space.

How well are you actually listening to your customers? Do you know when new complaints arise and when previous issues resurface?

This why so many retail brands rely on customer satisfaction survey questions to identify problems, reevaluate service priorities, and adapt to changing customer demands. Simply put, customer feedback is crucial for brand health.

Survey design can make or break the entire effort. The questions you ask, and how and when you ask them, determine both the value of the data and the amount of brand equity you win or lose.

A well-crafted, well-timed customer satisfaction survey deepens your customers’ emotional investment by motivating them to respond and rewarding them for doing so. So how do you build and deploy a survey that elicits the reaction you want and the insights you need?

Here’s our list of 35 sample customer satisfaction survey questions to get you started and how to go about asking the questions in the first place:

Click on the jump links to skip ahead.

Mastering the Art of the Customer Satisfaction Survey: 3 Key Elements

A customer satisfaction survey is like a blank canvas. The richer the detail, the better the result. Your customers should be able to express themselves using a variety of techniques.

Fine Line Questions

Pointed, close-ended questions create a profile of the shopper and provide context for other survey responses.

  1. What is your age/gender?
  2. How long have you been a [brand] customer?
  3. What was the total purchase amount on your receipt today?
  4. How often do you visit this store?
  5. Did you visit the store based on a promotion or sale?
  6. Based on this experience, would you return to this store for [product/service]?
  7. Would you like someone to contact you?

Tints & Shades Questions

Scale questions are designed to register how positively or negatively your customer reacted to the overall shopping experience and to various touchpoints along the way. While a neutral response might indicate the need for strategic adjustments, responses at either end of the spectrum reveal the most impactful moments in the customer journey.

It’s important to keep these questions as simple as possible for your customers. This is essential for those who struggle to rate experiences on the classic 1-10 scale. A scale of 1-4 makes surveys less burdensome and produces more reliable results.

In-Store Customer Service Questions

Example 1: Coffee shop customers might be asked to rate the particulars below via degree of satisfaction: (1: Completely dissatisfied and 4: Extremely satisfied).

  1. How do you feel about your overall experience at this store?
  2. Was the coffee warm enough?
  3. How well was the coffee counter/area stocked?
  4. How did your beverage taste?
  5. Was your food order accurate?
  6. Were the restrooms generally clean?

In-Store Shopping Experience Questions

Example 2: An apparel retailer might ask the following questions using a different scale: (1: Completely disagree and 4: Completely agree).

  1. Were you made to feel welcome during your visit (greeted and/or thanked by one or more associates)?
  2. Were the outfitted mannequins helpful in building an ensemble?
  3. Were the items appropriately priced?
  4. Did one or more associates offer to help you?
  5. Were the associates friendly?
  6. Were the associates knowledgeable?
  7. Was the merchandise high quality?
  8. Were the items you looked for in stock?
  9. Were the items you looked for easy to find?
  10. Did the store have a wide selection?
  11. Was it easy to find items in your size?
  12. Was the store visually appealing?
  13. Was the wait time at checkout reasonable?
  14. Did the cashier process the transaction quickly and effectively?
  15. Did the store have a reasonable return and exchange policy?

Retention Questions

Example 3: These reflective questions are designed to gauge probability of a future action: (1: Not at all likely and 4: Very likely).

  1. How likely are you to return to this store?
  2. How likely are you to recommend this store to others?

Broad Stroke Questions

Open-ended questions, which can be triggered by negative feedback and/or appear at the end of the survey, give customers the floor. Responses often yield surprising insights.

This upends long-held assumptions about what customers want and how well the brand delivers. It occasionally works as a wake-up call as every brand needs to stay aligned with its customer base.

  1. Why did you choose this rating?
  2. If the item you were looking for wasn’t available, what item(s) would you like to see?
  3. What did you like best about shopping at our store?
  4. How could we have made this experience better for you?
  5. What suggestions do you have for improving the shopping experience?

Make Your Csat Survey Timely & Rewarding

To know the touchpoints performing best and what might be sabotaging sales, it’s important to ask the right questions. It’s also necessary to ask while the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind.

If a survey arrives days (even hours) after an in-store visit, they’re likely to forget key details or lose interest in sharing them. This is also true when customers are asked to log in to complete a survey.

Most survey responses will come from customers who are either extremely satisfied or extremely dissatisfied, thus skewing the results. And you’ll never hear from people who left the store without buying.

SMS invite for journeyIQ

The most enticing, effective way to survey your customers is to enlist them as secret shoppers. Give them the means to answer questions about the customer journey in real time, regardless of whether they make a purchase.

They can detail their visit in an objective way while offering their subjective take on what was good, bad and unimportant. With this objective/subjective data mix, you’ll know at once how well brand protocols are being followed, which protocols matter and what’s working against you.

How to Reward Shoppers & Build Brand Equity

Unlike traditional CSATs, which are a chore to complete (hence the typical 2% response rate), real-time in-store CSATs make the shopping experience fun. Your “secret agent” customers become agents of change with an important purpose: contributing to a better brand experience going forward.

mission screenshot

The moment you invite a customer to go undercover, you’ll inspire a degree of loyalty most brands can only hope to earn. Forget costly mystery shopping and low-response CSATs.

Managing the in-store customer experience has never been easier. Use Journey IQ to uncover actionable insights into your in-store experience.

Want to learn about our innovative platform leading brands use to monitor and improve their stores and drive foot traffic and loyalty? Request a demo of Journey IQ today!

Alex York

Alex York is the Content and SEO Marketing Manager at PowerReviews. Catch him hunting down the perfect gin cocktail in Chicago or endlessly scrolling through Netflix. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjyork.

Identifying and meeting customer needs is the best way your brand boosts its game.

You know how it feels when you have a great idea for a product. Maybe you’ve spent some time developing the idea, refining it and you’re really sure it’s going to work.

After all, you would buy it, so why wouldn’t your customers?

But as you know, some of the best ideas end up being the biggest flops.

We all know the big brands that worked on a major product launch strategy, but never seemed to hold the attention of their audience. This tends to happen when the company isn’t focused on customer needs.

Just think of the Ford Edsel: at a time when Americans were looking to buy smaller, more efficient cars, Ford released a gas guzzler that lost them $350 million in the three years it was being produced.

ford edsel vintage ad

Hopefully, you’ll never have such a costly flop. But what can you do to make sure your products are meeting the needs of your customers?

First, you need to be aware of the most common customer needs. Then, you’ll need to figure out how to identify which particular needs your customers have right now.

Are you ready to match your brand to the needs of your customers?

8 Common Customer Needs You Should Always Know

While not a complete list, these eight points are some of the most common needs. As we discuss them, we’ll see how different brands have risen to the challenge of meeting their customers’ needs.

1. Price

Customers are more concerned than ever about price. Are they getting the best deal? Is this comparable to a competitor? Are you paying for convenience or are you getting the highest product quality available?

In fact, 60% of customers consider price before anything else, and 81% say that it’s essential to compare prices between different sellers.

prisync consumer pricing graphic

Especially if you’re competing against companies with similar products, price could be a big factor in a customer’s purchase decision.

Does this mean you must immediately slash your prices? Not necessarily.

However, offering the right kind of discount to customers who are cost-conscious could help you win more business. Think about where you offer price advantages for customers. For example, you could offer a discount on a product bundle or for orders over a certain amount of money.

Check out how Beardbrand does this with their beard product kits:

beardbrand growing kits example

Ultimately, buying the whole kit means the customer is saving money since buying the products individually would cost them more. However, the total cart value ends up being more, which means better revenue for the company.

2. Reliability & Sustainability

People need to trust that the product they’re getting will last. They need to rely on its ability to function properly for a reasonable amount of time.

Another aspect that is essential for many customers nowadays is sustainability. Big companies are rolling out new products that promise a much smaller impact on the environment, nailing the needs of their customers (and the planet).

Check out how Hyundai does this with the brand new (and beautiful) Ioniq:

hyundai Ioniq customer needs example

This completely electric car is one of the best of its kind and it comes from a car company focused on its customer needs with an ability to adapt.

3. Risk Reduction

Even if your products are super reliable, people still want to know they’re not at risk of losing their money or time.

That’s why your product return policy and guarantees are so important. This is an essential factor that you’ll need to cover if you want to meet your customers’ needs.

To calm the fears of your customers and show them that they’re not at risk, try doing what sunglass company Sunski did with their guarantee page:

https://vimeo.com/273985860

4. Usability & Convenience

For your products to meet people’s needs, they must be useful and convenient.

It’s up to you to find out exactly what your customers use your products for and why they like them (we’ll talk more about how to do that below). Once you understand the different uses that customers have for your products, you’ll need to adapt to better fit their needs.

This is what Microsoft has done with the recently released Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit.

While the 365 package has been used by remote workers for years, this toolkit is especially made for large companies that have a mostly freelance workforce. By producing this toolkit alongside freelance marketplace Upwork, Microsoft adapted to the needs of their users.

5. Transparency

People need to know exactly what they’re paying up front and without hidden fees. That’s why companies need to be transparent about what customers are actually going to pay at the checkout.

Transparency can also apply to the ingredients in foods, the supply chain of a retailer or the true size and fit of a product. If you feel like you need to hide information from your customers, this is a big red flag.

Business secrets are hard to keep: sooner or later, they’ll come back to bite you. And in an industry known for its hidden fees and exorbitant costs, Southwest took a stand for transparency in their #Transfarency campaign.

This campaign focused on eliminating fees for checked luggage and changes, which are typically charges that other airlines like to hide until the last second.

This kind of transparency started a trend that continues to generate conversation online and create more brand loyal customers.

Another brands and retailers promote transparency is through the voice of the customer. By enabling customer feedback through ratings and reviews, question and answers and visual content, businesses leave less room for consumers to second guess buying decisions.

mac ratings and reviews pros and cons

This is why some of the largest brands and retailers trust PowerReviews to not only unify customer feedback, but also connect shoppers to one another to tell better and more authentic stories. Having more product details shows true transparency into your catalog and helps push the needle on acquisition.

Want to see how PowerReviews could help you collect and display more authentic content? Request a demo with our helpful team today!

6. Control

Another common customer need is having some control over the product.

This could mean a number of different things. For example, subscription-based brands can offer control over the terms or the length of the subscription. Ecommerce brands can offer different options for shipping, especially during busy holiday seasons.

Also, control could mean customization of the product itself. Check out how bag brand Timbuk2 does this with their fully customizable bags.

timbuk2 customization example

Letting the customer take the wheel on creation is just another way you could meet their needs.

7. Empathy & Friendliness

When it comes to customer service, people need to feel that a brand understands and cares about them. In fact, 51% of people who are faced with a bad customer service experience say they’ll never do business with that company again.

On the other hand, customers in the U.S. are willing to pay 17% more for a company that offers excellent customer service.

The takeaway? You need fantastic customer service if you want to meet your customer’s needs.

Starbucks is a brand that’s known for its great customer service on social channels. They reply to hundreds (if not thousands) of Tweets per day, giving customers the help they need (or just celebrating their love of coffee).

8. Information

Another important customer need has to do with information. Whether you sell physical products like clothes, food and makeup, or if you sell digital products like books or software, people may be unsure of what suits their particular needs.

In this case, they need guidance. They need the right information to make an informed purchase and end up happy.

How can you provide this information?

First, make sure you’re available to answer people’s questions. This connects nicely with our last point, and involves running a smooth and friendly customer service operation. You could also include a live chat on your website to answer people’s questions as they shop.

Next, produce informational content. Try to include knowledge bases for software, instructional blog content or video content. Check out how Wayfair does this with their extremely useful buying guides.

wayfair buyer guides

Wayfair understands the struggles of picking out the best product. And while their catalog can seem endless, the retailer does an amazing job of giving customers detailed options and scenarios where they might need help making a decision.

Additionally, Wayfair has great video content to help the do-it-yourself designers, who might need a little help knowing how to pick out the best rug for their room. Their YouTube channel frequently posts helpful video content about how to select the right furniture for your home or how to pick specific items in every room.

wayfair youtube diy channel

Furnishing a house isn’t always easy, but these guides help shoppers to make informed choices that will meet their needs. You can do the same by producing informative content for your customers.

Now that we’ve talked about some common customer needs, let’s discuss how you identify what your customers want:

How to Identify Customer Needs

Getting information from your customers shouldn’t be daunting or a troublesome task. In fact, there’s generally two ways to learn about what your customers need:

Method 1: Create a Survey

Surveys help you find out more about your customer base and your target audience. They allow you to get into people’s minds and discover the reasons why they buy from you.

If you’re looking to see how your products can meet people’s needs, you get set up something like what Birchbox has done with their Beauty Profile quiz.

birchbox signup example

When you sign up for their service, you go through this quiz so that Birchbox can send you the products that best suit your needs.

However, a more detailed survey will also be necessary to really dive into all the needs of your customers, including needs related to customer service and information.

So, don’t shy away from setting up a customer analysis survey. This can easily be done using survey tools such as SurveyMonkey. Ask questions that help you see the attitude people have toward different aspects of your brand, such as:

  • Individual products
  • Customer service experiences
  • Purchase or shipping
  • Information
  • Guarantees

For example, set a list of positive and negative adjectives and ask customers to select all that they feel apply to either your individual products or your customer service. You could also include statements about your brand and ask people whether or not they agree.

survey report example

Include questions that compare your products or services to that of a competitor, and try to understand why your customers have chosen you over other similar products offered by other brands. Use surveys to understand the usage trends of customers.

For example, is there a time of the year when customers purchase a certain product more? Are customers using your products in the way you were expecting or are they using some products to accomplish other goals?

These surveys will allow you to get into the minds of your customers and see exactly what their needs are.

Method 2: Use Social Media & Review Data to Discover Sentiment

Customers and potential buyers know the power of social media and will not hesitate to use these networks to talk about your brand or retailer. That’s why it’s smart to use a social listening tool, such as Hootsuite, in order to monitor conversations and see what people really think of you.

hootsuite team assignment product

Social listening allows you to monitor online conversations about your products or brand by following certain hashtags or even searching posts by keywords. That way, even when people don’t tag you in their comments, you still see what they’re saying about you.

Collect the data. See what adjectives people use to describe your brand, and the ratio of positive to negative comments. This will help you see where your brand is doing well, but also where you need to put in some extra effort.

Additionally, analyzing your reviews is another way to gain insights into people’s attitude toward your brand. That’s why PowerReviews offers product insights through review analysis.

Image describing the rating sentiment of Blackberry Syrup

Our powerful Intelligence Engine breaks down sentiment by individual products, not your entire catalog, so you get actionable insights right away. This takes all the reviews a product has and analyzes the adjectives used to describe certain parts of the product.

You make more informed decisions based on what your customers are telling you through review content. This helps you address your customer needs more effectively and accurately.

Develop a Customer-First Culture

We’ve discussed eight common customer needs, as well as two different methods to identify them. However, your work doesn’t stop here.

Once you learn how to identify your customer needs, you need to apply those insights to your business. Your brand can only grow if you meet your customer’s needs in all areas, from the design and functionality of your products to the way you handle complaints to your guarantees and more!

When you’ve analyzed the survey results, the social chatter and review content, it’s time to put those ideas into action. It’s your job to develop a culture that is based on pleasing customers.

After all, happy customers are the key to brand success.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

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