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Stephen Logan

Poor Product Descriptions Deterring Online Consumers

9th Aug 2010 SEO 2 minutes to read

Figures published today show that despite growth in online sales in the UK, consumers are still being deterred from buying due to basic issues.

According to Econsultancy, Britons are now spending an average of £71 a month online. Good news for etailers, particularly as growth continues to gather momentum. However, within the positives lay a few causes for concern.

When it comes to the issues that deter consumers from purchasing at a specific site, there are a few surprises. Whilst you might expect security to be a clear favourite, only 26% actually cited this as their chief concern. Instead, at the top of the list of webpage woe were product descriptions and pictures, with 42% of respondents selecting these as their prime concerns.

Why Unique Product Descriptions are a Worthwhile Investment

Now that probably shouldn’t be a major surprise. After all, we are all influenced (positively or negatively) by immediate impressions – page images – and convinced by language – product descriptions. The concerning thing though is that people are clearly still taking this lightly. Websites are investing in all sorts of marketing and design without actually taking consumer concerns to heart.

But with 42% of people saying that a poor product description would prevent them from buying, can you really afford to be overlooking this vital last line?

A product description isn’t just there to fill a page. It shouldn’t be viewed as a mere obligation. It is in fact an opportunity.

When you market your website, you’re trying to bring in targeted traffic. The last thing that you then want is for consumers to come through your virtual store entrance before quickly making a beeline for the nearest exit. They’re on your site, now sell to them.

A product description should be unique and it should certainly be emotive. You are trying to provoke a reaction, based on a desire to buy and a need for further information. If your copy is strewn with errors, is unimaginative or just an impenetrable block of words, people can be deterred.

Improving Search Engine Performance and User Satisfaction

Making sure that your descriptions are original will pay dividends though, particularly when considering the second benefit of content – search engine rankings. With 35% suggesting that they chose where to shop on the basis of their strong search engine rankings, investing in a little optimisation can go a long way.

Of the other factors that deter visitors from becoming customers were poor navigation (32%), no contact details (19%) and poor service following previous purchases (18%). On site issues like navigation should be a primary concern for any serious etailer. Like content, it can have the dual-benefit of improving search engine rankings; however, ensuring that users can get from page to page easily and in a linear fashion should be elemental.

Anyway, plenty of food for thought there. For a full overview of the figures visit the Econsultancy article entitled Brits spend £71 a month online.

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