How "Different" Is E-Commerce Copy?

3 replies
I just took a client who does e-commerce. Specifically, she has an Amazon business. I've never done e-commerce copy before; I usually do emails, long form copy, etc, but I've been getting ideas from the J Peterman online store and such for this gig.

I got to work interviewing her and finding out about her business and her designer, asking really in-depth questions to try to dig for selling points.

She just called me and told me she was concerned I was going to try to do too much with the copy and wouldn't be talking about the market's needs because of the impression she got from the interview.

I assured her the copy would be customer-centric. But she told me that she didn't want all those details in the copy. She said people on Amazon are ready to buy. It needs to just be "Good, succinct copy."

And she gave me this listing as an example of the type of copy she wanted doneof copy she wanted done .

Now I'm not going to be writing an 8-page sales letter in the Amazon description, but I definitely can do much better than the example above.

What are your opinions on Amazon product descriptions? Should it be "Succinct," or can I take a few paragraphs in the product description to heighten emotions, paint a picture, etc?

Either way, this client may not want that. At best I might be able to get her to split test something.

What would you do?
#copy #ecommerce
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Based on your example and comments, the client wants benefit copy. You want story-based copy.

    I'd give her what she wants and suggest that she test story-based copy for a product or two.

    I'd be surprised if the story-based copy wins on Amazon, though. The Peterman shtick is a fairly unique situation.

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  • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
    Story-based copy works best when it is part of a larger narrative of the ecommerce site. The stories and appeals weave the product in with the "big picture" of the brand story and personality. It doesn't sound like she has that kind of site.

    One thing you might consider is checking that she is targeting the right audience in her preselling funnel.

    For example, here is a case of an outdoor equipment ecommerce company who thought their core audience was backpacking enthusiasts, but research showed it was really regular folks who want cool gear for their camping trips, and status-y titanium mugs to walk around with in the office like they just got back from climbing Kilimanjaro.

    Let's say she is selling kitchen gadgets. Is she going after middle-middle class stay-at-home moms that need functional stuff at a reasonable price, or upscale couples who want stylish pots, pans and appliances where price is no object?

    My experience is many ecommerce site owners aren't sure of their core audience, and their content and copy reflects it.
    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author drewcer
    Thanks! This clears a lot up. I'm just so used to writing long form copy and weaving in ideas and hooks and such that the example she sent looked a little weak to me.

    Anyone have tips on writing headlines for Amazon? My client told me she would probably be editing the headline I write to include keywords.

    What's really more important? Having tons of keywords so it shows up in Amazon's search results or crafting a headline with a hook that makes people want to read on? I'm wondering how much time I should spend on this if she's going to change the whole thing to includes the keywords she wants.

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