Do you want to know how to write product descriptions for clothing?
Fashion retail is a very visual business. Whether it is in-store or online, the first thing that attracts us to an item of clothing is not what it does or how it works – it’s what it looks like. Colour, pattern, design, and style are the primary differentiating factors that influence our decision to buy.
Understandably, apparel and footwear retailers like to pack their eCommerce sites with big, bold, beautiful imagery to showcase their products. Their catalogue pages cannot be entirely text-free, of course – the demands of search alone make it necessary to list item names, brief descriptions, colour, and size.
But beyond these functional descriptions, what else is there to say about an item of clothing?
How Do You Write a Good Product Description?
Many online fashion retailers fall into the trap of underestimating the value of product descriptions. Across all retail categories, it is thought that as many as one in five purchase failures may be caused by poor product information.
Quality images of your products are what will hook customers in initially. And no items of clothing there isn’t a need to write page-long descriptions explaining what the product does and what benefits it offers to the customer, as might be the case with some sort of complex gadget.
But whether you are selling designer dresses or a pair of socks, your product description is your opportunity to add to what the customer can see in the pictures, exercising your powers of persuasion to convince them that they really want to buy.
How to Write a Product Description for Clothing
A good product description for clothing should:
- Answer any questions a would-be customer might have about the product
- Aim to inspire the reader to buy
- Help the customer to imagine themselves wearing that item (after all, they can’t try it on online)
- Engage your audience with good story telling and/or additional information that reveals something of your brand values and identity.
So how do you tick all of these boxes in a short, snappy product description?
Write Product Descriptions for Your Ideal Customer
The relationship between tone and style of writing and intended audience is a subtle one to unpick. But it can be summarised by saying that certain people are likely to engage better with a certain style or tone of writing than others. The factors that influence this are things like age, location, gender, interests, cultural background, education and income level, values, worldviews and so on.
Write your clothing product descriptions with a clear idea of who your ‘ideal customer’ is. If you don’t narrow your audience down to a specific persona and try to write for everyone, you risk writing bland descriptions that engage no one.
If you don’t understand your ideal customer well enough, you risk writing descriptions in a tone and style that put off your most valuable demographic.
Speak to the Buyer Directly
As well as writing for your ideal customer, it is important to speak directly to them as well.
A good tip is to try to write as you might imagine speaking to a customer in store – in an approachable, friendly yet respectful conversational tone, with your main objective being to help them.
When writing product descriptions for clothing, don’t be afraid to be explicit about who you are writing the description for. Phrases like “this versatile jacket is perfect for…” really helps you to hook in your target buyer for that item. That can be followed up with style advice, just as you would offer in-store – “pair this jacket with,” “for a fresh new look, why not…” and so on.
And finally, avoid industry jargon. A key thing about writing for and to your ideal customer is to stick to their language, not the terminology you might use as an industry insider.
Answer Your Buyer’s Questions
Another key element of speaking to your model customer is anticipating the kind of questions they might have and using your product description to answer them.
A good rule of thumb is to look at your clothing and try to think of things a visitor may not be able to tell easily from looking at a photo. For example, how many internal pockets does that jacket have? Are those trousers zip-up or button-up? Without getting drawn into an extensive list of FAQs (frequently asked questions), aim to add key little details like these to complement the images.
Focus on the Benefits
When thinking about how to write product descriptions for clothing, it’s important to remember that you’re trying to sell the item.
Avoid creating a bland list of product features. Explain what the customer will get out of buying the product as well. This isn’t always straightforward with clothing product descriptions, as it’s less obvious what the ‘unique selling point’ of one T-shirt or pair of jeans is compared to another. Your job is to capture the advantages of one product over the rest.
So if you’re targeting people who are looking for comfort and convenience from their clothes, emphasise how warm and cosy that jumper is. Or if your audience is mainly interested in stylish dresswear, go to town on how complementary the cut is. Buying motivations might also cover factors such as the use of organic or ethically sourced materials, how and where the garment was made and so on, durability, value and so on.
Don’t Over-Hype the Value of Clothing
Shopify has a great term for over-use of words like excellent, superior and world-class. It calls them ‘yeah, yeah’ phrases, because when people read them in a product description, they think “yeah, yeah – but where’s the proof?”
Authenticity is important. When thinking about how to writing a product description for clothing, aim to demonstrate excellence. Don’t just claim it. Once you have presented your case, the reader can make up their own mind.
Get Creative With Product Descriptions
If you want to avoid lapsing into a string of ‘yeah, yeah’ superlatives, you are going to have to get creative with how you write clothing product descriptions. But there is another important reason why the way you use language matters.
When writing product descriptions for clothing, the golden rule is to help your potential customers imagine what it would be like to wear the item.
Digital customers do not have that direct experience with clothing that helps them make buying decisions in store. They cannot touch items, try them on or hold them against other products to see if they go together. As far as possible, you should aim to plug that gap with the way you word your product descriptions.
Sensory language helps, adding detail that customers don’t get from the image alone. Describe the feel of the fabric – words like lush, luxurious, silky, gossamer and so on help to fuel readers’ imaginations. Depending on the type of product, you might also want to focus on qualities like warmth, durability, type of fit, waterproofing etc.
Use the Product Description to Tell a Story
Weaving stories about your products and brand into your product descriptions is a great way to soften the focus on selling. Yes, as a retailer your main aim is to encourage customers to buy, but as noted above, these days consumers are more likely to be put off by a heavy-handed sales-focused approach. They want to know about the brand, they want to know the background and provenance of the products they buy, they want to know who your company is beyond the transaction.
Shopify has an interesting way of describing the power of narrative in product descriptions. It says stories “cut through the rational barriers” that the savvy modern consumer puts up to resist the marketing trickery they expect brands to throw at them.
Stories about how and where your garments are made, or how you source your materials, give you opportunities to demonstrate the unique background to your products or your company’s ethical credentials. Stories about the designer personalise otherwise anonymous items and add a sense of exclusivity. All in all, without turning your product pages into mini-novellas, little snippets of narrative like this help to build engagement and carry their own persuasive power.
Stay True to Your Brand Voice
When thinking about how to write product descriptions for clothing, pitching to your key target audience should be top of mind. It is also important to make sure your descriptions reflect your wider brand identity.
The two things, brand voice and speaking to your ideal customer persona, are two sides of the same coin. Brands are created to appeal to certain demographics. But sometimes there are choices to be made. For example, if you sell tailored suits and have a reputation for largely appealing to a middle aged, professional clientele, you might also feel you have an opportunity to market your tuxedos and dress jackets to a younger crowd looking for smart party wear.
Do you switch the tone of some of your fashion product descriptions to try to come across as younger, more light-hearted and fun? Inconsistencies in style and tone across the same site could end up confusing visitors, and making them wonder if your brand is really ‘for them’. If you want to appeal to different audiences, the safest option is to set up parallel sales channels with different branding to reflect contrasting target customers.
Shout About Your Eco-Friendly Credentials
Most fashion retailers allow products to be filtered by category, size, and brand. But another huge area for growth in clothing product descriptions is the sustainability or eco-friendliness of your clothes.
Brands like Gucci and Stella McCartney are developing new eco-friendly, mushroom based ‘leather’. And stores like FarFetch increasingly highlight items that are sustainably produced.Metadata is great for Google, and it means that buyers can shop with a clear conscience. So adding these terms makes sense. Keywords like vegan, vegetarian, faux leather, recycled, or upcycled are all essential if you want to boost your products’ eco-friendly credentials.
Final Thoughts on Writing Product Descriptions for Clothing
Unique, compelling product descriptions are essential for any online store. And when thinking about how to write product descriptions for clothing, it’s more important than ever to put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Describe the details, but also the benefits, and make sure sizing and eco-friendly credentials are clear.