How do you really attract users to your online store?
Being honest about your product or service is not enough. Everyone is doing that. You're nothin' special.
So must you lie? Spew incredible-but-impossible promises? Of course not.
Plain old honesty scores you good karma points, but to really move the dial on your online store's success, you need to deliver the truth attractively. Sexily. In a way, that resonates.
And while many successful online businesses outsource their sexy truth-speaking (eCommerce copywriting) to save money and hire the best talent, some might just be looking for a good place to start.
So at Embarque, we're going to cover everything you need to know about eCommerce copywriting, including different copywriting frameworks you can apply, eCommerce copywriting examples that work, and a step-by-step guide on how to win big through an effective eCommerce copywriting strategy.
Ready? Let's get started.
What is eCommerce copywriting?
eCommerce copywriting is the art of using words to sell online in a way that compels people to convert—usually meaning a purchase, but can also be like a sign-up or click.
Copywriters create the informative product descriptions you read, the helpful FAQs, the friendly placeholders for those "coming soon" pages, the heartfelt emails in your inbox, and of course, the website headers that inspire visits—and purchases.
If you want to sell more products on your site, then good eCommerce copywriting is your friend.
eCommerce copywriting vs. content writing: what's the difference?
A blog post on how to change your brake pads? eCommerce content writing.
An ad and product description of that same brake pad upgrade? eCommerce copywriting.
See the difference? One is to inform and attract traffic. The other is to sell.
If content writing targets search engines, eCommerce copywriting targets humans. It's a more emotional, persuasive form of writing designed to convince users to make a purchase (or another form of action).
- eCommerce copywriters must understand the problem and solution inside-out, know the audience and their psychology, and have excellent communication skills and SEO knowledge to sell something.
- eCommerce content writers must research and create digestible essays on informational topics, weave data into statements, and write overall content with breadth, depth, and SEO best practices.
Why is eCommerce copywriting so important?
Think about this for a moment: When was the last time you bought something online without reading any of the product descriptions?
Yeah, me neither.
And when you are ready to make that purchase, what holds your attention longer—a plain image of the product or a well-written sales copy of what you can do with it?
Copywriting is the power behind online sales. If you've ever wondered why some brands outsell others in search results, it comes down to what they're saying about themselves—and how well they're saying it.
- Increase conversions with your best selling points. 80% of users skim content, while the remaining 20% actually read. Great copywriters can communicate and strategically position the best selling points to be easily skimmed.
- Most online visitors nowadays have shorter attention spans than goldfish (8 seconds vs 9 seconds). Strong copywriting quickly captivates readers, successfully nurtures their attention, and keeps a consistent brand voice across all channels, which can yield a 33% increase in revenue.
- Poor grammar on websites scares 59% of users away. Hiring a professional eCommerce copywriter ensures that your English is flawless in all corners. It's the bare minimum for an authentic brand, come on now.
All in all, strong eCommerce copywriting delivers a better user experience through clear and effective communication. It convinces readers to ride—and stick—with you to the end. And you need it to build an authentic brand that resonates.
Best eCommerce copywriting formulas to use anywhere
With millions of online brands spread across so many industries, everyone has their own approach to selling a product or service.
But whether you're creating ad copy, landing pages, or blog posts (you should be doing all three), eCommerce copywriting has some tried-and-true formulas to boost sales for any brand.
1. AIDCA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction, Action)
If you're looking for a conversion copywriting strategy that works, AIDCA is a contemporary spin on the classic AIDA copywriting strategy. It keeps your product front and center with a clear call to action.
- Attention: You start by grabbing attention with something sensational, as you would with AIDA.
- Interest: Then you pique their interest with statistics, stories, and other proof points.
- Desire: You then show how the product or service can solve their specific problems and improve their lives to bring out and foster a passion for your product or service.
- Conviction: Product conviction helps create your credibility. Prove that your product is for them through customer testimonials, ratings/reviews, money-back guarantees, and even case studies if they apply.
- Action: And finally, you close the deal by asking for action, which can mean signing up to a webinar, joining an email list, or of course, purchasing something.
At Embarque for instance, we proactively demonstrate the power and effectiveness of search-engine-optimized blogs (one of our services) for online businesses by showing people our client MentorCruise's 800% revenue growth through SEO.
2. AICPBSAWN (Attention, Interest, Credibility, Proof, Benefits, Scarcity, Action, Warn, Now)
If there was a battle of the longest acronyms, AICPBSAWN takes the trophy. Like AIDCA, there are similar steps at play for this one, with some twists that make it a highly effective and very specific framework.
Let's go through the alphabet soup:
- Attention – Stand out from the noise by presenting your most valuable and unique selling points.
- Interest – Keep the attention with a story, mind-boggling statistic, or other proof points.
- Credibility – Show you're the real deal with testimonials and endorsements.
- Proof – Prove what you say is true—whether it's validating a problem through statistics or offering case studies to demonstrate the fulfillment of your service promise.
- Benefits – List all the advantages of your product. Bullet points are fine. Remember that a benefit is what something does, while a feature is what something is. A winter jacket's features may include a water-repellent cloth and an insulated body. But the benefit is staying dry and warm—what people care more about.
- Scarcity – Beautiful things don't last forever. Like your offer. Entice users with an irresistible, limited-time deal that encourages them to sign up/purchase asap.
- Action – Be very clear about what you want them to do.
- Warn – Remind them of the great value of your offer and what they're missing out on if they skip it.
- Now - Get them to act now. Not when they get home. Not tomorrow. Now.
3. LIDA (List, Imagine, Debate, Act)
LIDA is a four-step process for web copy, similar to AIDA and AIDCA. But instead of focusing on the consumer's needs, it focuses more closely on the product itself, showing how something works as opposed to what it does.
- List – List all your product's features and functions. Be sure to include tangible, relevant details that show how it can improve their life.
- Imagine – Ask your customers to imagine a lifestyle where they use your product. How would things be different? What will it allow them to do? Be sure to create a clear picture here so they have something tangible in mind.
- Debate – They've been imagining the benefits of your product. Now, introduce the reasons that it may not be for them. Make sure to emphasize their freedom of choice here.
- Act – Finally, ask for action by directing the consumer towards opting in/purchase or whatever you'd like them to do next, and this should be a very clear call to action at the end of your copy.
4. DIPA (Discover, Identify, Present, Action)
DIPA really goes through the customer journey. What do you do when you have a problem in your life that can be solved with a product?
Think about it: you discover the problem, look for and identify a solution, research solution providers, and take a pick based on your needs and preferences.
A brand that follows DIPA in its content marketing strategy caters to just that:
- Discover – Lead them through their decision-making process by guiding them towards discovering the problem and what your product can do for them.
- Identify – List all the benefits of your product or service. They should be able to clearly identify how it will make their life easier.
- Present – Explain why you're the perfect brand to fulfill that need. What makes you better than your competitors?
- Action – Ask them to sign up/purchase now! Be sure to include all the relevant details they'll want to know before deciding.
5. PAS (Problem, Agitate, Solution)
PAS is a simple but highly effective copywriting framework on social media sites.
- Problem – Lead the reader to identify their pain points by introducing them to the problem they didn't even realize was real but now can't ignore.
- Agitate – Build up the problem further by making it seem fatal if not addressed.
- Solution – Present your product and show how it can solve their problem.
There's no "magic" formula to writing eCommerce copy. And choosing a framework doesn't mean you must include every step—don't hesitate to leave something out if it doesn't fit your campaign or brand identity.
All in all, you want them to know what's in it for them, why they should buy from you (not your competitor), and exactly how to purchase (whether online or offline).
How to approach eCommerce SEO copywriting: A step-by-step
So now that you have some good copywriting formulas up your sleeve, now it's time to discuss how search visibility (on Google) plays into your copywriting.
What keywords should you use? How do you format your web pages for the best user experience and SEO? How do you make those winning tweaks?
SEO copywriting is a very important intersection for eCommerce businesses. A successful eCommerce store must be able to optimize its site for SEO success while enticing users with compelling copy that converts.
Here's how to go about that process.
Step 1: Competition Analysis
The fastest and most effective way to set yourself on the right path for SEO is by analyzing top-ranking competitors in your space. You can get inspiration from their site architecture and content to identify keyword niches your website can fit in.
For instance, your eCommerce store must have product listings, and you’ll want them optimized for commercial intent queries. So let’s use Oja, an exciting UK-based eCommerce startup building London’s first online cultural supermarket, as a demonstration for keyword competition research.
For your eCommerce store, you’ll want to define 5-10 competitors to study. You can either brainstorm from personal knowledge or use Google search.
In the UK, the major supermarkets competing against Oja are Asda, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Mark’s, and Spencer’s. You could’ve also passed by this article on the best online food shopping markets from a quick search for major UK supermarkets.
Then using Ahrefs’s competing domains feature, you can punch one of those sites in and generate more existing domains that are targeting the same queries you want to rank for. These are the competing domains we found when we inputted Oja’s competitor “asda.com”:
Step 2: SEO keyword research
SEO keywords are search terms you want to rank for. There are two main types of keywords when it comes to SEO copywriting:
- Head terms: High-volume primary keyword categories with the most competition. You're going to want one head term for each page you create. E.g. "Running Shoes."
- Long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific and less competitive, making them easier to rank for. You should use these on your web pages to make them more targeted to the user. E.g., "Best women's running shoes under 100."
Most small businesses’ SEO efforts should be trying to rank for long tai keywords since it's impractical to compete for a head term against industry giants on the search results page.
A product listing Oja might have is plantain, this is a query they’ll want to optimize to rank high on the search results page for maximum traffic.
On Ahrefs, some simple best practices to find the best keyword candidates are setting your query parameters to below 20 KD (low-ranking difficulty), above 150 monthly search volume (still popular enough), and a word count of 3 or above—which qualifies as a “long-tail” keyword.
Here, you can see all the queries containing “Plantain” that Oja’s competitors are ranking for. So looking at this information, Oja’s content team can start forming a plan to optimize their website for this query, like by generating relevant blog posts and localized landing pages.
You can repeat this process for all your other product listings and develop product categories for better organization and intuitive site structure. More on keyword grouping and mapping in the next section:
Step 3: Keyword mapping
After you have your comprehensive keyword list, it's time to group and assign them to specific pages on your website based on their subject and intent.
Keyword mapping neatly organizes your site architecture, makes internal linking easier and more effective, allows you to make further on-page SEO optimizations (anchor text, headers, formatting), and avoids duplicate content since you can see which pieces already exist for a keyword and instead optimize them further.
How to create your keyword mapping document
A keyword mapping document is usually spreadsheet-based, where every row is a specific web page, and each column is an on-page SEO process.
First, create a clear list of all the pages your site has—all the blog posts, your contact page, the whole shebang using a free tool like the Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool.
Your site is crawled when you enter your URL. After the crawl, you need to filter results to see HTML files and discard images and CSS files to get the data you need for a keyword map. Use the top left corner to filter results.
As a next step, export the data to a CSV or Excel file so you can open it on your desktop and copy/paste the first column (without the heading) into the first column of the Keyword URL Map sheet.
After that, you’ll want to start with the following columns in the Keyword Mapping sheet:
- Type of the page the URL is (landing page, blog post, product listing, etc.).
- # of Searches
By using Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, you can also pull the numbers for search volume and KD scores. All this will give you a clear starting point and help prioritize your content pages.
Now you can ask:
- Which keywords do I want to rank for?
- Could it be assigned to an existing page? You can start with the main pages and continue to blog pages.
If the desired keyword doesn’t match a page, you can create a new row and identify it as a new page coming later.
Once you have your matched keywords, filling out the keyword map is straightforward. Here’s what the template can look like:
We have a simple ready-made keyword URL map that you can download to get started.
Step 4: Creating page outlines and templates
After all the SEO blueprinting, you have one more blueprint to go: and that's creating a rough template for your web pages. This will save you a lot of time and back-and-forth with your designers and copywriters.
At Embarque, we usually advise our clients to create outline templates with filled-out details (listed below). This makes the eCommerce copywriting process significantly more effective.
- Specs/product details
- Delivery info
- Misc Info
We're going to be diving deeper into creating each area of your eCommerce site with example templates in the next section.
Step 5: Refinement and conversion optimization
After you've created a page template and let it run, you want to ensure it's effective and won't lose people before they even put anything into their shopping cart.
This is where CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) or A/B testing comes into play.
CRO is the process of creating variations on your eCommerce site design with different messaging, layouts, tools, and navigation to see which performs best.
Several CRO & A/B testing tools are available, like Google Optimize or Visual Website Optimizer. Not only do these help you optimize existing eCommerce store pages, but they can also help you design new ones based on what is converting the most for your users.
For instance, you might find that phone conversions are doing much better than tablets. Perhaps your page header text should be altered depending on device type to reflect this.
Or maybe you see your checkout conversion dropping because customers can't find the shipping and return policy quickly enough. For example, you could make a special shipping & returns "bundle" product rule for people who add a certain product to their basket.
Creating each area of your eCommerce site with great copywriting (+ examples)
Now that we have established how to approach SEO copywriting and build a keyword strategy, let's cover the key areas on your eCommerce website that need strong copywriting skills—and study leading examples.
As you go through these examples, think back to the copywriting frameworks we talked about and see which elements are being actively used for conversions. You’ll see that many brands, perhaps like you, won’t follow the frameworks to the teeth.
Your homepage is the default hub for all your visitors. So like the living room of your home, you need to ensure that it makes a good impression for guests coming over. You can't afford to be vague (disengaging the reader) or long-winded (confusing them).
Focus on your unique selling proposition and the benefits your product provides. Look for different ways to storytell your product or service's main incentives and highlight real reasons customers recommend it (social proof like reviews and ratings). 66% of potential buyers agree that they'd be convinced to purchase a product because of its positive reviews.
Taking a look at Embarque, you'll see a concise header communicating the best value proposition right off the bat. We’re wasting no one’s time and inspiring action with an action word “scale” coupled with a relatable goal of “growth.”
There's also a good amount of social proof like current clients, sample pieces, and case studies throughout the homepage, reassuring prospects that we know what we're doing—and it's working.
As users scroll, they learn about all our services and start gauging the value in their minds. We also included an FAQs section for the visitors’ natural curiosity, so they’re never uninformed or confused before reaching the pricing section at the very bottom.
All-in-all, we thought: how do we provide the most important information about our business, assure the reader that we're worth it, without making them navigate too much on the website (easy user experience), which can feel like a chore?
Product listing page—Amazon & ZARA
Conversion rates are 3x higher on product listing pages vs. category or homepages, which is why it's important to use them as a testing ground for eCommerce copywriting.
This is a safe place to elaborate on your specific products and their neat features. It's a best practice to remain user-centric, so instead of focusing on features themselves, you can highlight what users can do with them.
Following Amazon's footsteps, the company making billions of sales a year, here's what the product listing might look like:
Review rating | Link to reviews | Link to answered questions
Delivery by date if you order within the next X hours
- Feature #1 and the benefit it delivers
- Feature #2 and the benefit it delivers
- Feature #3 and the benefit it delivers
- Feature #4 and the benefit it delivers
- Feature #5 and the benefit it delivers
Two product images and one product video
Frequently bought together:
Two other products that are bought together or complementary products
Add to Cart
Add to List
But of course, this isn't a universal rule, and it depends on your target market.
Take Zara's product listing page for example. It's clear that they're pitching to the minimalist fashionista who may not care as much about functionality, but rather the look and feel. Accordingly, the product copywriting is short and to-the-point, making it easier to quickly learn about each product and navigate through everything.
Notice that they weren't shy to discuss their material sourcing and care because their top-selling points, alongside minimalist fashion, are environmentally friendly and organic producing.
Product category page—Eton
On an eCommerce product category page, you'll have the opportunity to drill more into users' preferences. So on top of telling them about your products, offer them tips on how they can use them.
This way, you're catering to their needs and validating that what you're offering is exactly what they need without pushing too hard.
You'll notice that Eton, like many sites practicing SEO, namedrops relevant keywords that users might be looking for on the page. They keep it short and simple but cleverly remind their customers what they're shopping for—timeless business casual dress shirts.
Category pages are usually nothing too crazy. In fact, many sites just list their category names in the header and leave it at that. But if you want to add a personalized touch to the user experience and boost your SEO potential significantly, then words to the page may help propel it to the first page of Google Search, which can be potentially lucrative for your business.
Dedicated FAQ pages or sections on your eCommerce site help answer your customers' most pressing questions, and it can boost your online store's web ranking on the search engine results page.
You can determine your questions by researching common long-tail queries in your niche. If you have a lot of FAQs, categorize them under common themes like "shipping and returns," "security," "payments," and "products." With a strong eCommerce copywriter, you can ensure the answers on your online store are always relevant and to the point.
You may also find opportunities to link your FAQs elsewhere on your site where an individual may have a specific question. Remember that it's best to include a search bar too, so users don't have to go hunting for answers.
Colourpop has its own illustrations labeling each FAQ section. And as you can see at the top, they have a search bar for any specific queries.
An About Us page helps boost your site's credibility and allows users to learn more about you before purchasing. Good copywriting on this page will reinforce your brand with a story and convince users to join your collective over others.
Generally, the best about pages include the following elements (in this order):
- Setting the stage: Explain the industry issue that prompted you to act and share your company's history.
- Describing the problem-solving approach: how you tackled the issue and the challenges you encountered.
- Introducing the solution: Talk about how your company achieves its goals, uniquely addresses the pain points, and introduce your team members.
- Sharing the vision: Outline your future objectives or describe your goals and missions.
What better example than the eCommerce titan themselves? Shopify knows how to make an introduction by displaying its global impact. And because their team is obviously ginormous, they know better than to link every profile. Instead, they offer a video speaking more on their employees and community.
Let Shopify be a lesson that your About section doesn't always have to be just text. Your copywriter can help you develop a heartfelt script to couple with a video to show users what you're all about.
Welcome to one of the most important sections on an eCommerce site for SEO other than your product and category listing pages. Your blog section can serve users across the sales funnel—from informative pieces for cold audiences who want to learn, to say, a product listicle for warm leads ready to buy.
A search-engine-optimized blog garners trust between your audience, helps your website rank for more queries, and can get you 97% more backlinks. It's incredibly important that this part of your eCommerce website is nurtured with excellent research and copywriting.
If you own and operate an eCommerce store, you've probably heard of Oberlo. It's a platform where entrepreneurs can find millions of products to sell online. So, do they have any business talking about Instagram stories to build audiences (as seen in the screenshot)?
100% yes. Because they know their target market not only needs good products to sell but effective digital marketing strategies to grow their business to new heights. And that's exactly what they're catering to.
Oberlo's informative, data-backed, and digestible blog posts come from eCommerce experts with strong copy and content writing skills. And their consistent blog SEO efforts have helped position them as industry authorities for online business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide.
Pro tips for more conversions with your eCommerce copywriting: 3 don't-dos & 3 to-dos
Alright, we've given you enough definitions, guidelines, templates, and examples. To end this complete eCommerce copywriting guide with a bang, we're leaving you with the best pro tips for making your content sales-ready.
3 things to avoid:
- Overuse of adjectives (flower, but don't clutter—you dilute a message's impact, slow down readers, and come off as try-hard)
- Adding fluff (on top of excessive adjectives, don't clog your headers and body with unnecessary information and long-winded sentences)
- Too much focus on the product (even if you use ZARA example, you'll notice that they aren't overly expressive about their product—they kept it short and simple)
Now for the 3 winning tips:
- Don't say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (avoid wordy sentences & use simple words). I know, I know. You want to describe your product as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (extraordinary). We do too. But user experience research shows that most people prefer plain, simple language when surfing the internet.
- Nike Embarque: Just do it (use more action words). If you want online shoppers to take action, include action words in your copy to encourage visitors to do something on your page—like "Buy Now."
- Let them eat words in peaces (write digestible content). Alongside simple language, write in short paragraphs, dot jots (like for product pages), bold text, and implement headers to make your content easily skimmable. Otherwise, users will get bored or irritated trying to scan your long paragraphs for important information.
The eCommerce owner's copywriting checklist
- Do I need an eCommerce Copywriter or Content writer?
- eCommerce copywriting is articulating words to attract, connect, and/or acquire search traffic to sell.
- eCommerce content writing is creating informative content (like for your blog) for more web traffic to convert people into newsletters.
- Why am I hiring an eCommerce copywriter? Your reasons can help steer your copywriter in the right direction.
- To increase conversions
- Attract more attention and traffic
- Fix grammar and perfect (or “professionalize”) website content
- Best copywriting formulas to use
- SEO Copywriting step-by-step
- Analyze competitors for their site structure, content, and keywords
- Research specific (preferably long-tail) keywords your competitors are ranking for based on your product listings and web pages
- Do keyword mapping (group and assign keywords to certain pages)
- Create a page outline or follow a template
- Refine and conversion optimize
- Pages on your eCommerce website that need copywriting
- Product listing page
- Product category page
- Don’t overuse adjectives 🚫
- Don’t add fluff 🚫
- Don’t be too product-centric 🚫
- Do use simple language ✅
- Do use more action words ✅
- Do write digestible content ✅
Get killer copy written for your eCommerce store by an Embarque Copywriter.
Phew! You made it. This blog post is now over, and hopefully, you feel more confident about the eCommerce copywriting process for your brand's website.
You should have a solid grasp of what to expect from a freelance copywriter or other types of writers. And you're familiar with how much work goes into writing the perfect blog post with the correct tone of voice.
Now, you're ready to come back here and bookmark this article for future reference. And if you're in the market for high-converting SEO copywriting services aligned with your eCommerce goals, then schedule a free consultation with Embarque today.
We'll tell you how much your website sucks and what we can do together to make it neat, powerful, and conversion-optimized.