What does great e-commerce copywriting look like?
There is no one way to write copy for your e-commerce store. It depends on a whole load of factors (your brand image, the products you sell, etc).
But there are stores that get their copy bang on the money – and you can use these as inspiration for your own business.
Here are 10 stores I’ve come across that all do a fine job of their e-commerce copy.
Let’s take a look at what they do right.
1. Mr Porter
Do you know what first catches my eye when I land on the Mr Porter website? This:
Now that’s the sort of welcome I like to receive when I’m in the mood to shop.
(The only minor criticism I might be inclined to make is that it could stand out just a bit more by making it a different colour, but that’s nitpicking.)
It’s an instant confidence generator. You now know that whatever you buy, you won’t be stuck with it if something’s not right with your order. And with marketplaces like Amazon making the returns process so easy, independent e-commerce stores really need to make this kind of promise to their customers if they want to compete.
The site itself is stylish and easy to navigate. But beyond that, it’s the copy that really gets me excited. Let’s look at a product.
The Givenchy Logo-Print Rubber Slides is an example of product copy done right:
It’s easy to claim that there is not much to say about a pair of slides apart from the materials and appearance. But Mr Porter injects some creativity into the description to bring it to life.
By stating that ‘There are so many rules when it comes to slides’ but that the only one that ‘counts’ is that ‘your feet are properly groomed’, it’s making a statement. This is for men who don’t care about the rules; they just want to look good.
Notice how it opens with a focus on usage and then goes into the more basic (but essential) details about the materials. It would be easy to go straight into the details, but the initial sentences speak directly to the shopper and say: we get what you’re about.
The result is a description that is short, sweet and personalised. It provides all the essential information without overdoing it.
I also like how the description comes under the title of ‘Editors’ Notes’. It’s a small touch, but it gives the impression that someone at Mr Porter’s has actually tried these on and come up with their own thoughts rather than made something up based on the manufacturer’s descriptions.
Key takeaway from Mr Porter:
Focus on the target customer when writing product descriptions. Constantly keep in mind: who is going to buy this? Then write for them.
To truly speak to your target customer, you need to have a buyer persona. Check out this superb guide to creating buyer personas from Single Grain.
I tried Graze years ago when they first launched. Despite being a while ago, I remember how the copy stood out to me at the time, so I returned to take a look at their website. I was impressed.
The cookie message at the top of the page sets the tone:
Beyond that, I love the look of the site. The bright and bold colours along with the colourful photos and sketches emit warmth and a friendly feeling that instantly makes a connection.
The language reflects that. Like this:
‘We’re on a never-ending hunt for healthier, juicier, crunchier, tastier, fresher, bigger, better!’
They also do something I often do, which is to not use capitals in the sub-headings. Like this:
It implies that they don’t take themselves too seriously. They can break a few rules (grammar rules, in this case) and not let it bother them. They are more focused on fun and giving you what you want. It almost gives it an innocent look that you feel you can trust more.
And then there is the little play on words that add personality. Subheadings like ‘flavours with benefits’ and ‘tailored to your tastes’ imply that thought has gone into the copy at every level.
And often it’s the simple fact of showing that you have thought about your copy, that the little details matter, that increases trust.
You know how you feel when you land on an e-commerce site and it’s full of misspelled words and grammatical errors. You instantly ask yourself whether you are comfortable handing your money over to these people.
The small details really do matter.
As you can imagine, the product copy is spot on too. Just look at the intro paragraph for ‘choc chip and raisin morning oat minis’:
Each product then has a few sections of copy underneath that get straight to the point, all of it personalised to make it sound like one health enthusiast talking to another, which is only enhanced by pictures throughout the site of the ‘taste experts’.
This is a store that is absolutely clear about who its target audience is and how to speak to them. The result is a site that makes you want to click ‘add to basket’ and try out the goodness for yourself.
Key takeaway from Graze:
Take a friendly tone. You always hear about how marketing emails should be written as though from one person to another, so use the same principle in your copy. Speak directly to your customers as though you were one friend writing to another.
Conversational copy is always a good way to engage your customers. Read this guide at Copywrite Matters for a good overview.
Daneson sells flavoured toothpicks (among other things). I haven’t tried them myself, but I think I’d like to.
Their opening statement is simple, straightforward and compelling:
I like the emphasis on their tree-planting activities and their commitment to natural ingredients. It immediately suggests quality, care and pride in what they do.
As for the products, there is an emphasis on quality, style and senses. Just take a look at the Bourbon No. 22 flavour:
It uses phrases like:
‘Our No.22s are subtle at first, building complexity when warmed in the mouth.’
‘Take your time and give the boozy phenols a chance to speak – you’ll like what they have to say.’
The unique process that ‘leaves the essence of a spirit – botanicals, extracts, and phenols – deep in the birch.’
This attention to detail is powerful stuff. For a high-quality, authentic product like these toothpicks, it’s important to go the extra mile. To make them sound not only tempting but to sell the experience.
Daneson does a good job of this throughout its site.
Key takeaway from Daneson:
Appeal to the emotions in your copy. Make your customers really feel something when they read through your site.
Check out this excellent guide to using the senses in your copy at MarketSmiths.
4. Bad Brownie
If you enjoy sweet things, you’re going to love this site.
The ‘Dangerously Good’ brownies at Bad Brownie define temptation. Yes, it’s a store dedicated to brownies. You don’t get more niche than that.
Obviously the owners make plenty of use of opportunities to show off deliciously sticky brownies. When selling tempting food products, photos often do a lot of the talking.
Indeed, Bad Brownie very wisely has a whole section of the home page dedicated to Instagram images of, yup, brownies.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t focus on their copy.
Right on the home page we’ve got this:
The ‘fudgiest, gooiest, tastiest brownies’ – that alone will get people clicking the Buy button.
They also don’t hang around in getting across the brand tone:
Already you feel like you know this company – and that they know you. They talk about brownies with the same passion you feel.
The product copy is good too. Look at this one for Oreo Cookie Dough brownies:
You’ll see that it doesn’t overdo it. Where there is definitely the risk of going over the top and cramming in enough adjectives to put you off your dessert, instead it keeps it simple.
But they still get the tone spot on, which makes it sound like one friend talking to another.
Key takeaway from Bad Brownie:
Be passionate. This is what you do, what you live for. Make that come across in your copy.
Use this guide by Georgina El Morshdy to learn more about injecting some passion into your copy.
Australian furniture company Brosa gets off to a great start the moment you land on the site with its entry popup. Free delivery and a $50 discount? Nice.
The first sentence on the home page also gets it spot on:
‘Superior furniture often comes with a hefty price tag. At Brosa, we design functional and stylish furniture without inflating the cost.’
So, we already know exactly what Brosa is about. It’s the place to get high-quality furniture, both stylish and functional, but without the high cost.
The product descriptions are effective too. I looked at the Thomas Bedside Table:
This is crisp, clear and gets exactly the right information across. It talks about the style, the wooden grain, the materials, the benefits – all stuff you want to know. It follows up with the specs and dimensions at the end so all the essential information is there.
I especially like the way the dimensions are added onto an image of the piece, which makes it very clear to understand.
This is an example of a store that gets everything right. And this goes beyond the copy – the design, the overall look and feel, it’s all good.
The site feels spacious and relaxed. And although it has a lot of special offers, it does not come across as sleasy. It’s easy to trust this site.
It has also very wisely has product reviews for social proof, which is added to with trust elements like:
‘Loved by over 50,000 Australian customers’
‘Australia’s highest rated online furniture retailer’
All in all, it’s an engaging, attractive store that does what’s needed to get people to buy.
Key takeaway from Brosa:
Make good use of social proof on your e-commerce website. Let your shoppers know what everyone else thinks about your products, and you’ll get more sales.
Detailed guide on how to leverage social proof at Tait Pollack.
One of my favourite stores to come across in recent times, Modkat sells cat litter trays. That might not sound too exciting – until you see these things.
These are not your average kitty litter trays, and the slogan ‘Where Modern Cats Do Their Business’ is smart.
Let’s look at one of their products, the Modkat Tray:
I love the fact that it has a ‘Benefits’ section first and foremost. That’s something a lot of e-commerce stores get wrong. They focus too much on the features (which is easy to do with more complex products), and not enough on how their products improve your life.
The benefits listed are actually a combination of features and benefits, but this is usually the best way to go about it (rather than listing the features and benefits separately).
Modkat also uses high-quality video shows the product in use, another smart move (didn’t someone say cat videos are popular online?)
It then goes into a few sections that each highlight the features in more detail.
You’ll quickly see that this is fun and lighthearted copy. We read how to ‘Engage shields!’ to protect from ‘Side pee’er’ cats. The copy matches the type of products being sold. There’s no need to take things too seriously.
Importantly, the copy goes into the specifics about each feature without coming across as dry and boring.
The result is copy that is instantly engaging and informative – and I’m guessing they sell a lot of litter trays.
Key takeaway from Modkat:
Aim to be engaging with your copy at the same time as being informative and get the best of both worlds.
For more about engaging with your visitors using videos, take a look at this guide by Demo Duck.
Everlane, which sells high-quality ethical clothing, is another store that takes advantage of an entry popup to build its list.
This popup is especially effective for 3 reasons:
- The headline provides a massive benefit (free shipping)
- It highlights what makes it special (exceptional quality, ethical factories)
- It provides the option of signing up with Facebook and Google (these days, I always click on these. I’m so tired of entering my email address, especially on mobile)
The website as a whole oozes quality. It also, unsurprisingly, boasts excellent product copy. Just take a look at the Straight Leg Crop:
This essentially gets it bang on when it comes to apparel product descriptions. The details not only provide the basics about the materials used, but also how to clean the garment, the models size and the size she is wearing, the factory it was made and a helpful email address for questions about the fit.
The paragraph of description is plenty. It’s quite matter-of-fact and does not go into details about the feel of the texture against the skin, but it doesn’t need to.
Finally, a couple of links to the other items the model is wearing provide some excellent cross-selling opportunities. Smart.
Key takeaway from Everlane:
If there’s something about your business that makes you different (ethical values, in this case), make sure everyone knows it.
Check out this guide to creating a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your e-commerce store.
I like Kiki.K’s homepage. When a store has so many items, it always helps to provide visitors with a few suggestions to nudge them in the right direction.
So we have a number of top picks from new arrivals, a section for the minimalists, and a few specific product recommendations.
At the end of the page there is a sign up form in return for a ‘welcome voucher’. The only addition I would make is to spell out exactly how much of a discount the voucher provides. (It states $10 at the top of the page, but I initially missed this.)
The descriptions are great. Take a look at this one for the 365 Day Journal:
As well as providing all the necessary details (including measurements and materials in the ‘Features’ section below), it also focuses on how the journal improves your life.
It will ‘help you enjoy the little things’ and ‘reflect on your journey’ as well as ‘welcome greater self-awareness’ into your life.
Small details, but they do make a difference.
The section directly below makes a few helpful suggestions to provide cross-selling opportunities, in keeping with e-commerce best practice:
Key takeaway from Kiki.K:
Always focus on how your products will improve the lives of your customers. People don’t care about what your products are, they care about how your products make them feel.
Marketing 6pack has a useful guide to the benefits and features when writing sales copy. Check it out here.
If you’re a man and you live in the UK, you’ve probably heard of Menkind. You’ve probably shopped there too.
The homepage is quite different from the other sites on this list. It’s very in your face and jam-packed with products. But this is because it is a gadget website. People often visit such stores without a firm idea of what they are actually looking for (I know I do).
In fact, while researching the store I regularly found myself clicking on products simply because they looked fun – which proves the site is working exactly as it should be.
A few things stood out to me straight away.
- The free delivery notification at the top of the page – good to make that clear from the off
- The red ‘Clearance’ tab on the navigation menu
- The ‘New’ section in pride of place at the top left of the page – perfect for returning visitors who want to find out what they’ve missed
Menkind looks like it’s taken a leaf out of Amazon’s book with its focus on the ‘Key Product Features’ front and centre, starting with the biggest selling point right at the top:
The short product description then goes into more details about the experience of using the Nano Dots, painting a picture of the fun you can have and placing an emphasis on fun language like a ‘life expectancy of up to 10,000 years’:
Key takeaway from Menkind:
Try to use bullet points in your product copy, especially where a product has lots of features. List the features (ideally with a few benefits), then use the product description to paint a picture of how your customers could use it.
Check out my own guide to creating powerful and persuasive bullet points on Amazon. A lot of the info applies to bullet points on your own website.
This guide at SEO Copywriting is also very useful.
In complete contrast to the Menkind website, Crossrope provides an altogether more minimalist shopping experience. Which is unsurprising because it only sells a handful of products.
This site was finalist in the ‘Best Overall Design’ category in BigCommerce’s 2018 roundup, in which the team states they have been “meticulous” with every element of their site, including the copy, because “each is a touch point that plays a crucial part in the experience”.
It certainly shows.
The site itself is more like a classic landing page in many ways. Working your way down the page, you will not only the products but also the app that goes with them.
I love the way they present different features of their (incredibly cool) jump ropes using a simple paragraph of copy alongside an image:
The whole page presents an experience more than just products. Features like the ‘custom-built fitness challenges’ and phrases like ‘when you join our family’ suggest you are not just buying a product but becoming a member of a community and investing in an experience.
It also references this in the CTA at the end of the page:
It’s even got an incredible guarantee highlighted right on the homepage:
There is no better way to give shoppers confidence to go ahead and make a purchase than to offer a complete refund for any reason.
The product descriptions are also brilliant. I love the way they present the features. By going the extra mile rather than just write out a list, it’s much easier for the shopper to visualise the features, and it really helps to overcome one of the major problems with e-commerce of being unable to hold the product in your hands.
Key takeaway from Crossrope:
A small amount of copy can go a long way. When there is a lot of information to convey, break up the copy into small chunks and use alongside images.
Practice makes perfect. Check out these exercises to help you write more concisely.
I hope looking through these websites has given you a few ideas for your own e-commerce copy. Whether it’s your slogan, entry popup, email form or product descriptions, the words you use matter.
They help form a connection with visitors. They build trust. They tell shoppers that they can trust you enough to part with their money.
So follow the example of these stores, and do your copy right.