Category Archives: Product Descriptions

Purchasing Furniture – Why Did She Buy From Your Store?

By My Web Writersphoto (1)

This typical female, Gen X, furniture customer Is ready to buy. Where will she make her purchase?

Today I’m pausing to journal about the major furniture purchases I recently made. I’m doing this for both of us. Though they’re in other industries, we’re always looking for ways to improve online marketing for our clients.

When I shop, I often revert to a personal pattern that pre-dates my use of the Internet.  Do you?  If not, you’re younger than thirty-five.  Though, I’ve changed through the years, I’m probably typical for a female, age 35 – 50.  Knowing that 65% of US shoppers will browse online and buy in stores over the holidays, how can we better serve this lucrative demographic?  What triggers dollars spent at your store?

Of course, I’m just one woman and each woman is an individual, but here’s a snapshot of how I arrived at furniture purchases from four different stores during the week prior to Thanksgiving 2013.

Top of the Furniture Sales Funnel

The buying process started a few weeks earlier.  A builder suggested that we look at Houz, a home ideas app, for backyard ideas.  The app offers ideas for all rooms of your home, too.  We never did build, but the trends I saw in the app stayed top-of-mind when it was time for furniture in the home we recently purchased.

I could have scoured Pinterest, too, but I didn’t.  I just didn’t have a lot of time to hunt and peck for pieces of online furniture and more ideas to confuse the choices.  Time is valuable and I tried not to waste it.

Middle of the Furniture Sales Funnel

Like many Americans, when it came time to shop for furniture, I drove to the nearest showrooms- Kittles, Ashley Furniture, Value City Furniture, Kittles Express, Office Max, Office Depot, and Houseworks.   Kinesthetic shoppers need to see, to feel, and to touch each piece to envision family and guests relaxing, conversing, working, and eating.

Would the quality be worth the price?  Would the exact colors match the floors, walls, countertops, and appliances?  What are today’s trends and which classics are still hip?  I didn’t shop online when I was absorbing information because I learned plenty in the stores.

In one store, a sales woman approached my husband and me and wouldn’t stop chattering. If we paused at a piece to discuss it, she’d wiggle into the middle of our conversations.  We’d politely stand there wondering when she would stop. After doing this for the third time, we quickly walked out because a hungry salesperson’s stalking, at this stage, wasted our time and was annoying.  We weren’t buying on that day.  We were just looking.

The office furniture seemed blah- mostly ugly, big ego desks or very cheap, modern designs with little space to spread or to store.  The sofas were perplexing.  Do we buy another puffy couch for the family room or a grandma-like sofa for the living room? Nothing appealed, at first.

Did we want to have a fun and casual red set or an espresso, leather upscale look? The new kitchen table needed to be round, but how big?  Should it match or contrast our floors? Should we go rustic or classic? Geez — so many choices.

Pages like the one below from Kittles did very little to help me to understand what I’d want in my living room, family room, kitchen, and office.

Kittles with no content

There is no category level content to entice or to educate.  With the exception of the main slide, the pictures don’t suggest use, features, or style. Kittles, if you’re reading this post, consider how strategic copy writing and editing can help both your conversion and SEO.  My own sales pitch aside (hey, I do understand the sales woman); there came a day when we could no longer function without furniture in our rooms.  It was time to buy.

Bottom of the Furniture Sales Funnel

Last Sunday, I decided the best place to find office furniture would probably be at an office supply store.  By then, I’d ruled out a modern, sleek look in the office. The sales person at Office Max offered the Black Friday price a week early and probably called me “Ma’am” fifty times.

Office Max pic

He put up with my indecisiveness over this desk verses that desk and he stopped talking after I cut him off on purchasing the extra protection plan.  The prices were exactly the same in the store as online.  This was a coordinated attack and I bought the furniture at the store with the same free delivery offered online.

Office Max product description

While the in-store experience offered set-up at a charge, notice that at the same purchase point online (the product page), the company’s set-up package is not suggested or offered.  If the customer has to hunt for it somewhere else on the website, forget it.  Adding drop down boxes for “I need set up” on each product page would immediately increase online revenues at Office Max.

The Final Hours of Purchasing Furniture

I spent nearly a day in Kittles yesterday trying to fine-tune what I wanted. Then, came the ping-pong price game.  Prices kept dropping, but we went back and forth so many times and it took so long, that by the afternoon, I left the store.

I opened my iPad and typed in searches for long-tailed keywords with model numbers to check pricing in other stores.  What was the price for a “Broyhill Travis sofa”?  Another business could have stolen my purchase in these moments when my sales person was going back to her manager for yet another price reduction request.

Broyhill Travis couch

After he said, “No, I can’t do it”, I would have bought online, especially if free shipping were offered. Instead, my search took me first to the Broyhill website.  Obviously, they didn’t want to get into the middle of price negotiations because they left out prices in their product descriptions.

Other stores did the same.  Instead of sharing prices, online store-after-store said, “request a quote”.  I didn’t have time to wait for a quote.

Request more info

With Thanksgiving in a few days, I wanted shopping done asap. Because I didn’t know if the purchase was sound, I dropped the sofa and chair from my list all together.

I took a trip back to Ashley Furniture and found a different sofa.  I popped into Value City Furniture and found a kitchen table and chairs that I liked better than the ones offered at Kittles and Ashley.  While there, the Value City online prices dropped, so a lower price was honored at the store.  Bed Bath and Beyond sold nifty bar stools for less and with free shipping. Then, I went back to Kittles and purchased the items I felt were fairly priced.  All of the stores said their prices were Black Friday prices and that if anything changed, they would honor the changes.  At a certain purchase point, most offered free shipping.

I’m waiting for the door bell to ring with my deliveries.  How fun!

What’s a key to increasing online conversions? Lower your online prices.  Develop better content (pictures, videos, and words) to display furniture in ways that highlight colors, finishes, and uses. Provide in-depth information.  Keep the various stages of the furniture sales funnel in mind and develop profiles of your buyers at each stage.

What have you noticed as important to increasing online sales, whether you’re in the furniture business or another industry?  How would the above process differ for a man or a younger or older person? How would the process differ for another woman in the same demographic? Take a moment to share!

~Jean


Other Posts:

Holiday Content Challenge- Let the Family Games Begin!

ZMOT- Where Consumers Are and Businesses Should Be

Adding Content to their Website Increased Our Client’s Keyword Reach

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases in E-commerce Content

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Filed under Apps & Tools, Business Strategy, Customer Profile, Holiday Blog, Local, Mobile, Personas, Product Descriptions

Content for Less- Fat Brain Toys Involves Customers in Content Creation

By My Web Writers

Toys that Use Words

Fat Brain Toys doesn’t play around when it comes to website content.  Owner, Mark Carson, has always supported written content on the site’s category and product pages; but, Matt Hansen, Director of Marketing, says that it was only about three months ago that the educational toy retailer really started developing blog content.

It seems like many marketers attend webinars and read articles that explain the importance of content to conversions and search engine rankings, but then they return to work and leave out the paragraphs.  Why?

Content creation is expensive.

Blog Sales Powered by Writers

Hansen says that Fat Brain Toys “employs three in-house writers with a variety of skill levels, but listens to feedback from many internal and external stakeholders.”  You can sense the community when you visit the site.

Play is Fat Brain Toys’ blog.  Each week, the writers add videos, newsy snippets, and creative articles around a theme.  But, how does the company curate so much content without straining their budget?

play

In a green box at the top of the Play blog, writers click and find a call for

 “content from leaders in the toy industry, leaders in the world of raising children, and great thinkers who believe in pure play. Each piece of content will be shared with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of visitors. As a contributor to PLAY, you’ll be given full contributor/byline credit with a short bio listing. We will also actively encourage link sharing. Fat Brain Toys will share a link to your site, and we hope you’ll share a link to your published PLAY content on your site as well.”

Who Would Write for Free?

The secret to securing inexpensive content is to embrace loyal fans and toy industry leaders, who want to build authorship profiles by using Play as their publisher.

The potential sales win-fall for Fat Brain Toys is notable. Many writers will write for article bylines just to increase exposure of their own personal brands, products, books, and speaking portfolios. Google authorship gives incentive for many writers to secure their personal brands this way. Between the free content and social sharing by writers, Play is revving up a sales engine.

This is the content creation model that many business leaders are thinking about and talking about at conferences and in meetings, but few are making it happen.  Fat Brain Toys is connecting and creating the model.

If You Can’t Buy It, Build It

Mark Carson also created the company’s unique review system.  He and his in-house team built an automated content contributor under each toy’s product description.

FBT Reviews

Consumers find content that details available options and hazards, linked articles from Play, related products and categories, accessory options, and other consumer reviews and rankings of age/gender usage. All of this data aggregates and moves the products up or down in the “new”, “shop by age”, or “shop by gender” sections of the site.

Google wants valuable content and this system offers it to parents.

Parents Help Parents with Special Perspectives

Carson also invented another consumer-generated content resource that is highly-valuable to the special needs and elderly populations.

Special needs

Parents, teachers, and caretakers explain how they use the toys with children and adults with special needs. There is a ranking system for the toy’s value index and the toy’s IQ that helps shoppers evaluate how their child or adult might use the toy.

Toy IQ

Again, the content offers value to shoppers and there’s a community of trust and interaction being built with the brand through the content interaction.

The Future of Content Creation

If you love or believe in a brand, chances are you won’t care about getting paid to promote it. You’ll contribute for intrinsic rewards like attention or the sense of helping others.

Fat Brain Toys knows that its core consumers are passionate about educating children and contributing to a better world through play and it has tapped into these passions.

Does this totally remove the need for in-house or freelance writers and editors? No.  Someone needs to curate and optimize the content.  The in-house team fills in where the consumer leaves off.

Your website still needs writers and editors who are masters of brand positioning, product knowledge, spelling, grammar, sentence structure, usage, and search engine optimization.  Fat Brain Toys hasn’t lost sight of that fact, but it does demonstrate how to involve your audience.

What would inspire your shoppers to interact more with your website’s content?

~Jean


Other Posts:

What is Google Authorship and What Do Writers Need to Know About it?

How do I write content based on buyer personas?

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Prioritize Your Social Media Channels

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases for E-commerce Content

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Filed under Audience, Blog Writing Tips, Business Strategy, Capturing Audience, Content, Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Editors, Favorite Websites, Local, Product Descriptions, Project Management, Queries & Articles, Reviews, Social Media, Time Management, Writing Careers

Seven Local Angles to Address in Your Content

My Web Writerslocal angle

As a local business or blogger, location alone is not enough to help maximize your reach to your target audience. It’s equally important to highlight local angles in your online content as well. In doing so, you create a niche market and improve search engine optimization (SEO) for those who may be searching by specific location. This is a powerful tool that can be easily incorporated into any type of content, no matter the size or industry. Take a look at these seven ideas for addressing local angles in your content:

1. Highlight other well-known businesses

As a local business you should be in touch and in tune with the fellow businesses that surround you. If you have a synergistic relationship with them, it’s easy to incorporate their services or skills into your own content by including their name and location. In doing so, you harness a portion of their SEO power for yourself. Link back to their web site and refer to them by their full business name. For content ideas, you can write about how your services complement each other and create an even greater benefit for customers who patronize you both.

2. Include landmark photos and tag appropriately

Another way to highlight your immediate surroundings is to include a mention of local landmarks, well-known businesses or tourist destinations in your content. All of these are heavily searched terms online. By including these same terms in your content as well as photos that are tagged with relevant keywords, you will improve your SEO for local searches. Try taking your own photos and writing about the personal meaning they have to you or your business. Maybe they’re something you see every day or something that inspires you.

3. Feature a local blogger

A quick search should provide you with many options for local bloggers in your area. They can cover an array of topics including opinion, sports, community events or night life. Reach out to one that is relevant to your content and ask if they would be willing to contribute a guest post for you to use. Even more simply, ask for permission to re-blog an article that relates to your business. Be sure to link back to the blogger and include their name and bio in your own content to maximize the impact.

4. Write a review

If you’ still stumped with how to include a local angle in your online content, try writing a review for a business or event that you know well. People are often searching for reviews online and by offering relevant and valuable content you will draw in more viewers to your own web site.

5. Make a resource guide

This is similar to writing a review, but instead you create an entire guide of multiple businesses or events in which you can offer some expertise. Give tips and advice that people can use to get the best experience and utilize links and keywords to your resources as much as appropriate.

6. Cover a community event

Businesses and night life are hot topics for local content, but so are community events. People are often looking for things to do or more information on a festival or community gathering they heard about. To incorporate an event into your content, try writing a “what to expect” feature where readers can learn what all is going on and when. Again, this creates valuable content which drives more readers and increases SEO.

7. Link to other local sites as often as possible

For all of the local angle ideas mentioned, it is critical that you include links to external sites for the different businesses, events and resources you reference. Linking to a web site that has strong SEO will help improve yours as well and will rank you higher in searches for the keywords you both share.

By adding a local angle to your content on a regular basis, you will improve your reach toward your target audience. For local businesses and bloggers this is a critical tool for maximizing your online potential and the impact of your content marketing! ~ Stephanie

Other MWW Articles:

Twenty-five Effective Call to Action Phrases

Local Ideas for National Brands

National Brands Without Physical Stores Struggle to Rank

 

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content, Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Local, Mobile, Product Descriptions, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases for E-commerce Content

by My Web Writerscall to action

“Click here!” “Buy today!” “Limited time only!” We’ve seen them all, and ignored most of them. Not all e-commerce call-to-action phrases are creative. Most of them are incredibly cliché and really don’t motivate the reader to do much of anything.

You want to be different. You want to stand out. In order to do this put on your thinking cap and let your creative juices flow. Don’t use the same words that everyone else uses. Turn to a thesaurus if you need to and make sure you’re thinking outside the box.

Try these 25 effective, call-to-action phrases in your ecommerce content:

  1. Just hit Reply and we’ll email you the details.
  2. Entice him with x, y, and z.
  3. Impress when you dress in x, y, and z.
  4. Think (insert topic here).
  5. Get the 411.
  6. Come hang with us.
  7. Write!
  8. Tell us you want it.
  9. Put it in my closet.
  10. Use it ASAP.
  11. Make my friends jealous.
  12. Explore the product.
  13. Book a table.
  14. Take a chance today.
  15. Achieve more now.
  16. Build my collection.
  17. Learn how to profit.
  18. Improve my life.
  19. Make me (look, smell, dress, etc.) better.
  20. Check it out.
  21. Some of our customer favorites are x, y, and z.
  22. Try popular styles like x, y, and z.
  23. Our top sellers, such as X and Y, receive outstanding reviews.
  24. Shop for other items like x including y and z.
  25. Our most linked to products are x, y, and z.

Remember that calls to action aren’t only about the words. Experiment with fonts, size, and placement on the page.  Feel free to be creative while enticing shoppers to buy more!

~Natalie

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Filed under Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Merchandising, Product Descriptions, Words Which Sell

Quotes from 10 Writers about Web Writing

by My Web Writers

There are many quotes out there about writing. Great words spoken or written by Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain and more are all over plaques and posters, but the art of web writing is young.  Still, some of the pros have made impactful statements about the world of web writing.

Quotes from 10 Writers about Web Writing:

“Good writing doesn’t just happen—at least not very often. Good writing is planned.” John B. Karls and Ronald Szymansky The Writer’s Handbook, 2nd Edition

“Having the right content in place, keeping it up-to-date, and removing content that is no longer relevant or timely ensures that the user community will find what they need.” JoAnn T. Hackos Content Management for Dynamic Web Delivery

“Good web text has a lot in common with good print text. It’s plain, concise, concrete and ‘transparent’: even on a personal site the text shouldn’t draw attention to itself, only to its subject.” Crawford Kilian Writing for the Web

“Together, we see the need for an overarching content strategy that coordinates written, video, and visual content pieces with social media that fully engage audiences and add to the knowledge graph.” Christina Zila Director of Communications, Textbroker

“The Web is like the Trojan Horse of information overload. It promised information nirvana and delivered overload hell.” Gerry McGovern and Rob Norton Content Critical

“As a rule of thumb, content should account for at least half of a page’s design, and preferably closer to 80 percent.” Jakob Nielsen, Designing Web Usability

“The more you know about your visitors, the better you can write for them.” Johnathon and Lisa Price Hot Text: Web Writing that Works

“If you’ve started a blog, and have it linked on your homepage, and you haven’t updated it for a few months, there’s a simple solution: take it down. You wouldn’t leave a half-finished display in your shop: why do it online?”  Jack Adams, copywriter

“Participating in the industry is not only a great way to network and build your personal brand, but it also exposes you to new ideas. Collaborate with industry peers on side projects. Attend conferences and meet-ups. Write and comment on articles. Do whatever you can to make a name for yourself and soak up as much knowledge as possible.” Adria Saracino, Head of Outreach, Distilled

“Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.” Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think

~Natalie

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Content, E-Tail Category Content, Mobile, Product Descriptions, The Writing Process

Guidelines for Writing E-Tail Category Content

by My Web Writers

Photo Courtesy of Geek Philosopher

As shoppers flock to stores for the holidays with their mobile phones, to buy everything from personal care products to electronics to even vehicles, consider the status of your product descriptions and category content.  When you update your e-stores, follow these guidelines for writing e-tail content.:

Inform Customers About the Details

Your first and greatest responsibility should be to inform readers about the e-tailer’s products. Take the time to read about the product you’ll be writing about. If possible, review it in person. Consider it as a potential customer would: what would you like to know? What stands out about the product? What is it made of? Where is it made?

Anticipate questions that customers would want answered, and then answer them. After you’ve written your content, read it aloud to someone. Ask her whether she feels your description adequately described the product. Is anything unclear? If so, address those issues.

Entertain

Your main goal in writing e-tail category content is to inform. But, you’ll also want to entertain. Let’s face it, most customers are more drawn to clever copy than to a dry recitation of facts. What is unique about the product? What is relevant about it today? Pull in those details and come up with a funny or intriguing “hook” that will make customers want to read further to learn more.  Category pages draw readers into the sales funnel of product level pages.  A sense of humor or smile that offers intriguing product uses or customer testimonials can build credibility and time on site.

Create Urgency

E-tailers are in business to sell. It’s great if your copy draws customers to the site, but the ultimate goal is for those customers to make a purchase. You can encourage purchases by writing content that creates a sense of urgency. You might mention multiple ways customers could use a product. You could mention that the product’s sale price is only valid for a limited time. Suggest that customers stock up by buying several of clearance items while they’re still available.

SEO Matters

Even if your writing is informative, entertaining, and creates a sense of urgency, you won’t reach many potential customers if you don’t employ good search engine optimization (SEO) principals.

There are many sites giving good information on how to optimize your content. But some basic ideas involve filling your copy with key words and phrases that potential customers would search for. In your content, link to other pages on the e-tailer’s site. Use popular keywords in your content’s titles and subtitles.

 Research

What if you utilize all these ideas, but your competition is still ranking higher than you in search engines or in sales? Research them! Look around their sites and take notes on what they do that seems to be effective. Try making a change or two on your own site and give it a few weeks to see whether those changes made a difference in traffic or sales. Then, try more ideas. Constantly be aware of what your competitors are doing, and use those ideas that will work for your site.

It’s not an easy environment to do business in. But by following a few basic rules, your e-tail company can achieve success.

~Susan

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Filed under Content, Descriptive Writing, E-Tail Category Content, Product Descriptions, Research Tips

Five Ways to Prepare Your E-Store for the Holidays

Shindigz.com is an example of an e-tailer that grooms its e-stores for the holidays.

by My Web Writers

Prepare your e-store for the holidays.   Delight and encourage shoppers, while providing unique opportunities to increase your potential customers. It goes without saying that if your site is a landing destination, your customers are going to shop more and spread the word about it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking media.

There’s no time like the holidays to make subtle, effective improvements to your e-store, all in the name of getting ready for the upcoming festivities.

Put up some decorations

It doesn’t take much these days to change a heading or personalize a background. If you don’t want to use your own pictures, search for public domain and free licensing ones to create an atmosphere of holiday cheer on your site. Include a few holiday specific articles, highlighting your best products with previous customer testimonials.

Make your e-store very user friendly

Keep your site stress free for your customers, providing easy access to product, ordering and shipping information. Update return policies and include all information pertaining to receiving items as gifts too. While you’re doing this, it’s undoubtedly a good idea to make sure your return policy is consumer friendly, as well.

Other important user friendly features on your e-store include navigation. Make products on your site easy to find and access. Product descriptions should be thorough and readily available, upon landing on each product page.  Refresh your product and category descriptions for SEO.  Eliminate unnecessary clutter. Minimize eyestrain by softening colors, and reducing glaring bling.

Give gifts and goodies to your customers

Free shipping is huge, but so are coupons. Perks are fun to find and receive when shopping. Provide ample opportunities for customers to save money, and receive special promotions and offers with minimal effort. This might include running a 3-Day sale, and posting a special coupon on Facebook for consumers to print. It could also be a “Refer a Friend” opportunity, where linking to your site sends your customer an extraordinary deal for their kindness.

Eliminate shipping worries

Flexibility is vital when it comes to shipping, especially for those last minute shoppers. As an e-store owner, you can make sure you’re able to deliver customer product in a timely manner; you can also extend the shipping time required by the customer. Give those frazzled shoppers a little breathing room, and make it easy to receive items in record time, even if they’ve been ordered a little later than expected.

Serve your customers well

Treat your customers like royalty. Make them feel wanted and special, by providing multiple ways to contact you. Set up a live chat or forum for their immediate questions and concerns. Make “Contact Information” easy to find and easier to use. Respond graciously and as soon as possible when you are contacted by a customer.

Preparing your E-store for the holidays is an opportunity to make your site stand out among the crowd. Take advantage of this opportunity, so you can drive traffic and increase sales opportunity well into 2013!

~MJ

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Filed under Business Strategy, Customer Profile, E-Tail Category Content, Email Campaigns, Marketing, Merchandising, Product Descriptions, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media