Descriptions Matter

You have come up with an amazing work of handmade art, if you do say so yourself, and taken wonderful product pictures that rival those in a gallery. You have chosen your venue to feature your creations and are ready to roll…well almost!

An amazing product and bright, clear pictures are just not enough for online selling…you still have to write a description that grabs your customer and demands attention.  Why then are so many artists leaving out this important step?  Do they not realize that the customer is not standing in a shop, holding the item in their hands, turning it over and judging the size and weight for themselves?  Would you buy a piece of art having no idea if it is a miniature for a dollhouse or a work that needs a room of its own for display?  Would you purchase a piece of jewelry with no idea of the length of the chain or the size of the focal bead?

When you sit down to list your products you must think like a customer.  The most important part of your description is the part that lets the customer know the “must have” information so that they can make an informed choice which greatly lessens the risk of buyers remorse coming back at you.  What would you want to know?

Size would be at the top of the list.  This pertains to any product on the web whether it is jewelry, clothing, artwork, cards, or soap.  Your customer will not be pleased if their purchase arrives and is smaller or larger than they had pictured.  Photos can be deceiving so measure your piece and give accurate information to your potential customer in both standard and metric sizes.  Don’t ask your buyer to try to convert for themselves…the more work they have to do the less likely they are to buy from you.

What about the weight of the piece?  You made it and are used to the way that it feels.  You created your art and understand that it is deceptively heavy or light.  Give them a weight if it affects the piece.  Do you make cards that require more than one stamp to mail?  Do you make earrings that are a bit on the heavy side?  Does your painting require special support to hang?  Your customer has a right to know this before buying and there will be much less chance of buyer’s remorse down the road.

Be sure your customer knows what materials are in your piece.  Many people that purchase jewelry have metal allergies and must avoid certain things.  Don’t claim a piece is sterling silver if it is really silver plated or silver art wire!  You will do no more than damage your reputation with that customer…and an unhappy customer will have no problem spreading the word about your deception.  Be honest about the stones you use.  If it is a real gemstone then highlight the fact!  Not only will your buyer know what they are buying, but it will often times explain the higher price.  If you are unsure of what the stones are, find out or admit it.  Don’t claim to be using Swarovski crystals if you actually using Czech crystals.  It won’t take you long to run into a customer that knows the difference and they will spread the word.

What else?  Well, that really depends on what you sell.  If you are a baker and are trying to convince people to buy your latest chocolate creation then ingredients are a must to avoid allergy problems.  If your kitchen is not peanut free then say so, and if it is, then use that information to attract customers dealing with food allergies.  What about licensing and professional kitchens?  You will instill confidence if you are honest about your product.  Pets?  Sometimes this would not matter, but if you are a textile artist and your cats have a tendency to nap on your fabric then it would matter to someone with a cat allergy!  These tidbits are really art specific, but stop yourself and think about your work space and home and be sure to include pertinent information in your descriptions.

Now comes the fun part…Personality!  You are an artist and you put a piece of yourself into every piece you create so why not let that shine through in your descriptions? There is a reason you create what you do; why not let your customers in on that information?  You are not a robot so don’t sound like one when you write about your piece.  Now, before I go any farther, please do not fall into the trap of writing so “artsy” that the customer does not even know what is for sale!  Long, rambling descriptions will turn off a customer before they get half way through so edit yourself if creative writing is your downfall.  Other than that one word of warning…have fun with it!  Tell people how you came up with this idea for such a unique piece of art or even a bit about the process.  Not only will they be amazed at the effort that goes into your piece, but they will be much less likely to balk at a higher price point if they understand the hours of labor to create this treasure!  Talk up your one of a kind work so that your buyers feels like they are buying more than a card/earrings/bag/soap and are buying a piece of handmade art.

Your product descriptions are more than just a bunch of words to fill up your page; they are an important part in a buyer’s decision to purchase from you or one of the other hundreds of sellers making similar items.  If you take the time to think like a buyer you will be better able to include important information so that your customer is not left with more questions than answers.  Try it for yourself?  Snoop around various handmade sites and randomly click on different items and read for yourself.  Be critical and ask yourself if you are getting all the information you need from this seller?  Ask yourself what is missing and be sure not to make the same mistake yourself.

Selling online and getting noticed among the millions of sites around the world takes work.  Once you are found by a potential buyer you don’t want to lose them due to lack of thought.  That few minutes you take to really write informative, fun, eye catching descriptions will pay off in sales so take the few moments it requires when listing your items and think like a customer.

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