The power of the product

By Jack Davey, Unearth Marketing

This piece first appeared in the February edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

Whether you’re running a fully-functioning e-commerce site or simply offering your customers another window into your business, it’s important to provide detailed information on your products online.

Consumers are becoming acclimated to the idea that they’ll be able to find out whether a particular item is in stock at their local bike shop without picking up the phone. The better you serve up this information, the better you will stand to pull in that footfall – and the biggest improvement many retailers can make is writing original product descriptions.

Presentation matters
Currently, the stock files from many suppliers are not created with a consumer-facing purpose in mind. Importing these to populate your website is a quick fix, but leaving it at that is no good. Your product pages will be full of typos, symbol errors and styling issues – that’s if the description field is populated at all. A customer visiting your site won’t even read the text before forming a less-than-positive opinion, and the level of trust in your brand will drop.

Don’t be a doppelganger
Using original content on your website bears serious fruit when it comes to SEO (search engine optimisation). Search engines penalise web pages that share content, so the most basic re-write can set your site apart from your local competitors. As mentioned above, the supplier descriptions are generally not intended for public consumption. This means that you should assume no time has been spent on keyword research, so there are easy wins here too.

Use your voice
Good SEO may bring users to the site, but now what? All original content is also an opportunity to communicate the unique character of your business to the consumer, and product descriptions are no exception. This is the digitised form of the conversations your sales staff will have with people on the shop floor, in person.

More than simply providing information, it’s a window into the culture behind the brand that can make the difference between a customer identifying with you and offering their loyalty, or walking away to a more engaging alternative.

Open with an elevator pitch, so that if the customer doesn’t read beyond that sentence they still have a general understanding of the product they’re looking at. Beyond there, you can assume any reader is on board. As you go into detail, anecdotes and real-world examples are both convincing sales techniques and signposts of your business’ authenticity.

The task of populating your site with original product descriptions is significant, so you will need to prioritise. If you’re concerned that it is too much work for such a specific area, bear in mind that all this original content can be used elsewhere too – from social posts and email newsletters to POS. Differentiate yourself to stand out to the algorithms and the customers on all fronts.

In other news...

Taking the leap: The story behind One Ride

Inspired by one brand in particular, Piers Riley decided to leave behind his lucrative engineering job to set up his own cycling distributor. This is the story behind One Ride