Why it’s important to write detailed descriptions when product listing

By Sharon Fussell, March 17, 2016

When we come to list products on Amazon, sometimes we face frustration due to a plethora of differences with the product you wish to list and how it’s depicted on Amazon.

These differences include missing photographs, missing book descriptions, and other missing product details.

Amazon insists only items that completely match the item described on the system must be assigned to that page for sale.

In theory, this is makes sense – after all, when a buyer purchases an item, they expect to receive the item as described on the system.

However, if many of the product details are missing when a buyer purchases the item, what are their expectations?

Over the years, I have come to realise that most buyers are quite happy, as long at they receive the title of the book they have decided to purchase.

If information is missing on a description page, such as publisher details, page totals, book size and ISBN numbers, then the expectation placed on the product received is usually less than when the product is ordered using more detailed specific information.

Even so, if a buyer receives a product that differs slightly from the information on the description page when there is a full product description available, they don’t appear to mind, as long as the product is fit for the purpose they desire it for.

For example, when it comes to books, buyers will search for a book title; very, very rarely do buyers search for a book knowing an ISBN number.

Most buyers do not mind if a cover-page picture differs; and even the size of a paperback doesn’t feature highly on their expectation horizon.

Of course, the product that I am mainly discussing here is books in general – and not specific specialist books.

If I do send products that do have a slight difference to the copy described on the system, I always place a note against the listings, such as ‘Please note the cover design differs to the image shown’, and ‘Please note: although the cover design differs, the writer and illustrator are the same’.

By placing a note against the listing, describing any material differences to the description page, it allows the buyer to make an informed choice to purchase your copy. Buyers like detail!

Thus, if they particularly wish to have the cover picture as advertised on the system, they will avoid buying your copy. (What they possibly won’t realise is that most sellers never inform buyers that they may send alternative cover pictures.)

Placing a note cuts down on the possibility of buyers complaining that you have sent a different cover design.

And it’s worth mentioning whilst we’re on the subject, that I would never attempt to sell an item that defrauds the buyer – such as sending an unbranded product in place of a branded one, for instance.

Nor would I send a completely different product, for example, if a buyer ordered a BluRay, I would not knowingly send an ordinary DVD with the same title etc.

I would not send a used copy when I advertised the copy as a new one.

I would not send an older study book when I’ve listed an up-to-date copy.

I would not send a hardcover to replace a softcover, or visa versa.

I would not list an unsigned book on a page advertising signed copies.

These are material differences that will attract complaints: even if you place a note against your listing, many buyers just do not read detailed descriptions – but for the ones that do, providing more detail is always the way to go.

It’s an expensive business organising returns, and you do not want to make customers unhappy and thus provoke bad feedback.

What do you think?

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