How to use copywriting to boost e-commerce sales

We’ve never seen a boom in e-commerce as we do right now – and it’s not just because of the pandemic. Your customers are getting increasingly comfortable buying online – or feel unsafe going into a bricks and mortar store. One of the best ways to stand out from competitors and increase sales is by investing in good quality copywriting.

What is e-commerce copywriting?

In the world of marketing and publishing, any words that you read are called ‘copy’, so e-commerce copywriting refers to any written content created for an online store. This could be a headline, landing page, product categories, shop descriptions, video script, etc.

Good e-commerce copywriting not only reads easily and sounds enticing. It also very cleverly persuades someone to choose your product over another. It can build loyalty and help you rank better on search engines. Beyond your e-commerce site, copywriters also create social media copy, e-books, blogs, radio ads, email newsletters and much more.

Copywriting is the art and science of writing words that sell

Art, in that it creates a smile in the mind, evokes certain feelings, taps into a human insight and triggers an impulse. Science in that it might seem effortless but it actually combines a mountain of work behind the scenes. A copywriter has to digest (and sometimes challenge) the marketing strategy, create a value proposition or brand positioning, define the target market, analyse competitors and generally know everything that goes on in the world. A million little things go into that one headline or paragraph. A copywriter has to be part marketeer, part psychologist and part comedian – plus part grammar teacher!

Why copywriting matters for e-commerce

There is so much competition in e-commerce – not just in South Africa but abroad too. Savvy online shoppers are constantly ‘window shopping’ via social media or searching for that perfect item via Google. No matter how someone finds your site, you have to be instantly memorable to grab a sale. Your site should be so much more than a catalogue – every interaction, every page, every part of the buying process (and follow-up) should tell a story.

Before you start describing your products or service, it’s important to have your brand values and positioning in place, so you speak with a clear, consistent tone of voice.

What are the must-have copy pieces for an e-commerce store?

Like all web copywriting, wording on your online store must be instantly appealing – short, snappy, clear, enticing and convincing. Remember: less is more and teamed with striking brand photography, words make a big visual impact. Here are a few tips on which sections to highlight with strong copywriting.

Home page sliders

  • These moving ‘billboards’ serve the purpose of instantly grabbing a customer’s attention.
  • Typically you would use one to introduce yourself; then direct them to specific pages/products on your site.
  • Each slider consists of a heading, sub-heading and clear call-to-action (what you want someone to do – obviously click, but also shop now/buy/sign up/read more, etc)
  • It’s a good idea to refresh these often (at least once a month) to keep your site looking fresh.

About intro (Unique positioning statement)

When someone lands on your homepage, they need to instantly understand what you’re selling, what you’re all about or encourage an action (a click). Your Google Analytics will very quickly tell you if this isn’t the case (we call this abandoned pages), where nothing entices someone to stick around and explore content.

One of the best ways to do this is with a clear one-liner on what your brand is all about. We call this your unique positioning statement – something we workshop with you to create something simple and memorable.

About page

Credibility is everything with e-commerce. Who wants to buy from a shop where the owner is never around? Who wants to hand over credit card details if they can’t see who’s behind a brand? An ‘about us’ page is a great way to share your history and philosophy – plus some bios of the founders.

Category descriptions

If you have a vast amount of products to sell, categories are important. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes can help you create better product visibility. The more you can group things for people, the better – especially with seasonal events like Mother’s Day or Christmas gift guides.

Product descriptions

  • No-one wants to read boring product descriptions. Have some fun in describing your products remember this helps for SEO as well.
  • Don’t stop at one sentence – paint a picture of how the product can be used, what problem it can solve for someone, etc.
  • Elaborate on how the product is made, what other sizes and colours are available, etc.
  • You can take it a step further with how-to videos, ratings, testimonials – and of course cross-selling (if you like this, you’ll also like this).

Blog posts

We’re big fans of blog articles – it adds value by giving tips, showing a behind-the-scenes of your business, showcasing product benefits and much more. It can tell a story in much more detail as you can provide on social media or on your product page. Remember: blogs are not just little essays.

3 tips for e-Commerce copywriting that shines

  • Less is more: You can’t be all things to all people. Invest time in honing your brand positioning and tone of voice. Take a look at the greats like Mailchimp and Slack for inspiration.
  • Always consider things from a customer’s point of view. They don’t care about all the 100s of things YOU think you’re good at. What do you actually solve for them? You help X to solve Y with Z.
  • Good copy is versatile. When you create good copy for your website, you can easily repurpose that copy into social media posts, email campaigns and more.

Want to finesse your e-commerce copy or brand positioning? We’ll be happy to help. You probably have a great personality – let that come across in your website! If you already have your website up and running, it’s not too late. You can tackle it in batches, starting with your homepage first and then a shop category at a time.

Read more about our services here or get in touch with us for a quotation.

Get in touch with us to help you with web copywriting that keeps readers coming back for more.
Call us: +27 79 896 1593 or email

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