There are 24 million eCommerce stores globally.
And with platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce, the barrier to entry is getting lower.
This means the competition is fierce and the demand for eCommerce copywriters is growing.
But what does an eCommerce copywriter actually do?
And why are they so critical for the success of an eCommerce business?
In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about eCommerce copywriters and their role in building a high-performing eCommerce site.
What is eCommerce copywriting?
Put simply eCommerce copywriting is any text you see on an eCommerce website (or in the eCommerce funnel). It’s different from the other forms of copywriting given the intent of the user. If you compare it to a SaaS product, for instance, there’s only one call to action (CTA) which is usually a trial membership. eCommerce sites on the other hand have different and/or multiple CTAs depending on the range of products.
Here are some of the core pages for Culture Kings, a top-performing streetwear store.
It’s no debate that the pages are overwhelming. Not all eCommerce websites are like this but the vast majority are going to offer more than one product.
If you compare this to a SaaS tool like Convert Kit, there’s only one goal. It’s to build a slippery slope to the trial button.
What does an eCommerce copywriter do?
An eCommerce copywriter is responsible for writing persuasive copy that converts browsers into buyers.
They can be tasked with anything from product descriptions, homepage copy, product page copy, popups, email marketing campaigns, and blog posts. In some cases, they’ll also be responsible for writing the ad copy.
Before the writing begins, the copywriter requires a deep understanding of the target audience.
This can usually be achieved through the following tasks.
- Interviewing customers
- Analyzing competitors and their reviews
- Analyzing the business's own reviews
- Researching the niche more deeply
- Analyzing and interpreting the analytics data
Once the target audience's problems and motivations are clear, the copy can be written.
An eCommerce site is designed as a funnel with many steps: from initial awareness to checkout. eCommerce writers create relevant copy for each step of the funnel so that customers take the desired action throughout the journey.
In many instances, a user will leave the site without purchasing. This is why it’s critical to collect an email address as soon as possible. The easiest way to do this is to offer a discount of some sort. Discounts work because you’re offering immediate value at the right step of the users journey.
Here’s an example:
Since a copywriter isn’t just writing product pages, they’ll also need to write persuasive copy on popups. This can seem basic but email marketing significantly increase an eCommerce business's revenue. It’s important to get right. More of this later.
Furthermore, an eCommerce copywriter will be responsible for testing variations of the copy. Tools like Optimizely, Google Optimize, or VWO are usually required. The copywriter needs to understand how these work. Or at the very least know how to read the data.
Here are three different job descriptions for an eCommerce Copywriter:
They’re quite extensive although a couple of requirements stand out.
Firstly, SEO experience is critical. eCommerce brands don’t want to lose any of their organic product rankings. The copywriter needs to understand this.
Secondly, writing different types of copy in the eCommerce funnel is essential. The copywriter needs to be familiar with writing high-converting marketing emails the same way they write product descriptions.
In some ways, an eCommerce copywriter requires more experience than a regular copywriter.
eCommerce industry and website statistics you need to know
There are hundreds of eCommerce statistics. However, most of them won't mean anything to you. Below are four statistics you should know before writing copy for an eCommerce site.
Statistic #1: Email Marketing yields $44 for every $1 spent, which means the return on investment is 4400%
As an eCommerce brand, the number one goal should be to collect an email address, followed by making a conversion.
Since email marketing yields such a high ROI, it makes sense to optimize the site for email capture. This means every step of the funnel is pushing for email capture before making the sale.
Statistic #2: Over 50% of the top 1,000 eCommerce stores send welcome emails
This clearly indicates the big players take email seriously. The welcome emails will likely have a discount code to reward the user for subscribing. It’s not an easy task to capture an email these days. Most users want to avoid getting hit with hundreds of marketing emails.
Statistic #3: Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.
This is especially important for sites that have different buyer groups. A male browser typically doesn’t want to receive a discount code for women's lingerie. The same applies to browsers interested in purchasing shoes from a sports store who are sent home gym equipment emails. The intent is completely wrong. And the conversion rates will reflect this.
Statistic #4: 31% of all US eCommerce stores are hosted and built with Shopify, making it the biggest eCommerce technology platform.
Business owners build their sites on Shopify because it’s simple. They have prebuilt templates and customer flows that make this process easy. The site is typically made up of the following pages:
- Home page
- Collection pages
- Product pages
If your site is built on Shopify you might want to find a copywriter who is familiar with the stack. They’ll understand how users interact with Shopify more deeply.
Related: 22 Useful Copywriting Statistics
How to write copy for an eCommerce business
Writing copy for an eCommerce site can be tricky. You need to balance the requirements, data, brand persona, and appropriate frameworks. Here are four key considerations when writing e-commerce copy.
1. Understand the requirements
Before any writing begins it’s important to find alignment on expectations.
Knowing the deliverables is an easy way to make sure the project runs smoothly. For a business and copywriter alike. Do your initial research and answer the following questions.
- What’s your number one goal when engaging a copywriter?
- What are your competitors doing? (high-level)
- What’s the turnaround time you require?
- Which website copywriting rates are you willing to pay?
2. Lean into the research
If you want the copy to perform, you need to go deeper than usual on the research. Especially in eCommerce.
Competitor research: This means you should thoroughly be analyzing the competitors. Everything from their copy, email marketing campaigns, ads, and product reviews. The goal is to uncover what’s successful for them and apply it to your own business.
Customer research: Have you conducted customer interviews for the best and worst products? You need to know everything there is about your customer before you can craft copy for them. The best copy often comes straight from the customer's mouth, so don’t skip this step.
Reference high-performing brands: If you know a brand is performing well then you should pay attention to what they’re doing. Here’s a list of the top 1000 Shopify eCommerce stores. Use this as a reference point when building a strategy.
3. Apply the correct copywriting frameworks
This one is critical.
You can’t simply apply the Problem Agitate Solve (PAS) framework to a product description or collection page. Especially since the PAS formula relies on agitation and negative words result in fewer conversions.
With most eCommerce products, there’s generally no grand problem that’s being solved.
It would help if you put more emphasis on the lifestyle benefits. Ask yourself:
- How will this make someone feel?
- What did the user desire most in the customer interviews?
- How will the user be better off?
Here are some frameworks you can apply:
- Attention Interest Desire Action (AIDA)
- Attention Interest Desire Conviction Action (AIDCA) – My favorite
- Before After Bridge (BAB)
- Problem Agitate Solve (PAS)
- Slippery Slope Method
- List Image Debate Act (LIDA)
All of these formulas generally do the same thing. You capture attention as soon as possible, show the reader how their life will be better, and then ask them to act now. The more social proof you can provide the higher your chance of converting.
4. Consider the user
According to Wyz Own, humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish. So it’s critical to reduce the friction in the eCommerce funnel.
Giving adequate consideration to the user experience (UX) will help you write more succinctly.
Culture Kings nails the integration of copy and user experience.
The copywriter and UX specialist have clearly worked together to figure out how much information should be displayed on the collection page.
The size displayed upon hover, material tag, and save button gives the user all the information they need without having to click on the product page. This extra step would definitely increase churn when the user notices the shoes are sold out in their size.
There is also plenty of data to back this. Fewer words actually lead to higher conversions on eCommerce sites.
Make sure each word is absolutely necessary and provides value. Additional fluff on the page will hurt your revenue.
Here’s how much can you expect to pay an eCommerce copywriter
|Cents Per Word
|Project / Value-Based
|Expert / Agency
Where to find an amazing eCommerce copywriter
Copywriters are in high demand. Finding a great one might be tricky. Here are five ways to find an amazing eCommerce copywriter:
1. Seek referrals from other eCommerce businesses
Getting a referral is an easy and trustworthy way of finding a copywriter. Since you already know the copywriter has been vetted with someone else.
If you know of any brands you admire, email them for a referral.
2. Join a business community
Business communities offer value in many different ways.
Of course, building a great network of like-minded people is great. However, the benefits go far beyond this. Most business owners will have experienced similar problems to you.
3. Hire a digital marketing agency
If you aren’t too budget-conscious you can easily hire a top-tier digital marketing agency. They’ll be more organized and have great talent. The only downside is they can be hard to vet and will charge significantly more.
Use Clutch to vet digital marketing agencies.
4. Post an ad on Marketer Hire
Marketer Hire hosts some amazing talent. The company vet all the talent listed in its database.
Companies such as Netflix, Flippa, and eBay have used Marketer Hire to fill their talent gaps. There’s no reason you can’t use it to find an awesome eCommerce copywriter.
5. Post an ad on Upwork
Upwork tends to be my last resort since it requires the most effort. To successfully hire talent from Upwork you’ll need to
- Have a clear brief with clear requirements
- Know how much you’re willing to pay
- Sift through proposals
- Engage with multiple freelancers to confirm they’re capable of executing
- Manage them through Upwork
eCommerce copywriting is much more technical than regular copywriting. Everything in the eCommerce funnel needs to be considered.
As an eCommerce business, I would seriously invest in email marketing. With an ROI of 4,400%, it makes sense to prioritize capturing emails and running email marketing campaigns.