How to Write High-Converting (And *Gasp* FUN) Copy For Your Ecommerce Checkout Flow

Ecommerce Checkout Flow Copywriting

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Lianna Patch is a conversion copywriter and comedian whose greatest dream is to make your customers pause, smile, and click (in that order). Conquer campaigns with her at Punchline Conversion Copywriting, or get quick copy jobs done at SNAP Copy.

June 18, 2017

Yesterday, I walked into my improv troupe rehearsal and asked,

“When was the last time you bought something online, went through the checkout, and said, ‘Hey, this is easy and fun’?”

Every single person looked at me like I had just suggested kitten shish kebabs for dinner.

One guy said,

“Easy and fun? While I’m spending money?”

My fave thing to do on Friday nights TBH
My fave thing to do on Friday nights TBH

Soooo, while this might be a wildly unpopular opinion, I’m here to show you how to go through your ecommerce checkout flow copy step by step so it has a better chance of converting your customers and making them feel like they’re having a great time.

Because, at a very basic level, feeling good can increase conversions.

Don’t you want that? Yes. You want that. Keep reading.

Effective checkout flows are intuitive, quick, & low-friction

Obviously, Obviously, ecommerce checkout should be as easy and intuitive as possible. Here’s what to look out for (Amazon’s one-click checkout is the gold standard here.)

Assuming your ecommerce store isn’t a taped-together, virus-riddled piece of garbage, improving your checkout flow copy can be one of the simplest ways to assuage fears, overcome buyer barriers, and boost your conversions.


That high-converting copy can also be fun.

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting Google fun
Just in case you need a refresher.

Now, I’m not telling you to obscure your checkout and tank your conversions with clever, jokey copy all over the place.

You’ll know if you’re doing that from your test results.

I AM telling you to take a closer look at the words you’re using to persuade strangers to throw dollars at you.

Nota bene: Obviously the design of your website and funnel matter a whole heckuva lot to your conversion rate, too. But this isn’t an article about design, so I’m going to assume you’ve ironed out all the conversion kinks that poor design can cause.

First, map out your checkout flow & identify missed copy opportunities

The first step of improving your checkout flow copy is to map that shiz out. (Got a bunch of entry points tagged in Google Analytics? Here’s what to look out for.)

List out all the steps your buyers take to purchase once you’ve succeeded in imbuing them with intent to buy.

Your checkout flow probably looks something like this:

  1. Starts with “add to cart” or “purchase” button
  2. Then into cart to review items
  3. Then to “check out” button
  4. Register for account OR log in
  5. Then to billing and address info
  6. Then to payment info + promo code
  7. Submit/Make purchase Button
  8. Then to Thanks/confirmation page
  9. Then an emailed receipt

Every single one of these spots contains copy. I’m willing to bet you’ve thought about some of it… but have you taken a close look at ALL of it?

Some of the copy here might be “microcopy,” ex. an error message, a single word or line below a button, a form field’s explanation text, you know the drill.

Some checkout copy might be longer or more elaborate, like your purchase confirmation page or emailed receipt.


Now, depending on whether you’re using an out-of-the-box merchant checkout that allows limited customization, or you’ve built your own crazy-customized checkout flow, you may or may not be able to change or add copy in certain places.

Here are a few spots in the checkout process where you should consider examining, adding, or improving your copy, if you can:

Click triggers and objection-reducers

Below I’ve screenshotted one step of modern office furniture retailer Poppin’s checkout flow. Notice the tiny “?” round buttons.

When you click them, they offer objection-reducing copy. For example, lots of folks might say,

“Hey, why do you need my phone number if I’m buying from you over the Internet? Roar! Me annoyed!”

Poppin assuages that objection, should it arise, by cooing,

“Your digits are safe with us: we’ll only use your phone number for delivery purposes.”

Honestly, you could probably say anything here. I’d love to see the test results of using a totally illogical or fake reason, like subjects in that famous “May I go first? I have to make a copy for [TOTALLY NONSENSICAL REASON] study” did.

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting Poppin
“Your digits are safe with us, because we are building an alien spaceship and filling it with Beluga caviar.” Sounds good to me, Poppin!

Another example: T-shirt retailer Threadless points to its “Threadless Happiness Guarantee” as a way to encourage purchasers to add items to the cart.

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting
Does “complimentary neckline” mean the shirt tells me how nice my neck looks every time I put it on?

Point out how you’re making checkout quicker

If your product needs extra customer-provided info, you might decide to cut down on the friction added by all that additional time and effort by allowing customers to customize after they buy.

Here’s Indochino, a high-end shirt company, shepherding their customers through a quicker checkout.

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting Indochino
Keep going! We don’t want you to think about how much you’re spending!

If your store allows customers to easily add products directly to their cart without leaving the product category page, try making that process not just easy, but… FUN!

Like Tattly:

Ecommerce Checkout flow copywriting Tattly
Tattly screenshot

Clicking that red button puts these tats in my cart without taking me off the page.

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting Tattly added to cart
Tattly added to cart screen

And then this sprightly confirmation message appears! YAY!

Show customers they’re ALMOST done

Lots and lots of ecommerce stores include checkout progress bars.

Why? People hate leaving things unfinished. And in fact, we tend to remember the things we *didn’t* finish more vividly than the ones we did (it’s called the Zeigarnik Effect, and it’s why you still pine for your college boyfriend who moved away after graduation).

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting
From, where I have no business shopping

Use copy to upsell other items

Here’s furniture and home good companies Loaf doing not one, but TWO awesome things in their checkout flow:

  1. Reaffirming that I have excellent taste in sheepskin rugs
  2. Upselling me on a complementary product
Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting upselling
Dang, don’t mind if I do… Actually, wait, what is that thing?

Lots of ecommerce retailers upsell with the suggestion of “Related items,” “Accessories,” “Other people also bought,” and “Get free shipping by adding $X more to your cart”.

But I love Loaf’s elegant one-two punch of flattery and pre-selected item upsell.

This is by no means a complete list of copy opportunities that various retailers do and don’t take advantage of. Why? Because we’re trying to get to the nuts and bolts of actually writing the copy. Calm down.

If you want more ideas, just pay attention to the copy in the next awesome checkout you go through, and ask yourself, “Why is this working well?”

Next, match your copy to what your customer is thinking or feeling

Once you’ve identified all the places your checkout flow includes copy, it’s time to match the steps of that flow to what your customer is probably feeling or thinking.

Don’t *know* what they’re thinking or feeling, and don’t want to guess? Good. Don’t.

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting customer research
^^ Actual GIF of many ecommerce retailers when it comes to customer research.

Instead of guessing, mine your customer live chat logs or Hotjar poll results:

Quantitative data analysis suggests that sentiments or moods conveyed in online conversation are the most predictive factor of perceived satisfaction (Park et al., 2015)

Check out your customer research. You’ll learn what’s on prospects’ and customers’ minds.

Then, plug that data into this handy table I made you!

I’ve even pre-filled it with some common sentiments and objections that are good bets to address at each stage:

Step of Checkout Flow Customer’s Thought/Feeling What Do They Need to Hear Right Now?
Add to Cart Yes! I need this! EXCITEMENT/URGENCY: “Your items will be in your hot little hands in just a few short days!”
Review Purchase/Cart Does this look safe and secure? REASSURANCE: “What a good-looking cart you’ve got.”

TRUST: “Checkout secured with SSL. Your payment info is safe with us.”

URGENCY, if it’s true: “Looks like you’ve grabbed some of our most popular pieces. Snag these items now before they sell out!”

“Check Out” button Should I…? HOW EASY IT IS TO BUY AND/OR RETURN:

“Simple, secure 3-step checkout” and/or “Free returns/exchanges, so you always have the size or color you love!”

Shipping Info I wonder how long it will take to get here… CAREFULLY WEIGH WHETHER YOU NEED EXTRA COPY HERE. Don’t add distraction!
Payment Info Is this worth it? Will I regret this? Same as above
Submit/Complete Purchase Button Here we go… Same as above


Does your copy meet your customer where they are, in every stage of the process?

Are you taking advantage of every opportunity to address fears and objections and trigger excitement and urgency?

And… DO YOU NEED COPY in those final, crucial stages (shipping info, payment info, and complete purchase)?

Definitely *test* copy in these last few stages. For example, you could acknowledge in the shipping info section that no one likes waiting for their stuff, which is why you ship within two days, or something similar.

But carefully weigh — nay, test — the benefits of your late-stage checkout copy against its potential to distract customers from your ultimate goal of sweet, sweet revenue.

Other things to consider when you’re testing checkout copy


Ah, yes, branding. That nebulous thing that everyone loves to talk about, and very few are actually doing right.

The simple fact? You can examine and improve your checkout copy using these practices no matter your brand’s “tone” or “voice”.

But, if you want to add a little more fun (you know, the thing I live for) to your checkout copy, you should take care to match your tone to your brand.

Threadless does a great job matching its entire checkout flow, from design and copy, to its playful, irreverent brand:

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting Threadless funny
Your CARTY BELLY? I think I love you, Threadless.

But I can’t really imagine, like, Saks Fifth Avenue being playful in its checkout copy. So, grain of salt here.

It goes the other way, too. I’m always disappointed when I browse a store with dynamite product copy, decide to buy, and then all of a sudden, the checkout copy is Boring Default Sad Robot.

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting boring robot
Seriously, I think about this stuff and it bums me out.

Company size

EQUALLY sadly, most giant stores (think Target, Best Buy, Walmart, and other soul-sucking corporations WOOHOO CAPITALISM) generally play it safe and standard in their checkout copy.

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting Wallmart
If you happened to notice, I was buying Milk Bones. I don’t have a dog.

This might be for a bunch of different reasons, but I like to think it’s because big-box brands are bent on destroying us (and also because every good idea has to have the life sucked out of it by a series of marketing committees).

On the flip side, possibly because they have fewer committees, less to lose by testing, and more to gain from a building standout brand, smaller stores have more leeway to play around in their copy.

If you’re reading this, and you run a multiple-million-dollar MRR ecommerce store, and you’re thinking to yourself,

“Hey, maybe we should run a copy test to see if personable, warm copy could increase conversions,” PLEASE CALL ME. *

* Actually, email me. I hate phone calls.

Product variety

If you only sell one product, you might just decide to mash your checkout flow into the rest of your site. This makes it even easier to play around with your checkout copy.

OK Cookie is a great example. (In case you haven’t heard of OK Cookie, it’s Cards Against Humanity’s fortune cookie company. The fortunes are, naturally, horrific.)

Let’s look at a few pieces of OK Cookie’s checkout flow:

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting OK Cookies ad to cart
You can click “Add to Cart” right from the homepage, which is also the entire website.
Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting OK Cookies checkout
After I added one box of fortune cookies to my cart.

They gather shipping info in stages, one per screen:

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting shipping
OK Cookie Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting shipping
Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting shipping continued
OK Cookie Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting shipping continued

Notice how casual this checkout is, especially in the copy’s use of “we”.

The “we” word is generally something copywriters avoid at all costs, but it works here because this is a transaction where I want to feel like I’m buying from other real people.

Let’s fast-forward to payment info:

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting payment
OK Cookie Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting payment screen

Charming. Utterly charming. At least, if you have a thick skin.

OK Cookie continues to balance clarity with familiarity throughout the end of checkout, including a button that says “Close This Thing” once you’ve completed your order.

They also send a confirmation email that 100% fails on the “cohesive branding front,” * but is otherwise written in the same casually confrontational style:

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting email blackbox
Trolololo. BUT ALSO, if I didn’t know that Blackbox was the dropshipping company that Cards Against Humanity created, I would be very confused by this email about my cookies.

* Please enjoy this free branding advice, OK Cookie!

Product price

Consider the average dollar value of what you’re selling. Based on my purely anecdotal research, higher-end stores rarely have funny/personable checkout copy.

Now, this could be because pricey brands are aiming for sophistication, which means they don’t want to joke about what you’re buying.

Or it could be because they don’t want ANY potential distractions for people who are about to drop $300 on an orange chair.

Ecommerce checkout flow copywriting product price
I did not buy this. My chair is fine.

Whatever you do with your checkout copy, be intentional

Even if you read this whole thing and you decide not to change your product copy, PLEASE JUST SPEND 30 SECONDS THINKING ABOUT IT.

If you don’t think about your copy, you’re almost certainly missing an opportunity to test and improve. Even a tiny lift during checkout can have massive ROI implications.

And losing that opportunity to boost your ecommerce conversions — by simply failing to consider your copy — would be so un-fun.

Ecommerce Checkout Flow Copywriting

Effective checkout flows are intuitive, quick, & low-friction. Assuming your ecommerce store isn’t a taped-together, virus-riddled piece of garbage, improving your checkout flow copy can be one of the simplest ways to assuage fears, overcome buyer barriers, and boost your conversions. That high-converting copy can also be fun.

What The Matrix Can Teach You About Evoking Emotion in Your e-Commerce Copy

e-Commerce copywriting

Published by

Lianna Patch is a conversion copywriter and comedian whose greatest dream is to make your customers pause, smile, and click (in that order). Conquer campaigns with her at Punchline Conversion Copywriting, or get quick copy jobs done at SNAP Copy.

May 11, 2017

What if I told you…

The entire world was nothing but a lie that had been pulled over your eyes to blind you?

That you were a slave? And that I had the truth?

Do you want to know?

Well, you’d break into a cold sweat, and you’d keep listening…

And once I mentioned that life as you knew it was actually bondage, prison — and that the Matrix was Wonderland, a deep rabbit hole ripe for exploration…

Well, you’d probably decide to take the red pill and stick around.

e-Commerce copy

But if I told you…

“Hey, I’ve got a brand-new, high-quality, reality-based solution to replace your substandard day-to-day experience!”

You’d have no f***ing idea what I was talking about.

And you’d probably grab your windbreaker and hightail it out of my weirdly dark apartment.

The first phrasing works better than the second because “bondage,” “prison,” “rabbit hole,” “blind,” and “slave,” are all specific, highly evocative phrases.

They imbue what I’m selling you (escape from the Matrix) with emotion (in this case, probably a mix of fear, dread, and a teensy bit of curiosity).

Think Neo would have bought into the Matrix if Morpheus had described it as a “high-quality reality-based solution”?

Nah, son.

When they’re considering buying, your prospective customers are highly emotionally engaged.

And the more money you’re asking them to spend, the more they’ll have that weird feeling where their heart is in their throat and they’re kind of sweaty and they finally click through and make the purchase and they’re excited, but also worried, but also excited…

Neo e-commerce copy
Kinda like this.

You can’t bring customers to that heart-pounding, palm-sweating fever pitch by describing your store or your products in generic terms.

No matter what’s being sold, buying is inherently emotional

Getting people to buy without an emotional connection just doesn’t work very often, much like Keanu Reeves these days.

Buying is emotional. People get invested in their purchases, both literally and figuratively.

When we come face-to-face with a decision — whether it’s something as momentous as buying a house or something as small as whether or not to grab that pack of peanut-butter M&Ms at the drugstore checkout — we automatically draw on our feelings, past experiences, and positive or negative associations.

Talia Wolf puts it simply and starkly:

Emotions affect decisions
Decisions affect conversions
Conversions affect revenues.

Making your customer feel good can encourage them to buy

Since emotions affect purchasing decisions, it stands to reason that you might want to make your buyers feel good (AKA confident, or happy, or validated, or fulfilled, or another positive emotion) so they associate that good feeling with you and your product.

And making potential buyers feel good can make them like you, which can make them buy from you.

Yes, come a little closer. Now click “Add to Cart”...
Yes, come a little closer. Now click “Add to Cart”…

Cialdini’s principle of Liking is based on the anecdotally obvious truth that we like doing business with people we like. We look for common ground between us and the people with whom we’re considering spending our money.

Think about it. It’s just common sense.

Not convinced? Here are some examples from the wild:

  • Roger Dooley unpacks’s About page and explains how it uses the principle of Liking in several concrete ways.
  • Recently, Kellogg scored big on likeability in their online video ads—which converted at a high rate. According to Nielsen Catalina Solutions,
    “[A]ds deemed “likable” by panelists for copy testing firm Ace Metrix had the strongest sales lift of all – a 172 index where 100 is the average for people exposed to ads in the study.”

So how can you make your customers like you? Brian Ahearn offers three suggestions from Cialdini’s research:

  1. Focus on similarities – What do you and your customer have in common?
  2. Give compliments – It may sound like a cheap trick, but paying a sincere compliment works
  3. Look for cooperative efforts – Where can you work together with your customer toward a common goal?

Negative emotions have a proven place, too

It makes sense to make your buyers feel good, so they’ll buy from you.

But stereotypically bad emotions like anxiety, fear, and guilt can be effective conversion motivators, too.

There’s nothing like watching the clock tick down on an online SaaS product sale or launch (anxiety), worrying you might miss out (fear), and feeling like you haven’t been investing enough time in your business development (guilt). And this product could help…

Proceed with caution when playing on negative emotions, though: Kunle Campbell suggests that to effectively use negative emotions, the buyer’s ultimate emotional outcome should be positive.

So don’t overdo it on the guilt, k? Reassure your buyers that they’re making a smart purchase.

The worst emotion your customer can feel is apathy

It’s all too easy to emotionally check out when you’re writing your e-commerce copy.

And you end up with copy that zooms past “concise yet still descriptive” and lands right at “vague, confusing, and boring”.

Emotional Scale
Emotional Scale

Ever been to a movie and come out thinking, “Well, I GUESS there was a plot, but it sure didn’t stick with me?” Guessing you didn’t feel that way about “The Matrix”.

As Morpheus says to Neo, “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”

Preferably through some sweet-ass shades.
Preferably through some sweet-ass shades.

The same goes for your e-commerce customers. You can’t just TELL them what your product is. They have to see it in their mind’s eye and feel emotionally connected to it.

Part of the way you help customers connect with your product (along with presenting a solid value proposition, featuring high-def, zoomable product photography, and including buyer reviews) is by writing emotionally evocative copy.

There are lots of copywriting techniques to make your customers feel something

The most copy-popular way to evoke emotion? Tell a story.

Give yourself a hand if you saw that coming, because telling a story in your e-commerce copy isn’t a new idea. In fact, it’s been covered ad nauseum.

‘Bout a million times, actually.
‘Bout a million times, actually.

The key, however, is making sure the story stars not your company —

not your product —

but your reader.

Giving your reader a starring role can be as simple and subtle as positioning the product at a time in your prospect’s life, like Target does with this car seat:

Car Seat

e-Commerce item

Start your baby off safely with the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat in Legend. This infant car seat is very easy to install correctly so you have no worries about how to fit it in place. Using a LATCH system, it’s a quick fit; for vehicles without LATCH the base has a built-in belt locking system. The removable newborn insert is designed to gently cradle your precious cargo and give them a comfortable ride with all the support they need. As your child grows, remove the insert and you can continue to use this car seat as it is rated up to 30 pounds and 30”. Meets ASTM Standards, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and is JPMA Certified.

Boom. “Start your baby off safely” → “As your child grows”. Story firmly implanted.

OR, you can get as involved as J. Peterman does with its famous micro-short stories about clothing:

e-Commerce copy clothing

e-commerce copy story

Mind you, telling a story is about more than just using customer-centric language.

This is about building a world where your prospects can immerse themselves: a world where they feel better, happier, prettier, more energetic, smarter, more satisfied, or more productive.

I know. That’s a lot of pressure to lay on a lil’ ol’ online store.

Calm down, Elrond.
Calm down, Elrond.

But the fact is that we can’t help but project ourselves into the stories we watch, read, and hear.

We identify with stories, and when we do, we feel empathy for the people experiencing them.

In fact, research shows that our brains’ mirror neurons may be partly responsible for the reason we cringe when we see someone trip and fall, or why we salivate when we watch Mary Berry delicately spoon tiramisu cake into her mouth. (Just me?)

Want to write Oscar-worthy emotional e-commerce copy?

No matter what you’re selling, you, too, can write e-commerce copy that tugs the heartstrings of your readers, prospects, and prior buyers.

Here’s how to get started in 4 easy steps:

1. Give your reader TIME to feel

You might remember the totally boss scene in “The Matrix” where multiple Agent Smiths are shooting at Neo, and he’s just like, “Hold up, wait a minute, not right now, bullets.”

What a G.
What a G.

Now let’s imagine that you’re Agent Smith, and your customer is Neo. (Sorry for making you Agent Smith, but bear with me.)

You don’t want your customer to feel like you’re shooting him with meaningless words.

You want to give him the ability to slow down time while he’s reading your copy.

You want to get his attention, then let him react — all within a split second.

Step 2 helps you buy time.

2. Use unexpected language

Because our brains are constantly predicting what will happen next, we have a tendency to get stuck on unusual words or pay more attention to them when we’re reading.

Dan Gilbert calls this phenomenon “nexting”. He explains in a passage from his excellent book, Stumbling on Happiness:

“As long as your brain’s guess about the next word turns out to be right, you cruise along happily, left to right, left to right, turning black squiggles into ideas, characters, blissfully unaware that your nexting brain is predicting the future of the sentence at a fantastic rate. It is only when your brain predicts badly that you suddenly feel avocado.

That is, surprised. See?”

When you use an unusual word, your readers will pay more attention. They’ll pause for a second. They might not believe their eyes.

“Lemme get a better look at that,” says your customer.
“Lemme get a better look at that,” says your customer.

And while you don’t want to distract them from your ultimate goal (conversion!), more time spent on the page correlates with a higher conversion rate, according to Moz. So take it slow, Joe.

3. Make sure you’re being specific

Using specific, descriptive phrases is another idea right out of the Copywriting 101 playbook. We’re not breaking any new ground here.

But too often, e-commerce marketers worry that specificity will alienate their target (possibly because they’re thinking of their target customer no more specifically than as “everyone and their mom”). So they err on the side of inoffensively vague copy.

For example, here’s a mouthful of copy mush I came across recently:

Oh, good, I’m so glad they engineered those cutouts.
Oh, good, I’m so glad they engineered those cutouts.

Why doesn’t this copy make me feel anything??

Because phrases like “decidedly forward” and “high-quality” are too vague. Their direct benefits to the reader aren’t immediately apparent or applicable. They’re nothing-words.

More specific phrasing here could actually evoke what it feels like to wear the Wanderer Long Sleeve top. Maybe something like, “Enjoy the breeze on your skin through this soft, snug top’s airy cutouts, even if you’re clearly a Cylon.”

If you look closely, this kind of bland, unevocative language is all over e-commerce:

In case you can’t read the screenshot, these Columbia hiking boots are described like this on Amazon:

Rich, all-over leather gives a premium outdoor feel to this supportive, waterproof hiking boot. The newton ridge™ plus waterproof seals out wet weather while also breathing and features a shank under the arch, delivering stability and support where you need it and flexibility where you don’t. The Omni grip® rubber outsole features rugged, grippy traction specifically designed to evacuate mud ← what happened to the end?

At first glance, it seems all right. The leather is rich, the boot is waterproof…

But if I dig a little deeper, parts of the copy start to erode my trust.

What’s a “premium outdoor feel”? And what exactly is “rugged, grippy traction” when you really think about it? And what horrific fate befell this description writer before he could finish his sentence?

The truth is that you don’t have to worry about alienating people through specificity.

Using specific language, especially when it comes right from your customer research (you’re doing research, right?), sends out a “dog whistle” to the exact right kind of buyer.

As Alex Birkett notes on CXL, “Everyone is not your customer.” And you don’t want everyone. You want the right customer.

Brooklyn boutique Catbird definitely kept its audience in mind when it wrote this lush, nostalgic copy for its Kitten Solid Perfume:

Speaking of perfume, another excellent way to evoke emotion is to…

4. Appeal to the senses

Think about your favorite family dish from childhood. For me, that’s my dad’s chicken cacciatore: smothered in tangy tomato sauce, with thick, tender slices of green bell pepper and onions.

How does thinking about that dish make you feel? Mouth watering a little bit?

Sensory words work on restaurant menus, and they also work in e-commerce copy — whether or not you’re selling food.

The brain processes “tangible” words that evoke sensory or perceptual experiences, like “creamy” or “bumpy,” faster than it processes other words. So using sensory words might just fast-track your message into your prospect’s brain.

And if you ARE selling food, well, sensory language is your best friend.

See’s Candy has it figured out:

I would like to be folded in the sweet, crunchy embrace of this can of Toffee-ettes.
I would like to be folded in the sweet, crunchy embrace of this can of Toffee-ettes.

Don’t forget: emotional copy works everywhere, not just in product descriptions

All right, I have just one last piece of advice for you:

If you’re saving up all your emotional appeal just for your product descriptions, STOP DOING THAT RIGHT NOW.


Ultra-specific, sensory language works everywhere. Not just in product copy.

Think website copy, social media posts, emails, PPC ads, and even meta descriptions. Don’t believe me? Here’s Everlane making the most of its meta descriptions:

I can see this comfy dress in my mind. I can feel it in my fingers. And now I want it. (I’m a size medium btw)
I can see this comfy dress in my mind. I can feel it in my fingers. And now I want it. (I’m a size medium btw)

Will you take the red pill, or the blue pill?

Hopefully by now I’ve done my job as Morpheus, and convinced you to take the red pill.

Go forth and stop time. Be specific. Be unexpected. Use tangible, sensory language. Make your reader FEEL something.

If Keanu of all people can evoke emotion, you can too.
If Keanu of all people can evoke emotion, you can too.

PS. If you run a copy test, make sure you’re not changing anything else on the page. You can read more about testing best practices here, or hire Objeqt to run your next test.

e-Commerce copywriting

No matter what’s being sold, buying is inherently emotional. Getting people to buy without an emotional connection just doesn’t work very often, much like Keanu Reeves these days. Buying is emotional. People get invested in their purchases, both literally and figuratively.