Formatting Amazon Descriptions, A Little Goes A Long Way

As we all know, your product descriptions are hugely important when selling online.  They are part of my E-commerce Holy Trinity along with Pictures and Titles.  Thanks to twitter however a friend of mine brought to my attention some of the confusion surrounding Amazon descriptions and what is and isn’t allowed in the Amazon catalogue.

A quick search online will throw up plenty of forums stating that absolutely no formatting is allowed in Amazon descriptions at all.  It must just be plain text which describes the product.  I am not going to link to said forums etc as they are largely incorrect.  Basic formatting is allowed on your Amazon descriptions and here I am hopefully going to show you, how you can do it, and what a difference it will make to hopefully bring you more sales.

It is no secret that I think descriptions are a hugely important ingredient in your perfect listing recipe.  As you may remember the first E-commerce in Plain English Podcast covered “Descriptions that sell” If you haven’t heard it yet, then click the link here and give it a listen.  The key for your description is to make it concise, descriptive (obviously) but importantly easy to read.  With a bit of formatting help we can make descriptions really easy to read and therefore increase the likelihood of a conversion.  Amazon want its marketplace sellers to create listings that fit in with their catalogue.  There are limitations to how much formatting you can do, unfortunately you wont be able to go to town like a true Amazon listing such as there Kindle descriptions.  So no pretty graphics, embedded video’s or photos are allowed, we are going back to basics here but it can make a difference if done properly.

What you can do

Now by no means am I an HTML expert and never would I profess to be, but with a few simple HTML tags you can quickly emphasise and structure your descriptions to make them clearer and easier to read than a plain text paragraph.  I imagine most readers will know these tags already but in case you don’t here are a few you can use when entering your amazon product description.

A  very  quick intro to HTML.  You have an opening and a close tag if you want to cause an effect to whatever is in between the tags.  If you want to insert one piece of formatting on the page then you only need to add that tag once per effect (no opening and closing). I haven’t explained that very well but the below examples should help.

<b> </b> – These are a simple bold tag.  Everything that is in between these tags will appear in bold text.  This is perfect for sections of a description that you want to separate or important parts you want to highlight.  n example of how to use this would be: “<b> Technical Specifications </b>”

<br> – This is the tag for a line break.  You can insert these to insert a line break in your description.  Perfect for making sure there is a difference between two paragraphs or drawing attention to a different section of your description. An example of this would be: “this is the end of one paragraph. <br> This is the start of the second.”


– These are the tags needed to create bullet points in your listing.  The ul tag stands for unordered list and everything in between them it will know to put in bullet points.  The li tags are there to differentiate the different bullet points.  It’s really simple when you see it in practice so here you go:

The bullet point list


<li> this is a bullet point </li>

<li> and so is this one</li>


By utilising these simple HTML tags you can make a massive difference to how your Amazon product description looks, and increases the chances of someone buying your product.  Now for a few live examples.

How not to do an Amazon description

I am not a fan of naming and shaming and that’s why I want to look at the positives for this link I am about to provide.  The title is straightforward and states exactly what the product is.  The picture is good and shows the product with a plain white background although the resolution could be a little better.  However the description is awful.  Take a look here .

Not only is it all in capital letters which is a huge pet hate of mine, but it is all bunched together and as it is in Caps and only over two lines it makes it very easy to miss if you are just scanning the page.  It doesn’t look professional and makes it look like an incomplete product page.

How to do an Amazon Description

The next example is a fantastic showcase of product description formatting being used.  There is not much I can really add to this description other than to show you it so you can see first hand.  This product is courtesy of Better Bathrooms and can be seen here .   They have used the bold tags to effectively distinguish titles and sections in the section, and they have used line breaks instead of bullet points to list specifications.  I’m sure you can agree this looks much better and all that has been used is some basic HTML and a little bit of time to get the description looking right.

With just a bit of time spent getting your product descriptions right and making them easy for potential customers to read then you greatly improve your chances of converting on Amazon.  Remember you create your Amazon product once and it stays in the catalogue forever so make sure you make it as good as it can be from the beginning.

If you have any comments or questions then please as always leave a comment below or send an email.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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