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New strategies for updating product descriptions

Reading Time 7 mins | March 14, 2024 | Written by: Adela Schneider

Fresh delicious apple, a still edible apple and a rotten apple with the words

Conventional product content update strategies have been limited by the time and effort required for manual copy editing. Automated updating opens up new ways of updating, resulting in product descriptions that seamlessly adapt to any changes.

How long will product content last?  How often will it need to be added to, updated, thoroughly revised, or completely rewritten? With ever-changing market trends, product features, and consumer preferences, answering these questions is not easy.

The traditional idea that product descriptions are written and therefore final (or at least final for a very long time) as we know it from print catalogs is no longer valid.Constant updating has become essential to stay relevant and competitive.

Outdated content harms search engine rankings and erodes customer trust

Static, outdated content not only leads to poor search engine rankings, but also erodes customer trust. As the digital marketplace continues to evolve, companies need to dynamically adapt their product descriptions to stay ahead of the competition.

Whether it's price adjustments, the introduction of new products or changes in specific product categories, improving SEO strategies, seasonal updates, the introduction of new technologies, or keeping up with the ever-changing fashion trends in many industries, continuous copy adaptation is essential to ensure that product descriptions dynamically and seamlessly adapt to the fast pace of business.

Manual updates are a drain on resources

Constant product updates, seasonal changes, and market dynamics make it challenging to create accurate and engaging product descriptions. Manually updating product descriptions one by one-especially for large online stores or product categories with frequently changing features-can be time-consuming and costly. 

Until now: Avoidance strategies for frequent and large-scale updates.

Because this manual update effort is usually beyond the capacity of the content team, strategies are developed to minimize the need for updates. These are not always deliberate choices, such as long intervals between updates. Rather, product descriptions, their creation, and their maintenance are designed at many levels to minimize the need to touch them. However, this wastes the potential of product copy that seamlessly adapts to change. 

New strategies for designing, creating, and maintaining product descriptions

Data-to-text systems make it easy to perform updates that would be difficult to do manually. Updating is already part of the text creation process: any change to product data automatically updates the corresponding text.  For example, if a product's dimensions change, this change is reflected in all generated text. Not only are the numbers adjusted, but the descriptions are updated as well. For example, "a medium display" becomes "a large display". Such changes are made at the product level, so each individual product is always up to date. 

For additional changes that are not covered by the data, you can make manual adjustments in the project. These changes only need to be checked once. Changes to rules or parameters in a text project are quickly reflected in all of its related product descriptions. This eliminates the need to edit or proofread each piece of text individually.

What's possible now with automation

Content update strategies without automation

Strategies with automatic copy updates (data-to-text)

No product copy for products with short update cycles.

(Product) copy for all products and all categories

No update for any minor changes to the product 

Auto-update with every change to the product data 

Latest possible update (as a one-time action)

Scheduled updates at exactly the right time (routines) 

Update activities always in larger units, such as product groups.

Continuous asymmetrical updates, i.e. changes at different points in the copy or within the product range.

If product copy is outdated, new copy is written (which is expensive)

The boundary between "old" and "new" copy disappears. The copies are now dynamic and always up to date. 





Adela Schneider

Adela's main focus at AX Semantics is the conception of e-learning and the development of the didactic framework of teaching materials. For years, she has been intensively researching what constitutes a great text and how it is created, especially in the professional field. She is also fascinated by the possibilities and limits of generative AI and is thinking about the future development of writing in the context of new writing technologies.