Having had a bit of time to go through applicants, I should mention there are things that can reduce the likelihood of being featured if found in your website content. The first is inappropriate phrasing to describe your products and the second is inappropriate descriptions of your company. Actually, this goes beyond the Refine My Line series; these things can turn off buyers too so the effects go far beyond RML selection. Here’s what I mean and how to fix it:
Inappropriate company descriptions:
Many new businesses (in any field) describe themselves in terms of what they are not – a position of weakness. You don’t have much going for you if you belittle someone you can only aspire to compete with your competitor (imagine Apple advertising that they’re not Microsoft). Do you really want “least worst” to be what defines you? There was a software vendor at SPESA whose tag line on every piece of collateral was “We are not a PLM!” in huge font. I abstained from reviewing their product because I lacked the means to define their PLM-like product in any other terms. It also brings to mind the old expression, “a weak man compares his strengths to another man’s weaknesses”. If your only strength is that you are not your competitor, you could end up doing your competitor a favor by attracting their mal-contents who expend more grief than money.
In sewn products, it is tragically common for startups to define themselves as not being a sweatshop, not being mass produced (whatever that means), or whatever. It’s a turn off -and a double standard because some mass produced products are evidently okay with people, such as cars, cell phones, computers etc. It leaves the impression one is a wannabe rather than a newbie. Wannabes are universal in that they tend to be deprecating toward an industry to which they claim to belong. It’s better to get rid of this kind of verbiage; it’s not professional.
Inappropriate product descriptions:
Part and parcel of the above are related product descriptions. I visited one site that had the following words used over and over: unique (3x), quality (3x), one-of-a-kind (3x), vintage styling, couture (3x), beautiful (3x), designer (2x), custom and crafty. “Crafty” might sell to the Etsy crowd but for nearly all others, it’s the kiss of death. Quality doesn’t mean anything without context and value. One of a kind and custom is a turn off because buyers want the item exactly as depicted. Unique can mean ubiquitous, beautiful is in the eye of the beholder and unless you’re a syndicate member, it is not couture no matter what you call it.
It is not so much that these are so overused that they mean nothing, it’s that hollow adjectives come at the expense of providing good information. Writing better garment and product descriptions is more useful, precise and lends a finer patina of professionalism. [Ideally, your descriptions could be cut and paste from your collateral onto your retailer’s websites and believe me, no retailer is going to copy anything that deprecates other lines they carry!] Don’t forget, buyers hesitate to place orders from vendors because they fear you won’t make delivery and they fear they won’t know that until it’s too late to fill in that hole in their merchandising mix. Using good product descriptions is one way to convey credibility and viability.