September 8, 2021

Writing Powerful Product Features: The What, Why, and How

In this post you'll learn:

Product features explain to customers what they’ll get from your product. Here’s everything you need to know about determining and writing product features.

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No two products are the same. 

You can have two very similar products, but there’s a good chance there are at least one or two things that set them apart. Often, the “things that set them apart” come in the form of product features, and differentiate one product from every other product in the market. 

What are product features?

Product features are things your product has or does. They’re the functionality, the attributes, and the capabilities - even the visual characteristics of your product are a feature. They essentially differentiate your product from similar ones on the market and give customers a preview of what they’ll get if they buy. 

For example, the battery life of a laptop is a feature, but so is the fabric of a chiffon dress. If your product integrates with hundreds of other products, that’s a feature. So is a rose gold frame or case. Anything that refers to what your product looks like, what it does, and how it’s different can be considered a feature.

In most cases, great product features fall into three categories:

  1. Physical features: such as the material your product is made from, its color and design, or if it has a state-of-the-art component 
  2. Functional features: such as the capabilities of your product, the things that it does, and how it works 
  3. Added value features: such as the services and extras that come with your product or whether it has something that elevates it above others in the same market, like an innovative production process
nomad product description

For example, the features of this Nomad wireless charger include physical features (ultra-thin 18 coil design), functional features (charges three devices at once), and added value features (FreePower firmware update). 

The difference between features and benefits

Product features are an important factor in the decision-making process, but benefits are even more so. While features show the tangible attributes customers will get, benefits show them what problems your product will help solve and how it will make their lives or businesses easier. 

Research by CBInsights shows that 42% of shutdown startups that launched a product didn’t solve a valid customer problem, which is likely the reason they shut down. 

Benefits are the outcomes or results customers get when they use your product. For example, the long battery life of a laptop is a nice-to-have feature, but what does that really mean? It means customers don’t have to carry their charger around and can work remotely for a long period of time. These are the benefits. 

Features and Benefits Examples

Let’s use the wireless charger example above to compare product features and benefits: 

Feature

  • Full surface wireless charging 
  • Charges three devices at once 
  • Ultra-thin coil design
  • Up to 7.5W charging speed

Benefit

  • Ease of use, no wires
  • Fast and convenient
  • Easy to carry around 
  • Quick to charge
mailchimp product description

Now let’s take another example. In this screenshot from email marketing platform Mailchimp’s website, they talk about the benefits of its features and how they will help customers solve their biggest pain points. 

How to represent product features to attract and convert

There is no “right way” to represent features on your product pages. 

In fact, the presentation of your features will depend on the kind of product you’re selling and the industry you’re in. For example, consumer products that are sold online often have quick bullet points to list out their features (probably linked to the way mega-marketplace Amazon displays features), while software companies and B2B brands are more likely to showcase features as solutions. 

When writing out your product features, think about: 

  • What customers need to know: for example, fashion brands should list materials and size, while software companies might need to explain features in terms of benefits and solutions since they can be complex to understand 
  • How to display them: will you go for a classic bulleted list like Amazon or dedicate an entire page to list out columns of features like BigCommerce does in the example below?
bigcommerce product description
  • Scaling product features: there’s a good chance your product has a lot of features to mention and it can be time-consuming (and repetitive) listing them all out over and over again. Using a tool like Jarvis can help you populate your product reviews, descriptions, and features without the extra effort
  • Prioritizing and grouping features: it can help to prioritize the most important features first, but you can also group similar features to help customers who have specific needs 
  • Why it matters: you can have the flashiest features in the world, but if you don’t show why they matter to customers, they’re not going to convert into sales

Creating your product features: everything you need to know 

Marketers and product teams are often so entrenched in the product development process that they struggle to pick out the most important features. You might be particularly proud of a certain feature, but it might not be the most beneficial for customers, which is why it’s important to explore the customer perspective when writing your product features and displaying them on your site. 

This is also true when writing product features for your product roadmap. After all, you’re trying to get stakeholder buy-in, so it’s crucial that you explain the features in a way that shows why they’re important. 

1. Identify Customer Needs

First things first, you need to know what your customers want and need. What problem are they trying to solve? What kind of features will make their lives easier or make them look better or save them time? 

Your product features should be a direct reflection and a direct response to your customer’s key requirements. If you don’t meet their needs, they’re not going to buy, and you might end up balled into that 42% of startups that have to shut down. 

How to Identify Customer Needs: 

  • Listen to customer feedback 
  • Invite customers to take a survey or questionnaire
  • Monitor most-used features

2. Create Features That Match These Needs

Once you have a better understanding of what your customers want, you can build or incorporate features that fit those needs. 

For example, if customer feedback shows people want a softer fabric on the mules you sell, use a softer fabric. If survey results show that users want your project management tool to include better insights than others available on the market, listen to them.

teamwork product description

Teamwork’s features tackle some of the key pain points project managers have. 

3. Test Product Features

You might find that customers say they want a new feature but then rarely use it (it happens!). This is why it’s important to test your features to see if there’s much demand for them and whether they’re solving the problems you want them to solve. 

Check in with customers regularly to get their feedback, track your product’s features that are used the most, tweak solutions to better align with changing consumer needs, and get your feature messaging right every single time. 

Why it’s crucial to incorporate product features into your roadmap

Your product roadmap is a high-level summary of your product strategy. It includes what your product aims to do, how it aims to do that, and what features it has that will help the product management process. It essentially communicates to internal and external stakeholders the what and why behind your product and highlights the backlog that needs to be created. 

So, as you can imagine, product features fit snugly in a roadmap - in fact, you could say they’re essential for a roadmap. 

Understanding what customers want from product features and relaying them in a roadmap is absolutely crucial for product managers to show stakeholders that there’s a need for a particular product feature. Without the go-ahead, you won’t be able to get started on your strategic plan or take your product to market (and will, inevitably, end up in that 42% of failed startups). 

In most cases, product features fit into the tactical components of your product roadmap:

  • Strategic components 
  • Theme: the overall objective of the product
  • Epic: the focus of the product 
  • Tactical components
  • Features: the attributes of a product
  • Story: the elements that make up a feature
  • Task: the actions required to build or create a feature 

Including product features as an important part of your tactical roadmap shows stakeholders and developers that you’ve thought about what customers need from your product. It also helps you envisage the customer experience and design how the end-user will benefit from your product. 

Finding the top dog: product feature prioritization 

It can be easy to get carried away with thinking up wild and wonderful new product features. After all, you want your product to stand out from others on the market, and giving it a load of cool features seems like a surefre way to do that.
However, it’s important that you really consider what your target market wants from you and why they want it from you. This will set the scene for prioritizing the most beneficial features and showcasing them on your site and on product pages in a way that resonates with potential customers. 

docusign product description

For example, DocuSign focuses its features on the biggest benefits they give to customers and lists them in that order.

brooklinen product description

Whereas Brooklinen displays product features in a bulleted list, starting with the type of fill and where the product is made - this might be a result of customers expressing an interest in a product with a down cluster fill that’s made somewhere other than China. 

How to Prioritize Product Features:

  • Identify top customer wants and needs
  • Determine how features add value for customers
  • Start with your product goals and address your product roadmap 
  • Rank features based on the metrics that matter to your business

How Jarvis helps you write and scale product features

Jarvis’ powerful AI technology creates key feature and benefit bullet point lists, similar to the style that’s regularly shown on Amazon. With the Amazon product features Template, brands simply enter information about their products, including the most important features and benefits, and Jarvis creates a variety of different versions of a feature list. You can favorite the result generated and come back to them time and time again, making it quick and easy to replicate product feature lists. 

jarvis amazon product description template

Ready to level up your product features and attract more customers? Start a free trial of Jarvis today.

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Meet the author

Austin Distel
CMO at Jarvis.ai

Austin Distel is an entrepreneur, author, and adventure addict. He's leads marketing at Conversion.ai, when he's not going on international adventures you can find him working on his laptop at a trendy brewery in East, Austin. Follow him on the internet and around the world at Distel.com.

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