What are legal requirements for product copy?

There are legal requirements for product copy, and here they are.

Material content

Content refers to what the product is made of. If you are selling clothing you need to include what the fabric’s fiber content is and the percentage of each material. (100% Polyester, 80% Cotton 20% Linen, that kind of thing.) It isn’t tricky, it just needs to be there. There is an SEO opportunity in content because you can create a page for most content, say a page on how great linen is, or why Polyester is better for active sports. For more information about using content for creating internal pages download the Smart Shopify SEO Builder as well. 

Country of origin

This is another important and easy thing to add to your copy. If you are not the manufacturer, and you aren’t sure what the country of origin is, check the product’s tag. Manufacturers are required to list the country of origin on every product. Your distributor will also be able to tell you. Creating meaningful product pages about country of origin to link to is often a stretch, however if the country of origin is unique or has meaning to the buyer it can be very relevant. Made in the USA is often worth promoting if you are selling to the USA.  It is a bit of a buzzkill when your Irish Knit Sweater is made in Sri Lanka, but you are still required to list it. 


It should go without saying that making false claims about a product is illegal. Finding the hard edge of truth can be challenging when products are very new or untested claims. Be especially careful about making specific health claims and always check with your lawyer before making any claims. In general, if you find yourself saying “Well it could…”, don’t talk yourself into anything. Focusing on solving customers’ problems will do you more good than trying to fake a benefit.  

But no one else does it…

It’s pretty easy to find examples of non-compliance. You can almost certainly get away with not listing content and country of origin. Here’s why you should bother: It’s easy to do and the end result helps your customer. Many people will make an effort to buy goods from countries they feel connected to. Many people won’t buy items made of certain materials. Linen wrinkles, cotton is a bad choice for on the water gear, polyester is bad for the environment. You can’t know your customers’ thinking on what an item is made from, but you can give them the choice. Google rewards complete information and more importantly, customers trust sites that provide complete information. Leaving them out may not get you served with a cease and desist letter, but putting them in will get you trust, and trust is priceless.