Let’s doff our caps a moment for old-school shopping. Bricks and mortar, tangible products, shop assistants – yep, human ones – right there in front of you, asking how they can help.
Of course, we didn’t talk about this kind of thing back then, but education was intrinsic to what seemed like such a simple process. And now, here we are with a way of shopping that’s totally different – but human nature isn’t. And customers, your customers, crave education for empowerment to go ahead, to buy.
Here’s a whistlestop tour along the buying cycle, looking at how you can turn browsers to buyers with the learning lure.
Hopefully you already have a good idea of who your ideal customer is – you think of them as human-beings, have evidence of what makes them tick, where (else) they shop, and what they search for most online.
But most important to know is their problem, their pain. Get to grips with this, and with exactly how your product is the solution – put that across clearly, and they’re in. Thousands of new products are launched every year, around 90% of them fail – and mostly because, frankly, they’re pointless. Not enough customers see the point of buying them.
Take the fridge. In the 40s you were in the 2% if you had one, but today we all do – it’s an essential. How was it marketed? Did anyone want something big, loud and clunky cluttering up their kitchen? Nope. We were told that leftovers were bad, that refrigeration was needed – the product was secondary, it was all about how it would change our day-to-day.
So, think fridge. Sell your product and your brand in a contextual way, that spells out exactly how it’ll positively impact life. Think of your customer as someone proactive, that you admire, but that’s also an egoist. They don’t care about your products or services, just about themselves.
Before adding to basket, today’s customer is on it with the research. You might have heard of some companies who’re big on this – Apple, Ikea, ASOS – just 3 of the many giants out there reaping the rewards of stuffing their site experience with education. Their marketers are dishing out industry news, trend reports and product guides to customers and engaging them with social that’s destined for sharing. Browsers then buy, and crucially too, they also promote.
It’s at this crucial moment that the demand for trust swerves in front. Your customer needs to feel in safe hands, certain they’re in the right place. So, by this point your brand needs to have built a firm connection with them.
Having a blog is one way many eCommerce businesses build this trust. Sure, they’re to boost traffic too, but a blog stacked with deprecating wisdom and sharp opinion will help sell your brand on a very human level.
‘Social proof’ is another way. That’s the Psychology world’s term for how we like to know that others have made the decision that we’re about to. So here think reviews, social sharing, case studies, testimonials – have clues everywhere that this is a road both trodden and loved.
When the groundwork of trust-building is done and dusted, at this stage in the journey, the customer should be about buying and nothing else. Now’s the time to remove anything in their way, and strip the checkout back as far as you can go.
Educating customers doesn’t stop when the transaction goes through – far from it. Existing customers tend to spend more than new ones, so big businesses always have at least one eye on driving loyalty. The trick is in making your site, along with other channels you use, enticing enough, so that even in today’s content-drenched world, your message is just impossible to ignore.