Selling Online – Savvy Customers

Please let us be triple clear:

The internet has been a revolution in customer information and control, NOT technology.

Yes, Mr Berners-Lee replaced mushroom customers (kept in the dark and fed on you know what) with savvy customers (packed so full of information they could burst).

Glad that’s cleared up.  Now let’s get to a sensible discussion.  What does this mean for online selling and the millions of businesses striving to make a buck or two out there in cyber space?

Selling Language for Savvy Customers

Use customer language NOT company or industry lingo

We all do it.  The business development process is often so long that we obsess about the features of our products, and worse, the techy type language we use becomes ingrained.  You can’t help it.  This same language then gets used to describe your business and products online.  This is a nightmare for savvy customers who don’t see the world like you do, don’t have a clue what you are on about and therefore won’t find you or buy from you.

Benefits to Customers are important NOT features of your products

This is a huge point and represents the biggest challenge for most businesses.  You MUST talk in all of your promotional material, especially your website / webshop, about customer benefits and not harp on about the features of your products.  The difference in language and principles around features and benefits can be quite subtle, but is always massively important.  Don’t forget customers are savvy.  Very savvy.  You need to be savvy too.

Let’s use a real example from Shop Made from this week:

Project – Our new automated ecommerce self service platform Webshop Revolution

Feature – Well loads, but lets just take ‘responsive configurable theme’

Benefit – Works really well on mobile phones and tablets (60% all surfing these days) and can enables you to design your web shop exactly the way the you want – use your own logo, colours, layout and images to create a shop that is unique to you.

So, knowing all that we know about online marketing and savvy customers, all the years of experience that we have in this industry, which of the above did we choose to promote our new venture on our shiny new site?

Yes, you guessed it.  The feature.  I’m not saying that ‘responsive configurable theme’ is total rubbish and we should be embarrassed about using the words on our website.  Not at all.  Many people reading this blog will know exactly what we mean by that, and we say that exact phrase in the Shop Made office around 14 times an hour.

The small problem is that 90% of our target market has no clue what that phrase means.  Worse.  It makes us seem high handed and condescending.  It looks like our site will be just for techies and not the mass ecommerce market.  Getting this wrong can be fatal, getting it right just takes a few moments of reflection.

Take the Customer Perspective

The key is to look from the outside back into your business for a while.  If you always look inside out, you are limiting your chances of success.  Stand in the savvy customer’s shoes – see what they see, take their perspective.  Think like they think.  Does your content make sense now?  Be hyper critical, analyse every word.  Try different words, ideas and themes.  Make it relevant to your customers, not you or your staff or even your generation!

Always use customer language, use the words that they would use and can therefore related to.  Do not, please do not, use the product / business speak that we all slip into and use with each other all day long.  Take a moment, reflect, check it out with people who haven’t been involved in the project to date.  Listen to them.

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