Today we’d like to take a look at the psychology of online consumerism since so many of our Internet clients are in the business of selling a product or service. When you’re on the other side of the register as a consumer:
- When will you opt to purchase the more expensive of two similar items?
- When do you drive out of your way for a particular service?
- What prompts you to spread the word about an experience you’ve had with a company?
The answers to all three questions are similar. Something sets the company apart as extraordinary.
We’d like to share Scott and Linda’s story. They wanted to freshen up the look of their kitchen without incurring a lot of expense. We think their story will aptly demonstrate how a buyer approaches Internet purchasing:
After seeing a segment about countertop refinishing on a morning show, Linda researched countertop refinishing kits on the Internet. Of course she came up with many search results, but like most people, stuck to the first two pages of the 159,000 links that appeared.
Linda quickly discovered that there were an abundance of companies that offered these kits. Now she had to educate herself about color selection, durability, application techniques, and price-point expectations.
She was led to YouTube where she watched several videos about product application. She read through people’s feedback and opinions, viewed samples, and selected the look she liked and the application method Scott would prefer (considering this would move to the top of his honey-do list!).
Now that Linda knew what she wanted, she refined her search to select the company from which to purchase the materials. The one that continually caught her eye during her search to purchase was also a website she’d frequented during her research phase. The company was very professional, clear and concise in its demonstration videos, had pages of customer-submitted before and after pictures, and listed scores of glowing reviews from their customers.
The spokesperson on the website even showed customers how they could create their own color and pattern variations if they did not like the standard ones available in the kits. This was a feature both Scott and Linda loved because they wanted to achieve a look that was a cross between what two kits offered.
None of these benefits closed the deal, however, until Linda came across negative reviews on the website. Customers who had complaints about the company’s product or service ultimately led Scott and Linda to decide to purchase from this company. Understanding why is where businesses like yours can overcome a marketing flaw that so many people make—removing negative feedback in an effort to save face.
This company left customers’ negative comments in their feedback section and then tacked on all of their correspondence regarding the matter. What this demonstrated to Scott and Linda was integrity and ownership. It proved that the company didn’t scrub their site (remove any negative remarks) in the name of making themselves look better. They addressed everything from product complaints when they switched suppliers, to shipping snafus when they were overwhelmed with orders after appearing on the morning show. Any potential customer could clearly see that if they encountered a problem, the company would take care of them promptly and to their satisfaction.
To Scott and Linda, this peace of mind was worth the extra 30% they wound up paying by ordering the kit from this company versus a less expensive competitor with kits that looked the same. The alternate company appeared to have the same type of product line, but had a minimal online presence that indicated that it would back its products if their customers encountered a problem. This example illustrates that what a company doesn’t say can be detrimental to their sales.
The lesson you can apply to your business marketing is this: Embrace opportunities to show your potential customers how they will benefit from doing business with you. Prove that customers should go the extra mile or pay a premium price for your product or service. Set yourself apart as extraordinary. Work your site and publically own and correct your mistakes, proving that while your company may not be infallible, it will make things right with the customer every time. This has turned out to be marketing genius for the companies who do it right. Will yours be one of those companies?
If you want to take your website to the next level, integrate your social media platforms, or set up a customer feedback or photo submission page, please contact one of our web design consultants to learn more.