The Value-Added Approach to
by: Cary Christian
The other day I was
considering buying a new 3 wood (a golf club for those of you who don't
follow golf). I hadn't been hitting mine very well and thought it might have
something to do with too little loft and the wrong shaft.
So I set out visiting various golf sites on the web to see if I could find a
good deal on a new one. I found the club I wanted on six or seven sites and
selected the site with the best price. As I began completing the order
form I realized that I had a problem. If, as I thought, I wasn't hitting my
3 wood well because it had the wrong loft and shaft, how would I know my new
club wouldn't have the same problems? Should I just arbitrarily get a club
with more loft and a less stiff shaft? How would I know that would be any
So I backed out of the order form and started searching the site for
information that would help me determine what the correct loft and shaft
type would be for me. And I searched in vain. The information was not there.
At best, my purchase from this site was deferred. At worst, the site lost a
Can this happen to you with what you sell on your website? Do you provide
all the information and assistance your customers will need to purchase from
you intelligently or will they have to look elsewhere? If they have to look
elsewhere, they are likely to purchase elsewhere also.
Never make the assumption that people always know exactly what they're
looking for when they are shopping. They don't. They know they want an item,
but if there are various choices available and different price ranges for a
product, doubt will creep in. Doubt can ultimately cause your customer to
defer the purchase or decide to purchase the item in a brick and mortar
store where a salesperson can help them make the decisions that must be
If you can remove the doubt associated with the purchasing decision, you
will make the sale. How do you do this? By bundling services with your
products in a very clear and straightforward manner.
In most cases, the service you are bundling will be information. In other
cases, it might be telephone installation support. Whatever it is, it will
involve your determining what difficulties a potential customer might be
confronted with when considering your products. Give this some serious
thought. Identify those points that might cause your customers
discomfort and then give your best effort to integrating the answers into
your sales process.
When I was completing the order form for my 3 wood, a separate page was
displayed asking me for the loft and flex I wanted on the club. These
questions were the only ones on an otherwise empty page. The site could have
erased my discomfort in any of three ways:
1. Since the page was largely empty, they could have included a brief
discussion of loft and flex along with recommendations right there on the
2. They could have included a button that opened a pop-up screen with
information on selecting the proper loft and flex.
3. They could have provided a link to another page or even another website
that opened in a new browser window and addressed my concerns but left my
order form open in the background.
Any one of these three options would have resulted in an immediate sale as
long as my concerns were adequately addressed.
The site could also have had links to this type of helpful information on
the pages where the products are displayed or could have provided a separate
section devoted to choosing the proper equipment. The method selected is not
so important as long as the information is readily available.
Ask yourself these three simple questions:
* How do my customers use my products?
* When using my products, what features and benefits are, or should be,
important to the customer?
* What do I need to tell the customer about those features to make sure they
get the benefit they desire and understand exactly what they need to order?
Address these information needs and you will increase the sales conversion
ratio of your site.
Copyright © 2001, all rights reserved