Beat Your Online Retail Competition By Fulfilling Your Customers’ “Wants”

Some of you may remember the 1960s, as depicted in the popular TV series, Mad Men. In those days, the theme was, "Sell The Sizzle, Not The Steak." Or the earlier days, when venerable advertising pioneer, Claude Hopkins, said, make it seem as though you unselfishly have the customer's interests at heart, and they will embrace you. Well, guess what? Those days have never left us, so it's even more relevant today to understand what motivates people to buy. And why retailers who make their products sizzle make more sales and beat their eCommerce online retail competition.

Customer wants are directed by their emotions, so if retailers understand the emotional reasons why your customers buy, you can begin to trigger these emotions, says George Torok, in Why Do We Buy? Don't make the mistake of thinking that people buy what they need -- they buy what they want, Torok says. Needs are driven by logic while wants are driven by emotions. Does she really need that red blouse or designer shoes? Does he need the Galaxy 500? Or the iPhone5? It's all related to emotions as opposed to needs.

People basically buy things that make them feel good, save money, help learn, entertain, make life healthy and comfortable, and save time and effort. Those can be exactly the basic products you sell -- from granola to Gran Torinos -- but you have to put them in a desirable disguise, i.e. appeal to people's wants, not to their needs. Even Upstream Commerce's Pricing & Assortment Intelligence solutions represent products that save retailers hours and hours of work and help them make more profit, so retailers want them (as well as need them). 

Five reasons people are known to buy are based on love, pride, guilt, fear, and greed:

1. Pride: People like to be proud of something they've got or done. A big TV or a new car, for example.

2. Fear: Fear is what has caused humanity to survive, but a different kind of fear takes hold today: Fear of missed opportunities; of embarrassment; of being left out; of not being "hip"; and many more you can think of for yourself.

3. Love/Emotion: Customers buy for someone or something they love (family, pets, business, hobbies, books personal time). Remind them of this. Remember, you're not selling cat food, you're selling their pet's well being.

4. Greed: The greedy want more and will pay for it. That explains the SUV's, Neiman-Marcus Christmas Catalog and Gordon Gecko saying (in the movie Wall Street), "Sell to the greedy, not the needy".

5. Guilt: Why does someone buy something new, invest money, or give a gift? "Can the guilt of not buying something motivate your prospect into buying? Can you use guilt to up sell? Are you guilty of not tapping into your prospects' emotions - and missing sales?

Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line

Retailers will be successful when they market and sell to the emotional wants of their customers. Retailers have to look at, not the actual product customers need, but what they want and why, even if it's the exact, same product, but this time it's presented in a way to arouse the "want" emotion. If you do this, Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational will be proud of you -- and so will your pricing intelligence bottom line.

(Credits to: George Torok and SEOlab). 

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Gilon Miller, CMO

About Author

Gilon is a seasoned marketing, sales and business development executive with over 15 years of experience in the software and Internet business. He is the Founder and CEO of GuruShots. Previously, Gilon was the CMO of Upstream Commerce, VP of Marketing at iMDsoft and Director of Global Marketing at SAP. He earned an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.
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