Every Product Has a Story

Rob Dumouchel

The one part of doing business on the web is that everyone always seems to forget that you still have to sell your products! You go through all this time, effort, and money to get someone to your web site and when it happens you don’t bring your sales “A” game. It’s an opportunity wasted.

Every day I see web sites and print ads that just show a product and a price. No attempt to sell, no romance, just a picture and a price. That’s great if you’re only dealing with repeat customers but how about the other 90% of people that are just kind of thinking about it. Consider some of the higher dollar purchases that you have made, chances are you decided to make that purchase because someone sold you on that particular item. If you went into a car dealership and asked about a car and all they told you was “2009 Camry, $23,995, sign right here” you would probably bail. Why should your web site be any different?

When I bought my new bike this week I choose it based on an hour long conversation with an experienced sales guy. I had already seen the brochure and done lots of research on the web, but I needed to be sold to actually buy it. The salesman told me why that particular bike would be good for me, how I could modify it to make it better, showed me how all the parts worked, and let me know that the store would do free adjustments for the first year. Now think about your products, what aren’t you telling people? You are the expert on your products and services, act like it! You basically have unlimited space on your website to promote yourself, use it! Put your own pictures on the site not just the stock manufacturer images, show how your product works, share customer stories, do anything that will build value. If a visitor is interested in your product and you build enough value into it via your presentation you will make sales.

One company that I think does an exceptionally good job of selling their product is Trader Joe’s. They send out sales flyers like everyone else in the grocery trade except their’s is completely different. (check out the whole thing here) Instead of staged pictures and a price they’re taking the time to tell a story. I pasted in a short article by Trader Joe’s about goat cheese logs. That’s about as uninteresting as you can get as far as I’m concerned. But look at the way they tell a story that reinforces the brand, sell the product, give you ideas on how you can use it, and build value. That’s a home run!

Now think about the ads you usually get from bigger grocery stores, they’re selling on price alone. You get a picture and a dollar amount. For some people that’s ok because they buy that product every week anyways and just want to know where to get it the cheapest. But for those that want more information you give them no substance.

No one style of presenting a product is absolutely correct. I recommend using a mix of methods. Personally I think the best thing to do it lead off with a condensed big grocery store style price and picture that gets straight to the point, and below that start selling. You have all the space you need, don’t be afraid to tell everyone exactly why they should buy from you. If you don’t try to sell you’re just throwing your ad dollars away.