Sell the Sizzle, not the Steak

Last week we discussed how providing a substantial amount of information about your products can help increase sales. Here are two more examples. The first involves a company that asked me to do a review of their website. They were getting lots of traffic, but almost no sales, and they couldn’t figure out why. Their competitor was getting a large number of sales.

This was actually pretty simple to spot as an outsider. The first company had a small image of their products (pond pumps), a part number, and a price. That was it. I guess they thought that anyone looking for a pond pump must know what they were looking for. Their competitor however had detailed product specifications with power consumption figures, discharge rates, and various graphs. The description included the height, width, and weight of the pump, the material it was made from, and whether or not it was partially or totally. All the information that a customer needed to make an informed decision before clicking on the “add to cart button” was provided. No wonder the second company was making sales and the first one wasn’t.

Our second example shows quite clearly how providing in depth information about your product can really help make the sale. This story is about a cowboy who lives in northern Wyoming. Each year he buys himself a new cowboy hat, and sells his old one on eBay. Now what do you think a used cowboy hat would sell for, especially one that is beat up and doesn’t have much wear left in it? As it turns out, this enterprising fellow sells his used hat for considerably more than a new one! Rather than just saying “used cowboy hat for sale”, he goes to great lengths to describe all of the adventures he’s had while wearing that hat. If he fell off his horse into a river, he’ll talk about that. If he saw a bear while wearing that hat, he’ll describe that. He’s not just selling a hat, he’s selling an adventure.

This is key when selling products on the internet. Customers can’t see your product, other than through the pictures you provide. Obviously this is a good reason for having multiple high quality images of your product from multiple angles. They can’t feel the product or ask you questions. It is your job to sell the product, and to do this, you must make your description do the selling for you.