Know What You re Selling Ecommerce Messaging drillWhen a customer walks into a hardware store asking for an electric drill, what is that customer looking to purchase?

“A drill,” you say to yourself. “Duh.”

Wrong. The person doesn’t want a drill at all.

What the person actually wants and is buying  is a hole–in the wall, in a piece of wood or metal, in concrete. And one that can be gotten quickly, at that. The shopper is looking for the quickest way to a specific result. The electric drill is just the necessary evil required to make the hole that the person needs.

The person is buying a hole.

Why does this matter?

Simple. If you don’t know what your customers are actually buying on your ecommerce site, how can you possibly craft a message that will get them to buy?

Imagine that you are shopping for an electric drill. Consider the following from the DeWalt site:

Know What You're Selling: Ecommerce Messaging

Which message appeals to you more?

Version 1 (lifted from the Bosch listing on the site):

12-Volt 1/4″ Hex Cordless Pocket Driver with Case

  • Compact Design – 6.5″ total length can be carried anywhere
  • LED Light- enables use of tool in low light or dark areas
  • Forward/Reverse button- equally useful at driving or removing screws
  • Quick Change Chuck- prevents bit loss in drill or drive mode- pull to insert or release 1/4″ hex shank bits
  • Magnetized bit holder now supports insert bits
  • 10+1 Clutch – enable precision driving and no over torque in soft base materials – max mode allows pilot and other small bore holes
  • ProVantage Tool and Battery Protection Plan – 3-Year Tool Protection Plan, 2-Year Free Battery Replacement Guarantee, 1-Call Resolution Hotline
  • Includes: (2) 12V Max Lithium-Ion Batteries, 30-Minute Charger, Carrying Case & (2) 1.5″ Power Drive Bits

Version 2 (same specs, not written with the consumer in mind):

12-Volt 1/4″ Hex Cordless Pocket Driver with Case

  • 6.5″ length
  • LED Light
  • Forward/Reverse button
  • Quick Change Chuck
  • Magnetized bit holder
  • 10+1 Clutch
  • ProVantage Tool and Battery Protection Plan
  • Includes: (2) 12V Max Lithium-Ion Batteries, 30-Minute Charger, Carrying Case & (2) 1.5″ Power Drive Bits

Chances are good that you would prefer the first one. It tells you that you can make a hole anywhere (portable size) including in dark or low light areas (LED light) and includes a host of features that will make drilling the hole easier (clutch that prevents over torquing the drill, quick change bits, more than one bit type accepted).

The person looking at drills is buying a hole in the wall (outcome) but wants the process to be as easy as possible (benefits). When the features and functions of a product provide the desired outcome and make it easy to obtain, the consumer is likely to buy. While price ultimately matters (as in, “Do I have enough money to buy this widget?”), the quality of a product or experience still trumps price.

If it seems like I’m splitting hairs, it’s because, in a way, I am, but for a very important reason. To be successful in ecommerce you have to know what your ecommerce customer really wants and then craft messaging that compells them to buy.

With this in mind, what should you do to improve your ecommerce messaging?

  1. Determine what your target customer is actually buying (outcome) for each product or service that you sell.
  2. Craft messaging that includes the product features that make getting that outcome easier/faster/better.

To learn more about how to maximize the success of your ecommerce site, download the white paper, Sell More With Stunning Design—Increase ecommerce conversions and reduce cart abandonment.