Written by Michael Fenech
The e-commerce space is getting hotter. More and more people are being driven towards setting up an online store to sell products and live happily ever after.
While this sounds good, there is more to e-commerce success than just picking any random product and selling container loads of them.
Whether we like it or not, when we buy a product online, we go through many mental processes and thoughts in order to make a decision and part ways with our hard-earned cash.
What role does the product play in this decision-making process?
Let’s dissect these key characteristics.
The product must appeal to a big market
If you want to sell something that only a small group of people are interested in, be prepared to have sales that correlate to the size of the niche. In other words, small niches generally mean small sales.
Just remember, to launch a product online, it’s the same amount of effort whether it’s a huge niche with thousands of sales per day or just a handful of sales per day.
So armed with this knowledge, a key factor a product must have is data. And the data we want to extract is demand.
Now there are many tools out there to discover product demand. A good place to learn about the demand for a product is Google Trends. As an example, if you type in Fidget Spinners, you will see in the graph a huge spike in demand for when this fad was going crazy.
Depending on where you’re selling online, there are tools to measure demand for each specific marketplace such as Amazon, Shopify and other online marketplaces.
The key thing to take from this is that you cannot sell a secret. You need a niche with a solid amount of search volume per month.
You must convey a big brand vibe to the consumer
In order to fully grasp the branding characteristic of a product, we first need to define what a brand is and isn’t.
Firstly, a logo isn’t a brand. A logo is just a graphic element with no real meaning. The brand element is a person’s perception or feeling about a product, service, experience or company.
Now I will say, there are multiple meanings of what a brand is. But when you think about your favorite brands, they are usually anchored to a particular feeling you have.
As an example, consider Apple. People may think of the Apple brand and feel or perceive the brand as cool products, innovation, well-designed, simple to use and so on.
Back to the logo, if people do have a strong perception about your products or organization, the logo then becomes a visual reminder of those feelings.
So, let’s tie this back to your e-commerce product. The brand for your e-commerce products must help communicate a certain feeling to those who come across it.
Everything from your images, design, copy, marketing and personality need to paint a picture in the person’s mind. They should feel good when interacting with your brand or they believe what you stand for.
You must get this all right, but what is even more important in e-commerce is having a brand that people can feel they trust. Why? Because when people are about to spend money with you online, they need to feel comfortable.
So the big takeaway here is to brand like a billion-dollar company. Make people feel great and gain as much trust as you can. Ensure there are no friction points from when they add to the cart to ultimately checking out.
Your product needs to have USP
Unique selling proposition (USP) is something you’ll want to spend time on when developing your product. This is the number one thing to get right to give your products the best chance of success.
The reason USP is so important is that when people are buying things online, they are only thinking about themselves and their needs. As they scan the page looking at each product offer, they are making mental micro judgments on everything they see: That doesn’t suit me, I don’t like that pattern, I need something bigger, This looks too small and so on.
So with your USP, you need to design your product in a way that allows the person to think, wow, that’s clever, or oooh, that will make my life easier.
The mental micro judgment you need the consumer to make about your product has to be a positive one. This will help you stand out in the customer’s mind.
Here is an example to embed this learning because it’s important.
Let’s say you’re selling coffee cups. You have had a look at the competition and you notice that not one coffee cup has a handle.
You decide your USP will be adding a handle that makes drinking coffee more comfortable because people’s hands won’t get burned.
So, imagine your new coffee cup with great USP is now amongst the competition online. Consumers are making all those mental micro judgments. They come across your product and think, whoa, that is cool. I love my coffee and I need that handle or I’m getting this, I hate burning my hands.
Can you see where I’m leading you? I want your product to solve problems, make life easier, be convenient and easier to use.
All this awesome USP will turn the mental micro judgments made about your products into positive ones. Those positive thoughts will give you a much higher chance of converting the click into a sale.
To summarize, you want the customer to feel as though you have thought of them and all of their needs when they see your product. If you can elicit that feeling, you will give yourself the best chance to win.
If you don’t have a great USP, you are merely another me too product that will get lost amongst the crowd.
Next time you buy something online, observe the thoughts that go through your head. Look at the product you buy and ask yourself this simple question: Why did I buy this?
You will find the answer comprises everything about your needs.
If your product has these traits, you are giving yourself the best possible chance for success. E-commerce is a tough game. If you get the simple things right, you could find yourself scrambling for money to keep up with demand.
Just remember, you can’t sell a secret, you need to have demand, brand like a billion-dollar company to convey trust and design your product in a way that solves problems.
Make people feel as though you have thought of them and they easily identify their needs with your product.