Having spent my formative years as a Merchandiser, I’m really familiar with the choice conundrum. Now I’m viewing the world from a Digital Marketing perspective I am seeing techniques which can really help to calm the noise for customers.
Is there a silver bullet to defining the right amount of choice?
No, but the answer is a commercial point between “minimum credible offer” and “a sea of stuff”. Where your business sits along this line depends on the profile of your business in the context of your competitive landscape.
No matter who you are, minimum credible offer is the amount of options you have to have presented (and available) to look like you are in the game. If your filters consistently return single products, your shelves are shopped out or you don’t have the pillowcases that do with the duvet cover in stock you will lose customers.
At the other end of the spectrum, if your store is physically hard to shop because it’s so full, or if your customers are scrolling through pages and pages of undifferentiated product, you are becoming a sea of stuff and at risk of your customers endlessly browsing & never making a choice.
The sweet spot in the middle is a curated collection where each product has a reason to be, but every product tells part of the story.
In today’s world of Google, won’t customers simply search to find what they want?
Yes, and you can gear your marketing to help them. There are certain ways of selecting product data on google that customers lean towards, as the results from June 2020’s Euromonitor survey shows :
The same survey also shows how customers want to switch between channels to make their choices, so consistency is also an important factor :
So what are the key tactics to get right to help a customer search your products?
Have an opinion!
Customers want you to help them choose, so curate your range, your content and your communications. No-one wants to buy from a Brand that doesn’t know what it represents.
Customers gravitate to brands they know, like and trust.
Use News articles, Blog posts, Media endorsements, Educational content to demonstrate that you are the experts in your field.
Customers love filters, but hate them when they don’t work.
Regularly check that your filters are delivering sensible results and that none return single products, or worse…no products! Work with your Product teams to make sure that products are accurately attributed for customer filtering.
Your regular customers love to know what’s new.
Refresh your content regularly, either with new products or new blog posts or social posts to keep customers engaged and coming back to look at you even when they aren’t in buying frame of mind.
Urgency or Scarcity
Nothing prompts a customer into action like FOMO.
Don’t worry about occasionally selling out too quickly – get it before it’s gone, last chance to buy, we can find [rare product] for you are all strong calls to action.
Customers read reviews. A lot.
Manage your online reputation by requesting and responding to reviews. Remember that customers don’t trust all 5 starts – they like to see how you have dealt with problems as well as reading comments from your fan base.
Curation – Authority – Filters – New – Urgency & Scarcity – Social Proof
Wherever your brand sits on the depth vs breadth equation, there are marketing tactics you can apply to help customers to decide to shop with you.