E-Commerce websites

Selling your products or services online


The three stages of the purchase process: want, need, and rationale. A website is unique because it can direct and focus a shopper on each of these stages, along with the added advantage of providing the means to respond to an impulse buy.

Stage1 - Want

You may think that visitors arrive at your website only because they want your product or something similar, not just because they're curious. This may be true but, it can't hurt to reinforce this 'want' and at the same time grab the attention of the 'just curious'. on the other hand, especially where you're selling into a niche or micro market, a superb image of just the product may be compelling enough.

Making someone want something is often done with the glamour shot. The basic reasons for wanting something can often be stated in very brief phrases: look cool, be creative, be recognized, be more productive, feel secure, attract friends, etc.

Stage2 - Need

Now that the 'want' emotion has been stirred, it's time to create a need.

Using 'create' may seem strange in relation to 'need' but, this is exactly what a good promotion has to do. Even if your product is as mundane as a roll of paper towels, it's important to establish the need in your customer's mind. In the case of paper towels, they aren't just for drying up spills anymore; now they kill germs.

If your product has many features, a separate page listing may be appropriate. If you're selling several similar items, a feature comparison page can help the customer decide the best fit to their needs. A page comparing your product features to the competition is good if you offer more or better features.


Stage3 - Rationale

The rationale for purchasing is the process of establishing in ones mind a set of valid reasons for buying a particular product. This information will help the customer develop this rationale.

This requires a presentation of the hard facts that are specific product attributes, comprising specifications, price, and any special offers.

When appropriate, especially for technical products, a page listing the important product specifications can be very helpful to the customer's process of rationalizing the purchase.

Compare the product specifications against those of a competitor where you have a clear advantage. This helps the customer to know that they are doing the right thing.

The three stages of the of the customer's psyche are always there. The astute merchant will find ways to best make their website presentation compelling enough to turn 'want' into 'purchase' or 'contract'. 

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