Go Beyond a Product Website

Do you sell products on your website? If so, is your website overly focused on your products? Are you missing a major opportunity to drive much larger and longer-term revenue growth?

Visit many retail websites, and what you often find is essentially a listing of products with a “buy now” button.

Stop right there!

Customer Lifestyle & Your Website

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In order to maximize your website sales, you need to go beyond a product website. You should not only display your products and their features, but also clarify how your products fit into your customer’s lifestyle.

When visitors arrive on your website, what are they truly looking for? Although you may sell snacks, for example, your site visitors may be looking for personal or social enjoyment. They may be looking to host a great party. They may be looking to keep their kids satisfied between meals. Or they may be looking for healthy ways to satisfy their hunger at the office.

In order to sell effectively to these people, you need to go beyond just a listing of your snack products and their ingredients.

What your website should do is speak to your customers’ lives:

  • How do you help them?
  • How do solve their problems?
  • When and how do your customers think and care about your products?
  • When and how do your products fit into their everyday lives?
  • When and how do you enhance their lives?
  • If your products did not exist, how would your customers satisfy their needs otherwise?
  • Compared to such options, how and why is your product a better choice?

Harley-Davidson.com Case Study

A good example of an online retailer that goes way beyond a product website is Harley-Davidson (HD) at www.Harley-Davidson.com. Visit the HD website and just try to look at only their products. It’s extremely hard to do. That’s because HD offers so much more than just their product listings. Harley-Davidson’s website is an experience.

Someone looking for a motorcycle may be seeking much more than just a motorcycle, such as:

  • Adventure
  • Fun
  • Freedom
  • Escape
  • Youthful feeling
  • Something “new”
  • Safe “rebellion”
  • Companionship
  • Belonging
  • Exclusivity

The HD website offers the site visitor many ways to experience the HD brand, and these paths lead to fulfillment of these overarching, core objectives. Sure, you can view their many products. Sure, you can read the product descriptions. Sure, you can view their stunning product photographs.

But you can also access any of the following as well.

  • Course teaching you to learn to ride
  • Interactive ride planner
  • Motorcycle maps
  • Safety tips
  • Tips to deal with weather conditions
  • Riding gear
  • Motorcycle accessories
  • Group riding information
  • Information exclusively for women riders
  • HD Museum
  • Event info
  • Employee videos
  • Ride rewards (loyalty program)
  • Racing info
  • Downloads
  • Gift ideas
  • Factory tours
  • Rider creeds
  • Harley Owners Group (HOG) members site
  • Etc.

HD helps site visitors get the most out of their travel experiences, their vacations, their weekends and even their trips to the office. The website builds excitement. It builds community. It builds engagement. HD takes a holistic view of the customer experience in using its products. It fits its products into the customer’s lifestyle. The brand becomes part of the customer’s life experience.

Does your website do this?

Implementing a Customer-Lifestyle Approach

The task does not need to be as daunting as it may appear. You can take this type of customer-lifestyle approach to your website through several simple yet effective steps:

  1. Define the 3-5 main ways that your customers fit your products into their lives.
  2. For each such way, paint a detailed picture of the customer’s situation. To that end, talk with your existing customers, talk with prospects, and talk with others whose opinions you trust.
  3. Create pages or areas on your website that directly speak to how your products fit into your site visitors’ lifestyles.
  4. Make sure that the new content you create focuses on the customer, rather than your products.
  5. After reading each page, ask yourself “who cares?” If it is not clear, rewrite.
  ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tom Shapiro
Tom Shapiro

Tom Shapiro is CEO of Digital Marketing NOW, a strategy, design and marketing agency that fuels clients' business results. DigitalMarketingNOW.com Twitter: @DigitalMN

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