Tag Archives: experience

Catering an experience for your customers

June 29th, 2010

For a recent interview we were talking about the swing (and if there was any) that has occurred during the recession.

The biggest thing I see, is that, consumers are more assertive with their spending, before they would let minor things slide.  Now though they demand more (perceived) value for their dollar, and that value isn’t always a ‘functional’ benefit, it might be the ease of use an iPhone provides rather than an Android, or the time saving of a personal finance application or the status they get from using the service (or upgrade).

It’s all about catering an experience for each of your customers, it was beforehand, but now when people are assertive spenders even moreso.

Gourmet Supermarkets did will during the recession, as people would rather indulge on an afternoon experience with friends, whereas in the past they might have eaten out.  It’s not that they’re not spending, it’s that they are rewarding those companies which cater experiences that create stories.  These stories create status, memories and most of all a good time.

The completely biased unwritten (but now written) rules of ecommerce

March 28th, 2010

And they are as follows:

  • Do not make me register before purchasing. This is like me going into a store, picking up a t-shirt, trying it on, showing it to my fiance, deciding to purchase it, then you ask me to fill out a form before I can buy the dam thing. By the time people want to buy products let them buy it! Use some special magic to turn their first order into an account but do not ever make me register to give you dollars.
  • Show me what I’m buying! Tiny pictures are useless. What if I want to show my grandma? She will just say go to the store buy it there. Give users all the media you can (without overwhelming them).
  • Don’t show me stuff that I’m not interested in. Set a cookie on the visitors computer and show me stuff I’m interested in when I return. Show related items. Upsells. Things that improve my life (or the product I’m buying). That leads to the next one
  • ALWAYS HAVE A MOST POPULAR SECTION. People like to be reassured, why do we buy fashionable clothes? It’s what everyone else has. Make it easy for someone who needs reassurance, oh that’s the most popular speakers maybe I should look at them. Not rocket science.
  • Make it interesting! Give categorisations, tags and lists that are meaningful. Girlfriend Gifts, Valentines, Ways to say your sorry, Keep your guy happy, Nieces, Difficult Teenagers lists. You get the idea – don’t make me question whether my little sister will need this. Tell me, show me and then convince me she needs it (difficult teenage girl list).
  • Provide diverse (and easy) payment options. Credit Cards #1. Paypal.
  • SSL. Tired argument, but protect my data! Even 8 year olds can tell a website isn’t secure.
  • Do not show dollar signs (where you don’t have to), stick to digits, $50.00 looks more painful than 50.00 (restaurants do this all the time).
  • Also ALWAYS indicate currency. Even if you assume USD do not give anyone nasty surprises.
  • Keep shipping to an absolute minimum, set expectations, free shipping with x spend. People don’t like to be surprised, the last thing you want is them to leave because shipping is unexpectedly high. Give FREE shipping wherever you can.
  • Return Policies. Like the informercials widely offered never used. Return policies allow people to overcome the ‘I don’t know if that hoodie is nice in real life’. If it isn’t I can send it back. Works a dream for Zappos will work a dream for you.
  • Tell me when you ship! And give a tracking code. It keeps you honest and me in the loop.
  • ALWAYS SEND YOUR PRODUCTS IN UNIQUELY YOU PACKAGING. Let me say that again, when I receive my products from you (unless this is a discrete industry) everyone in the office or who walks by my desk should be able to identify it was sent by you. If they don’t, they will ask, this gives me the opportunity to share my story. Who doesn’t like showing off what they just bought? Each and every shipment is the opportunity for your best sales people (your existing customers) to sell to new customers. Facebook is built on this and it’s been a backbone of Amazon since the start.
  • Newsletters. Newsletters are a must – how do I know when you get the new product in? Or there is a line extension? Or hey Ben you have the t-shirt why not get the hoodie? Remember my sizes. Follow up. Remember your customers are a club, a family, respect them and you will grow with them.
  • Ask for permission. Don’t have anything in stock, let me tick a box or get an email when it’s back in stock. I will give you my permission – if only you asked. If in doubt ask permission.
  • Engaging copy. I don’t want the stock standard copy. Let me know what it is, why I should buy it and how to do so. If this product is useless without another component, say so, and give me a link to buy that too (or better yet sell as a pack). Do not ever copy/paste the suppliers descriptions. That sells to people price comparing not to those who don’t understand what a 32gb ssd is.
  • Avoid jargon wherever possible. Using intimidating words like ‘rephrase’ and ‘synonyms’ severely hurt MSN search engines early uptake. Use language that a 12 year old can understand and you’ll be fine. Expecting all your users to have degree level English is insanity.
  • Remember what I looked at before! Amazon does this. I might have forgotten that last time I was looking at a surprise gift for my fiance. If you remind me I’ll probably grab it now that I’ve had time to think it over. It also engages your users very very quickly.
  • Ship everywhere. Even if it’s extremely expensive. For the right product to the right place people will spend more on the shipping than the product (I know I’m from New Zealand and everything is expensive to be shipped here).
  • Have less in your catalogs. Yes the cost of adding a new product is zero. But the cost of clutter is everything. If something is a dog don’t sell it. Sell less, sell the best.
  • Have a blog. Take products, trial them yourselves, unbox them, make videos. Break them, construct them, deconstruct them. Whatever. Give me an angle on the products which I haven’t seen before or which answer my initial fears about the product. Be honest.
  • Allow product feedback. People will buy (or be convinced to buy) just off the feedback. Don’t fret if it’s bad, your customers can read between the lines if that bad review was biased or unbalanced.
  • Do not, I repeat not, ever have adverts to other websites. You’re wasting real estate. If you think you can make more money pushing visitors to others websites where they then purchase, close down your shop, you’re doing it wrong. The google ads tells me you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Do something unexpected. Give me a nice little surpise. Maybe a thank you note in the order, a gift voucher or some free stickers. I’ll probably talk more about that than what you actually sent!
  • Exclusives! Have exclusive members areas, maybe people pay for them (ie $50 for 10% discount on everything) or newsletter only specials. Make me feel like I’m special (aka status). I might not order but I’ll buy for someone else. #1 Rule in sales is the easiest sales are to your existing customers.
  • Finally most of all obsess about your customers. Give them a call if there are any hick ups, let them know, the last thing people expect from ecommerce is a real life transaction (other than the end product) but when it happens it means the world. They’re really there and they really care.

Track, measure, slice/dice data every which way. Analyse, interpret, make changes. Measure again.  Learn to adapt from what your users tell you through their actions. the answers are already there you just need to find them.

The Commodity Trap

January 12th, 2010

Has your product become a commodity?

Such that anyone anywhere can offer an identical (or near enough) product such that your customers don’t know the difference.

You may not think so but think again.

You’d be surprised.

You could be closer to a commodity than you initially thought….

Living a brand rather than seeing it

April 30th, 2009

A brand experience is magnitudes times more valuable than observing a brand.

You experience the Apple lifestyle, you experience the Gary Vaynerchuk brand through his video blog, you experience my brand through this very blog.

Seeing an advertisement at a bus stop just doesn’t compare – however pairing that up with an experience completely changes the game.  A great example is a free ringtone which you can grab via bluetooth from the advertisement which then gives you something to walk away with and experience.

Living a brand is so much more fun, engaging and most of all attractive to others as they want to be a part of it.

Sure it’s not for everyone but those that can master it will reap the outrageous rewards….

Remarkable Content is like a drug

March 26th, 2009

Why do people keep coming back for more on Twitter? Blogs? Podcasts?

It is like a drug, getting great content is like the mouse in the cocaine experiment, he can press a lever for a pellet of cocaine or sugar.  Inevitably he keeps pressing cocaine, as he likes the feeling.

I have absolutely no scientific proof but I suspect that is why once your in, your in.

You keep coming back to twitter for the great content & people you meet, the same with your favourite blogs they write in a fashion you understand, is relevant and what you demand.  Podcasts the same.

You keep chasing that experience….

Building an experience aka story

March 9th, 2009

When you watch a movie it is a combination of thousands of different shots, all put together to create a story.

Stand alone they have not nearly as much value as they do together.

A classic example in an action film, is a 2 second shot showing a police car driving through people with one ring of the siren.

The very next shot shows the stars, either in an ambulance, or talking to police, or off to the side talking to one another.  Everything is safe now, it’s ok, what’s next?

That 2 second shot communicates, things have quietened down, everyone is safe (the police have arrived) we can slow down for a while.

Your interactions with your customers are exactly the same, you need to build them into an overall experience.

Tourist operators are fantastic at this, they decide what experience they want to have and ensure that all interactions help build it.

Another example is board rooms, often outside the board room are picture connotating success (mountains, graphs of success, newspaper clippings), the books you can read are on super yahcts, luxury cards, golf.  All things associated with success.  This is a priming tactic so that you walk into the board room thinking of being successful.

What is the story you want your customers to have? Define that, and work backwards.

Ps. Apologies if you never watch a movie the same again!

Fight or Flight & Time Perception

February 17th, 2009

I am a bit of a Physics buff so always keen to read up on the latest experiments taking place.

One I saw late last year was on our perception of time.

As part of fight or flight response to a stimulus our body will shut off certain functions to divert energy and focus to other vital functions.

This most commonly occurs as flow or tunnel vision, where you hold a lot of focus on a task such that you lose track of time.

This particular experiment had a guy dropped from a large height onto a big net.  On his wrist he had a watch like device that was flashing a number at a high frequency that you cannot normally view it.

As he fell the idea was to see if he could see the number.

And he could everytime.  That is during a heightened response his ability to perceive his surroundings was much better than normal.

In fact you can watch the video here: Free Fall Experiment

I thought this was pretty neat especially in how it ties into Marketing and in particular usability. 

If you can change your customers perception of time through stimulating flow or enjoyment you create a strong customer relationship with your product & service.

(Extras for experts read my research on Live Search’s inability to create a compelling experience. )

How Marketing can help solve Poverty

October 14th, 2008

Today is as some of you may know BlogActionDay.

Blogs all around the world are going to talk about Poverty.

Their take on it.

Objective: stimulate conversations around poverty.

Many of you will know i’m a huge advocate of Kiva, discussing it here Giving something back.


We all know Poverty exists. It is just out of touch.  We can’t touch it, or feel it, or have it affect our daily lives.

It is easier to let it exist, somewhere over there, out of sight out of mind.

To be frank, it’s bullshit but it’s a fact

So how could we change that?

How can we make Poverty real.  To everyone.  

If we expose it, people will just block it out.

Stop looking at the bad.

Start looking at the good.

And no i don’t mean, the upsides of poverty.

Share the good times, the experience, the world through which people in poverty live in.

Take Mara Triangle for example, a wild life game reserve in Kenya.  They brought it direct to us via their blog and twitter.  Raising both money and their profile.


EnglishRussia.com, something cool happens daily on 1/6 of the earth.

Take one or both of these models.  

Bring the experience direct to us.  Give us stories to discuss, give us a conversation to tell our families, give us a connection.  Give us meaning!

That’s how marketing can help Poverty.


The Great Beer Run

August 26th, 2008

The best story ever told to kiwi’s

Put a speights ale house on a freighter

Take it to london

We need 4 blokes to man it

The greatest beer run of all time

120,000 kiwi males applied…. thats 6% or about 1 in 19 of ALL males in new zealand…

Crazy numbers

The story for them is i drank speights all the way to the uk on the greatest beer run of all time…

What a story!

What story can you tell?

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
- View my about page
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