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Technology Brand Purpose Brand Safety

How to sell the experience rather than the product

By Margo Waldrop | Content Writer

May 25, 2023 | 11 min read

Selling a product is the easy part. Selling the experience, however, is where the work comes in. Learn how to create an exceptional experience for your customers.

How to sell the experience and not the product

How to sell the experience and not the product / Adobe Stock

Competing with such things as technology, features, and price is all well and good for brands, but the true magic is the brand experience itself. The oohs and aahs when a customer purchases your product and is emotionally uplifted into the atmosphere of happiness. Any company can make a product that functions, but the experience is what is unique. It’s what makes a customer feel seen, heard, and important. It’s what keeps them coming back for more.

Take Christmas for example. What if there were no parties beforehand, no decorating the house, no tree, no holly jolly songs, no baking cookies, no ugly sweaters – no anything fun before the big day? Just waking up on Christmas day and receiving ‘things’. A new barbie, great. A new bathrobe, great. A new power washer, great. That’s it. You put your gifts in your room and go about your day. Boring, uneventful, and no big deal.

Don’t let the purchase of your product be as uneventful as Christmas day with no Christmas. Instead, create the experience - do the cookies and the decorating, and the itchy, ugly sweaters so your customers will be part of the moment and sing holly jolly songs about your brand forever.

So, how do you make the entire experience unforgettable? Read on to find out.

Get to know your customers better

Buyers’ purchase based on emotions; we get that. But how you translate those emotions is the kicker. The way to do this is to fully understand your target audience beyond demographics. Here are some questions you need to ask to fully get to know your customers in a way that will help you strategize their experience with your brand.

  • Why do they need your products in the first place?

  • How do they actually use your products?

  • What do they like about your brand? Not like?

  • How can your products truly improve their lives?

  • How do they prefer to get your products?

  • How do they like to communicate?

  • What social media channels do they prefer?

The best way to get these answers is to start a real conversation. Reach out to past customers or potential customers and get to know them. Find them on their preferred channels and discover how your brand can become an integral part of their lives. Do some social listening to see how they are discussing your brand and what you can do to make their experiences better.

Create a community around your brand

People love to talk and share things they’re passionate about. Creating a community around your brand is an important part of enhancing their customer experience and with social media the opportunities are endless for creating this type of connection. Here are some steps you can take to build an engaged community:

  • Build your social media channels so customers can easily interact with each other

  • Encourage sharing of product videos and other user-generated content (UGC)

  • Offer communication outlets for customers to exchange experiences

  • Respond to user comments and UGC

  • Invite customers to become brand ambassadors

  • Include tutorials and helpful information

  • Show your brand’s personality and the people behind the scenes

  • Highlight shared passions such as environmental or human rights causes

  • Share your company’s mission and values

The main elements of any community is the sense of purpose and belonging. As long as your brand is actively promoting these things, your community will continue to grow and support your brand.

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Provide stellar customer service

Customer service is more than a return policy and a 1-800 number. It’s about serving your customers at the highest level. Customer service is one of the most connective points between company and consumer. The very ethos of your brand comes across in how you treat your customers when they have a problem. Here is where you demonstrate how you value the buyer over the purchase.

  • Make it easy for the customer to reach out

  • Respond quickly to emails

  • Have a human voice on the other end of your service phone number

  • Develop a well-thought-out strategy for issues

  • Maintain a simple return policy to ease friction

  • Follow up with the customer to see if their issue was resolved

  • Thank the customer for their business

Empathy, patience, passion, persistence and the desire to improve are hallmarks of successful customer service. They are the pillars that prove to customers you value them as people and want them to be happy with their experience.

Offer an intuitive checkout

Whether your checkout process is in person, online, or both, it needs to be seamless, quick, and intuitive. The smoother the checkout process is, the happier your customer will be. This starts with reducing the steps a customer must go through to get to the end. Take the time to step into the customer’s shoes and go through the checkout process yourself. Where are the hiccups? Was it easy or frustrating? This will help you understand what customers go through to purchase your products and help you strategize how to improve the process. Here are some steps to help:

  • Include progress indicators to reduce abandonment

  • Keep the visuals on the checkout page simple

  • Make the indicator steps clear and simple to follow

  • Don’t distract with other content such as pop-ups

  • Offer guest checkout in addition to registration checkout

  • Offer discounts or incentives for first-time buyers

  • Use features like autocomplete fields

  • Make text size and instructions large enough to read

  • Offer reduced or no shipping costs

  • Explain your return policy in simple, upfront terms

  • Ensure that checkout is mobile responsive

Find out how The Royal National Institute of Blind People helped supermarkets change the shopping experience for blind and sight-impaired shoppers.

Make unboxing an experience in itself

Since many product purchase are made online, the unboxing of your products can provide some real excitement. Think of all the unboxing videos influencers create that receive tons of likes and shares. It’s vicarious excitement – receiving and opening a package. Or the subscription boxes that as an industry bring in over $26.9bn a year globally. Packages are exciting, but only if you make them so. Here are some tips to ensure your brand’s unboxing experience is worth the wait.

  • Ensure that your packaging is fully branded, highly visual, and fun to unwrap

  • Make sure the products are safely wrapped and protected

  • Include exclusive, VIP experiences for repeat customers

  • Include handwritten notes to thank them for their purchase

  • Surprise them with an extra product or gift they weren’t expecting

  • Throw in a discount coupon for their next purchase

  • Add samples of upcoming products

  • Include behind-the-scenes photos or notes of your products journey from source to customer

  • Encourage customers to share their unboxing experiences on social media

  • Remind customers to also care about the planet and recycle their box

The experience of unboxing your product is the final step in the journey for the customer. It can leave them with a positive impression that carries over until their next purchase from your brand.

Wrapping up

The impact of a positive experience for customers is monumental for brands. Brand loyalty, repeat customers, and word-of-mouth are all results from an engaged, happy experience. Create an unforgettable experience and customers will have more motivation to stick around and enjoy their relationship with your brand as well as the journey you take together.

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