The generic products that too many people are selling on amazon are getting washed up by price or taken over by competitors. These competitors even include Amazon as they begin to expand their own private label business.
Sellers are trying to launch products that other people are selling, reducing the barrier to entry and landing in a hot mess of product saturation. However, we have found that by giving your consumers more than just a product, you can create the difference between a successful product and an oversaturated, run-of-the-mill variant.
So, now I have landed a giant elephant in the room: How do we create more for the consumer?
Well, having a unique and meaningful story behind your product that makes the consumer feel good, increases their perceived value, and makes you as the business owner out to be the “good guy” can all help to answer that question.
Make the consumer ‘The Hero’
People love stories with a hero – and what people love more is being the hero of their own story! We all want to feel like the little bit that we do has the ability to make a huge impact on the world. Building a story around your brand and making people feel good about purchasing your product makes your consumer the hero.
Telling the story behind your product has become an effective method for eCommerce companies as well as other types of businesses. As an example, take TOMS Shoes:
TOMS Shoes began with a basic canvas shoe. It was not loaded with the bells and whistles of some other footwear; however, the story behind the brand has built a bigger market path. TOMS shoes’ “One for One” business model has transformed them from a simple idea into a business model that addresses health, education, and economic opportunity for children and their communities around the world.
TOMS has now extended from shoes into eyewear, bags, and coffee-all with the “One for One” story behind the product. Developing a story with a mission behind your brand creates loyalty and commitment with your product to your consumer. Help your consumer change the world: by buying YOUR product.
When your product can elicit emotions that encourages loyalty based on what the product is able to do for the consumer, then you’re able to go against the grain of a saturated market. The exclusivity of your story let’s your consumer know that their purchase is meaningful. It’s good for the world, and good for your bottom line.
If they perceive the value, they will come.
We more times than not buy things based more on their value than their actual price. Due to this, there are times when we offer more or less than the actual value of the product.
Picture it. You’ve readied yourself to pay $100 for an item, only to your surprise the actual cost is $80! Without checking the price tag, you made an assumption based on perceived value that the item would be $100, and you were ready to pay it…
On the other end of the spectrum, think of the times when you see a price tag for $250-but despite claims that it is worth well beyond its’ price tag–for you it’s not worth it. What would make others want to spend the cheddar? This is perceived value. In a perfect world, the value of a good would be irrevocably equal to the price; nevertheless, perfect is a myth and perceived value is real. Consumers create their own interpretation of the perceived value of a product. If the perceived value is higher than the price tag, most consumers will buy and vice versa.
Building a story behind your product could raise the perceived value which in turn can allow you to increase the price. The ability to make your product “worth it” is a skill that can put you ahead of your competitors.
Robert Cialdini, author of Influence, lays it out the best:
“In markets in which people are not completely sure of how to assess quality, they use price as a stand-in for quality.”
If the price is higher, then consumers will assume they are better (which is a fallacy).
When a consumer sees the same product, but one is $5 and the other $45, the consumer’s perceived value increases with the price of the higher priced product.
You as the seller can influence buyer behavior simply by conveying a story that can set it apart from other products.
For example, on the sourcing retreats to Central America offered by Hickory Flats, we connect clients with producers but also teach them how to build a story attached to their brand. Selling products from a region like this allows you to build a relationship not only with your supplier but the region itself. Your products can be uniquely handmade, as doing business there can begin to the increase an economically underdeveloped country, on top of contributing to the increase in work for women in that area. Consumers and business owners want to be a part of that!
See what I did there? Perceived value. The product did not matter but telling that simple story of helping others changed the whole game.
Final Thoughts: Love your Business
Ok, let’s take a step back now from the Consumer’s perspective, and talk about providing value in what WE do as entrepreneurs to our own selves.
Full disclosure – this stuff is hard. Entrepreneurship has a higher occurrence of anxiety then most professions. Long nights, stressful days, and all the fear of screwing it up! Even so when we can provide a purpose in our OWN business that is bigger than us-and makes us proud to be an innovator; a leader; a go-getter…. that’s when those hard times become more worth it.
The hard work of entrepreneurship sometimes sees a delayed financial reward. In my first business, I went three years without a paycheck! In those cases, it is easy to get discouraged, beat down, and/or lose momentum. But by incorporating something—let’s say sourcing from an underdeveloped nation–into your business that gives you a mental and emotional reward, it can help energize you to keep pushing and working to build that business!
I have a long history of sourcing in China for my own Private Label products, as well as the products of hundreds of clients. We take groups to China several time a year to learn and source. Don’t get me wrong: I love it. But when I get to go back to Central America and take entrepreneurs there to learn and source themselves–It hits a soft spot in my heart and really fires me up about what we are doing in this business! It is a great joy to work at becoming a better businessman, but also a better citizen!
Love your business. Add something to your business that helps YOU enjoy your work more. And, if you can add a story to help build your brand as well, then it’s a double bonus!