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Importance of educating blog header

The importance of educating your shoppers

As alert consumers we're easily tempted by new products. Products that may help us improve our everyday lives, excel in our hobbies or simply make us look cool. We're constantly scrolling on our phones. Unable to escape the wrath of targeted ads, we find it hard to ignore our desire. And when something captures our attention, we want it right away.

 

For some products we're simply driven by our eyes. Clothes, shoes and other small items that don't need much consideration. But bigger purchases require more thinking time. Our interest needs more knowledge. We need to find out more. What exactly is it, how do I use it and how does it work? We need to use our own time and effort to learn about the product before we buy. 

 

But what if we combined the process of inspiration, research and buying? What if ecommerce brands took the time to create an engaging educational environment. One that could teach potential customers instead of just pushing for a sale? 

 

Teaching or showing customers how best to use your products and what you can do with them is an underrated quality in ecommerce. Some may think showing product specifications or a blog post counts as educating. But for the majority of shoppers that's not enough. You need to assume that your shoppers know nothing about how your products work. If you can then teach them everything they need to know, they'll always think of you as the experts in your field. They'll look up to you and keep coming back for more. 

 

Here are some examples of how brands are educating their shoppers: 

Patch Plants

 

Patch plants is an online plant store based in London. Indoor plants have seen a huge rise in popularity. Mostly thanks to their Instagramability. But Patch noticed that its millennial audience is too focused on the plant's aesthetics than how to actually care for them.

 

Patch Plants image

 

To educate its audience, Patch has short video care guides for each individual plant. There's easy to digest written information and an entire free video plant care course. Shoppers can instantly access the course (they don't even need to be a paying customer!). They can get essential plant care advice. They'll learn where to place the plants, how much sunlight they should get and how to get rid of pesky bugs.

 

Patch Plants course

 

Create content that inspires. Keeps shoppers engaged. And adds extra information about the product. By doing that, you'll distinguish yourself from your competition. If you stumbled across the Patch website, you'd quickly get inspired and educated. And when you're on the hunt for more plants, you'll remember the experience you had with Patch. You'll go back for more because you know you can find everything you need on one site.

 

GoPro

 

The GoPro site offers both a creative and educational insight into its products.. And all the shopper has to do to discover the product, is scroll down. As they scroll, shoppers can see the features, accessories and specifications of the camera. The page is also filled with example videos and photos that show the product's true power. They help to ignite ideas and make the shopper think about how they'll use it.

 

GoPro product page

 

The style, presentation and ease of scrolling are all reminiscent of the GoPro brand. The content is clearly designed to suit its intended audience. If you don't like the bitesize, fast, colorful and exciting feel, the product is probably not for you.

 

This style of education keeps shoppers wanting more. They can't wait to see what will appear with each scroll. If this information was a list of bullet points on a white background, would you actually read it? You may skim but let's be honest probably not. Instead, by showing your product's features and USP's in a captivating environment, shoppers won't need to turn to Google to find out more.

 

Great Jones

 

Another way to educate your customers is to show them how products can be used. If you're an outdoor footwear brand you might show the terrain suited for particular shoes. Or maybe you're an electronics store that can show examples of the ultimate gaming or television set up.

 

Whatever your product may be, there are many ways you could inspire ideas. Cookware brand Great Jones has a dedicated 'Recipes' section. This shows shoppers exactly what kind of dishes they can cook using their products. With products like cookware you're not necessarily selling the product itself. You're selling the lifestyle you could have with this product. If you own one of their pans you can become the type of person who cooks elegant but tasty food for their friends and family.

 

Great Jones image

 

The educational context around your products could be the last push a shopper needs to convince them to buy. They might see an image they can relate to or information they desperately wanted to know. Then they'll immediately hit buy. But when you don't add information around your products, your shoppers are left hanging out to dry.

 

They'll turn away, start their research elsewhere and maybe come across a better webshop to buy from. Ecommerce stores today need to do what they can to keep shoppers interested. And while we know that's hard to do. (Especially considering our ever decreasing attention spans and increasing amount of distractions.) You need to start somewhere or else the competition will always win.

 

You should be the experts in your products. So make sure your shoppers know that. Make sure that you tell them everything they need to know. But don't hide it away in some product information box. Use images to show context, use videos to show features, use content to show results. Teach your shoppers how to use your products. They'll appreciate your expertise and realize they simply can't live without you or your products.

 

Related reads

Why limiting choice is the secret to product discovery

Why Amazon sucks at inspiring browsing shoppers

Why all ecommerce managers should get inspired by IKEA's physical stores

 

About the author

Jo Molloy

Jo Molloy

Jo is passionate about brand storytelling and loves to write. A self-confessed chocoholic and TV addict, she is always on the look out for the latest trends and hopes to share her knowledge and enlighten you with her insightful blogs.

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