Identify The Problem Or Desire
How To Figure Out What's Really Driving Your Customers
What Are Customers Really Buying?
Many Shopify stores don’t effectively communicate why people should buy them.
They speak only about the features and forget about all the benefits they should be explaining.
By talking about benefits, you create an instant advantage over your competitors who aren't.
Otherwise you'll continue to lose sales that you should have already converted.
So What Does Your Product Really Do?
Every product is either moving someone away from pain (solving a problem), or moving them towards pleasure (achieving a desire).
Many products are doing both because when they solve the problem, they naturally move someone toward a more desired state.
So stop selling "protein powder" and start selling "bigger muscles", because that's what your customers really want.
And by talking to the results it'll bring, they're more likely to purchase it.
Step #1 - Before And After States
You just have to describe how the person moves from their “before” state (what they’re currently experiencing), to their “after” state (what their life will be like after they buy the product).
Unfortunately, most business owners forget they’re selling a product that solves a problem and get all tied up in the fancy features of the product.
If you want to increase your sales, you need to get back to the core problem (or problems) you are solving and explain them as clearly as possible.
A handy guide I learned from Digital Marketer is using the Before & After Grid:
You then fill out the answers for the following:
What will your customer physically have before they buy the product and then after it?
This is the simplest of them e.g. they have no protein bar and afterwards they have a protein bar.
This is where most people stop and why we have the other categories.
How does your customer feel at the moment?
Are they frustrated, desperate, or anxious etc? Afterwards will they feel relieved, excited or confident etc?
What does a typical day look like for your customer?
Do they wake up feeling tired and have to drag themselves out of bed and then after using your product they wake up feeling fresh and excited to take on the day?
Will your product create a change in status for your customer?
Do their friends and family currently think they’re disorganized and afterwards they’re going to think they’re a super parent because of the meals they make for their children?
This can give you many different angles to state your problem (and later your solution) and get closer to the core emotion needs your customer is trying to solve.
Step #2 - Look At The Top Websites In Your Industry
Look at other top websites in your industry and see whether they’re focusing on a problem or a desire for your type of products.
I recommend you find ecommerce brands that have started from nothing and grown from there.
It’s easy for a brand that’s already big to throw some products on a website and make sales.
It’s a different story for a new brand that needs to drive sales from advertising, while telling customers why their products are superior. Here’s what to look for:
Customer Pain Points
- Identify the pain points or desires that competitors are addressing.
- Analyze the language used to describe these aspects.
- Are they emphasizing convenience, efficiency, status, or any other emotional or practical factor?
This insight will help you understand the core needs driving customer decisions in your industry.
Product Descriptions And Benefits
- Scrutinize how product descriptions are crafted.
- How do they emphasize on their benefits that directly relate to solving problems or fulfilling desires?
- Note whether competitors are using storytelling or before-and-after scenarios to connect with their audience emotionally.
- Explore user reviews and testimonials. Pay attention to the language customers use when expressing their satisfaction.
- Are they highlighting how the product resolved a specific issue or contributed to achieving a goal?
- Genuine customer feedback can provide valuable insights into the perceived benefits.
Proven Sales Formula
Just remember that most of them don’t have this framework that you’re learning right now.
So use what they’re doing for inspiration and then come back to use this proven sales formula to supercharge your results.
Step #3 - Simplify Your Product To One Problem Or Desire
In Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout, they discuss how you’re only going to get one word (or idea) to be known for with your customers.
Even Nike with a billion dollar ad budget is mostly known for shoes.
Ask most people, and Amazon is known for books even though it sells millions of products now.
In the same way, you must simplify your product down to one problem or desire that it solves.
What To Communicate In Your Product Descriptions
Don’t try to solve 13 different problems all in one go (perhaps you can mention some of those in your features and benefits).
You want to communicate the one big idea your product will be known for.
And if you can create a “hook” for your product in the customer’s mind, then your business will go far.
This is not easy work, but the end goal you should be aiming for as you build your business.
Keep The Main Thing, The Main Thing
Perhaps your entire business (or brand) has one thing it’s known for that is common across all the products it sells.
Or maybe you’re selling one lead product that has that one thing and all your other products support that.
Whatever it is, keep it simply so if a friend ask your customer why they bought from you they can say:
“I bought [product] because of [one thing].”
How Much Do You Write?
The simple rule is that you write as much as you need to so you can sell the product.
If your problem or desire can be explained clearly in one sentence then I would do that.
But if you’re actually solving a more complex problem that takes 4 sentences to explain, then you’ll just need to do it.
Your product descriptions will end up longer (and you might need to break it up with subheadings), but it’ll do the job of selling your product.
Always remember, if you don’t say it… then your customer probably doesn’t know it.
The Outcome Of Identifying Your Customer Problem Or Desire
Now I know this is a lot to think about that might only end up as one sentence on your product description.
But trust me, the thinking you do here will dramatically effect your conversion rate.
You'll also use the problems and emotions you discover in your advertising campaigns.
So don’t skimp and always be thinking about how you can do it better over time.