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Why making things easy – brings sales!

Laziness forces us to search for easy ways.” – Sunday Adelaja

The above quote shouldn’t really surprise anyone, it seems so obvious and hardly worth highlighting. But it’s beneficial reflecting what laziness really is.

Surprisingly, it’s not a choice. Laziness is something that is self-protective. It is established at species level, it’s designed to ultimately save us from wasting time and energy.

Researchers, from the Simon Fraser University in Canada, discovered that our subconscious nervous system continuously fine-tunes activity to keep energy costs low. This fits in well with the common tendency to put as little effort into tasks as possible.

We are all naturally lazy, it’s deeply hardwired and we avoid effort wherever possible. Effort costs energy and we take the path of least resistance. We like to keep things simple. Effort – whether it’s physical or mental – takes up energy. It’s a physiological cost.

For more years than I can remember, I have been highlighting the benefits of making the shopping journey easier. The more work you can do for your customers, the more they will buy from you. You tap into their laziness.

Catalogues start the process off well – they get the products to your customers – they don’t have to come looking for you. And once the catalogue arrives it should start the selling process from the cover.

Selling isn’t just about product, it’s about selling your brand and your proposition. You may not sell a unique product, but you could sell it in a unique way and with a unique proposition. You have to tell your customers this.

The more you reinforce what you are, what you do and why you do it – the easier it is for a customer to justify and rationalise the purchasing decision.

  • Make your catalogue welcoming, encourage your readers to explore and reassure them how easy you are to do business with.
  • Page 2 and 3 needs to reinforce what your company stands for and how to buy from it. Guarantees, delivery details, payment option returns policy all need to be clearly presented. Guidance and information is essential to giving readers the confidence to continue.
  • Once inside the catalogue, the navigation has to be enough to get the reader to the products, but not too much that it takes valuable selling space. Simple overviews for smaller catalogues are enough to give some idea of where to find individual products or product groups. With larger catalogues, say over 200 pages, a contents guide and index can help. Always remember – if they can’t find it they cant buy it!
  • It’s vital to make the buying process as simple as possible. State the obvious and be as prescriptive as possible. Highlight all options and assume nothing. Include icons to highlight features and services.
  • With complex products, include weblinks or video links. QR codes are not the most aesthetically pleasing of devices, but they do expand the information available.
  • The key to all this is removing barriers. Do the work for your customers. Leave them in no doubt you value them and you want them to buy from you.

The key to overcoming the inherent laziness of customers is to make your brand the default choice. Make it so familiar and easy to do business with you that you become their default choice. This is particularly true in B2B, where it’s all about solutions. The more expert you appear and the more information you can give a B2B buyer, the more they will buy.

Regular mailings build a great familiarity with your brand – much more so that by email. The deletion rate of business emails is horrendous, whereas a mailing piece is often retained for months. If it’s useful and valuable, and makes a buyers life easier, a catalogue will be returned to again and again. Naturally, this is what brand building is all about – but it happens for a reason.

Buyers wants to be right and to feel certain about things and it’s your job to give them confidence. These are built-in biological drives, when we think we’re right and when we feel certain, we are comfortable in our choices and actions. This is cognitive ease.

When making choices, our brains tend to gravitate toward the one that is simple rather than the one that is complex; a simpler idea has greater cognitive ease. We also tend to believe things we’ve heard repeatedly because they’re familiar. Familiar things are easier to believe than unfamiliar.

It’s something that all good catalogue marketers should heed. Make your brand so easy to deal with, so familiar and trusted, that your buyers won’t look elsewhere. Remember the key importance of ‘touch points’ – every time a customer sees your brand it strengthens the purchase cycle (provided they have a positive connection with your brand).

To summarise

  • Make life easy for your customers – they are inherently lazy.
  • Ensure your catalogue reinforces your brand and sells it as effectively as your products.
  • Make your catalogue easy to navigate – don’t let them walk out of your shop just because they cant find the products.
  • Make sure the product presentation is easy to understand and ‘sells’ the products.
  • And just as important, make sure that the customer can buy from you – remove all barriers to a sale.
  • Refine the order process and make sure your customer has all the information they need to place an order.

Just by spending time reviewing how your catalogue works can bring significant rewards in increased sales. A little bit of time and harder work on your part may just turn your customers laziness to your advantage.