In the 1950s, most products were built to last. Companies knew that manufacturing long-lasting products would spread word-of-mouth referrals, which meant sales. The focus was on the lifespan of a product rather than high turnover.
Today, it’s quite different in most industries. While some savvy shoppers look for value over time (the price paid for a product in relation to how long it lasts), concern about the longevity of a product isn’t as important.
If you make or sell high-quality, long-lasting products, you already realize it’s more difficult to strategically market those items and close sales. This rings especially true if there are much cheaper counterparts or knockoffs.
For example, a five-quart KitchenAid stand mixer retails on Amazon for about $280. A Cheftronic mixer costs just over half that, and a 4-quart Sunbeam MixMaster can be delivered for less than $100. Shoppers looking for longterm value will splurge for the KitchenAid, but the majority of consumers will go for a lower priced product.
So, how does KitchenAid convince shoppers that the higher price is not only worth it, but necessary?
Granted, KitchenAid spends a lot of money advertising. And for its website, KitchenAid focuses on three key elements.
- Unique features. At the top of the stand mixers web page, KitchenAid focuses on the key selling points: the power hub (where you can attach all sorts of tools), the beaters (they provide three to four with each mixer), and the bowl options (stainless steel or glass).
- Available attachments. Over the years, KitchenAid has moved from a uni-tasking product to a countertop appliance that can be used to make pasta, ice cream, and soups. Attachments are also available to slice, shred, grind, and mill. This versatility is a big selling point because it eliminates the need for other small appliances.
- Colors. KitchenAid mixers come in many colors, including some throwback retro ones. Not only has this inspired more people to spend the money on a KitchenAid, it’s started a trend of moms choosing a color that a child would want, knowing that the child will someday inherit it.
KitchenAid’s dedication to quality, along with consumer testimonials and reviews, are the core reasons the classic style stand mixers typically make the top 10 requested items in wedding registries.
Conveying the Value of Quality
Ecommerce has made nearly every industry highly competitive. And with the continuous onslaught of knock-offs and similar products, it’s tricky, especially on Amazon, to convey the true value of a great product.
Take, for example, the now-popular stainless steel travel tumbler. A quick search on Amazon returns more than 30,000 results (only 10 percent of them are Prime-eligible). Prices range from $3.50 to nearly $100 for a specific Yeti model. How, then, would a company convey that a $25 Thermos brand product is a good buy?
When describing quality products, point out the most important features. Rely on text, photos, video, professional graphics, testimonials, and all the most valued selling points. With the Thermos product below, the focus is on stellar imagery and the most desired features.
A diagram showing how this particular tumbler varies from others helps set it above the rest.
Thermos also highlights a five-year warranty. To many, the warranty conveys the expected lifespan of a product.
Importance of Reviews
Never pass up the chance to collect customer reviews. Granted, for most sites it takes a long time to get even a handful of them, but every single one counts. In fact, customer reviews can often sell the products for you. Amazon is proof of this. (I also wrote an entire article about how customer reviews can sell your products.)
Reviews, by the way, don’t only help sell the immediate product. They can also help sell other products, especially ones that are available in different colors or sizes. Shoppers may also peruse reviews to determine if the product arrived to buyers in a timely fashion, or if someone who needed customer service received the help he needed.
Speaking of customer service, it’s imperative to always be available to answer questions, even for years after the purchase. Recently, I helped a client locate a manual for an item purchased 14 years ago. The product has long since been discontinued.
A single phone call resulted in a PDF being sent to the client, who was so impressed he started talking about buying a newer version of the product for another project.
That five-minute effort to dig up an old manual in digital storage resulted in a $900 sale. Plus, the client will now be more apt to recommend the seller to his fellow business owners. Word of mouth is the best profit builder — and it’s crucial for products that carry higher price tags, yet a great value.