Small business challenges: Making it easy enough for your customers to buy from you


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Brandweek recently featured an article on why today’s complex times have inspired big brands to move toward simpler packaging.  While not all boutique business owners have a physical product to sell or even a product that sits on a shelf and has to sell itself without the help of a sales person (unlike a box of cereal or can of soda), the need for consumers to be able to clearly understand what you are offering, without a lot of fluff, is a reality. While this concept isn’t a new one as Barry Schwartz uncovered in 2004 in The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less it continues to ring true. One of the small business challenges facing many is when we make it difficult for our clients to buy from us.   They will buy from someone else who makes it easy.

As boutique business owners, it’s more important than ever to offer clean displays of your products and services, whether physical or in a printed brochure. I’ll admit, I avoid certain department stores like the plague because I can’t bear to dive into the messy racks of merchandise. I simply do not have the energy to go on that ‘hunt’. That’s coming from someone who loves to shop AND doesn’t even have kids, so I’m not as busy as many business owners out there!

Sarah and I have reviewed countless price menu designs for our coaching clients and consistently find that we all are guilty of making it too difficult for our clients to purchase from us. We offer too many collections, too many framing options, too many a la cart services and too many add ons. While we THINK we’re making it easier on our clients by offering them anything they could ever want, in reality we’ve just completely confused them to the point where it’s easier for them NOT to purchase from us.

So why are consumers looking for the easy answer now more than ever? Peter Clarke of Product Ventures notes in the Brandweek article that extensive consumer research has found right now people are skeptical of
false claims and promises. Consumer confidence is shattered, and that’s not surprising, given what’s going on with Toyota, one of the most trusted brands for safetly until a few months ago. Simplicity really fills a need on
the part of the consumer. When you’re under a lot of pressure, you
have a tendency not to be as avant-garde and risk-taking and
overindulgent as you can when you’ve got a pocket full of cash. Hence explaining the success the big brands have had in simplifying their packaging.

As boutique business owners we can take a lesson from the big brands here. Simplify your product mix, simplify your pricing, simplify your business. The result:  your business will grow and your clients will love you for it!

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