Understand why your customers buy


I had written a previous post on making it easy for customers to buy your product. If your pricing structure is complex, Product Management - Customer reasons to buya customer who was about to hand over the money to you is going to walk away. I call this the “last mile problem” in selling a product. Pricing structures sometimes are very complex that even sales people have trouble understanding them.

If your folks cannot understand them, do you think customers will get it? It is your responsibility as a product manager to make sure this is executed well. Do you have too many SKU’s that are interdependent on each other with complex discounting structures that your price book looks like a bowl of spaghetti? Time to take action.

But this is the last step. It is even more important to understand all the reasons why your customers buy – what are the rationale and emotional reasons they are looking for a product like yours. Susan Oakes on her M4B Marketing Blog has a very good blog post on the importance of understanding your customer’s buying reasons.

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Image: Courtesy of  Lewes District Council, UK.

3 thoughts on “Understand why your customers buy

  1. Gopal: We can all learn something from Amazon who made buying just about as simple as it can be – just click the “buy it now” button and everything gets taken care of for you.

    If only buying all other products was that simple…

    – Dr. Jim Anderson
    The Accidental PM Blog
    “Home Of The Billion Dollar Product Manager”

  2. Gopal, nice post. The mess specially happens when people defining SKUs and pricing have their own idea / opinion about what customer should buy rather than what they want to buy and why. People in offices who do not ask for feedback or do not care, end up creating confusion for poor sales folks to spend time on understanding than actually selling product.

  3. Hi Gopal. That is indeed a nice post. Most web based retailers including Amazon have high drop off rates at check out.

    In addition to what you said, in my opinion the dissonance factor also kicks-in in that stage even though the customer has not purchased the products. I guess its the customer’s investment of time and energy into the purchase process that drives this. I am not sure if making the purchase process is a solution to the last mile though . Because when a customer invests time into shopping (especially online which might not be too much fun), it is quite possible that a customer decides in favor of buy decision simply because he/she does not want to go through it again. 🙂

    But I do agree that approaching a product design in a manipulative approach would hurt return customers and long term sales.

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