3 Keys to an Irresistible Ecommerce Offer (How To Sell Any Product)

A common misconception in the world of ecommerce is that a great product with a compelling story is all you need for people to make a purchase. Unfortunately (thanks to human nature) those things just aren’t enough. Don’t get us wrong, a great product and compelling story are essential to even participate in the ecommerce game. But the fact is there are extra elements needed to make sure store visitors take action.

The unfortunate reality for both customers and ecommerce brands is that there are a lot of distractions, competition, and procrastination in today’s world. Your job – your necessity – is to break through this noise in order to turn visitors into customers in a predictable way. And to do this, you must create an offer the visitor just can’t refuse.

How to build an irresistible offer:

There are three basic elements necessary to building an offer the right customer simply can’t refuse: price, risk reversal, and urgency. If you have these simple elements dialed in and are bringing qualified traffic to your store, you will begin to turn more visitors into customers than ever before.

1. Price

The first key is price. You must create and communicate extreme value… so much value that your customer’s mindset is, “I can’t believe I get all of this for this price.”

Some retailers shy away from sales or markdowns for fear of becoming a “discount brand”, but this is really a non-issue in today’s world. Your price does not define your brand (and nor do discounts) . You can remain elevated by offering great products, building an emotional connection with your customers, and crafting a meaningful story around your brand. Running strategic promotions and discounts simply creates an amazing deal for the customers to get excited about.

It’s important to note that you need great margins on your products if you want to run effective sales. If you’re a new business, take this into consideration as you set your prices.

When you do run sales and promotions, be sure to communicate how much the customer is saving. Simply crossing out the original price and putting the sale price next to it works wonders! Check out how Zappos relays extreme value below.

Example of an ecommerce store that communicates extreme value for the price

Zappos communicates extreme value for the price

2. Risk Reversal

The second key to an irresistible offer is what we call risk reversal, or removing as much risk associated with a purchase as possible. Risk (the customers’ fear of wasting money (or losing it completely) on a product that doesn’t work, live up to its promise, or they just don’t like) is one of the largest barriers to making a purchase, especially online.

Risk reversal can be accomplished in several ways, but they generally fall into 2 categories: credibility (a professional and amazing experience on your site, great photos, no typos, logos of other companies using your product, security certificates, and money back guarantees.) and social proof (reviews, testimonials and any other form of a customer speaking about your product or brand). One of the most effective ways to de-risk a purchase for your customer is having an amazing, money-back guarantee. Promise the customer that if they’re not happy, there is an extremely simple way to get their money back without any hassle. Of course to do this well you need great product margins – are you sensing a theme?. All of these help eliminate visitors’ hesitations before they buy.

As an example, have you seen Eddie Bauer’s famous guarantee? All risk is eliminated because this brand ensures customers’ lifetime satisfaction.

Example of an ecommerce store that reverses buyer risk

Eddie Bauer does a great job reversing buyer risk

3. Urgency

As counter-intuitive as it is, having a great price and minimal risk still isn’t enough. People will admire your product, and they may even decide that it WILL make their life better and they DO need it, yet most won’t buy. Why? Procrastination. Human’s just don’t take consistent action without a sense of urgency. There’s science to back this, but at the end of the day, the human life is busy. Luckily enough there are plenty of ways to encourage site visitors to purchase more quickly:

  • Calendar promotions: The most simple way to create urgency is by the calendar. Plan your promotions, sales, or product launches around holidays or seasons, and the time-sensitivity will naturally promote urgency.
  • Timed promotions and events: You can also create your own urgency with timed promotions around events on your site, such as a new product launch. With these, you can still communicate that this is a timed offer with an expiration date.
  • Scarcity: Emphasize a limited supply of products, whether you create this yourself or the laws of supply and demand create it naturally.
  • Sneak peeks: Build anticipation for your store’s next sale a week ahead with email previews, preorders, sneak peek images and more. Get your customers excited about what’s coming so they’ll be in the mindset to buy when the promotion begins.

Now, we’ve all seen (and felt) urgency. They goal here is to make sure it’s legitimate and not made up. And it most certainly has to be real – meaning if you say a discount is valid for a certain amount of time, make sure it doesn’t stay valid after that. The customer needs to believe you, and you must condition them. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be nice and extend sales or bend your own rules from time to time.

Check out this example from Gap’s Friends & Family Event. Note the banner across the top of the homepage with bold, eye-catching text and “Extended 1 Day” messaging.

Example of a promotion that creates urgency

Gap runs great promotions that create urgency

An Example of a Brand that Creates a Great Irresistible Offer

Looking for an example of a brand that accomplishes all three keys to an irresistible offer? Take a look at how Groove Life silicone rings has seamlessly incorporated these while maintaining their status as a respectable, high quality brand.

This December, Groove released several new patterns for their most popular collection of women’s rings. The launch email which was sent to qualified traffic, effectively communicated these 3 key elements, making it an irresistible offer:

  1. Price: Normally $34.95, these rings were on sale for just $20 since the store was already running an annual sitewide sale. Note that the prices in the product feed are marked down from the original so customers can visualize the extreme value.
  2. Risk Reversal: Groove’s No B.S. Warranty is included at the bottom of the email. Groove guarantees their products for life and boasts hassle-free exchanges, making it a no-brainer for visitors to try them out.
  3. Urgency: The email emphasizes the once-per-year $20 Ring Special that will expire just a few days later.
Example of an email that creates an irresistible offer

Groove Life does a great job of creating irresistible offers

These three key components are not always easy to implement, but they are the most effective way to create an offer that customers cannot refuse. In today’s busy, distraction-filled world, it’s your job to help your customers get over any barriers to purchasing your product. If you can find perfect harmony between extreme value, zero risk and a sense of urgency, you’ll be well on your way to ecommerce success!


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