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What’s your ‘why’?

Peter Messana's headshoot
By Peter Messana - CEO

For those that have read Simon Sinek or watched his Ted Talk, you know that he pushes that everyone in an organization should know ‘why’. When everyone knows why something is happening they are more engaged.

The same holds true for a website or even a company. If the customer doesn’t know why they should shop with you, then they are just transacting. If a site can get across why someone should be shopping on it then the customer is that much more likely to come back again and again.

Let’s say you run a website and your ‘why’ is selection, price, and speed. First, congratulations for thinking you are running Amazon. Second, you are doomed.

The problem isn’t that those aren’t three great reasons for someone to come to your site, the problem is that those aren’t differentiating at all. You will never beat Amazon at their own game. Instead you must focus your ‘why’ on something unique. You see some amazing sites doing this using subscription models or hybrid subscription models. You also see sites pushing expert content along with their products, both blog content as well as other content that supports the brand or the product itself. The best way to compete is to build some sort of flywheel or sticky factor that makes people want to come back again and again.

Obviously varying sites have different needs, if you are Direct to Consumer, you own the brand and that’s very different from a reseller that owns nothing. But in either case, you must provide your customer with a reason to buy your brand or shop your site. It is far too easy to swap you out with someone else in today’s landscape. 

Don’t get caught up thinking that the product must be the ‘why’, it’s quite the opposite. The product is likely not the reason why someone is buying it, or buying from you. This is why branding can be so powerful and cause products to have massive followings. The brand creates a ‘why’ around something they are doing as a brand, that could be something societal, that could be perceived value, it doesn’t really matter. The customers perceive a ‘why’ they want that brand. The same can hold true for a general site. The easiest way for a general online store to create a ‘why’ is by focusing on something like being the expert in the products or by creating experiential shopping. There is no answer that fits all, it is really about stepping back and asking, ‘why would people want to shop our site?’.

This isn’t just tied to ecommerce and websites, we also run into this all the time. Why should I use Searchspring? It is the question anyone in the organization must be able to answer.

So ask yourself, what is your company ‘why’ or your own ‘why’? You can apply it to just about anything you are doing. If you can’t answer it then you are probably not heading in the right direction.