Using product education to attract new and retain repeat customers

A couple of months back I happened across a native flower that only grows in our area. It’s also the main source of food for various butterflies, including an endangered one.

The store I learned about it from wasn’t selling it any longer but they did list their supplier in their product description.

Their supplier, a small seed farm about 2 hours from here, has a very simple ecommerce store with about a dozen products for sell. Super-simple website with product information, photos, and a couple of basic content pages (barely 27 pages in Google).

Yet since learning about them I’ve opened their webpages dozens of times on my computer, ipad, and phone.

Why?

Because they gave me everything that I needed as a customer.

I’m looking for specific things for the plants I want to grow. Sizing, growth times, the specific Latin name (for plant identification), etc. Getting answers to those important questions are vital to me and will lose the sale if I can’t find them.

We’re not talking a lot of content either. One product page has 66 words of product content, another 110 words. They could definitely add more to appease Google but to make sales, they have all they need to get over my buying objections.

I ended up placing a small order yesterday afternoon to test out their product. And 7 hours later at 9pm at night, it shipped out from their farm.

Going back to the buying sequence, two companies with ecommerce stores used their product content to teach me new things (e.g. endangered flower and butterfly species) and fill out my knowledge about the product category their products fit in (native plants). They did it better and more effectively than a dozen other sources have, including a massive 200 page PDF of Portland native plants.

Assuming the product is good, this small single farm store has earned enough trust for me to start buying from them directly whenever I need this type of product (every year or two).

All with just knowledge that is publicly available for every seed seller, courtesy the USDA.

I won’t defect fully from my main seed company because they sell non-natives and veggies that I use, but I will shift my native flower purchases to this smaller farm.

You’d have a hard time knowing exactly why a specific customer like myself defects to a competitor, but you can look at cohort analysis like in Repeat Customer Insights to see the larger trends. Are you losing customers month-by-month? Or only after 5 months? What happens in that 5th month?

Defection analysis is hard but it’s much cheaper than paying for a brand new customer.

Eric Davis

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