5 Tips for Connecting with Your Customers and Making More Sales

5 Tips for Connecting with Your Customers and Making More Sales


When it comes to online sales and customer conversion, connecting with your potential customers and describing your products persuasively is one of the most important parts of selling online.

That’s because after your product photo, your product description is the information people turn to when trying to make a buying decision. And with Amazon a click away, the story you tell about your products (and your business) is your best chance at convincing people to buy from you.

In fact it's a mission critical piece of the online sales puzzle.

Here are five techniques to make sure your product descriptions (and business story) get people clicking the 'add to cart' button.

1. Discover What Makes Your Product Remarkable

In his book, My Life in Advertising, advertising pioneer Claude Hopkins tells the story of how in the 1920’s he used a new advertising campaign to propel Schlitz beer from fifth place in the beer market to being tied for first.

After being hired for the job, Hopkins toured the brewery to get to know the product. He discovered an elaborate filtration process in which the beer was sterilized and cooled in a special way over frigid pipes - all in a plate glass room in which only filtered air could enter. When he asked why they weren’t telling people about this he was told that ‘every brewery filtered beer this way’.

His response? “But others have never told this story.”

Schlitz rolled out their new ‘filtration story’ and marched forward to beer brand dominance.

It’s Toasted

Another example of discovering what makes your product and business remarkable can be found in this scene from Mad Men:

To discover the remarkable benefits of your products and business, try asking yourself questions like:

  • What materials is your product is made from?
  • Where did those materials came from?
  • How are your products manufactured and assembled?
  • Who are they manufactured and assembled by?
  • What are the unique benefits your product offers?
  • What’s your personal story and how does it add value to your products?

For example, Dodocase doesn’t just make iPad cases. They make handcrafted iPad cases while preserving traditional artisan bookbinding techniques in the city of San Francisco.

And if that’s something you want, you can only buy from them.

2. Persuade With Video

These days product descriptions don’t just have to come in text form. Video can be an incredibly persuasive medium that takes you from simply claiming your product is remarkable to actually demonstrating that it is.

Video lets you tell a visually engaging story that adds emotion and transparency to the online shopping experience. It creates trust by showing that the product is real and so are the people that make it.

Another good example of a company using video to tell a story and sell is LIFX - a new smartphone enabled LED lightbulb company who have just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Let’s take a look at some of the copywriting and persuasion techniques at play in the LIFX video so that you can adapt them to your own product descriptions and videos.

3. Resonating and Empathizing with Potential Customers

After a brief introduction, the first thing the makers of LIFX do is make some statements about traditional light bulbs in an attempt to resonate and empathize with you as well as get you nodding your head in agreement and starting to say yes.

“I was thinking one day that the light bulb is amazing and is probably one of the greatest inventions of all time.” Yes.

“But it hasn’t really changed much in the last 100 years.” Yes.

“Not to mention how annoying it is when they blow out.” YES!

In other words, you’re trying to get your customer in harmony with what you’re saying in order to create the right buying environment.

The other factor at play here is empathy. Empathy establishes rapport with your visitors and lets them know that you understand their problems and their pain. It also positions your product as the solution to that pain.

4. Sell with Emotion, Justify with Logic

When it comes to making a purchase, people buy on emotion and justify with logic. As copywriter Joe Sugarman points out in his book Advertising Secrets of the Written Word, people may tell their friends that they bought a Mercedes because of an impressive list of technical features, but really they just wanted a prestigious car that would allow them to belong to the crowd that drives luxury vehicles.

Creating emotion comes from explaining the benefits that your product offers. In the case of LIFX, that’s:

  • Having a cool light bulb that you can show off to your friends at parties.
  • Being environmentally conscious.
  • Making your kids feel safe (nightlight).
  • Being a tech savvy early adopter.
  • Saving electricity and money.

The actual features of your product are the logical points people use to justify an emotional purchase. 

  • Dim and change colors via your smartphone.
  • Turn on one bulb or a group of bulbs.
  • A 25 year lifespan, notifications, night light functionality etc.

In other words, appeal to emotion (benefits) and back it up with logic (features).

5. Risk Removal

Once you've got your potential customer in the right buying environment and emotionally connected to your product, the last step is to remove any risk with a solid guarantee. Every potential purchase comes with some risk for the buyer and adding a money back guarantee backs up the promise that your product is making.

The goal here is to remove any lingering doubts in your customers mind.

When it comes to describing your products and business to potential customers, there is no one size fits all approach but employing all or some of these strategies should help to make what you're selling more compelling.


  • Dave
    April 10 2013, 03:39PM

    I think the part about stressing benefits and not just features is important. All too often – especially in ecommerce – people just throw up a list of product features and specs without actually painting a picture of how the product will benefit the person in real life.

  • Derek
    April 10 2013, 05:50PM

    I write my product descriptions based on point #4: have a paragraph to support the emotional connection the potential customer has with the image of the product and then provide the logic behind the product using bullet-point, easy to read statements describing the product (100% cotton, licensed by Marvel, color: blue, satisfactiono guaranteed).

  • @Shopify Mark Macdonald
    Mark Macdonald
    April 10 2013, 06:07PM

    @Derek sounds like you’re doing it right. I think a lot of people miss out on this opportunity but even “boring” products can be made to sound interesting.

  • Vic for Little Letter
    Vic for Little Letter
    April 11 2013, 06:28AM

    I love this Blog post. The opening video shots have made me think how I could apply this approach to promote my business. Something I had not yet considered.
    I am also focusing too much on the features of my product and not emotionally connecting with my audience. I like Derek’s idea about the paragraph for the benefits and the bullet point the features.
    Thank you, you have opened my eyes and I’m now off to jiggle with my website and try to find an equally as good post on “Tips for Blogging”
    Victoria – Little Letter

  • Yves
    April 11 2013, 07:31AM

    Thanks for this post. Would be great if we could publish/edit descriptions from an iOS device, especially since we can do pretty much everything else to products (and a HUGE THANK YOU for that!) no?

  • @Shopify Mark Macdonald
    Mark Macdonald
    April 11 2013, 09:25AM

    @Vic – glad to hear this is giving you some ideas!

    @Yves – thanks for your feedback regarding the Shopify iPhone app. We are always working to improve things so it helps to hear about features people want.

  • Justin Butlion
    Justin Butlion
    April 11 2013, 10:36AM

    Very well written and interesting article. One tip which wasn’t covered which I think is very powerful is providing a very high level of service. Providing quality service is a sure way to create loyalty and gain trust among your customers. Go the extra mile when ever you can and your customers will become your best evangelists and supports and this will result in more sales in the long run.

    Thanks for a great article.

  • @Shopify Mark Macdonald
    Mark Macdonald
    April 11 2013, 11:36AM

    @Justin – Great point. Amazing customer service is becoming the cost of doing business these days and even going above and beyond to surprise and delight your customers is something we are seeing smart businesses start to do more and more. Thanks for commenting!

  • Stefan
    April 13 2013, 12:30AM

    it is about emotion:


  • Michael Cohen
    Michael Cohen
    April 13 2013, 03:17PM

    Mark, You make a great point that we should point out what makes our products truly remarkable—and I emphasize truly. The clip from Mad Men highlights that in the 1960’s you could fake it. You could say something about a product and consumers would believe it was special just because you said it. As the tobacco marketers point out to Don, all tobacco is toasted. Don lets them know that it doesn’t matter because no one knows how tobacco is made.

    Today is different. You tell me that your tobacco is remarkable because its toasted, then I go to wikipedia find out how others do it. When I realize that all tobacco is toasted, the ad—and the brand with it—have lost all credibility. Today is all about honesty and transparency.

  • @Shopify Mark Macdonald
    Mark Macdonald
    April 13 2013, 08:27PM

    @Stefan – great video!

    @Michael – I agree with you that the internet has forced more businesses adopt honesty and transparency. The tobacco clip is more about the process of examining your product and figuring out if there is a remarkable story or hidden benefit that maybe you aren’t seeing right now. Thanks for the comment!

  • treepodia
    April 14 2013, 05:01PM

    It’s great to see that video is getting the deserved spotlight it deserves. Humblebrag: our clients are living proof how product video can really enhance ecommerce.

  • David Lambert
    David Lambert
    April 18 2013, 02:56PM

    I agree with everything said and shown but I am a new launch with no business and I cringe at the thought of the cost of these type videos.

  • e commerce business solutions
    e commerce business solutions
    April 24 2013, 01:19AM

    This is very interesting article. For making more sales and connecting with the customers, it is necessary to have products with description and also provide quality service.

  • D. Lew
    D. Lew
    April 25 2013, 01:12PM

    I definitely agree! Even sales professionals with years of experience working for some of the best sales training companies in the world don’t have the basics cover. It’s a process where the art of persuasion techniques have to be emphasized in the sales training program.

  • σχεδιασμός ιστοσελίδων
    σχεδιασμός ιστοσελίδων
    April 29 2013, 08:04AM

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Kirti
    May 02 2013, 08:33AM

    Interesting article. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  • Brian
    May 06 2013, 06:17AM

    Appreciate sharing your experiences and thoughts. This is very helpful.http://www.getcliqup.com

  • G.B. Oliver @ Attention-Getting.com
    G.B. Oliver @ Attention-Getting.com
    June 06 2013, 09:57AM

    Always try to get a potential customer to ask you a question. Once you have engaged them, you are more likely to get a sale.

    Good article!

  • G.B. Oliver at Attention-Getting.com
    G.B. Oliver at Attention-Getting.com
    June 06 2013, 10:28AM

    The Facebook post ads in the news feed make sense because a couple of months ago an IDC report stated that smartphone users, on average, check their Facebook newsfeed 14 times a day and more so on the weekend. I have tried them with relative success.

  • ferdie
    June 19 2013, 02:57AM

    This is great article. I love the videos, especially the one with the smartphone enabled LED lightbulb portion. That amazes me a lot. I wanna buy and have one like that in my keep.
    The content is very helpful and informative. kind a like this video I watched last time. Its pretty brief and quick about Top 10 Best Practices for Product Demos from Design Reactor
    Check it out.

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  • Walter Rivera Santos
    Walter Rivera Santos
    April 08 2014, 11:50AM

    Mark McDonald, thanks for those five points. Rene Descartes book “The Method” from XVII mentions such a powerful element… TRUST. All media channels should do is delivered massive trust.

  • Colette F.
    Colette F.
    November 08 2014, 10:09AM

    I have all of this done, www.art-t-facts.com…but the million dollar question is, how do I get “paying” customers to the site?

  • SAM
    December 06 2014, 05:39PM

    my name is SAM – I am working on a business development book project – and have come across several of your articles; i would like to find out about using part of them in my book – encouraging the readers to connect with you via social media if they want to learn more about how you can help them. i am not looking to charge anything for this – just wanted to make sure i had your permission before i moved forward.

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