[tweetmeme]To sell on the Web, big businesses are going far beyond the storefront. They realize that gaining customer loyalty and increasing sales goes beyond simply putting the product images alongside the “buy it now” button. They need to engage the customers. They need to educate them. They need to cultivate and build the love for their products.
Take a look at Home Depot. Home Depot is the #5th biggest ecommerce site today, according to Internet Retailer. Their website is chockfull of information about their products. They not only sell, but through various types of content – e.g. articles, blogs, workshops, how-tos, and videos – they educate site visitors about the product and show them how to use them and what could be accomplished by using them. They understand that the more the customers know about their products, the higher the likelihood the visitors are going to buy them.
Premium tea seller The Republic of Tea has recently redesigned their website, which was originally launched in 1999, to incorporate tea education into the user experience. Their new reference center called Citizens’ Tea Library includes fresh, practical and objective tea information from authoritative sources, including health benefits of tea, safety testing, how to brew tea, caffeine and tea. In addition to selling teas, The Republic of Tea provides recipes, learn tea origins, and even pose questions about teas.
They also added a tea blog, which covers news and notes from The Republic of Tea. The blog includes information on tea classes and tastings, as well as their trips to tea-growing countries. In addition, the product pages now include detailed information about each tea and tea-inspired product including ingredients and steeping directions. The more you inform the customer, the more trust they have in the products you offer.
In an interview with MultiChannelMerchant.com, The Republic of Tea said that their goal for adding educational content is to:
“We wanted to create a place for all tea drinkers, from tea aficionados to casual enthusiasts (and for those yet to join the specialty tea revolution) to share in the history, tradition and creativity of tea.”
Like The Republic of Tea, when creating a website selling products or services, consider the education component of the site to reach more customers and increase your sales. Search engines will bring you increased traffic, and customers will love your site more.