How Supplemental Information Helps Your Customers Beyond Their Purchase


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No matter what you sell, your business depends on customer satisfaction. When your customers are happy, your company has a better chance to thrive. Generating satisfied customers requires more than a great product. You also need to help them get the most out of their purchase. When you’re not selling face-to-face, you have to rely on inserts and instructions posted on your website.

Instructions are essential but don’t need to be excessive

When you sell an ordinary product like socks, you probably don’t need to provide detailed instructions. Everyone knows how to put on a sock, and most people know how to wash basic materials like cotton and wool. One line should be enough.

The truth is, no matter what product you sell, there are always supplemental bits of information you can provide to help customers get the best use. That information doesn’t need to be instructions on how to use the product. Maybe your socks have another use, or customers can prolong product life by washing them inside out.

Supplemental information prevents mistakes

Providing extra information on your website and packaged with your product prevents customers from making expensive or damaging mistakes from an impulsive purchase. For instance, some people don’t know they can or should order samples before purchasing tiles, blinds, or carpet for their home. Surprisingly, people buy flooring without bringing samples into their home and instantly regret it. Suggesting and offering samples on your website can prevent this mistake.

Even with something as simple as replacing window treatments, multiple considerations should be made available before purchase. For example, how to take proper measurements and the importance of spot testing liquid cleaners might seem obvious, but won’t be to everyone.

Addressing common installation, operation, and maintenance errors saves customers from having to “Google” their way out of problems and disasters.

Use supplemental information to make people laugh

Laughter is said to be the best medicine, and it’s also a great marketing tool. People remember brands that make them laugh because it makes them feel good. Making customers laugh gives them more reason to trust your brand, too.

Humor can generate deep engagement from customers, and make an impression on someone’s memory. For example, reports that university students increase retention and attention when instructors teach with humor. Southwest Airlines uses humor to get passengers to pay attention to safety information before and during flights.

Humor can also mitigate an otherwise frightening experience. For instance, during a steep ascent or descent, some flight attendants are known to slide bags of peanuts down the aisle creating a free-for-all grab to distract passengers from the experience.

Depending on your product, humor can be used in a variety of ways to make customers smile, laugh, or pay closer attention.

How to add humor to your product inserts with limited space

When you have limited space to be funny, you’ll need to come up with some one-liners. To do that, look no further than the various upcycling websites that provide creative ways to repurpose old household items. The ideas posted might include new ways to use the type of products you sell.

While you probably don’t want to suggest turning a brand new shower curtain into a skirt, you could provide a humorous insert suggesting a new use when the product reaches the end of its intended life.

You could even make a joke about the box the product came in, “recyclable cardboard box doubles as a cat cave.” Or, “how to dispose of cardboard box: put box on floor in front of cat. If it fits, cat sits.”

Use supplemental information to tell customers what you’re up to

Using the example of socks, Bombas – a successful sock company – uses supplemental information to help customers feel great about their purchase.

Bombas was founded to provide socks to people in homeless shelters. For every pair sold, a pair is donated, but the donated socks are different. Bombas engineered a sock with an anti-microbial treatment, reinforced seams, and darker colors to make them last longer.

What can you share with your customers?

There’s always something to share with your customers, whether it’s helpful information, uncommon uses, or general information about your company and your product. If you can’t think of anything related to your product, as a last resort, toss a corny joke in the box. Customers may wonder why it’s there, but they’ll still laugh, and you’ll score their trust.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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