Selling products on social media is tougher than selling experiences

Extrovert IntrovertSupermarket owners are fond of “bigging up” their businesses telling us that we visit them for a “shopping experience”. We don’t; we go there to get the groceries. An “experience” is something altogether more memorable and of much more importance to us.  What supermarkets really do is provide us with convenient access to the products we need to live our day-to-day lives.

There are, of course, retailers who do sell experiences. Travel agencies, for example, sell us the wonders of visiting that special place on the planet we just dream about. In fact, all travel agents are really selling is a seat on a plane and a bedroom in a hotel.

However, there is no denying we like buying “experiences”. Rather than selling us a meal, top restaurants charge us high fees for the experience – the atmosphere, the setting, the service and so on. Rather than selling us a car, the sales person gets our brains whirring with excitement about the wonderful days out we’ll have with the top down, the gorgeous sound of the seven-speaker audio system and the fact that the seats will wrap us up in comfort. What we are really buying is a tin box with wheels.

But new research implies that selling experiences might not always work. It seems that the people most likely to fall for the experience line are extroverts. Meanwhile, introverts appear to want the basic product information – no fuss.

Online this has particular importance, especially if you are using social media to promote your products. Social networks attract mostly extroverts. Whilst introverts do indeed socialise, the bulk of online activity in social networks is from the most social people, the extroverts. This means that if you are selling your products and services using social media you are going to sell more if you concentrate on “experiences” because that’s what extroverts prefer.

If you sell products you are less likely to do so well on social networks because the bulk of the people there are extroverts and therefore not so interested. The lower numbers of introverts on social networks mean that for product oriented selling you already have a lower potential market – unless you turn your products into an “experience”.

So, maybe you could learn a tip or two from the supermarkets. They sell rather ordinary stuff, but want us to have an “experience” in their stores. Online, if you concentrate on selling experiences rather than products, particularly in social networks, you could sell more.

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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones

@grahamjones

Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
RT @SteveHeadSpeaks: Thanks to @GuidesForBrides for having @ChrisHeadMagic at #ukwedconf @MiltonHillhotel learning from the best @grahamjon - 2 days ago
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