The better way to sell online

Four counterintuitive ways to gain customer trust

When we think of marketing our businesses we often think of the same tactic: make ourselves look as good as possible. But more and more customers want more than a sales spiel; they want a real understanding of how our businesses run and how our products are made.

Address the negatives

It’s time to face the elephant in the room. As small business owners, we always want to put our best foot forward. But studies have shown that embracing our flaws can make us more relatable and boost our sales.

Here’s an example: imagine if IKEA wrote an article about which household items you can use to assemble their furniture. A lot of people -especially students- who buy from IKEA don’t have their own toolkits. In the past I myself have used shoes, jars, chunks of wood and nail files to assemble shelving units! Creating an emergency guide would be a clever way to counter what many people see as a deterrent of DIY furniture.

Writing about what could go wrong with your products and how customers can address those things can give you a massive boost, no matter what you sell.

Share your secrets!

It can be tempting to hide your manufacturing process, not talk about your ingredients, and keep an air of mystery about your business.

But people tend to love the transparent truth! Share your process; be honest about how you come up with products, what the process is in developing them, and which materials and techniques you use. Don’t be so exact that your customers could recreate your products at home, but do give them valuable insights into what they’re buying.

Talk about the money

Businesses often hide their prices. They encourage customers to get in touch for quotes, or they hide their costs until late in the checkout process. There are a few reasons they do this: they don’t want customers to be deterred by their prices, their pricing changes seasonally, or they don’t want to be compared with competitors.

But hiding prices, shipping costs and taxes doesn’t make customers more likely to buy: it actually just makes them wary.

I know from my own experience that if one website is transparent in their pricing and one isn’t I’ll almost always go for the transparent one. It might not always be the cheaper option, but it saves me time and confusion, and the uncomfortable feeling of asking for a price and then rejecting it.

Pick up a camera

Many people are visual learners. They love to see how products look in a hand, how they move, how they’re assembled: so show them! Instead of relying solely on traditional images and text on your website, insert some video.

You can create testimonials, tutorials, behind-the-scenes footage and employee features to help your customers gain a real feeling of your business, your products, and your culture.

Give them a closer look!


More than ever customers want transparency and a true understanding of where their purchases come from. So be honest, address your flaws, offer solutions and give insights. Your customers will thank you!

Lena Klein

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