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Here's Why Some People Just Won't Buy from You

Jason Wong
Jason Wong
This week has been a heavy week for all of us. I moved to the United States from Hong Kong almost 17 years ago and started school in third grade, around the same age as the children who were senselessly murdered in the tragedy this week. Being in school to me was supposed to be a happy and safe place where I can learn and make friends, not a place where I should be scared for my life.
Since moving to this country, I’ve witnessed countless tragedies that were preventable and near non-existent in any of the other countries I’ve lived in. I feel desensitized to these news now but I know we can’t just let that feeling simmer. Ever since I became a US citizen last year, I’m now able to vote and I want to encourage those who are reading this will take the same action that you want to see in this world. 
Sending prayers and my condolences to the families who have been affected in this tragedy. 

As a brand owner making products in the consumer space, we tend to think that our product is superior and there’s no reason why anyone wouldn’t use us if they’re already buying similar products. It’s a thought that I had whenever I see my friends buy drug store brand lashes instead of the ones from doe. They’ve tried it before, they tell me it’s a better product, yet when they need to buy again, they go for something that’s cheaper and breaks after a day.
My friends and others just like them are well within what I thought my customer demo is. They love makeup, wear lashes, and are women between age 18-28. It puzzled me why despite having a product that is better than other brands on the market (in my opinion), some people still reach for other options.
It wasn’t until I chat with a good friend of mine, Lindsay McCormick from the CPG brand Bite that I realized I had it all wrong this whole time.
I had this misconception that premium products are meant for people that can logically afford it with their income.
In theory, if a car cost $74,000 and using the 20/6/10 rule (20% down, finance over 6 years, 10% of monthly income), after accounting for maintenance and insurance cost, the vehicle would come out to ~$1,186. This means the person buying this $75k car would need to be making $142k a year to reasonably afford the car.
How many of us know people that drive a luxury vehicle making under $100k? I bet we can all think of a few. The reality here is that these people simply just care more about the byproducts of driving a luxury vehicle (status, access, safety, features) more than some other aspects of their life. Maybe instead of having a travel budget, they stay in and get a nicer whip.
This isn’t a knock on anyone, and candidly I did the same thing when I was younger. What this is supposed to illustrate is that our assumption of what people would spend money on can’t be based on a broad assumption, it needs to get a bit deeper.
At the end of the day, I realized that people will spend more money on more expensive things simply because they just care that much more about it. They’re willing to compromise on other expenses to spend more for the things that they love.
So let’s get this straight and clear – Premium products are NOT only for premium people. 
Instead, premium products are for people who HAVE a premium desire. 
Let’s look at another example – lululemon.
lululemon markets their activewear at a higher price, around ~$100+. Does that mean their customers are more “rich” or “premium”? Nope, not really. Sure, some of their customers may have a higher income than others, but it does not mean people who realistically shouldn’t spend money for a pair of premium yoga pants don’t buy from them. It is more about their priority. People who have the aspirations to follow the brand’s lifestyle or the comfort of their activewear will purchase them. Sure, there are other brands with similar products that are more affordable, but the people who are buying Lululemon care so much about the brand that they’re willing to pay a premium for it.
🔍 How do you find these ideal customers
The first step you’d think of is probably market research to find out the buyer persona. A buyer persona is a profile created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way (almost like that imaginary friend that you have when you’re younger.)
Your goal in building these personas is to find customers who value and prioritize the lifestyle, benefit, or mission of your brand or customers who have a higher desire to have an elevated lifestyle. 
Two things I do to build the buyer persona:
  1. Surveying existing customers and give them a gift card to your store in exchange for a few minutes of their time.
  2. Going through reviews and competitor reviews to get an idea of what people look for when they buy the product
The beauty of building in public is that I’m able to constantly learn new things and deconstruct assumptions that was slowing down my business. I know many of you subscribe to my memos because of some success I had with certain things, but the truth is that I’m constantly learning just like the rest of you. When I’m wrong, I’ll tell you what I learned and hope we can all grow together. As I learn, I’ll keep writing these memos to share with you since writing has been a good practice for me to retain new information, so I appreciate you guys hopping on the ride.
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🎙 This Week's Building Blocks Episode
Ep. 18 Ronak Shah on Obvi’s 0 to 30 million in 3 years - Ecommerce Building Blocks | Podcast on Spotify
📱 Marketing Tool Highlight
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Jason Wong
Jason Wong @eggroli

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