How to Sell Complex Products Online

buying-complex-products-onlineFive years ago I was excited to be buying the first laptop for my new business. Fast forward to January 2013. It’s time to retire the 5-year-old laptop for a newer, faster, sharper model. Unlike my first shopping experience, I’m not excited. I loath researching laptops. It pains me to learn and relearn  about RAM, SSDs and processing speeds. Let’s face it, a computer is a complex product and one that requires a lot of time and energy to get it right.

If you’re selling a complex product and you don’t have the “right stuff” available online, your potential customer may just buy from the competition because it’s easier!

So how can you effectively and painlessly sell a complex product online? Start with a multi-touch strategy. By multi-touch I am referring to the many ways your customer can interact with your product, your service and your brand. The following is a handy checklist for a multi-touch, online strategy that a complex product might use.


Checklist for Selling a Complex Product Online

Video: This is one time when video can save the sale. When you have a complicated or complex product, showing can be much better than just telling. Demonstrate how the product works, how it looks from different angles, how it sounds, what features are available, etc….

Comparison chart: I don’t recommend comparing yourself to the other guys. Not only do you open doors you may not want to open when you have an us vs. them comparison, you can look well…cheep.

Instead, compare your product line. Why would one model serve the needs of a customer more than another? What are the needs/wants of the person who would buy a particular model or style? Don’t be greedy in your comparison chart and try to get people to buy the highest priced item. Serve your customer’s needs first and they will come back and/or refer business to you.

Online chat: Chat can be a quick sale saver. Everyone loves instant gratification. When you can answer a customer’s question the moment he/she thinks of the question, you’re two steps ahead. Just be sure you clearly indicate the hours your chat is available so customers don’t become frustrated.

Contact details: When selling a complex or complicated product easy contact — phone, email, social media, etc. is critical. Be sure your contact details are clearly visible on every page of your site.

Reviews: Too many businesses fear customer reviews. More often than not, reviews help you sell more, not less. Customers who have purchased your products can be terrific sources of information about pros and cons that may not be covered by sales and marketing.

Worried about what’s being said? Monitoring reviews is fine, just don’t shy away from negative feedback. You want honest, believable feedback. Not more marketing. Most customers can separate out the crazy, over-the-top reviews form the ones that are of real value.

How-not-how-muchExcellent product specs: You don’t want to miss a thing when it comes to specifications for confusing products. Think of it this way, if you leave off the fact that your laptop is available with SSDs and your competitor clearly states that their laptops have this feature, which laptop do you think will be chosen when it comes down to this specification? If you’re worried about information overload, consider how you present your materials rather than how much material you present. 

Photos: No matter how boring you may think your product is, or how obvious you may think it looks, include photos. Photos not only give more information in a visual way, but they reassures the shopper that they are purchasing or visualizing the “right” product.

Guarantee: Complex products inherently come with some worry. “What if I pick the wrong one?” “What if it doesn’t work?” “What if I don’t like it?” Put your customer’s mind at ease by offering a guarantee. Free shipping both ways has worked wonders for Zappos. A money back guarantee, no strings attached, is always a favorite. Make it easy and worry-free.


Complex products can be successfully sold online, but they require due diligence from both the buyer and the seller. Make sure you and your site are up to the task to service your customer and you will convert more visitors into buyers.




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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.