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Customer Pain Points: How to use their pain to increase your online sales


In this post, I’m going to teach you how you execute an effective strategy that uses customer pain points to encourage more add-to-baskets and more completed checkouts.

So whether you sell books, power tools, luggage, furniture, aromatherapy, fast fashion or cars, this strategy works like a dream. It’s all broken down into manageable chunks with plenty examples.

Matt Thorpe, Webshop Mechanic

“You are the bridge between the pain point of where your customer is now and where they want to be”

Mark Hudson, CEO of LetsOne. & Marketing Speaker 

The Lazy Seller Syndrome

Lazy Seller Syndrome

Selling successfully online is part skill, part art, part luck, part perseverance and a large part strategy.

For some, e-commerce is a world of confusion where it’s possible to keep yourself busy all day, every day and achieve absolutely nothing. That is unless you have the strategy part nailed.

There are lots of different strategies that make up a successful e-commerce business but a major one that store owners nearly always get wrong is the ability to make their products desirable.

It’s a common problem that plagues the majority of online stores. It’s a problem that will prevent you from achieving the sales your efforts deserve.

If people do not have a need or desire for your products then you will receive very few orders and your business will fail.

This may seem blindingly obvious but there is a real perception problem out there, where people think selling online is easy. They think it’s as simple as throwing some products up on a website and waiting for the sales to roll in.

I’m still amazed at the thousands of sellers on eBay and Amazon that believe they can sell products just by uploading some images, a one-liner description and few crappy bullet points.

The ‘Lazy Seller Syndrome’ is a problem that’s got progressively worse with the arrival of sites like Aliexpress, where sellers can import cheap products from China without any real reason to sell it, other than to make a quick buck.

It actually angers me knowing that sellers believe they’ve earned the right take someone’s hard-earned money without putting in the effort to really sell a product.

I see e-commerce stores all over the place doing that very same thing. No thought or effort has gone into the selling side of things. The product is just sitting on a white background screen with a couple of images, some text and a buy button. Sometimes, they’ve even copied the manufacturer’s description which is usually fairly poor.

Guys and Girls, I can tell you now, this is simply not good enough. Whether it’s a full-time business or a side hustle, you need to put in the effort.

To sell a product effectively you need to really know your customer and get under their skin to make them truly ‘desire’ your product.

The way to do this is to address your customer’s pain points.

What is a Customer Pain Points strategy?

Customer Pain Points Strategy to sell more

When consumers go shopping for a product there is a reason why they ‘need’ to own it. They don’t just decide to buy it for no reason. They make the decision to own it because they have pain or discomfort in their life that they need to remove or fix.

When I say pain, I don’t necessarily mean a physical pain (although it could be). I generally mean there is an internal need or desire to own something for a reason.

A consumer is driven to remove this pain factor so they feel fulfilled, happy, relieved or content again.

As a store owner, it’s your job to use your products as tools to address these customer pain points, take away their pain and to make them happy again.

Types of Customer Pain Points

This so called ‘pain factor’ manifests itself in a number of ways. It could be a physical pain like an itch, a headache, a backache or a skin problem.

It could also be intangible, like a frustration of not being able to do something because they haven’t got the right kit, an annoyance of something that’s broken at home or even a situation that has been forced upon them.

A pain factor is anything that causes discomfort and a lingering feeling that needs to be fixed.

Here are some examples to give you a clearer picture of what I mean.


Customer Pain Point: Someone with a toothache
Pain Point: Nagging pain from aching tooth
Solution: A filling from the Dentist or Sensitive Toothpaste

Customer Pain Point at the dentist


Customer Pain Point: A family of 5 with a small hatchback
Pain Point: Current car is too small and potentially dangerous
Solution: A larger estate car that offers more seating and storage

Customer Pain Point Small Car


Customer Pain Point: An air traveller who has to check-in their over-sized bag each flight
Pain Point: Queuing, wasted time & rushing to make the flight
Solution: Cabin-approved sized luggage to help them avoid baggage check-in, avoid queues and giving them time to relax

Customer Pain Point at airport


Customer Pain Point Example: Someone who can’t find affordable fashion in their own style or size
Pain Point: Frustrated by the limited options to buy products they like that actually fit
Solution: Affordable fashion clothing with better size options

Customer Pain Points Affordable Fashion


Customer Pain Point Example: Someone who can’t find affordable healthy foods in their local town
Pain Point: Unable to fulfill dietary requirements
Solution: A store that delivers every supplement or food source to their door

Customer Pain Point Health Food


Customer Pain Point Example: Someone who has lost a relative
Pain Point: They must arrange the funeral and wake
Solution: A funeral directors who will take care of it

Customer Pain Point Funeral

As you can see, customers generally don’t buy products and services just for the sake of it. There is nearly always a motivating factor as to why they shop for something.

Your products must resolve that pain.

How to identify customer pain points

OK, let’s reel this back a little.

When you started your business there must have been a reason why you started in in the first place, other than to make money. Yes?

It may have been because you had trouble finding something in your size or taste. It may have been because your saw a market segment was being under-served. Or it may have been because you saw an opportunity to make an existing product better.

Whatever the reason, you were aiming to provide a solution to a problem. Your ‘target customer’ should have that very same pain factor. They are missing something and you are there to provide it.

You may find that your target customer has more than one pain factor. They may have two or three which isn’t a problem.

But typically, there will be one underlying pain point that every one of your products or your service can resolve. You need to identify this and use it.

If you sell 500 products then I wouldn’t suggest you go through every single product all in one go. I would list them in order of popularity or profit margin and then note down why someone would ‘need to own it’.

Some questions you need to ask yourself about your customer are:

  • What keeps my customer up at night? 
  • What would they like to do but can’t?
  • How can I save them money?
  • How can I save them time?
  • How can I remove their stress?
  • How can I make them feel more relaxed?
  • How can my product / company make their life easier? 

Once you have some answers and pain points listed, it’s time to use them.

How to use customer pain points to sell more stuff online

Now you have identified your customer pain points you need to incorporate them into your marketing and use them to tap into the emotional side of your customer. You need to use the pain to resonate with your customer.

Many online store owners are guilty of simply highlighting features of a product. They use a lazy approach and list the technical attributes of the product, assuming the customer will understand or care about them.

This is a big no, no.

Yup, product features are important but they are not the reason why someone would have a need to own your product. A list of features is not going to take that pain away.

Your customer wants to know how your product is going to remove their discomfort in the quickest time possible.

This means you need to utilise your promotional banners, your product copy, your imagery, your videos, your social media channels and your email communications to translate the problem your product solves.

This doesn’t mean you need to actually spell it out in essay format. Sometimes, a few words or a clever photo can tell a thousand words.

Here are some examples of well-known brands do exactly that:

Customer Pain Point iPhone

Apple iPhone

Pain Factor: Mobile phone handsets are too complicated and most people just want a phone.

Solution: It has an easy-to-use interface and you can share experiences with your friends and family using Facetime.

Customer Pain Point Warby Parker Glasses

Warby Parker Glasses

Pain Factor: Fashionable prescription glasses are very expensive from the optician.

Solution: Warby Parker cut out the middleman and offer prescription glasses at half the cost with very stylish designs.

Customer Pain Point Spanx Shapewear

Spanx Shapewear

Pain Factor: People are body conscious and want to look slimmer.

Solution: Spanx uses body contouring underwear to smooth out lumps and bumps.

Customer Pain Point Post Its

Post-it Notes

Pain Factor: You want to leave an important note on a colleagues desk without it blowing away or getting lost.

Solution: Post-it notes enable you to stick the note to your colleague’s screen so it stays in place until they return to their desk.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Focus on your customer pain points to sell more.

It’s time to put this strategy into action.

Your aim is to be your customer’s new best friend who will take their pain away.

You have the products, you just need to communicate how they will remove the pain and convince your customer they should take the plunge and buy.

Trust me, this strategy beats any discounted pricing in the long term. Yes, discounted pricing works in the short-term but that doesn’t help your business grow. It just helps you to clears stock at a reduced profit margin.

A true growth strategy involves building a solid customer base that understands how your products can change their life for the better.

If you get this right, they will tell their friends and you will have an army of advocates.

Feel free to comment, ask a question or share. I’m here to help.

I hope it’s now clear. Spending time, money and effort to get people to your e-commerce is pointless if they don’t buy anything. Tapping into your customer pain points are the key to getting people to click on that ‘buy’ button.

If you have any questions or comments about this post then please feel free to add them below. I will be more than happy to reply.

We’re all here to help each other.

Ta very much

Learn E-Commerce – Proven strategies to grow your online store

Make sure you also check out my e-commerce course. It’s perfect for e-commerce beginners and e-commerce businesses who need proven strategies to convert more orders and scale their sales. 

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