How To Improve Your Online Store Website By Negotiating With Your Toddler

My daughter is now 3 years old and as she continues to grow and mature, it’s becoming much easier for the two of us to communicate with one other. Finally, she can put together simple sentences and convey what she wants and needs using words instead of grunting or crying.

The problem is that she’s also getting smarter and harder to negotiate with. Once she wants something, she’s tends to have a one track mind.

Daughter: Daddy, can I play with your phone?
Me: Not right now my love
Daughter: Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone?
Me: I said not right now
Daughter: I picked up my toys off the floor…
Me: Mommy made you do that so that doesn’t count
Daughter: Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone? Please Daddy?
Me: AHHH!!! Not right now ok?
Daughter: What are you doing Daddy?
Me: I’m trying to write a blog post.
Daughter: Can I see your phone pulleeeaasse? I love you (tilts her head and smiles)
Me: No, but did you know that Mommy has a phone that was designed for princesses? After all, she is the Queen of this house.
Daughter: Really?
Me: Of course,
Daughter: Ok Daddy. I love you. I’ll go ask Mommy for her princess phone(Big dimply smile). MMOOOOMMMMYYYY!!! CAN I SEE YOUR PRINCESS PHONE?!?!?
Mom: Huh? I don’t have a princess phone….STEVE!?!?!

Phew! That was close. I just freed up some time to complete this blog post by diverting my daughter’s attention away without upsetting her! BTW, I don’t recommend trying this tactic at home unless you are a trained professional or unless you have an understanding wife.

As my daughter grows more and more feisty, I’ve noticed that getting her to do what I want is a lot like being in online sales. In fact, many of the same tactics and principles of designing a high converting online store website apply. Here are some tips on how to improve your salesmanship and your web design that I learned from negotiating with my toddler.

Rule #1: Your Toddler And Your Customer Have Short Attention Spans

These days, it’s really tough to keep my daughter occupied for extended periods of time. And buying more and more toys is definitely not the answer. I would say that she can focus on a single activity for about 5 minutes at most before she moves on to something else.

These days, if my wife and I need to her to do anything, we have a very small window of time to get her attention before she wanders off to do something else. For example, we’ve been trying to teach her how to pick up after herself when she makes a mess with her toys. In the beginning, she would clean up for a short period of time and then quickly get distracted.

So, we turned cleaning up into a fun game complete with a cheesy song that we sing while picking things up (Remind me to sing this for you sometime). These days, she’s more likely to pick up after herself because she has fun in the process. We managed to grab her attention by turning the act of cleaning into a game.

Likewise with your online business, you only have a short amount of time to convince your customer to stay on your website and browse your product line. In fact, it only takes a few seconds for a potential customer to decide whether to stay or go so it’s imperative to use attention grabbing images and powerful content to grab hold of their attention. Is your website ugly? Are you creating the right mood for your customers? Are you enticing customers to stick around?

If the bounce rate for your online store is especially high (greater than 70%) or if your conversions rates are abysmal (less than 1%), there’s probably something wrong with your website design and your ability to maintain your customer’s attention. If this is the case, you should solicit a friend for their honest opinion about your site.

If your friends are too polite and can’t tell you the truth, you can get an unbiased opinion by using a service like EasyUsability.com. For as low as 15 bucks, you can create a survey and obtain feedback about your website from a large group of random testers.

Rule #2: Your Toddler And Your Customers Need Guidance

My daughter is currently at an age where she wants to be independent and make her own decisions. But the reality is that most 3 year olds are not mature enough to know what they want and need. So as a parent, you have to gently guide your toddler in the right direction while giving them the satisfaction that they acted all on their own.

Daughter: I don’t want to eat any vegetables. I hate vegetables! No vegetables! I don’t want it!
Me: Oh ok. You don’t have to eat anything that you don’t want to eat.
Daughter: Really Daddy?
Me: Of course, you’re old enough now to decide what you want to eat. Tell you what….Do you want to eat carrots or broccoli for dinner toinght?
Daughter: Hmmm….I’ll have broccoli please.
Me: Excellent choice!

Likewise, the customers that land on your website often have no idea where to go or what to do next. You have to guide them through your website towards where you want them to go by using effective calls to action. In fact, every single page on your website should have some sort of goal.

Do you want them to add a product to their shopping cart? Then use a bold color for your “Add To Shopping Cart” button to make it stand out. Do you want visitors to click on a product? Then use large, vibrant images and actionable text to convince them to “Click on your product now!”.

The most effective websites guide visitors on a set path or “funnel” that usually ends in a conversion that you define. Don’t let your customers aimlessly browse your site and have a clear goal in mind.

Rule #3: Your Toddler And Your Customers Can Be Easily Influenced

No matter what my daughter happens to want at any given point in time, she can usually be convinced to want something else at the drop of a dime. It’s all about the presentation and wow factor.

Daughter: I want to play with my teddy bear. It’s mine!
Me: Sorry dear, but your brother is playing with it right now and we need to take turns.
Daughter: I want my teddy bear now! It’s my teddy bear, not his.
Me: Come on now, we should all share our toys.
Daughter: Can I play with your iPad then?
Me: Uh….Err…Um…
Daughter: Please Daddy?
Me: Why would you want to play with a ratty teddy bear or this hunk of metal when you could be playing in your awesome new kitchen and cooking up some good food? In fact, Daddy is quite hungry right now. Can you cook me a delicious meal?
Daughter: You’re hungry Daddy? Ok, I’ll make you something to eat from my kitchen.

As the designer for your online store website, you have the power to influence your customers and present your products in the best way possible. And an easy way to do this is to use high res photos and attention grabbing product descriptions.

Sounds pretty straightforward but I can’t tell you how many online stores I’ve seen that don’t bother to write good product descriptions. For example, the other day I was shopping for a wooden train set and the description simply said “This is a wooden train set. Made of 100% wood and non-toxic”. Blah!

The product descriptions on your site are what sells your product so make sure you spend some time to write attention grabbing text! Even if you sell mundane products, you can often times convince a customer to buy just by presenting your product in a different light. If you don’t know what I mean, sign up for Groupon and read some of their emails!

Being An Effective Salesman Is A Constantly Evolving Process

While the many tactics that I described above currently work well with my daughter, they probably won’t be effective anymore in just a couple of months and I’ll need to come up with new ways to influence her. Likewise with any online business, the strategies and tactics that you use to attract customers will constantly evolve. So stay on your toes. I know my daughter will keep me on mine.

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20 thoughts on “How To Improve Your Online Store Website By Negotiating With Your Toddler”

  1. First off, I must say that is the best read I have all week, erm maybe all month. I laughed a lot, but also learnt a lot aswell.

    But you are so right, there is much to learn from children when we take the time to see the parallels between dealing with them and our “grown up” world.

    Thank you very much for this post, it made my day :)

    1. Hey Arron
      Thanks for the kind words! Glad you enjoyed the read. It’s amazing how the minds of kids work. In a way, interacting with your child is a great way to learn how to deal with someone who is completely unbiased and often times unreasonable…just like your customers will be.

  2. I agree with Arron it was extremely cute and even made me laugh. I think it took little over an hour and your article was published on blog engage lol.

    Life is full of lessons like this. in your case ti’s your daughter but if you were to open your mind and eyes you woudl see your day is filled with these types of instances.

    Everything from personal management decisions to getting something you want revolves around communication and the ability to convince someone swaying their decision or opinion.

    This article is a perfect example of that. very cool analogies Steve! Half way through the article I couldn’t help but think of your daughter turning old enough to know the difference and reading this. It should make for a very funny moment in your home someday.

    1. Hey Brian,
      Absolutely. Everything in life is about sales and how well you can influence people. I hope that these strategies keep on working with my daughter. It’s the only way to get her to eat green vegetables at the moment:)

  3. This definitely sounds like every toddler I know and — now that you mention it — it’s very much like a lot of customers. Both toddlers and buyers will certainly follow the path of least resistance.

    1. Hey Thursday
      Definitely. In chemistry class, my teacher once told me that all of the laws of the universe revolve around one statement, “All matter seeks to be in a state of higher entropy and lower energy”…in other words, messy and lazy

  4. Love this Steve!

    So so true! Boy, who knew having kids could be such a bonus for growing a business!
    Mahalo!

    1. Hey Sarah,
      Good to hear from you! I wonder if kids are easier to deal with in Hawaii where everyone is more laid back?

  5. Funny to realise we have children at the same age – so I identify totally!

    I actually wrote something similar about marketing – and the fact that the challenge of marketing bath time to a 3-year-old is as challenging as marketing a new product for one of my clients..

    1. Hey Dan,
      It’s been awhile since I’ve heard from you. We should swap parenting battle stories some time. My 3 year old actually loves baths right now so that isn’t an issue at the moment…but listening to her parents has been a problem.

  6. Your children are so adorable. Having children at home, sometimes very headache when they have certain request that we hard to resist. However, it spice up our lives and when we flash back in the future, that’s a sweet memory :-)

  7. Great post Steve! Adorable children!!

  8. Steve, This is just fabulous. Love the connections you draw between your daughter and your customers. This also made me chuckle. AND…your kids are just gorgeous and cute and look smart as all get out. The whole post is just delightful and insightful. Good job!! Robin :)

  9. A splendid comparison! Never thought of drawing lessons from dealing with my own toddler.

    Sometimes you just have to keep it simple for toddlers, and they’ll be easily influenced. Likewise for customers.

  10. Then this Schmidt As your daughter gets older you can keep track of your daughter with your phone.

  11. Nice analogy! I have 2 toddlers myself and negotiating is our daily activity :)

  12. You are so right…I quit job as I was pregnant for my third kid as I want to be more serious in working online. Now my baby is 6 months old and he keeps rolling over ans easily fall down…pheeewwww…but I never feel as happy as right now…

  13. Steve, I am very inspired by your online business success stories. And I have a two month old baby boy, and I totally want to spend lots of my time with him and my wife. Having an online business will build my dream of having freedom of time to spend with my family, and friends. :)

  14. Thanks Altair! I wish you all the best in your business endeavors

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