Need and want

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This was explained to me many years ago by a retail manager friend and I’ve never forgotten it.

He asked me …

If you go into a supermarket, what is the difference between need and want.

Surely, you just WANT to get in there, fill the trolley with all the things you NEED and then get out.

Or do you NEED to get in there and fill the trolley with all the things you WANT and then get out.

Same difference I replied.

No, non, nein, ingen … however you look at it, the answer is NO

So, mum and dad take their 6-year-old son, let’s call him Tommy, into the supermarket. What is the child’s perspective. What will he need and what will he want. There is going to be a world of difference now.

Little Tommy needs some breakfast cereal for in the morning. He needs some bread rolls so that mum can make him his favorite ham sandwiches for lunch. He also needs an apple – small one’s please – and one of those cranberry energy bars for his afternoon break.

But Tommy has no interest in what he needs, it’s what he wants that is more important.

He wants that green tractor on the toy stand – and why are toys always on display as soon as you walk through the doors – and that is all that fills his mind from the moment he sees it.

I want the green tractor. Mum, buy me the green tractor. Dad, the green tractor, get it for me pleeeease! By now, little Tommy is spread-eagled across the floor and having a tantrum.

I’ll be good, I promise. Which loosely translated, means … If you don’t buy me the green tractor, then I’m going to be an absolute sod all night. I won’t eat my dinner, I’m not having a bath, I won’t go to sleep. Get me the tractor – or else.

And this is how a lot of customers will make buying decisions - all be it in a much more muted fashion and without the tantrum. If we can make them WANT something, the desire will over-rule many things.

He arranged his window displays so that the folk on the street looked twice at the window, so that some of them stopped and looked at all the goods on display, and hopefully went in the shop to buy those things that they want. He added that a carefully displayed window will work for you even when the shop is shut. People will see the display, see something that they want, even if they don’t need it, and think about it all night. By morning, they are checking your opening times.

And so, when writing a post, write so that you are enticing a potential customer to press the buy now button on your website, make sure that you put plenty of want emphasis into your wording. Make the customer want what is being offered. Want is a very powerful desire, often over-riding the common sense of need. What wording would make you want this item, that’s the style that you should be writing in.

Unless of course, the house is on fire in which case the need for a fire extinguisher has just jumped to the top of the queue.

Make them want the advertised goods. Build up their want emotion in your posts, let them follow your writing - writing that includes subtle want signals so that, psychologically, they are now in that wonderful buying mode.

Think of little Tommy.

Happy writing, happy sales.


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Recent Comments


So right, Bux. And yet so much of the time, our reviews speak to the need, not the want. You NEED this espresso coffee machine because it makes great coffee but you WANT it because it will look fabulous on your kitchen bench and all your friends will be envious when they see it (and taste the great coffee).

There's an old saying "sell the sizzle, not the steak".

The sizzle not the steak. True.
How many times do you walk past a cafe or restaurant and smell the food, with the result that you really must go in and eat.
I'm sure that's why they leave windows open, to let the sizzle out.

Good thoughts for sure, Bux!

Tim 🎼

Thank you Tim. If it helps someone - great.

Some good insights, Bux!


Thanks Jeff. We might even make a salesman out of me yet.
How's the guzzle table coping in this heat - being well used I hope.

It is very well, but is not being used right now, Bux!


We need to get that sorted Jeff. It needs a regular supply of tinnies.
I hope all is good with Monica and family.

I think that everything is fine with her, and yes, there needs to be more interaction there!


Love it Bux, needs and wants are certainly very different things!

If (and this is a rarity) I go clothes shopping with the trouble and strife ("wife" for those among us who are not familiar with a bit of rhyming slang)!!

Look at those shoes she says, aren't they beautiful... I must have them... yeah I think, very nice but do you need them??

Aren't you just going to use them once, if at all, then they will sit at the bottom of your shoe closet collecting dust just like the last 400 pairs you have bought??

Ah no she says, I will use them every day... ok, great I say... buy them!

So she does, another €100 gone from the bank account...

Six months later I happen to be doing a bit of tidying up and I find the shoes, still in the box with the label on them and never used...

So I ask the wife if she will ever use them... the reply.. "no, I didn't like them after all!!

Needs and wants!!

Just like the supermarkets always strategically place what we need in the first aisles as we enter, such as fresh food and veg...

Then at the end, when one is waiting to pay, all the chocolate and sweets appear!!

Good marketing yes, below the belt.... maybe!!

But in order to get sales and maximize profits, we must do what we can right??

Take care buddy and enjoy the rest of your day!!


What do they call it ... impulse purchases.
One of my sister's ex-husbands (she collects them like postage stamps) had a weakness for shoes. In fact, he had the third bedroom converted to a shoe store so that they could all be displayed without having to be on top of each other.
He didn't last long after that.

The rest of the day will be about 20 minutes in duration, Nick. I've been out all day, buying wants. Burnt out now and the big Z button is about to be pressed.

Have yourself a super weekend.

Impulse buying or just buying for the sake of it I say Bux!

Sounds a bit like our third bedroom here actually...

We already have a walk in wardrobe from the main bedroom (of which my clothes and shoes take up about 10% of the space, which is ample for me), but the third bedroom is now more or less a second walk in wardrobe!!

Hope you slept well buddy and have enjoyed a more relaxing day today!! :-)

Yes, a walk in wardrobe describes it perfectly. I'd forgotten about her husband's suits.
Slept well but no relaxing today. Loads of legal stuff this morning, to do with my cancer, it had to be done, I hate government departments, why can't you just speak to a person, ask a question and get a simple answer.
Anyway, my questions are now filed away in some anonymous silicon chip in and equally anonymous metal box somewhere in Bristol.
Back to relaxing ... no, I didn't. Passed the afternoon in Glastonbury Abbey Park, very nice, very warm . I was ok, but it was too warm for loved one, so I took her home. And that leaves me with the opportunity to crack on with starting another video.
The weekend starts soon Nick, enjoy.

Unfortunately, the days of just getting a simple answer to a simple question by an actual human being are long gone Bux...

I do love the park there by the Abbey, but it has been a fair few years since I last visited it, I doubt much has changed though...

Go on then, tell me what the maximum temperature was is °F?? 🤣

My weekend started on Wednesday but... I am going to bed early tonight... very soon in fact!

Take care buddy!


It could have been 76 using the Nick White equation.
Enjoy your kip. I will be heading that way myself in the next few minutes.

Love the mathematical skills Bux!

We're up to mid 80's here today... too hot for me!

Take care my friend! :-)

You nailed it; no not your coffin… the reason between want and need.

Took my breath away then, Christie. I thought you knew something I didn't.
Yes, the difference makes perfect sense when it is explained.
Thanks for replying.

Great post here David, and so true. When you want someone to buy something, you need to take this into consider...but at the end of the day, you have to ask for the sell.

If you don't, then they will likely move on.

Very true Kyle. Appreciated comments.
Another weekend coming up - enjoy.

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