4) Uncommon Pricing or offer structure This last characteristic is one used very effectively by most live retail TV networks and allows the customer convenience when it comes to payment. Unfortunately, the vendor has no real control over whether the network will decide to make this part of the product offer or not. It is one of the network’s tools, to use at their own discretion to inspire customers that might be on the fence. Instead of paying $200 for a cookware set, the network will break up the payments into 4 equal installments of $50 per month charged to a major credit card. In the meantime, they send the cookware set to the customer to use, even though full payment has not yet been made. I have seen very expensive offers do incredible sales based on this element alone. If the item is desirable and popular enough to the masses, it can fly off the shelves when pricing makes it accessible to the person who could not normally afford to pay for it all at once. Notice that I said “popular and desirable enough to the masses.” We’re talking about the iPad here, not some unknown can-opener. Another way to appeal to the customer is through the offer itself. In this, the vendor has more control. If you can offer a package that includes several items for one price, negating the customers need to accessorize or shop around afterward, you could inspire viewers to buy even though the selling price is just average. This is the least impactful way to ensure DRTV sales and is almost always presented with some form of pricing initiative like the one mentioned above. However, depending on your product, it can be worth considering. There are many other tools used to inspire sales, such as “buy one, get one free,” reduced shipping costs or “free set-up in your home by a professional” offers. However, they are superfluous to the major four I have listed above. They help, but are not a basis for DRTV success. The merchant who considers your product will also be looking for product support elements like high quality lifestyle b-roll (showing your product being used outside the studio in its natural environment), a good presenter, celebrity or professional endorsements, 3rd party studies, great demonstrations proven to work and a solid sales record that shows promise. They want fast manufacturing times and the ability to provide a large inventory (hundreds or thousands at a time, depending on your product). In live retail television, the merchant will be looking for the next item you can offer if your first is a success. They appreciate product lines, variations and upsells, not just single products. My phone rings daily with questions from vendors about such topics. They all want the inside scoop. This could also be another book. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to basics: Can you provide an uncommon offer that makes a good profit and helps to elevate the status of the network or invested company? Look at the 4 main sales characteristics above. Measure your product against them and decide if you have what it takes. If DRTV is your goal, this brief analysis will give you a good indication of your potential success!
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