There is almost an infinite number of reasons a product will not sell. It could be out of season, the wrong size, the wrong color, too complicated, combined with other items in a configuration people don’t want or don’t understand, represented by the wrong person or have poor online reviews. The product may have been seen at the wrong time of day or may have been surrounded by other offers that attract the wrong demographic. This is just the tip of the ice-burg! My phone rings daily with this same question from dozens of vendors. They all want my insight as to why their product did or did not sell…regardless of whether I was the spokesperson or not! When a product doesn’t sell, there are usually two places merchandisers and salespeople look first: Price and Presentation. Presentation is a topic that could fill volumes, not just this one blog. That is why I have written a book on it (“Thousands Per Minute” currently in publishing and due for release October, 2014). Price is a much easier topic to bridge, so we will keep that the focus of this article.
There are 2 ways to sell a product. You can do it yourself and pocket almost the entire profit margin or you can sell through a conventional store, online store, catalogue or retail television station (re-sellers) and give up much of your profit in hopes of moving your inventory in larger volume. In recent years, there has been a big surge in vendors looking to sell products online themselves. It is why my business, Pitch Video, was created…to provide those vendors with the most compelling online product sales video possible for their websites, online marketplaces, email campaigns and social networks. Vendors are looking at the big chunk of profit margin being required by stores, catalogues and networks and are tired of handing it over. In this age of lightning fast online shopping, if you can stand out from the crowd with a great video and product page, you can put all that profit in your own pocket, rather than giving it to a big re-seller. However, I recently stood in front of the United States and sold 104,000 car jump starters in a single day on television. Regardless of your product’s online presence, that is a tough act to follow! Giving away a big profit margin to the television network doesn’t sound so bad when they are selling that kind of volume for you! Do the math! If you are a vendor who’s product sells for $20 and you sell 40,000 of them in 6 months at a profit margin of 15%…well, its a big paycheck and that’s only one product sold in half a year! Most vendors create product lines with many products selling simultaneously. However, it is a gamble. To have a successful product, all the elements of success must come together and price factors in as one of the biggest ones. Profit margins, shipping costs, manufacturing and packaging costs, inspection costs, fulfillment costs, marketing and talent fees…there are so many people dipping their hand into the pie, it can sometimes come down to pennies as to whether a product is viable for a particular re-seller or not. On the other side of that equation is the consumer. If he/she can walk down to his/her local Target and grab a similar product off the shelf for the same price with no shipping costs or waiting, then your product is not very competitive. You might have a tough sell on your hands. If that customer can jump on any multitude of computers or mobile devices, tap the Amazon app and grab a similar product with free 2 day delivery for the same price, you’ll probably have an uphill battle. Consumers are more educated at this point in time than ever before. Most people making a purchase can pick up their phone, ask Siri and have a dozen offers listed with prices in a matter of seconds (for non-Apple consumers, add about 5 seconds ;-). If your pricing is not compelling, you had better be selling something that is the only product of its kind, created with exceptional materials or hand-made by Tibetan monks. Otherwise, it will take your customer about 20 hot seconds to click away and forget all about you!
The local police know that if they want you to stop speeding, all they need to do is hurt you in your wallet. Politicians know that if they want to get elected, they had better promise lower taxes or justify an exciting and intelligent way of spending them. Grand openings, mall sales for George Washington’s Birthday, a hike in gas prices…there are millions of ways to discourage or excite consumers, but nothing hits home like helping them to feel as though their money was well spent. Sometimes, all it takes a few dollars. $49.95 for a similar product at Walmart or $42.95 for yours. People just want to know they got a good deal. It makes their heart light and flushes buyer’s regret. It makes them believe in your company and brag to their friends about what they bought and for how much. If you can make people feel that way every day, you are positioned for huge success!
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