Boosting eCommerce Sales of Hard-to-Sell Items


It happens even to major e-commerce retailers. You have an excellent item that is well-made and should meet your customers’ needs and expectations, yet the item does not sell very well. Most online retailers will eventually place that item in their clearance section, yet often it still doesn’t sell. In fact, many retailers have well-made, well-designed functional items in their clearance section that sit for months before finally selling.

There are several reasons why quality items sometimes do not sell quickly. Perhaps the item is not prominently displayed. Unless it is a high-demand product that people are regularly searching for, just adding it to your site will not automatically generate sales. You need to showcase some items to attract customers.

Pricing can also be an issue. Your competitors may be selling the item at a lower price, or customers might view a product with a low price as a product with low quality and avoid buying it. Adjusting your prices might be the solution in these cases.

Another possibility is an inadequate product description. Sometimes, providing more information about how a product works or how a product can meet consumers’ needs can improve sales.

Sometimes however, even making improvements in display, price and presentation will not be enough to get those items to sell. Here are three strategies worth trying in those cases.

Comparison pricing

Most shoppers like to look at alternatives before making a purchase, so make it easy for customers to compare the hard-to-sell-product with similar products that are priced higher. This way, they can see the value in the first product and are more likely to buy it. This price comparison process is called anchoring and major retailers have had great success when using it.

Bracketing is a very effective price comparison strategy if you’re trying to sell a mid-range product. Show your customers three products on the same page: a low-end product, a mid-range product and a high-end product. When you display three products at varying prices, many consumers will choose the one in the middle. This pricing strategy is also very effective in promoting SaaS and other service websites.

Volume discounts

Offering a volume discount has several benefits. When an item is popular, a volume discount can increase sales even further as customers take advantage of the discount and buy multiple items. For hard-to-sell items, the effect is psychological. The volume discount makes the item appear more popular than it really is, and the perceived popularity will entice some customers to make a purchase that they may not otherwise make.

Give the impression of scarcity

Another psychological tactic is to convey the idea that the item is scarce. If you have no intention of reordering an item, you can label the item on the product description page as “limited quantities available.” If a customer is undecided about making a purchase, the implied scarcity may be enough to get the customer off the fence and make a purchase.

Sometimes customers need a bit of coaxing.

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