3 Hot New Product Trends

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I have been noticing a few design trends popping up lately, and, historically you will see that trends tend to start in one market segment and then cross over into others. In other words, you may see a trend in jewelry that then extends into home decor, kids clothing, the wedding market and pet products. Below are three of the hottest product trends that major retail brands seem to be pushing.

Diamonds & Triangles Trend

Geometric shapes have been popular for a while, but diamonds and triangles – especially a mix thereof – are really hot in everything from home decor to jewelry.

diamond and triangle product trend

Light fixture from Anthropologie, earrings from Modcloth, lamp from Nordstrom, diamond mirrors from West Elm, diamond wall vases from Modcloth, and coffee table from Rooster Decor. 

Moon Trend

I am seeing moons on everything – half moons, crescent moons, full moons – everything is very celestial these days.

Moon product trend

Dress from Boutique1, sheets from Urban Outfitters, dish from Urban Outfitters, shower curtain from Urban Outfitters, moon bracelet from Bauble Bar, hair clips from Anthropologie. 

Black & Gold Trend

You can see by the other products on this page, obviously gold is currently a hot product trend across every product category, but mixing it with black – a classic color combination – has never been hotter.

black and gold product trend

 

Mug from H & M, black and gold shoe from Nordstrom, bowl from Anthropologie, stove from Williams-Sonoma, bikini from Forever 21, lamp from Nordstrom, necklace from Bauble Bar, pillow from H & M. 

So which trends are you going to try?

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

New Ideas for Product Photography

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

As you know high quality product images are so important when you sell online. Now, you always need one product shot on a white background for editorial purposes. However, since most marketplaces and e-commerce templates let you display more than one image, you can make the other images something more creative and attention getting in order to stand out in image search results. Obviously, if you look like everyone else, you will not stand out.

new_ideas_for_product_photography

 

The online store, Modcloth, has some interesting product shots that, to me, would definitely stand out in image search results, plus are more likely to get shared and circulated on social media.

As you know, overhead layout style images are hot right now, but almost too popular. So Modcloth took a different approach and used a monochrome color background and threw in some other objects just to make a more interesting photo in order to promote this dress. I even like that they added some text since quotes are so popular on social media:

new ideas for product photos

Below are some other good product images from their store that may inspire you. The photo on the left is interesting because the model is posing in front of a really vibrant background (which could be something as simple as a graffiti wall in your city) that still matches the colors in the dress. The next photo is similar to the one above, an overhead shot with a contrasting but coordinating background with pops of color. The third and fourth photos are another emerging product photography trend where you shoot the product from slightly above, and then crop the image to really zero in it and intentionally making it off center.

product photo ideas

Try these ideas with just a couple of your product shots to see if they make a difference in bringing you  more traffic.

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

Why Patriotic Products Are The Current Hot Trend

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

At the beginning of the year I told you that because this is an Olympic year, patriotic products (for every country) will sell well and are ripe for tons of press opportunities. Well now that the summer Olympics are just two months away, and combine that with the fact that this is also a US election year with one of the most hotly contested presidential runs in recent history, American patriotism is also riding a huge wave that will likely carry into the new year.

why patriotic usa american products are a hot trend

The big US brands such as Coke, Budweiser, and Hershey’s have all released products with patriotic packaging or a red, white and blue twist to the product. Consider these products from major brands and retailers such as Ray-Ban®, TOMS®, Urban Outfitters, Modcloth, Skittles®, Nordstrom and Pottery Barn.

us patriotic products trend

 

The overall feeling is that these brands are trying to counteract the negativity that has been brought on by the political campaigning by reaffirming American pride and patriotism, and it seems to be catching on.

Amazon is currently showing searches for patriotic products, everything from “USA” bikinis and decorative pillows to car decals and onesies. Stars and stripes on iphone covers, neckties, scarves, underwear, leggings, pet clothing, beach towels, flasks, sheets and mugs are all making their way to the forefront of online and retail shops. Even on Etsy, there are searches for a wide range of red, white blue products from wreaths to dog collars to flip flops.

Therefore, if you haven’t added at least one patriotic product into your shop, you are missing out on a great opportunity.

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

Online Shop Marketing Planner for June

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

After many customers requests, I have resurrected my Monthly Marketing Planner but in a slightly different and more effective form.

online shop marketing planner

My June 2016 Online Shop Marketing Planner starts with two-pages of my exclusive marketing tactics that you need to do this month that will drive traffic and sales to your online store.

I also include 5 pages of marketing worksheets because it is so important to track your sales and marketing efforts month to month. If you don’t measure your efforts, you will continue to waste time and money on things that are simply not working. These worksheets put the evidence right in front of you so you will make smarter, more informed decisions about your shop.

One Idea From This Month’s Marketing Planner

small business adviceWhen people visit your online shop, you obviously want them to pin your individual products to Pinterest and other social media sites. However, you can also add an image to your product listings that is really an ad for your overall shop, in hopes they will pin this as well. Creating this pin can take many forms. I had a graphic created a few years back strictly for use on social media.

But a quick and easy way to create a shop pin is to simply add your shop name overtop of one of your best product photos and it instantly becomes an ad. It should be stylish, not a watermark, and include a short positioning statement and shop url. You can then make this ad one of your listing photos in hopes visitors will also pin. Below is a good example of what I mean from one of my customers, Habitables, an Etsy shop selling beautiful mid century modern furniture.

example facebook ad

You can also put the image in the sidebar of your shop or blog, again in hopes people will pin. Putting text over an image is also an easy way to create an ad for Facebook and Instagram as they only let you run ads where no more than 20% of the ad is text. If your products are text based, simply change the text of one of your products to spell out your shop name.

Download my June 2016 Online Shop Marketing Planner and see the difference it makes in your shop’s success! If you have an Etsy shop, you’ll want the Etsy version.

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

Creative Ways to Expand Your Product Line to Increase Sales

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Adding more products to your online shop is another obvious way to increase your sales. Now, it might not always increase your profits right away because costs could increase with the addition of the new products, but it is another obvious way to grow your business. So, what are some creative ways to expand your current product line?

 

creative ways to expand your product line to increase sales

Start by taking a look at your current product line and see if you can offer different:

  • Colors
  • Materials / Ingredients
  • Shapes
  • Sizes
  • Scents
  • Languages
  • Embellishments
  • Styles
  • Prices
  • Uses

For example, one of my customers, Bad Tags, sells cute dog tags in a variety of sayings, colors and shapes. They even have tags that indicate if a dog has special needs and add-on accessories such as rhinestone rings for the tags. Therefore, how do they expand their current product line even further to increase sales? Since their tags do have sayings, maybe they could offer them in different languages other than English to broaden the market; or they could do a higher priced line of dog tags with embedded birthstones or diamonds (trust me, there are customers for this); or they offer a dog tag that has an LED light in it so the dog is seen when walking it at night. They have customers buying tags for animal fundraisers, so they could offer a value bundle strictly for fundraising purposes.

I know a lot of art and photography shops have taken their art and put in on everything from t-shirts to mugs, which is great, but now everyone is doing it, which is not so great. However, these shops could take their work and sell it in a different form, such as an image spliced into three images. They could try putting the art or photograph onto a trendy new medium, such as glass, or onto supplies such as fabric and ribbon and now they can sell to other businesses instead of just to the end user.

Even repackaging items can help if you don’t wish to add new products. If you sell monogram necklaces, for example, sell a mother daughter monogram necklace set, which means you now get two sales but to the customer it looks like one. If you sell baby blankets, sell a set of three together that are embroidered with “crib”, “car”, and “stroller”. Simple ways to turn your current products into more listings.

Need ideas on how to expand your product line? I can take a look at your products and give you ideas on how to expand, just book my 30-Minute Phone Consultation.

Trending This Week

  • May 28 – #NationalHamburgerDay
  • May 29 – #SundayFleaMarket
  • May 30 – #MemorialDay, #TheBachelorette
  • May 31 – #NationalWearAFlowerDay
  • June 1 – #WednesdayFamily
  • June 2 –#ThursdayThoughts
  • June 3 – #NationalDonutDay

© 2016. Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

The Single Most Obvious Way to Increase Your Sales

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

When it comes to increasing your sales, there are many options you have including spending more on marketing, adding more products, raising your prices, but the single, most obvious one is increasing your traffic.

the single most obvious way to increase your sales

How to Increase Your Sales

For example, let’s say that in 2015 your sales were $30,000, and this year you would like sales to be $45,000. Therefore, this is 50 percent growth that you are looking for because ($45,000-$30,000)/$30,000 is 50 percent. So if you want your sales to grow by 50%, this means that logically, your traffic has to grow by 50%.

Now, let’s say your overall traffic is currently 10,000 visitors a month. If you want your sales to grow by 50%, then it would make sense that traffic needs grow by 50% to 15,000 visitors a month.

How to Grow Your Traffic

How do you grow your traffic? Well, if the majority of your traffic is coming from Google and you are currently spending $500 a month on Google ads, then it would make sense that you need to increase your Google ad spending by 50% to $750 a month (again, this is just a simplistic solution; maybe you can spend the same amount and just improve upon your keywords).

What if the majority of your traffic is coming from social media sites? Then you need to increase your time spent marketing on social media as well as your followers by 50%.

If you currently have back links to your shop from 10 different sources that are consistently driving traffic, then you need to grow the number of links driving traffic to your site by 50%, in other words, acquire 5 more back links.

In layman terms, essentially everything you are doing in terms of generating traffic needs to increase by 50%, if this is your sales objective. Remember, doing the same things over and over again will unlikely generate different results, so you have to make changes.

As I said, this is the single, most obvious way to increase your sales. It is not the only solution, I will cover those in a future post, but it is a good benchmark to start with.

Trending This Week

  • May 20 – #FridayReads
  • May 21 – #SaturdayFunday
  • May 22 – #NBAPlayoffs, #GameOfThrones
  • May 23 – #MondayCrush
  • May 24 – #TuesdayMotivation
  • May 25 – #NationalWineDay
  • May 26 – #NationalBlueberryCheesecakeDay

Feel free to share this post, and if your business is struggling, check out my Marketing Services including my economical Quick Fix ($25)

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

How to Price Your Products to Appeal to the Gift Market

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I often see people offering $20 necklaces for Mother’s Day and I sort of cringe. Now, I would expect a $20 necklace from my 13 year-old son for Mother’s Day, but I’m not going to buy a $20 necklace for my mother, it just feels too cheap. I realize some people are on tight budgets, but gifts take on a life of their own as everyone has a price point they feel is appropriate. If you are positioning an item as a potential gift, you may want to know some stats about the average prices people spend, so you are pricing your products for the correct gift giver.

 

How to price your products for the gift market

Grad Gift Pricing

The National Retail Federation said that college graduation gifts hit a new high last year to an average price of $102.50. Now, this price is a range covering parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., and you can safely assume that parents will spend the most.

Valentine’s Day Gift Pricing

The National Retail Federation also indicated that the average price spent on a Valentine’s gift in 2015 was $146.84, and that men tend to spend more on the gift than women do.

Wedding Gift Pricing

Again, I often see $25 products being positioned as a wedding gift and I think no way. According to American Express people will spend $179 on a close family member’s wedding gift, $119 on a close friend’s, $114 on a relative’s, $79 on a friend’s, and $66 on a coworker’s for an average of $108.

Anniversary Gift Pricing

Now, what about anniversary gifts? According to research done by the Daily Mail, couples spend on average $170 on the first anniversary, $173 on the 10th anniversary, $242 on the 25th anniversary and $208 on the 40th anniversary. Again, this is couples buying for each other, not children buying for parents. 

Baby Shower Gift Pricing

The consensus at the blog, Baby Center suggests that the average amount spent on a baby shower gift is $20 to $25 for a co-worker or acquaintance, $50 for a close friend, or $100 for a best friend or family member (or a group gift).

Kids Birthday Party Gift Pricing

According to Learnvest, most people spend $10 to $20 on gifts for regular classmates but $20 to $25 for your child’s closest friends (at the elementary school level).

Teacher Gift Pricing

The price spent on a teacher’s gift does vary according to a person’s budgets, but Parenting magazine says the range for teacher’s gifts is $20 to $75.

This why many people avoid trying to target an individual or occasion altogether and will simply have shop categories entitled: Gifts $10 to $25, Gifts $25 to $50, Gifts $50+ and so forth.

A Real World Pricing Example

I wanted to buy a birthstone necklace for my 16 year-old daughter’s birthday and price was one factor I searched on. I wasn’t even considering any necklace under $50 because it didn’t feel special enough for a 16th birthday. I also didn’t want to go too much over $125 because she is only 16. Therefore, this became my search: “birthstone necklaces $50 to $125″. These are things you need to think about this when targeting a specific gift giver.

Trending This Week

  • May 13 – #NationalApplePieDay, #Fridaythe13th
  • May 14 – #SaturdayWellSpent
  • May 15 – #NBAPlayoffs
  • May 16 – #NationalLoveATreeDay, #MondayBlogs
  • May 17 – #TuesdayTip
  • May 18 – #WednesdayAfternoons
  • May 19 – #NationalDevilsFoodCakeDay, #ThursdayThoughts

Feel free to share this post, and if your business is struggling, check out my very affordable Marketing Services.

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

How to Create a Need for Your Products

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Are you effectively creating a need for your products and/or services? A good rule of thumb is to always think who, what, when, where, how, why. So who would need your product, what would they use it for, when would they use it, where would they use it, how would they use it and why would they use it.

Below are two product copy examples that I will enhance, in order to create the need.

how_to_create_a_need_for_products

 

Home Product Copy Example

Take a look at this description from ModCloth (who writes product copy really well) for this 5′ x 6′ beach wall tapestry:

how to create a need for your productsPut your longing for the wash of waves at ease with this oceanic tapestry by Lisa Argyropoulos for DENY Designs. Crystalline water sparkles under a beautifully clouded sky, bringing beachy beauty – and the carefree feeling that comes along with it – to your decor!

Now this is great for capturing the feeling of the product and creating desire. But remember, people don’t just buy products because they like them, they buy because they need them, so you need to create a need. Therefore, I would simply add a closing line that helps the reader visualize how they would use the product, hence identifying a need.

Therefore, I would add this as the last line:

Perfect for apartment dwellers, creating a focal wall or even as a very serene headboard.

As you can see, I gave three potential uses for the item. Even if one of these isn’t your particular need, chances are it could spark one you do have. Buyers can get gun-shy after they buy clothing items they never wear, a decor item they just couldn’t make fit, etc. So you want to ease the purchase decision by giving them ideas in advance.

Jewelry Product Copy Example

Urban Outfitters is another online store that writes copy really well. Here is their description for a black choker:

Screen shot 2016-05-03 at 9.02.14 AMOur must-have styling tip this season is a wide banded choker necklace and this iteration is essential. Chic choker in a sultry gauzy chiffon complete with a lobster clasp closure + extender chain in an antique distressed finish.

So this is effective in that it quickly tells you this is a hot trend and stylishly describes the features. However, not everyone is fashion savvy.

Therefore I would add this line at the end:

This versatile choker looks great layered with other necklaces or on its own with everything from a little black dress to a t-shirt and jeans.

It is also only $22, so another approach would be to say:

An inexpensive way to instantly update your summer wardrobe with one of the hottest trends. 

As you can see, when you create both the desire and the need, you are more likely to get a sale.

Hire Me

Need help with your product descriptions? Learn about my Product Writing Service.

Congratulations!

A quick shout out to one of my customers, Design by Gam, whose bracelets were featured last week on PeopleStyleWatch. I love Gam’s message to me – which will help all of you – of how I always told her that she needed at least one of her product shots on a white background in order to get chosen for editorial such as this, and it worked!

Trending This Week

  • May 3 – #TuesdayThoughts, #TeacherAppreciationDay
  • May 4 – #StarWarsDay, #WednesdayWisdom
  • May 5 – #ThursdayFeeling, #CincoDeMayo
  • May 6 – #NBAPlayoffs, #NationalBeverageDay
  • May 7 – #SaturdayKitchen, #NBAPlayoffs, #KentuckyDerby
  • May 8 – #SundayBrunch, #CoconutCreamPieDay, #MothersDay
  • May 9 – #MondayMotivation

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

My Best Tips for Finding Ideas for New Products

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

If you find that you are running out of inspiration for new products, a good way to find it is to look at what is currently popular, hot and trending – not to jump on the bandwagon but instead turn it into a new opportunity. I’ll explain.

 

tips-for-finding-ideas-for-new-products

Give a Current Trend a New Twist

For example, monogram jewelry has been a hot seller for the last few years. Therefore, instead of doing the same disc-style, hand stamped monogram necklaces that everyone is doing, retailer Anthropologie (who is always a trend setter) came out with an oversized initial letter necklace – with the letter turned on its side – giving this popular look a new feel.

hot product trends 2

 

Borrow a Trend That Has Been Popular with Another Product

Sometimes you will see a popular trend in a product category that is completely different from yours, but is it something that would work for what you sell? I am sure you have seen quotes and cute sayings on everything from t-shirts to pillows to tote bags, so why not swimsuits, like this one from Bando. Again, it is another way to capitalize on a hot Instagram-worthy trend just in time for summer.

hot product trends

 

Exploit the Flaws in Top Selling Products

I have mentioned before how valuable it is to read reviews on Amazon. Nothing beats customer feedback, even if it is not your own customers. So go over to Amazon and check out their top-selling products in your product category. Then read the one and two-star reviews. Take note of what people said the product lacked and/or didn’t do or they just didn’t like. This opens up opportunities for you to add these elements into your own products.

Trending This Week

  • April 26 – #NationalKidsAndPetsDay, #NationalPretzelDay, #GoodTuesday
  • April 27 – #NationalBlueberryPieDay, #WednesdayWellness
  • April 28 – #ThursdayFeeling, #NationalSuperHeroDay
  • April 29 – #NationalAdoptaShelterPetDay, #NBAPlayoffs
  • April 30 – #SaturdaySocial, #NBAPlayoffs
  • May 1 – #NationalMotherGooseDay, #SundayMorning
  • May 2 – #MondayFunday

Quickly Improve Your Online Shop with my Quick Fix ($25) or for a more detailed analysis, my Online Shop Critique ($129).

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

Avoid These Product Copy Mistakes

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

One product copy mistake that I see online shops making over and over again is really long, overly complicated descriptions. The standard format that most online shops adhere to (and that Google likes) is an opening paragraph that is descriptive, enticing and creates a need followed by bullet points highlighting the main features (the exception being Etsy, who doesn’t support bullet points).

You do not need 10 paragraphs to describe a $40 necklace. Now, I don’t mind a bit of a back story about the motivation behind the product, but don’t go on and on trying too hard to get the sale or use overly descriptive, flowery language that makes the reader roll their eyes.

avoid-these-product-copy-mistakes

Here is a good example of product copy that gets right to the point:

‘I Love Mom’ Pearl Pendant Necklace

An elegant freshwater pearl illuminates a delicate, handcrafted pendant necklace designed to celebrate the special bond between you and your mother. Surprise her with this meaningful, wear-with-everything style to make this Mother’s Day one to remember.Screen shot 2016-04-19 at 8.45.16 PM

  • 18″ length.
  • Lobster clasp closure.
  • Pearl size: 8 mm.
  • Sterling silver/freshwater pearl.
  • Handcrafted in the USA.
  • Item ships in a gift box.

This is a perfect description for a $40 necklace. I don’t need to know the history of the freshwater pearl or how the pearl was cultivated or how this necklace is going to make me feel when I give it to my mother. Sometimes it is better to K-I-S-S.

I also really detest how most shops write their listing titles on Etsy (Amazon is guilty of this as well) with these endless strings of keywords that don’t even make sense. Simply state what the product is with a few descriptive keywords as in the example above, otherwise you are just confusing the customer. Remember, you are trying to establish a brand and you want to protect it with a professional, clear descriptive product title, not a mishmash of keywords.

Find out more about my Product Writing Service for engaging, professionally written product descriptions that will entice customers to buy your products.

Trending This Week

  • April 19 – #NBAPlayoffs
  • April 20 – #WednesdayWisdom
  • April 21 – #ThursdayTreat
  • April 22 – #Coachella, #EarthDay
  • April 23 – #TalkLikeShakespeare
  • April 24 – #PetParentsDay
  • April 25 – #Mondayblogs

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

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