What To Do When Your Products Aren’t Selling

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I advise a lot of online shops, and a common problem is not being able to recognize why your products are not selling and what to do. It is tough when it’s your own shop because you are too close to it to be objective.

what to do when products aren't selling

If the traffic to your shop is good, then you have to look at your prices, your shipping charges, your turnaround time, your reputation (negative reviews hurt sales), and most of all, your products.

So I am going to focus on your products and pretend that I sell wooden cutting boards so you can see what I mean.

Offer More of Your Best Sellers

What is your top seller(s)? This is the product you should look to for inspiration. Can you spin it off into more products, more colors, more sizes, whatever the case may be. Why do you think there are so many coffee options at a Starbucks? So if my best seller is a wooden cutting board in the shape of Texas, then I want to consider offering cutting boards in other state shapes or maybe a cutting board that looks like the Texas state flag or a famous Texas landmark. Stick with what works.

Expand Your Target Market

I have always reminded my customers not to focus solely on the most obvious customer. Is your product suitable for businesses? In other words, have you thought about selling your wooden cutting boards to restaurants and cafes for serving the bread of other types of appetizers? Maybe you can customize the board with their logo (free advertising when people are taking a selfie of their food!). Have you strictly been targeting women buyers? Maybe men would like a cutting board for beside their barbecue for cutting meat (they do, see next point).

Stay Innovative

Do your products have a lot of competition? In other words, are there other shops selling exactly what you sell? Then you need to delve back into product development and find out what customers are looking for. Therefore, if I sold cutting boards I would go over to Google autocomplete and type “cutting board that” “cutting board with” and “cutting board for” and see the searches that fill in. Some searches I found were:

  • Cutting board that catches juices
  • Cutting board that weighs what you cut
  • Cutting board with handle
  • Cutting board with recipe engraved
  • Cutting board for brisket
  • Cutting board for bread
  • Cutting board for sushi

I now have 7 new product ideas based on actual requests.

Gather Insight from Others’ Reviews

While you should definitely be reading your own reviews for insight into your products, you should also venture over to Amazon and read the reviews of your competitors’ products. Reading some reviews on wooden cutting boards, I found that people were unhappy when the board eventually split, the surface warped or it was too small. Things people raved about was when the board was easy to carry, didn’t take up much counter space and could be used for serving as well as chopping. Make sure your products have all the things customers want and none of the things they don’t.

Not sure why your products are not selling and need advice? Try my Quick Fix or my 30-Minute Phone Consultation and I’ll tell you why and what to do.

My September Marketing Plan for your Online Shop is now available, and online cover septit includes 40 blog media contacts for Holiday Gift Guides. If you have an Etsy Shop, you want the Etsy version here. Read what a customer had to say:

★★★★★“Every single month I purchase & use the monthly planners. They work and they’re super easy to follow. A must have!” Cristen Breuer from BagTags.

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

How to Get People to Promote Your Online Shop

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

If you want someone to do something for you, you have to do something for them. I can’t tell you how many people email me asking me to promote their app or article to my readers and offer me nothing in return. What incentive is there for me to do this? I don’t mean to sound cold, but this is business and the best way to make a business deal happen is to make it mutually beneficial.

how to get people to promote online shop

Getting Press

For example, with your online shop, don’t just ask a blogger to mention your products. Instead, tell them that you if you are fortunate enough to get a mention, that you will return the favor by mentioning their blog on your website (including a link), and you will promote the mention to all of your customers and social media followers. This works really well with upcoming and coming bloggers looking to increase their readers.

Getting In Store Sales

Don’t just ask a local shop if they will allow you to display your products one weekend in a pop-up type display, but instead tell them you will tell all of your customers, friends and family that you will be at their shop that day, and hence you will be bringing them new customers as well (plus you will give 10% of the profits). Who would say no to that ofer?

Getting Referrals

Don’t just ask customers to recommend you to their friends or on social media, offer them 15% off their next purchase or a free gift if they do so. I constantly reward people who recommend me to others with free advice, free leads or a free product. You will be amazed at how many referrals this brings in when you give an incentive.

Remember, nothing looks worse to a potential partner when you seem oblivious to the fact that their time is valuable too. Make it worth their while and you will get much better results!

a Recent Review

“Gail was amazing and very helpful! I am super happy, my store is attracting more customers. Also learned a lot from Gail and she replied to all my questions promptly. Thank you very much!” Renata at Reniego Jewels. Renata has a gorgeous jewelry shop, I encourage you to check it out!

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Online Shop During August

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

My Tactical Marketing Planner for August is out now, and if you are having trouble getting traffic and sales at your online shop, and just don’t have a lot of time to spend on promotion, this downloadable, printable planner is for you (keep reading for BONUS offer)!

drive traffic online shop august

August is all about Back to School, Going off to College, End of Summer Clearance and early Fall shopping – all opportunities your online shop needs to take advantage of, and my tactical marketing planner will help you do just that.

I start off with my list of daily tasks that I want you to do this month, including unique opportunities only an insider knows about! These tasks include some of my proven secrets, as well as publicity, advertising and promotional opportunities. Doing these tactics just for 30 minutes a day will really help drive traffic to your online shop.

Then I give a daily social media “to do” including all of this month’s hot trending topics you can really take advantage of to be part of the conversation on social media and get your shop seen.

Finally, I include a variety of very useful worksheets because you need to measure your marketing efforts. These worksheets will keep your marketing organized and focused and allow you to measure the value of your efforts. Time is money so you don’t want to waste time on tactics that are not working. 10 pages in all.

As usual, I offer it at an amazing price of just $7!

I have two planners. One is for independent online shops and the other is for Etsy shops. If you have both an independent shop and an online shop, the Etsy one is best for you.

BONUS OFFER: If you pin the graphic above (and let me know you did) when you order the August planner, I will send you July’s planner for FREE that included 40 media contacts for print holiday gift guides.

Important! Holiday Gift Guides Submissions

Due to a number of requests, I’m offering a pitch writing service just until August 25th, as now is the time to be pitching your products to the PRINT media for their annual holiday gift guides. I’ll write a compelling pitch email for you to send along with your product submission. I will even advise you on the product I think has the best chance. I have written pitches for customers that got their products in the holiday gift guides for Real Simple, Vanity Fair, House Beautiful, LONNY, and more. Keep in mind, this NOT a guarantee of publicity, this is up to the magazine’s editorial team. You can purchase my Holiday Gift Guide pitching service ($39) here.

Start Doing This One Thing NOW for Your Best Holiday Sales Yet

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Do you want to have your best holiday sales ever at your online shop? Then I have one HUGE tip that I want you to start doing right NOW that will greatly help your sales come the peak period of late October to mid December.

do this one thing now for best holiday sales

Too many times, sellers do not understand how important your current customer base is. Shops always seem to be looking for new customers as opposed to trying to get more business out of the people who have already bought from them, and this is a mistake.

SO HERE IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO. Starting today, every time you make a sale, include the message below in your outgoing email to the customer (as well as on a card in the package):

Thank you so much for your purchase! We hope you will return for your holiday shopping with this coupon code for 15% off every item in the store: HOLIDAY2016 (valid until December 22, 2016).

Now, you can make the offer whatever you wish, whether it is free shipping, buy one get one half off, or any other value deal that makes sense for your shop. If you offer free gift wrapping, include this as well. The key is you are putting the idea in their head now that they should think of your shop come holiday shopping time PLUS you are giving them an incentive to do so.

You can even get more specific, so if you sell women’s jewelry, for example, you can say:

Thank you so much for your purchase! We hope you will return for holiday gifts for your mother, sisters, children, best friends, colleagues – anyone who loves jewelry – with this coupon code for 15% off every item in the store: HOLIDAY2016 (valid until December 22, 2016).

Now, a few more tips. You may also want to finish with a line such as:

Thank you so much for supporting small businesses!

Again, this reminds people the importance of buying from smaller vendors and not always the big retailers, and it makes them feel better about their purchase and want to support you further.

If you personalize or customize items, then you may want to add:

We are offering FREE personalization for any holiday gift, just be sure to order before December 1st so that it arrives in time. 

We can create a gift specifically for someone special (or hard to buy for), just be sure to order before December 1st so that it arrives in time. 

This gets them to act faster. You want as many holiday sales as possible before the big hype of Black Friday, where it is going to be tough to compete with online retailers such as Amazon.

If you don’t sell items that typically constitute as gifts, the holiday shopping season is also big for purchases that have to do with decorating and entertaining as people are getting their homes in order for family visits, holiday parties, and so forth, so you could say something such as:

Thank you so much for your purchase! With the holidays just around the corner, we hope you will return for any of your holiday decorating or entertaining needs with this coupon code for 15% off every item in the store: HOLIDAY2016 (valid until December 22, 2016).

Etsy Shops!

Did you know that I offer a 30-Minute Phone Critique of your Etsy shop for just $59? I evaluate every aspect of your shop and advise you on the changes you need to make to get more traffic and sales. You can order it from my Etsy shop here

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

12 Creative Ideas for Your Farmers Market Booth

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

If you have a booth at farmers’ and artisan markets this summer, here are some of my creative ways to get potential customers to find your booth, stop at your booth and, hopefully, buy! Now, not all of these ideas may be allowed at certain venues, so read their rules handbook first before you incorporate any of these ideas.


12 Creative Farmers Market Booth Ideas

  1. Signage is ultra important for your farmers market booth. You need a banner for the top of the booth canopy (something waterproof and durable) that has your shop name and tagline, as well as signage as a backdrop for the booth (shop name at eye level), and smaller signs on the posts. Ask the venue if you are allowed to also have sidewalk sandwich boards positioned on the ground at each corner of the booth, so they can be seen by traffic coming from each direction.
  2. Have free samples and/or testers available (if relevant to what you are selling). Always give a free sample to someone who does buy a product in order to try and up-sell other products. At very least, give everyone a business card with a coupon code stamped on the back to use for future purchases at your online shop.
  3. Consider a small attraction at the booth that will get people to stop, such as spinning a prize wheel to get a certain percentage off purchase, free gift, etc.
  4. Have a photo op at your booth like a creative photo cutout where people put their head through the hole and take a picture. Make sure it has your shop’s name on it and encourage them to share the photo on social media to get your shop name seen by their followers. You can get customized cutouts at Shindigz.com for less than $50 that are vertical and wouldn’t take up a lot of space.
  5. Swap business cards with at least 5 other non competitors at the farmers market (but target the same customer) and ask that they put your business card in the packages of their customers and you will do the same for them.
  6. Put customers’ purchases in large paper shopping bags that clearly show your shop name, tagline (so they know what you sell) and booth number.
  7. Have an employee walk around the farmers market handing out business cards, directing people to your booth. Stamp the booth number on the back of the card.
  8. Collect emails of customers and potential customers by hosting a product giveaway whereby people put a ballot with their name and email address into a box for a draw at the end of the day.
  9. On your tables, display your products in tiered levels, not all flat on the table, so that people can see your range of products as they walk by.
  10. Invest in tablecloths that cover the entire table (height and width). This allows you to store more product under the table (you never want to run low on inventory and have an empty looking table) and it can act as additional signage if you print your shop name on the fabric.
  11. Follow the farmers market on all social media sites and promote your presence there a few days prior, including tagging the market itself in hopes of a share. For example, this would be a good Tweet: “Visit us this weekend, booth #21, at the Marlboro Farmers Markets @marlborofarmersmarket”
  12. Explore all vendor opportunities each Farmers Market gives to its sellers (and even suggest some ideas to them), such as optimal booth positioning, free signage, free advertising, free mentions on social media and so forth.

If you sell on Etsy, CLICK HERE.

need help with your business? JUST INQUIRE BELOW:

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

5 Easy Ways to Promote Your Business This Summer

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Summer is here and people are out and about – travelling, going to farmers’ markets, the beach, outdoor concerts – you name it. So it presents a lot of great opportunities for you to get your business seen by your local market with only a little bit of investment.

ways to promote business this summer

5 Easy Ways to Promote Your Business This Summer

  1. Baseball Games – If you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a major league baseball team (minor league is fine too), wear a t-shirt to the game with your shop url on the back (and front) and try to stand up every chance you get. Stadium seats are fairly low in the back so make sure your shop url is large and positioned between the shoulder blades. This also works great at music festivals, outdoor movies, anywhere a lot of people are going to be staring at your back for a while.
  2. Food Trucks – Food trucks are big business in the summer so approach a few about the possibility of putting a temporary sign advertising your business on their truck. Either offer to pay (extra revenue for them) or barter to see if they will go for the idea.
  3. Car Windshield Sun Shade Covers – This is an idea from my ebooks, but if you park your car in a busy lot all day, or outside a major summer event, use it to advertise your business by creating a sun shade visor for the front (and back) windshield of your car that clearly shows your shop url.
  4. Beach Umbrellas – You can have your shop url and/or logo screened onto anything these days, including a large umbrella that would get seen all day long the next time you decide to go to the beach (if I owned a bikini shop, I would totally be doing this!).
  5. Campers and Trailers – If you are planning on taking your camper on a long road trip this summer, have a banner made for the side advertising your business. It will get seen by hundreds of cars on the highway, especially since everyone will be passing you.

Are you inspired? If you can’t use one of these ideas, hopefully you are motivated to come up with one of your own!

IMPORTANT! If you want to get your products into holiday gift guide editorial for print magazines, they are working on these issues right now! Download my July Planner as it includes a Holiday Gift Guide Media Contact List for 40 major magazines and don’t miss out! If you need a reminder of how to pitch, be sure to read my post, Why You Should Be Pitching Your Products for Holiday Gift Guides NOW.


© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

13 Things to Post to Social Media This Weekend

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

13 things to post to social media this weekend

There is lots going on this holiday weekend, so if you wish to get your business seen on social media in the next few days, this is the type of content you need to post that will likely get share.:

What to Post to Social Media This Weekend

  1. Red, White and Blue Recipes
  2. List of Best Summer Festivals in (pick a city, state or country)
  3. Favorite Steven Spielberg Movies (the BFG comes out tomorrow)
  4. Favorite Roald Dahl Books (the BFG is his book)
  5. Amazing Fourth of July Fireworks PhotosBest Online Sales this Weekend
  6. Best Beach Reads Summer 2016
  7. Cool Facts about Canada (July 1st is Canada Day)
  8. Hottest Soccer Players from UEFA Euro 2016
  9. Favorite Country Music Lyric (for #NationalCountryMusicDay July 4th)
  10. Stylish Wimbledon Fashion
  11. The Coolest Celebrity Fourth of July Style
  12. Best Moments from Game of Thrones Episode 11

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.