What To Do When Your Products Aren’t Selling

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I have advised thousands 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 shapes, 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 maybe I want to consider offering cutting boards 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 for them when people are taking a selfie of their food). Have you strictly been targeting women buyers? Maybe men would like a cutting board for their barbecue (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 my advice? Try my Marketing Tune-Up. Are you an Etsy Shop? Check out my Etsy services

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.