How to subtly follow the crowd and aid your online sales

Be different. Be creative. Make Sales!

Well, I mentioned it a few weeks ago and ‘The Apprentice’ has been back on our screens for just over a month. As usual the ‘talent scouts’ have managed to uncover yet another bunch of dopey candidates who don’t seem to have an ounce of business sense between them.

Laugh-wise though, this series got off to a great start when Sian described herself as “…the Beyoncé of business”. Erm…no. Beyoncé is the Beyoncé of business actually!

This was followed closely by Kurran Pooni who announced, “I’ve got self-confidence oozing from my skin.” This, from an unemployed wannabe film extra.

The funniest moment so far though has to be when the teams were tasked with sourcing an ‘octopus with a 40-inch hose’ and instead of bringing the said piece of diving equipment back to the boardroom, the boys team turned up with a real live (dead) actual octopus! Comedy gold!

So, anyway, I will be watching the rest of the series with interest for the humour value if nothing else and of course to see whether any of the candidates actually do have any savvy sales know how and creativity up their shiny suit sleeves.

But seriously, being creative is a big part of business and it’s certainly part of ‘The Apprentice’ yet the candidates don’t seem to realise this. The tasks set are pretty easy and usually involve an end target of simply ‘making a profit’ because of course this is what Lord Sugar is all about.

He’s a straight-forward kind of guy who wants the job done, the profit made and with a little bit of ‘thinking outside the box’ added in for good measure.

And it’s exactly the same when you sell online.

You want to make a profit and so will often need to be a little bit creative to get that result.

Researching a hot product can be simple, but if there is massive competition already when it comes to selling that product you’ll need to use your own creativity. On my product research travels I often dig up extremely popular products that could be listed on their own, but are actually far better ‘bundled’ together to form a ‘set’. This is the sort of creativity I’m talking about.

Be a bit different

To ensure you stand out from your competitors you will need to be different. By all means sell exactly the same product as other sellers – lots of sellers usually indicates an in-demand product – but to quote another reality show and the words of Louis Walsh – you need to ‘make it your own’.

Offer that little bit more, whether this in the form of a no quibble money back guarantee or a more descriptive listing that makes people want to buy, or a ‘bundle’ or ‘kit’, it’s really up to you – but you do need to be ‘better’ than the rest so that you stand out.

So, taking the example of ‘bundling’ – this is a very effective way of offering something extra with your product. When you ‘bundle’ it’s just like a type of up-selling, except you are not trying to up-sell people by directing them to separate listings for your other products, you are instead offering them a unique package or ‘bundle’ in which the buyer can receive related products at a discount, compared with if they were to purchase them separately.

It’s happening all around you

This strategy can work for pretty much any product in any niche and you’ve probably seen it done but haven’t realised at the time. For example, McDonalds bundle products – this is exactly what their value meals are – multiple individual products – fries, burger, drink – combined into one fast food complete meal! You may see a laptop offered with pre-loaded software – this is also a ‘bundle’ or beauty products packaged together – another ‘bundle’. And the reason it’s done is because it works!

So, try putting your creative hat on and consider grouping products together, upping your guarantee, or putting together a specific offer that buyers can’t resist. By adding something more and becoming ‘similar but better’ you will still be selling your original product but you will be offering a ‘uniqueness’ that can help your profit margins.

And a tip from me

If you want to get some really good ideas for ‘bundles’ head over to Amazon when doing your research. You’ll see that often (not always) when you look at a product page, if you scroll down the page to somewhere near the reviews, there will be a large box headed ‘Frequently Bought Together’. This is a mine of information for you.

Within this box, Amazon tell you exactly what people are buying that is related. So, for example this could be a camera and a camera case. Often these items are purchased together, but from two different sellers, so an idea for a ‘bundle’ would be for you to offer a camera AND a case together.

Get the idea? It’s creative and pretty simple to put into practice.

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