More people shop online than ever before, and in 2020 the numbers of digital shoppers will increase even more. For successful ecommerce, it’s not just enough to be adept at setting up your products on selling platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify.
You need your brand and products to stand out from the competition. This means you need to focus on building your brand and optimizing your marketplace listings so they engage with consumers. Otherwise, you may end up with underperforming products after investing money and time to promote them.
The two biggest reasons for underperforming products are:
- Low visibility
- Failure to highlight the features that consumers are looking for
With so many products to choose from, consumers don’t have the patience or time to read through every product listing. You need to boost and optimize your listings, so they influence buyers to learn more about your product and complete the sale.
Identify Your Underperforming Products
The first step to cleaning up your inventory and improving your margins is identifying those products that aren’t performing as well as they should. Some of these factors are more obvious than others, but all of them point to products that could use a marketing makeover:
- Low sales comparatively – Compare your most profitable products to the least profitable items. While you should always be striving to optimize listings for all products, those in the bottom 50% should be evaluated closely.
- Inventory overload – This is tied closely to the point above, it’s not only important to look at sales but look at your inventory and how long products are sitting on average. Use your inventory management system to identify which products aren't profitable. Note: It’s crucial to identify underperforming products with an expiration date early so you don’t end up with aging or expired products at your warehouse.
- Low profits – Even if your products are selling, you still need to keep a close eye on your profit margins. If a product is selling well but producing abysmal returns, it might be time to rethink your pricing and update your promotion tactics to compensate for a price raise.
Inventory management systems are a great way to streamline your evaluations of the factors above. Extensiv Order Manager has solutions that help with inventory count, multi-warehouse integrations, preventing under or overselling, and tools to help create bundles and kits to maximize profits. Giving you more time to expand your business and focus on other key tasks.
Diagnose Your Current Listing
An important step to pushing an underperforming product is to analyze the anatomy of how it’s currently being promoted. Take the point of view of your ideal consumer and try to see what’s missing or falling short. That could include:
- Not including a proper emotional tie
- Lack of facts and social proof (i.e. product reviews)
- Not addressing consumers’ needs and questions
- Visually unappealing format
- Boring adjectives and phrasing
- Poor quality images or videos of the product
- Too wordy with big chunks of block text
See more information below to properly diagnose your listing and learn how to make the proper improvements to move your product off of the shelf.
Drive Engagement With Psychology
Consumer behavior studies are based on psychology and sociology — they are imperative to understand your consumers’ actions and purchasing habits. If you can understand these actions and habits, you’ll be able to engage your target audience and market your products more effectively.
Strategies with a basis in consumer psychology can help you make connections with new customers and build stronger relationships with your current buyers.
Relate to the Buyer
Depending on what they’re buying, when deciding to make a purchase, there are a lot of thoughts and questions that go through the consumer's mind.
Will it make them feel happy?
Will they feel healthier after buying?
What will my family and friends think?
If you can get into the buyer’s head and relate to what they’re thinking and feeling, you can elevate interest in a product that isn’t selling well. Use this psychology throughout the listing, all the way from the headline into the content through to the pricing.
Present the Proof
Consumers want facts and information about the products they buy.
Are there backup claims that you can add to your underselling product listings?
What about social proof?
Including testimonials from happy customers helps to build a chain of trust from one buyer to another. Feature both facts and testimonials near the top of your listings – these types of backup claims can quickly turn around product performance.
Model Marketing at Work
Let’s take a look at a consumer-focused giant, like Apple. They have pinpointed exactly what their ideal consumer is looking for. Aside from the engaging website design and stellar user experience, let’s examine the marketing wins in their iPhone 11 Pro product page.
They capture the user’s attention with an image of the product feature that’s most important to the consumer: the camera. Following this is the product description, we’ve bolded the words below that make this a successful listing:
“A transformative triple‑camera system that adds tons of capability without complexity. An unprecedented leap in battery life. And a mind‑blowing chip that doubles down on machine learning and pushes the boundaries of what a smartphone can do. Welcome to the first iPhone powerful enough to be called Pro.”
Features Consumers Care About
Below we cover the psychology and strategy behind their wording choices and message.
- Camera: They really want to highlight this revolutionary camera, it’s “transformative” will help you expand as a person and set you apart from others with a lesser camera.
- Capability without complexity: They anticipate consumers’ concerns of the phone being too complicated to use.
- Unprecedented leap in battery life: They’ve listened to consumer complaints and improved battery life and they highlight it here as “unprecedented,” different from the rest.
- Pushes the boundaries: Another call back to the phone being “transformative,” this product is different and will set you apart.
- Powerful + Pro: Want to be a pro, powerful, successful and capable? This phone will help you do just that because pros use “Pros.”
Following the description, they provide information on pricing and provide links to additional resources like a keynote and video that can reassure and convince buyers to purchase.
Focus on Consumer Needs and Wants
Underperforming products often have listings that fail to address the needs and concerns of a buyer. When people buy, they’re looking for a solution to one of their concerns. Creating the right message in a listing can boost interest in a product and lead to a sale. Think about consumer needs, expectations, and wants – all are different motivations for consumers.
Strategy Behind Top-Performing Listings
Top-selling products have one thing in common – they have product listings that grab the attention of buyers and keep them engaged long enough to make the decision to buy. If one or more of your products are underselling, use these strategies to write powerful marketing listings.
Use Effective Headlines
The headline of a product listing can make or break a sale in just a few seconds. A strong headline can be the deciding factor in convincing consumers in just a few seconds if they want to learn more about the product.
You need to make the most of those few seconds by writing 40 to 80 character headlines that compel buyers to stop and want to read the rest of your listing.
Tips to write influencing headlines:
- Be unique – Writing distinctive headlines will make your product stand out.
- Be specific – Get to the point and avoid using filler words.
- Use capitalization strategically – All caps can come off as unprofessional, keep your brand guidelines in mind.
Elevate Listing Content
Once a consumer reads past your headline, it’s your opportunity to sell the features of your product. The body of your listing needs to contain content that convinces a buyer they need and want your product.
Carefully read through the listings for your underperforming products and get ready to rewrite, focusing on these points:
- Use storytelling to describe the product.
- List both features and benefits.
- Use bullet points for easy reading.
- Include descriptive adjectives that make the product appealing and attractive.
- Anticipate consumer pain points and address their worries.
Include High-Quality Visuals
Photos in your listings are mandatory – images drive up the conversion rate and convince people to buy.
Unlike shopping at a brick and mortar store, consumers have no way of knowing what your product looks like if you don’t provide a high-quality image. If you’re not using images in your underperforming products, it’s time to add them.
If you’re already using images, replace the photos in the listings of your underselling products with new ones that are clear and stunning.
Capture Attention With Easy-To-Read Listings
Many underperforming product listings are guilty of not being pleasing to look at or easy to browse through.
Take a close look at all your product listings. Are they easy to read and capture the attention of consumers without being too cluttered with an overwhelming design?
One of the fastest ways to push consumers away from your listing is by making it too frustrating to read. Even if you’ve written amazing headlines and descriptions, buyers won’t read if your listing isn’t professionally done.
Follow these guidelines for creating easy-to-read listings:
- Design with a professional font that can be read on any digital device, such as sans serif Verdana, Gotham, or Futura.
- Make headlines stand out with a 16- to 20-point font size.
- Body copy should be limited to 10- to 14-point font.
- Use white space to create visual room for the eye to navigate the page – cluttered listings are quickly ignored.
- Use your brand colors in a listing but be conservative. Too much color can be confusing and unappealing if it clashes. Use color to highlight important information.
You can elevate the sales of your underperforming products by optimizing your listings with the strategies and tips here. See additional online listing tips and words that sell in this piece by ForSaleByOwner.
When you write better headlines and listing content, add higher quality visuals, and make the listings easier to read, you can turn underperforming products into high revenue generators.
Kiana is a content creator and marketing professional at Siege Media, a content marketing agency. She has a passion for writing and all things creative and loves exploring a diverse collection of topics including business, cybersecurity, wellness and everything in between! When she’s not writing you can find her traveling, going for runs along the San Diego coastline and performing music.