Let’s say you’ve launched a product and it’s not selling, instead it’s flopping. What can you do to fix it and turn the product around or should you just liquidate and get out? We discuss ways to fix a tanking product and determining when to liquidate with Marell Morel from Cascadia.
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Show Notes: What to do if a product is flopping with Marell Morel from Cascadia
When it comes to launching new products, ou spend a lot of time creating and designing it. Not to mention testing it and then you list it on amazon and wait for that first sale.
In this episode we’re focusing on what to do if the product isn’t selling and instead of a success you think you might have a flop. We’re talking about several ways to overcome your problems and turn the product around.
So we found someone that did just that while working at Amazon. This week’s Amazon Insider used to work on the Private Label Teams at Amazon, Marell Morel.
“I started out in their Private Label in home and kitchen. I managed two brands Pinzon and Strathwood,” says Marell, “I was bedding and bath with textiles and outdoor furniture.”
At Amazon, Marell created and launched Private Label Products and in one case, she had some bedding that wasn’t selling.
“It was bedding, bedding products and it was floral designs and obviously some people like floral and some people don’t,” says Marell, “It took a little while for it to get off the ground.”
Marell now works consulting Third Party Sellers at Cascadia. You can find them at thinkcascadia.com.
When you have products that are flopping, you first need to figure out why. Depending on how you answer that question, you’ll have different avenues to take to fix it and increase sales.
The first reason your product might not be selling is because of low sales velocity compared to competitors and visibility.
“If it’s lack of sales and lack of exposure what you really need to do is focus on getting some reviews,” Marell says.
Make sure you’re using some sort of auto-responder, like Feedback Genius, and ask customers for reviews. You can also build an email list through your website and Facebook to get the word out about your product.
Another reason you might be experiencing low sales velocity is because you’re priced too high.
“Competitive shop your product against the other products on Amazon and even off Amazon – are you inline or too high,” says Marell, “If you are in-line quite honestly going a little bit sharper price definitely can help.”
When it comes to visibility, look at your sponsored products campaigns and make sure you’re using the right keywords.
“One way to do that is build a manual campaign in Sponsored Products and run it for about a month and then once you get a better understanding of what are the best keywords and keywords that are really driving you products then setup manual campaigns that will keep running and continue to get you that information,” Marell says.
The next way to increase visibility of a failing product: run a deal..
“So really offering that competitive price that’s really appealing price to customers, that’s a great way because once you do, these customers who are buying you get that momentum,” says Marell, “They’ll most likely leave reviews or you can always do do follow-up emails with those customers.”
A final way to improve your sales velocity and visibility is by having your products in Amazon Fulfillment Centers. One Amazon Insider told me that having your products Prime eligible is like “throwing lighter fluid on a fire,” so definitely a way to increase both sales velocity and visibility.
Now let’s go back to the example of the floral bedding Marell was talking about earlier. Marell tells us there’s a couple reasons why they think it wasn’t selling.
“One, I think I believe we launched it I want to say October, it was a very odd time for that type of pattern, that’s more of a spring pattern so one it was a bad time and bad product launch,” says Marell, “Two, the price point was too high.”
So to turn the bedding around, first they determined it was the wrong time of year for floral. The second thing they discovered, it was priced too high. Once they started promoting it in Spring and dropped the price, they started getting sales.
Another reason why you might have a product that’s flopping is bad reviews –
“If your product is flopping because of bad reviews, unfortunately that’s a different story and those bad reviews are sort of a kiss of death,” Marell says.
“People come on Amazon and will look at the reviews first before purchasing and it’s really a deal-breaker for them if they’re looking at two similar products and the pricing is about the same but if there’s one product that stands out with better reviews,” Marell says.
When it comes to bad reviews, it’s frustrating. This is where you can provide excellent customer service and really figure out what is happening. Find out what the customers are complaining about. If you feel like you can address the problem, respond to the comment. You can’t ask them to change it, but you can try to figure out how to fix the situation.
“Sometimes I’ve seen that when customers do get that point of contact from a seller and they feel like they got really great customer service, sometimes they will change that review, which is great,” Marell says.
If the bad reviews just aren’t going away, you may have to just say-goodbye to the product.
“Your best bet is to lower the price and you can move through the inventory you have on hand,” Marell says.
Marell also worked on a brand called Strathwood at Amazon. They made outdoor furniture and with one product they had to figure out how to fix a bad customer experience.
“It was outdoor furniture and the packaging wasn’t sufficient enough. It wasn’t holding up so when it got to customers, it was broken, it was a really poor experience,” Marell says.
Customers were upset because the furniture was arriving broken. Marell and her team found out the packaging wasn’t good enough so they pulled the listing. They fixed the product and changed the product then re-launched it under a new ASIN.
Anytime a product isn’t selling you want to first figure out why. Is it lack of sales velocity? Lack of visibility? In those situations, you want to make sure everything you’re doing is working together to sell your product. You want to fine tune your detail page, bullet points and product descriptions. Also make sure you have a clean title. You can use sponsored products to get visibility and boost sales.
Are bad reviews the reason your product isn’t selling?
“If it’s bad reviews, why? Is it poor quality? Is it poor packaging?” says Marell, “What was it that customers didn’t like about the product? Just make sure that when you launch the next new product that you’re addressing these issues.”
Figure out how to work through these three scenarios: lack of sales velocity, lack of visibility and bad reviews to turn your product around.
You should give your product six months to a year to turn it around and start selling. If you’ve tried everything and it’s still not selling, it might be time to liquidate.
If you end up turning the product around or having to liquidate it, at the end, you should always reflect back on what you did and then use that information for your next product.
“Just learning from those whether it’s mistakes or whether it’s learning from your experience is it’s really important to make sure you’re making that next product great,” Marell says.
You also want to make sure you’re launching your product at the right time of year. Remember the floral bedding example? Marell said they launched in the fall, when florals are not in season.
So when it comes to picking a time to launch, make sure you’re picking the right season, if your product is a seasonal one.
In general and if season doesn’t matter, January is not a good month to launch a product because consumers typically have little to spend after the holidays. Spring and Summer are both good times. It gives you a couple months to figure out what typical sales are before you hit the Fourth Quarter and busy shopping season.