Monday, April 14, 2008

Two Unusual Ways To Increase Sales

As most producers and sellers of handmade and hand crafted products have learned, you can’t depend solely on online sales and marketing to make a living at your chosen craft. It takes a combination of the real world and internet to succeed. Here are a couple of ideas that the reader might find useful. One is for the real world and the other for on line.

When I was young, I had an uncle who had a hardware store. My uncle not only was he a marketing wiz, but his ideas worked. He grew a small store into a medium sized chain in a little more than a decade, using marketing ideas big and small.

I loved the time he had his business card printed on one side of a card, with the other side printed to look like a folded $20 bill. He would then hire me and some of my friends to drop the fake $20s near the store, and people would get $20 off when the cards were "redeemed."

Now $20 isn’t a magic number. It could be anything from $1 on up. The amount would be determined by your individual product pricing. Although this idea is related to the real world, with a little variation, could be utilized for on line sales simply by adding a unique number to the card that the customer would use to redeem their discount.

This next idea isn’t mine. It is however an unusual but effective on line marketing idea that might work for the reader if your product is right. There is an e-tail site called But don't yawn yet until you've seen it. They sell one thing each day. That's it. It changes every day but they only ever sell one thing. The prices are not spectacular, but the writing is hilarious and the key difference (a one-product store!) is brilliant.

I’m not suggesting that you go out and create a one-product store, but you can learn a lot from how the people at Woot did it. They don't take themselves too seriously and they have cleverly highlighted their point of difference. Do you have a point of difference that will let you stand out from the crowd? If you don’t know, you should be investing a significant amount of your energy into developing or discovering one.

Just a note on the lighter side. Most customers consider themselves to be pretty smart shoppers. Whether that is a truth or not of course depends on the individual customer. The point is that as a retailer we can’t take this fact as a truth. There are times when you run across a customer that just doesn’t know up from down. This isn’t something new. These types of customers have been around from the beginning. This is supposedly a true fact that on the side of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, a hieroglyph actually reads "this end up

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