Polish Your Merchandising Skills
When we consult with catalogers about merchandise, we’re asked questions about products that didn’t sell as well as expected.
Some clients often wonder if they should try selling the product again, and if so, how many times and in how many different ways before finally giving up on it. These are legitimate questions, and some time should be spent on determining the answers.
However, catalogers often waste too much time trying to revive losing items when they should instead spend time on those things that offer a bigger bang for their efforts.
Questions & Answers
The question “Should you try selling the product again?” should be answered “Yes,” but only if you can demonstrate something that will change the next time you market it, for example, the price, the season in which it was sold, the quality of the photo or how the copy for it is worded.
The question “How many times should you run a losing item before giving up on it?” is best answered “once”—unless something was wrong with the creative, list or mailing the first time. Many prospects and customers saw the item—and voted on it with their wallets. Accept the results of the “vote” and move on.
Spend enough time on your mistakes and failures to learn what you need to avoid repeating them. Dwelling on mistakes or spending too much time trying to recover from them often can misdirect your efforts and resources. In many cases, it’s better to focus on the things you already know are good. Smart merchants and marketers know how to build around their successes, not dwell on their failures.
Many catalogers are tempted to leave what works alone. If a product is profitable, keep running it. If a list is beating breakeven, keep renting it. On their face, these seem like reasonable decisions; but dig deeper. Don’t accept that if an item worked well it couldn’t have done better. Don’t be happy with a list that performs above breakeven; turn it into one of your most profitable. Effort spent on these things will pay back much more than trying to revive dead horses.