When Does ‘Less’ Mean ‘More’
Masterchef: The Professionals is back on our screens! Hurrah! Now, I’m not normally one for watching much television because there never seems to be anything really interesting on plus I think I have only touched the remote control about twice in the past 6 months due to three other people in my household appearing to think that it is solely theirs. It’s like trying to wrestle a fish from a crocodile.
Anyway, I quite enjoy Masterchef because it’s always interesting to watch as the contestants dishes change over time as they learn new skills and begin to take on board the comments and tips given by their mentors – once again it is Michel Roux Jr. and of course Greg Wallace.
But what always shocks me is just how small the portions are that actually end up on their final presented plates! At the beginning of the series the chefs’ appear to serve up what I would call a decent sized portion – but by the end of the series, the portions have shrunk to what amounts to a small (but elegant) blob in the middle of the plate. Well either that or the plates are getting bigger with each episode!
But here is the trick you see, because according to Monsieur Roux Jr., the food should not be piled high, it should look elegant, and here’s the thing…importantly it should leave you wanting more.
What’s this got to do with selling online?
Well, this simple fact; ‘less is more’! This is true not only with ‘a la carte’ cooking, but also in many areas of business. These days everything seems to be super-sized or padded out with extras, but when it comes to selling online, less can certainly equal more for you. In fact, by selling less you could actually make significantly more profits.
Now before you go and put the kettle on, put your feet up and start browsing for holidays, this does not mean only creating a few product listings each month! What I’m talking about here is targeting your time, your products and your listings carefully, thereby maximising your profit for every sale you make.
So, essentially there are two important ways that this principle can relate to you and your online business. If you have been a subscriber to my weekly eletter for a while, then this first won’t be a great surprise to you.
Sell products with a decent profit margin and you won’t need to make as many sales…
Firstly, before I talk about bigger profit margins, I must tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with selling for lower profits and in higher volumes. In fact lots of ‘would be’ sellers never get started because they dismiss products that have profit margins of £1.00 or £2.00 because they think that it’s just not worth the hassle. But this is simply not true. You must remember that £1.00 or £2.00 profit from one product that is selling in quantities of 20 a day of course equals £20.00 or £40.00 in total. So, whilst I am going to talk about higher profit margins today – please don’t think that this means I am dismissing low profit, high volume products – because I’m not. In fact a mixture of the two works very well.
Having said that, I often see products being sold online for probable profits of just £1.00 and £2.00 each when actually they could make three times that amount because the closest competitor is selling at a price that is much higher leaving room for manoeuvre – and still making comparative sales! So why sell so cheap when you don’t have to?
Don’t be scared about pricing your products at a higher price. Cheapest isn’t always best and by selling at a higher profit you will of course need to sell less.
Also, just as an aside, think about this. By sourcing one hot product, and creating one multiple item listing on eBay for a profit of let’s say £4 per sale will take you much less time than creating four single listings that each bring £1 to your bank account. Makes sense doesn’t it!
But what does this mean?
Stop creating all those time consuming listings for low profit single items and re-think your strategy
If you have concentrated all of your time up to this point on creating as many listings as you possibly can, not really caring how much profit you make as long as it is something however small, then now is the time to consider a change.
When I’m looking for a new product to sell online I actually spend more time researching than I do in creating the listing itself. That’s not to say that creating a decent description isn’t worth doing, because obviously a great description, fantastic images and a keyword relevant title will make a significant difference to your profits. However without first spending time researching your items so that you know, or at least have a good estimate of how much money they will make you, you might find that your wonderful descriptions are actually working against you simply because of the time they take to create.
So research is the key then? Yes! And the good news is that although research for your online business should never stop (you will always need to keep an eye on the market, your competition and prospective new products to sell), once you have a successful product or inventory of products, and a number of reliable and affordable suppliers, you will find yourself with a lot more free time and a very successful business.
Now on to my second point with regard to ‘less is more’…
Supply and demand – capitalise on the desire to ‘win’
Now, I said earlier, there are two different ways that less can equal more for you so this is my second method of generating a great income from less stock and deals with the ‘wanting more’ theory.
There’s no denying that it is human nature to want to win, although this instinct is certainly more ingrained in some than in others. But you can take advantage of this when it comes to creating your own listings by choosing to list fewer of a certain product than you might actually have available…
How does this help you? Well by listing a small amount of goods, and making reference to this within your listing, you can create a significant demand for what appears to be a ‘limited supply’.
For example, you have 50 of a particular product but you list only 10 of them and state ‘limited stock’ within your description (or as keywords in a subtitle if you wish). This gives potential customers the idea that you only have 10 of this item (even though you have another 40 stashed away). This can prompt people to purchase the product immediately if they are really interested, as they feel they may miss out if they don’t take action straight away.
Once you have sold all 10 you can repeat the same process. You can top up a Buy It Now listing when you only have one item left on your listing and what’s more, this idea can work as both auction and ‘Buy It Now’ settings on eBay (and Amazon on Fixed price). With an auction, your prospective buyers are likely to feel the need to outbid each other in order to win one of your ‘limited’ items and, on a Buy It Now listing, impulse buyers will feel the necessity to get their hands on what you are offering before it vanishes from your shop for ever.
You just need to be a little bit creative!
So, like the Masterchefs’, remember – don’t pile your plate high because less can certainly be more in this instance and you may find yourself able to increase your prices to meet the artificial demand that you yourself have generated!
As always I wish you the very best of success,