The 80/20 rule is a concept in business which states that 80 percent of most companies’ profits, come from 20 percent of their products. In other words, while you will probably have a number of different products that sell reasonably well, there will almost always be one or two ‘runaway’ successes that trail the others and leave them behind. These products are the ones that your business is built on, and they’re the ones worth investing your time and money into, and the ones worth learning from and emulating for future plans.
The question then, is what do you do with the remaining 80 percent of products that aren’t really selling? How to you minimise the damage they’re causing and try to get as much profit from them as possible? Let’s take a look at the best course of action.
Don’t Fret the Small Stuff
The first thing not to do, is to spend too much time and energy trying to work out what’s wrong with those products and fix them. Countless elements contribute to any given product being either a hit or a failure, and you can’t really anticipate what will give your struggling products the boost they need. You’re better off focussing on your strengths rather than trying to improve on your weaknesses.
Do You Need Them?
In fact, the next question to ask yourself is whether you really need those products at all. In some cases, products that don’t sell will actually still be a benefit to your brand and help to draw people to your organisation – being seen to sell a wealth of things can be good for a company. Other items will provide enough gradual income to be worthwhile as a useful backup (the success of that 20% won’t necessarily last forever).
But other items will be costing you. Other items will make you look bad because no one wants them, and they will place a strain on your resources. These products then are best off being sold off completely. The trick now is to look for the potential those products have, and then to try and sell them to companies or individuals who will be able to maximise that potential. You might have built the perfect mobile app for instance, but simply not had the funds necessary to promote it or the know-how. Sell that app to a company that specialises in those kinds of apps, or that has a big budget to spend on marketing… and you might find that they are willing to pay a fair amount of money for your struggling product allowing you to focus on something that does work.
Making Them Sell
Another option is to look for some strategies you can use to make them sell. These might include bundling – taking a few different items and selling them together as an attractive package. That way your products that don’t sell on their own will be able to add value to other offerings but won’t need to sell on their own merits. Likewise you can simply try cutting the price to see if they sell quicker then – this can also be a great ruse to get people to look around your website or store as it allows you to hang up a big ‘SALE’ sign. Place them at the point of sale alternatively to try and encourage an ‘impulse’ purchase, or do a deal with another organisation to sell to their customers at a discounted price. For example, if you want to sell used cars for cash you can find dealers who’ll buy them.
If these tricks don’t work, then there are other things you can try with them too. For instance you might want to consider giving them away as free gifts at tradeshows or when people buy your other products. This might sound like a waste of money and resources, but if you aren’t selling any items anyway then you won’t be losing out. Instead, you’ll be gaining the good will of your customers, and getting your products out there into the world where they will get used and talked about.
So yes, maybe a product is struggling to sell and is only contributing a tiny amount to your overall profits. But does that make it a ‘useless’ product? Not in the slightly – there is no such thing!
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