Here is why you should be offering products related to your core range and how I stumbled across this to my benefit!
In any business it’s important to make sure the product or service you are offering is what your target customer base is looking for, ecommerce is no different to this.
First things first, let’s assume you already have a core product range to offer people
Once you’re up and running with your store you should pay careful attention to what other things your customers may want, there could be big opportunities here to increase your range and offer supplementary products to your existing customers.
There are a few ways to try and find out what customers want, the easiest being simply asking them. You could do this when customers phone in with enquiries or orders, I find chatting with customers one of the best ways of researching my market.
If your store has an internal search box you should be able to pull up some kind of report on what people are putting in as search terms, this can quickly give you an insight into your customers intentions and wants.
Also, try looking at the search term keyword reports in Google Analytics or if you run AdWords campaigns look at the Matched Search Query Report, both of these can help with this kind of research.
Other methods would be to look at your competitors and see what other types of products they offer, or try Googling for your products and see what comes up in the results, there may be something there.
Once you have found related products you could try and find some drop shippers for this product, the margins may be small but it can be a quick and easy way to test if you are actually able to sell them. If this works out well then you could go down the route of stocking the items yourself thus increasing your margins.
Remember that if you offer customers a one stop place to buy all their related items then you are naturally going to increase sales on your existing products as well as your core product range.
When I started Multiple Monitors the original plan was just to sell the monitor arrays (screens, stands and cables). It didn’t take very long to realise that people who bought these also wanted the computers to go with them.
I didn’t want to start selling computers online for various reasons, the main ones being the ridiculously small margins and potential for problems!
Eventually I contacted a 3rd party computer supplier and struck an arrangement for them to supply the computers on our behalf. This didn’t work out very well, the computers were not very good and changing supplier didn’t really solve the problem.
The only way forward was to supply our own range of PCs which we built in-house. Obviously this was a fairly big undertaking for us but one I was happy to take on because the market had told me that the computers would sell.
At a rough estimate I’d say over 70% of our sales now include a computer either as part of a bundle or by itself.
It may seem obvious to sell PCs with the monitor arrays but trust me, at the time I was adamant that I didn’t want to go down this route, I wouldn’t have the business that I have today if I hadn’t paid attention to my market.
What other products could you offer your customers?