by Chris Malta
If you spend any length of time selling products on the Internet, you're going to find out that it's very hard to sell “very low priced” products.
What? Why is that? You'd think that people would LOVE to pay Very Low Prices for products!
Well, that's true, when they're getting value for their money. But there is one thing that will make your customer back up so fast, they'll have to make a “beeping” noise, like a big truck in reverse:
Ah, yes. Shipping Charges. The bane of the Internet Retailer. Ground shipping, air, motor freight. Residential delivery surcharge. Shipping insurance charge. Signature release charge. They get you coming and going. (Literally!).
We sell brand name products on the Internet using the Drop Shipping method. We have genuine wholesale distributors who will fill our single-item orders by wending the products we sell DIRECTLY to our customers from the warehouse, with our business name on the package. Very low cost and effective.
BUT… they still have to charge us shipping, which means we still have to charge our CUSTOMERS shipping.
Normally, that's just fine. Internet customers understand shipping charges, and with most products, it's not even an issue.
However, what happens when you have a site that sells an “accessory” type product that goes along with your general product line, but only costs about $5 retail? A customer comes along and wants to buy that inexpensive accessory, but during the process of completing the order, they realize they are going to have to pay about $7 in shipping.
Ouch! $12 for a $5 accessory? Don't think so.
So what do you do? Are you going to deprive your customers of the “accessories” that go along with your general product line, and possible lose that customer's attention for good?
Not your first choice, is it?
There's a way around this problem for many types of products.
Suppose your site sells those cool Velcro-type dart boards that parents love to give their kids, because Velcro tips won't put holes in the walls, or in the other kids either, for that matter. The dart boards come with a supply of plastic darts.
However, we're talking about KIDS here. Plastic darts break. They disappear. They go running off down the road taped to the tail of the neighbor's cat. Someday, little Johnny is going to want to play darts with a Dart Set that has no darts. There will be crying involved; I have three kids and a grandson, and I know that sound.
Some parents will think ahead and buy some extra darts from you when they order the Set in the first place. Most will not.
Ok, someone comes back to your site and wants to order another set of three plastic Velcro darts. You sell them for $5. The shipping cost is $7.
$12 for three plastic Velcro-tipped darts? Guess what! Johnny's Mom or Dad is going to decide to spend some time convincing Johnny that the Dart Set was never any fun anyway. It won't be easy, and Mom or Dad will probably blame YOU for that, whether they should or not. 🙂
So what can you do about that?
It's very simple.
You can “group” those little accessory packages of darts, and sell them as “sets”.
For example, group FOUR of those $5 packages of darts together as a single product on your site, and call it a “Complete 4-player Dart Set” (each player uses three darts while playing, so 4 sets covers 4 players.) That way, you have something you can charge $20 for (or a little less, since you're moving them in bulk), and the $7 shipping charge suddenly doesn't seem like so much to little Johnny's Mom or Dad.
Think about how happy THEY'LL be with the idea too… EXTRA sets of darts for the NEXT time Johnny's darts skip off into the Twilight Zone of Lost Toys!
Stretching it a bit? Sure I am! It's a story, for the sake of illustration, but there's a solid truth at the core:
When you sell products that require accessories from time to time, you should also be able to supply the accessories in a manner that will be comfortable for the customer.
Think about this too: the products don't HAVE to be accessories. This works for ANY individual products that just happen to be very low priced to begin with. Be creative!
Grouping products into “Sets” can't be done with every product, but you should be able to think of a way to do it for most!
Chris Malta is the founder and CEO of Worldwide Brands, the Internet’s leading authorities on Product Sourcing for Home E-Biz, and the publishers of OneSource, the World’s largest Source of eCommerce Wholesalers. Chris spent many years as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, designing and building corporate and eCommerce server platforms, working for several large companies, and managing major installations for Fortune 100 businesses. With over thirty years experience in wholesale, retail, and entrepreneurial ventures, Chris was hand-picked by eBay Radio as their exclusive Product Sourcing Editor, and is responsible for managing the eBay Radio Resource Center. He co-writes and hosts Product Sourcing Radio, one of the top rated shows in the wsRadio Business Network, and has authored numerous books on E-Biz and product sourcing, including “What to Sell on eBay and Where to Get It,” published by McGraw-Hill.