We’ve spent of lot of time in this series talking about how having a quality product can help sell itself and make marketing that much easier. But what about quantity?
Quantity here could mean how many you have of a specific product. After all, what good is exerting all that effort of promoting your stuff if the item is out of stock or your store is nearly empty once you finally get the customer where you want them? When you don’t have enough stock to meet demand, you’re not just wasting the marketing effort you put forth, you’re probably doing some damage to the customer’s impression of you at the same time.
But while inventory management is important, it’s not as important as the other side of quantity which is not just having items available and ready for sale but a wide variety of them as well. Getting a customer to your site requires the same effort whether you’ve got one product for sale or 100. It stands to reason that, the more things you have available for sale, the more value you’ll get from your marketing and you’ll increase your chances of making a sale every time you add a new product. Moreover, products can help each other as long as you’re doing at least some basic cross promotion.
It comes down to what I like to think of as your retail footprint. The more products you have available, the more likely a customer is to connect with one of them and you’ll make the sale. And, from a purely practical standpoint, increasing the quantity of items you have for sale increases your presence in your marketplace of choice. If I’m searching for the type of item you sell and you’ve only got one thing for sale, the chances of me finding it are much less than if your company makes 7 different varieties of that item I need. When you search for pedometers on Amazon, FitBit products are most of first page of search results. There’s lots of other companies that make pedometers but the chance that you’ll buy one from FitBit increases dramatically just because of the quantity and variety they offer.
An author with a single published book will have to work much harder than an author with dozens of books available, even if none are bestsellers. A company with a single product has a much smaller presence in the retail space than a store with a whole catalog of products. Every additional item an author or company releases or makes available for sale increases the chance that a buyer will not only find their items but connect with a specific item. And if a customer likes something they bought from you, be it book or band saw, they’re that much more likely to purchase something else from you later. You may even want to let your customer or buyer issue a purchase order to establish a good relationship with your business.
For authors and other creators, use this an inspiration to start work on your next thing with the knowledge that it’s going to help what you’ve already got out there. For other sellers, take it as a reminder to keep listing new items and testing new inventory. For artists and collectibles sellers where your inventory is always changing, this just means making sure you’re keep a wide variety of the sort of item your target customers enjoy. You never know when that one unusual item may lure them in and get them to purchase some of your other stock while they’re there.